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2010-UP-541 - Carrell Homes v. Van Osdell

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

Carrell Homes, Ltd., Appellant,

v.

Van Osdell, Lester, Howe & Jordan, P.A., and R. Lester, J.D., Respondents.


Appeal From Horry County
Diane Schafer Goodstein, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2010-UP-541  
Submitted December 1, 2010 – Filed December 16, 2010


AFFIRMED


Reynolds H. Blankenship, Jr., of Columbia, for Appellant.

Andrew W. Countryman, of Charleston, for Respondents.

PER CURIAM: Carrell Homes, Ltd. (Carrell) appeals the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of attorney Richard E. Lester and Van Osdell, Lester, Howe & Jordan, P.A., (collectively Lester).  Carrell appeals the grant of summary judgment, arguing the trial court erred in finding the following: (1) the statute of limitations barred its legal malpractice action and (2) Carrell failed to support its allegations of professional negligence with expert testimony.   We affirm.[1]

1. As to whether the trial court erred in granting Lester's summary judgment motion based on the statute of limitations:  Carrell conceded it had actual knowledge of Lester's wrongful conduct more than three years before it filed and served its summons and complaint.  See  S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-530(5) (2005) (providing a three year statute of limitations for "any injury to the person or rights of another, not arising on contract and not enumerated by law"); Berry v. McLeod, 328 S.C. 435, 444, 492 S.E.2d 794, 799 (Ct. App. 1997) (finding section 15-3-530(5) provides a three-year statute of limitations for legal malpractice actions).  Carrell also knew, or by the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, it had a cause of action against Lester arising out of Lester's wrongful conduct more than three years before it initiated the legal malpractice action. The CEO and Chairman of Carrell stated he understood more than three years before the initiation of the action that Lester had not "adequately protected Carrell" and he understood he was damaged as a result of the early closing because his interests were unsecured.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-535 (2005) (stating "[A]ll actions initiated under Section 15-3-530(5) must be commenced within three years after the person knew or by the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known that he had a cause of action.").  Additionally, "the fact that the injured party may not comprehend the full extent of the damage is immaterial."  Dean v. Ruscon Corp., 321 S.C. 360, 364, 468 S.E.2d 645, 647 (1996).  Thus, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Carrell, the evidence supported the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Lester.        

2. As to whether the trial court erred in granting Lester's motion for summary judgment on the ground Carrell had not yet named an expert witness:  See Futch v. McAllister Towing of Georgetown, 335 S.C. 598, 613, 518 S.E.2d 591, 598 (1999) (stating an appellate court need not address remaining issues when a decision on a prior issue is dispositive).

AFFIRMED.

FEW, C.J., and SHORT and WILLIAMS, JJ., concur.


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