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2011-UP-083 - Greene v. Greene

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


Sandra Greene and Joel Greene, Appellants,

v.

The Gaffney Ledger, Inc. and L. Cody Sossamon, Respondents.


Appeal From Cherokee County
J. Mark Hayes, II, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No.  2011-UP-083
Submitted  February 1, 2011 – Filed February 24, 2011


AFFIRMED


Lovic A. Brooks, III, of Columbia, for Appellants.

Jay Bender and Holly Palmer Beeson, of Columbia, for Respondents.

PER CURIAM: Sandra Greene and Joel Greene (Appellants) appeal the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment on their claims for outrage and libel in favor of The Gaffney Ledger, Inc. and L. Cody Sossamon (Respondents). On appeal, Appellants argue the circuit court erred in: (1) ruling that expert medical testimony was necessary as a matter of law to prove outrage; (2) granting summary judgment on the claim for outrage based on grounds not urged by Respondents; and (3) finding that the alleged defamatory statements were not false.  We affirm[1] pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities:

1.  As to issue (1): Hansson v. Scalise Builders of S.C., 374 S.C. 352, 357-58, 650 S.E.2d 68, 71 (2007) (stating that a trial court must determine whether the plaintiff has established that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to each of the four elements of the tort of outrage when ruling on a summary judgment motion); id. at 358, 650 S.E.2d at 72 (stating a court must look for more than mere bald assertions, but rather corroborating evidence in order to prove evidence of damages resulting from emotional distress when ruling on a summary judgment motion).

2.  As to issue (2): Transp. Ins. Co. & Flagstar Corp. v. S.C. Second Injury Fund, 389 S.C. 422, 432, 699 S.E.2d 687, 692 (2010) ("[S]hort, conclusory statements made without supporting authority are deemed abandoned on appeal and therefore not preserved for our review."); Cullen v. McNeal, 390 S.C. 472, 492, 702 S.E.2d 378, 390 (Ct. App. 2010) (ruling that because the circuit court did not rule on the arguments and because no Rule 59(e), SCRCP motion was filed, the arguments were not preserved for appellate review); Cheap-O's Truck Stop, Inc. v. Cloyd, 350 S.C. 596, 605, 567 S.E.2d 514, 518 (Ct. App. 2002) (stating a Form 4 order is not effective as a final order if the circuit court specifies that the final order will be prepared by the attorney).

3.  As to issue (3): Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. Hepps, 475 U.S. 767, 768-69, 106 S.Ct. 1558, 1559 (1986) ("[W]e hold that, at least where a newspaper publishes speech of public  concern, a private-figure plaintiff cannot recover damages without also showing that the statements at issue are false."); Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323, 339-40, 94 S.Ct. 2997, 3007 (1974) ("Under the First Amendment there is no such thing as a false idea.  However pernicious an opinion may seem, we depend for its correction not on the conscience of judges and juries but on the competition of other ideas."); Transp. Ins. Co. & Flagstar Corp.,  389 S.C. at 431, 699 S.E.2d at 692 (stating an issue which is unappealed becomes the law of the case); Erickson v. Jones St. Publishers, LLC, 368 S.C. 444, 466, 629 S.E.2d 653, 665 (2006) (stating that when a case involves a private figure plaintiff but an issue of public controversy or concern published by a media defendant, the plaintiff has the burden of proving common law malice and showing actual injury in the form of general or special damages). 

AFFIRMED.

HUFF, SHORT, and PIEPER, JJ., concur.


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