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2011-UP-039 - Chevrolet v. Azalea Motors

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

Chevrolet of North Charleston, d/b/a Gene Reed Chevrolet, Inc., Plaintiff,  

v.

Azalea Motors, LLC, Defendant/Third Party Plaintiff,

v.

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, Defendant,

of whom Azalea Motors, LLC is the Appellant,

and South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles is the Respondent.


Appeal From Charleston County
Mikell R. Scarborough, Special Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No.   2011-UP-039
Heard October 6, 2010 – Filed February 1, 2011


AFFIRMED


Thomas R. Goldstein, of Charleston, for Appellant.

Stephanie Pendarvis McDonald and Robin L. Jackson of Charleston, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  On appeal, Azalea Motors, LLC, (Azalea) argues the trial court erred in granting summary judgment on its claim for gross negligence against the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (the Department).  Specifically, Azalea asserts the trial court erred in concluding the Department was neither liable under the public duty rule nor owed a "special duty" to Azalea when the Department issued a South Carolina certificate of title upon the presentment of a counterfeit Wisconsin certificate of title bearing a vehicle identification number of a non-stolen vehicle.

In support of its argument, Azalea contends the Department's failure to utilize a digital blue microscope to ascertain the authenticity of the counterfeit Wisconsin certificate of title constituted a breach of its duty of care pursuant to section 56-19-40 of the South Carolina Code (2006).  Additionally, Azalea asserts the trial court erred in concluding the Department did not violate sections 56-19-260 and 56-19-270 of the South Carolina Code (2006).  In support of this argument, Azalea contends the trial court erred by concluding (1) the Department properly issued a South Carolina certificate of title when the Department conducted a National Crime Information Center database search, which did not indicate the vehicle was stolen and (2) the Department was obligated to issue the South Carolina certificate of title when the Department's clerk did not have any "reasonable grounds" to believe the counterfeit Wisconsin certificate of title contained a fraudulent or false statement.  Rather, Azalea contends the Department has a duty to examine certificate of titles.

As an additional ground for granting summary judgment in favor of the Department, the trial court concluded Azalea's claim was also barred pursuant to the South Carolina Tort Claims Act.  Azalea failed to appeal this ruling.  As a result, we affirm the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Department pursuant to Rule 220 (b)(1), SCACR, and the following authority: Jones v. Lott, 387 S.C. 339, 346, 692 S.E.2d 900, 903 (2010) ("Under the two issue rule, where a decision is based on more than one ground, the appellate court will affirm unless the appellant appeals all grounds because the unappealed ground will become the law of the case."). 

Accordingly, the trial court's decision is

AFFIRMED.

WILLIAMS, PIEPER, and KONDUROS, JJ., concur.