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2010-UP-524 - Cooper v. Leisure Connections Travel

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals


Robin Cooper & Carol Jean Correll, Respondents,

v.

Leisure Connections Travel, Inc., Appellant.


Appeal From Horry County
Steven H. John, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2010-UP-524
Submitted December 1, 2010 – Filed December 13, 2010 


AFFIRMED


Randall K. Mullins and Jarrod E. Ownbey, of N. Myrtle Beach, for Appellant.

Jean Correll, of Silver Springs, Maryland, and Robin Cooper, of Bowie, Maryland, for Respondents.

PER CURIAM: Leisure Connections Travel, Inc. (LCT) appeals the order of the circuit court affirming the magistrate court’s order awarding damages to Respondents Robin Cooper and Carol Jean Correll.  On appeal, LCT argues the circuit court erred in affirming the magistrate court on the following grounds: (1) consolidating the cases; (2) finding res judicata and collateral estoppel inapplicable to Cooper's claim in South Carolina following a Maryland judgment; (3) charging the jury on the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act, fraud, and the issue of agency; (4) allowing testimony that Fantasy Vacations, Inc. and LCT are the same entity under the theory of respondeat superior; (5) denying LCT's motion for a mistrial based on Respondents' improper statements during closing arguments; (6) failing to join Fantasy Vacations, Inc. as a necessary and proper party defendant; and (7) allowing joint testimony by the Respondents under Rules 404(b) and 406 of the South Carolina Rules of Evidence. 

 We affirm[1] pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities: As to Issue 1, see Alcorn v. Ford Motor Co., 276 S.C. 180, 182, 276 S.E.2d 925, 926 (1981) (finding the purpose of consolidation is to prevent the multiplicity of litigation, to save the parties unnecessary costs, to conserve court time and space, and to clear congested court dockets); Keels v. Pierce, 315 S.C. 339, 342, 433 S.E.2d 902, 904 (Ct. App. 1993) (stating that a court may order consolidation, absent an abuse of discretion, whenever there are actions pending before the court that involve a common question of law or fact); as to Issue 2, see State v. Bacote, 331 S.C. 328, 331, 503 S.E.2d 161, 163 (1998) ("In the context of a default judgment, collateral estoppel or issue preclusion does not apply because an essential element of that doctrine requires that the claim sought to be precluded actually have been litigated in the earlier litigation.") (citation omitted); S.C. Dep't of Soc. Servs. v. Basnight, 346 S.C. 241, 249, 551 S.E.2d 274, 278 (Ct. App. 2001) (stating res judicata not only precludes relitigation of those issues which were actually litigated in the first suit, but also relitigation of issues that might have been litigated in the first action) (emphasis added); as to issue 3, see Johnson v. Horry Cnty. Solid Waste Auth., 389 S.C. 528, 538, 698 S.E.2d 835, 840 (Ct. App. 2010) (holding the appellate court "must consider the court's jury charge as a whole in light of the evidence and issues presented at trial") (internal quotations and citation omitted); as to Issue 5, see Vestry & Church Wardens of Church of Holy Cross v. Orkin Exterminating Co., 384 S.C. 441, 446-47, 682 S.E.2d 489, 492 (2009) (stating the trial court, absent an abuse of discretion, should declare a mistrial only when absolutely necessary and when the moving party has shown error and resulting prejudice); as to all remaining issues on appeal, see Jones v. Lott, 387 S.C. 339, 346, 692 S.E.2d 900, 903 (2010) ("Issues and arguments are preserved for appellate review only when they are raised to and ruled on by the lower court.").

AFFIRMED.

THOMAS, PIEPER, and GEATHERS, JJ., concur.


[1] We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.