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2011-UP-165 - Rock Hill Investment Group v. Horton

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


Rock Hill Investment Group, LLC, Appellant,

v.

Brenda Horton, Respondent.


Appeal From Jasper County
Thomas Kemmerlin, Jr., Special Referee


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-165
Submitted April 1, 2011 – Filed April 14, 2011


AFFIRMED


R. Thayer Rivers, Jr., of Ridgeland, for Appellant.

Terry A. Finger, of Hilton Head Island, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: Rock Hill Investment Group, LLC (Rock Hill) appeals the order of Special Referee Thomas Kemmerlin, Jr. dismissing its action against Respondent Brenda Horton to collect a deficiency judgment and ordering that Horton's five percent deposit on the property she initially bid on at a judicial sale be forfeited.  On appeal, Rock Hill argues that a prior unappealed order from Special Referee Curtis Coltrane denying Horton's motion to set aside the judicial sale is controlling on all issues presented in Judge Kemmerlin's order.  In its second issue, Rock Hill argues that Judge Kemmerlin's order is not correct.  We affirm[1] pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities:

1.  As to the first issue on appeal, we find that Judge Coltrane's order is not controlling on all issues presented in Judge Kemmerlin's order.  At the time of the hearing, Horton was not yet a party to an action between herself and Rock Hill because a deficiency did not exist at that time, nor would Horton have been aware that an action for deficiency would be brought against her.  As no action for deficiency would have been brought against her until the actual deficiency existed, a dispute concerning the "risk" to the noncomplying bidder would not be ripe for adjudication at the time of Judge Coltrane's hearing.  Furthermore, Judge Coltrane's order resulting from Horton's motion to set aside the judicial sale did not involve the same issues covered in Judge Kemmerlin's order.  See Colleton Cnty. Taxpayers Ass'n v. Sch. Dist. of Colleton Cnty., 371 S.C. 224, 242, 638 S.E.2d 685, 694 (2006) ("[A] justiciable controversy is a real and substantial controversy which is ripe and appropriate for judicial determination, as distinguished from a contingent, hypothetical or abstract dispute."); Matheson v. McCormac, 187 S.C. 260, ­_, 196 S.E. 883, 884 (1938) ("[A] decree from which no appeal is taken becomes the law of the case in all subsequent proceedings involving the same parties and the same subject matter. . . .") (emphasis added); Prof'l Bankers Corp. v. Floyd, 285 S.C. 607, 613, 331 S.E.2d 362, 365 (Ct. App. 1985) ("An appealable order from which no appeal is taken becomes the law of the case in all subsequent proceedings involving the same parties and the same subject matter . . . . However, the doctrine operates only as to matters concluded by the unappealed order."). 

2. As to the second issue on appeal generally asserting that Judge Kemmerlin's order was not correct, we decline to address this conclusory argument on its merits.  See Rule 208(b)(1)(B), SCACR ("Broad general statements [of the issues on appeal] may be disregarded by the appellate court.").

AFFIRMED.

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


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