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2011-UP-264 - David A. Hauge & Chidna v. Curran

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

David A. Hauge & Chidna, L.L.C., Plaintiffs,

of whom David A. Hauge is, Appellant,

v.

Adrienne Curran, Respondent.


Appeal From Charleston County
Roger M. Young, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-264  
Submitted April 1, 2011 – Filed June 7, 2011


AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, and REMANDED


Mary L. Arnold, of Mt. Pleasant, for Appellant.

Thomas R. Goldstein, of Charleston, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: David Hauge ("Hauge") appeals the trial court's order denying summary judgment and dismissing the action without prejudice pursuant to Rule 12(b)(8), SCRCP.  Hauge first argues Adrienne Curran ("Curran") conceded the funds generated from the sale of property owned by Chidna, L.L.C. were not Curran's personal property.  Therefore, based on Curran's admission, Hauge argues there is no genuine issue of material fact as to the conversion or breach of fiduciary duty causes of action, and summary judgment should have been granted.  Second, Hauge contends the trial court improperly dismissed the South Carolina action because the pending Florida litigation between Hauge and Curran is not another action pending between the same parties for the same claim under Rule 12(b)(8).  Finally, Hauge asserts the trial court improperly overruled the prior trial court judge's order denying Curran's motion to dismiss.  Pursuant to Rule 220(b)(1), SCACR and the following authorities,[1] we affirm the trial court's decision to deny summary judgment, reverse its decision to dismiss the South Carolina action, and remand the matter for further proceedings.

1. As to whether a genuine issue of material fact exists on the conversion and breach of fiduciary duty causes of action: See Moore v. Weinberg,  383 S.C. 583, 589, 681 S.E.2d 875, 878-79 (2009) (finding conflicting testimony regarding the ownership of an interest in the proceeds from litigation created a genuine issue of material fact as to the conversion claim); Helms Realty, Inc. v. Gibson-Wall Co., 363 S.C. 334, 340, 611 S.E.2d 485, 488 (2005) ("Summary judgment is appropriate 'if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.'"); Gadson v. Hembree, 364 S.C. 316, 320, 613 S.E.2d 533, 535 (2005) ("Summary judgment is not appropriate where further inquiry into the facts of the case is desirable to clarify the application of the law."); Ellis v. Davidson, 358 S.C. 509, 520, 595 S.E.2d 817, 823 (Ct. App. 2004) (stating summary judgment is not proper when genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether a fiduciary duty existed between the parties and, if so, whether such duty was breached); Baughman v. Am. Tel. and Tel. Co., 306 S.C. 101, 112, 410 S.E.2d 537, 543 (1991) (finding summary judgment was improper when plaintiffs had not been afforded a full and fair opportunity to complete discovery).

2. As to whether the trial court properly applied Rule 12(b)(8), SCRCP to dismiss a South Carolina circuit court action on the ground that a similar action is simultaneously pending between the same parties in another jurisdiction: See Poston v. Homes Ins. Co. of N.Y., 191 S.C. 314, 317-18, 4 S.E.2d 261, 262 (1939) ("[A]n action may be pleaded in abatement of a second suit only when between the same parties and in the same jurisdiction and with the same object.") (emphasis added); see also Logan v. Atlanta & C. Air Line R. Co., 82 S.C. 518, 520-21, 64 S.E. 515, 516 (1909) (stating that a pending action in the federal court against the lessee of a railroad for personal injuries is no bar to an action in the state courts against the lessor on the same cause of action because the suits are against different parties and in different jurisdictions); Hill v. Hill, 51 S.C. 134, 137, 28 S.E. 309, 310 (1897) (holding that the pendency of a former suit between the same parties for the same cause and relief is a ground for abatement of a subsequent suit if both suits are pending in the same jurisdiction, but that it is a well-established doctrine that the pendency of another suit in a foreign jurisdiction cannot be grounds for abatement of an action in the domestic forum).

3. In light of our determination that the action was improperly dismissed, we need not address Hauge's remaining exception regarding the allegedly conflicting trial court rulings. See Futch v. McAllister Towing of Georgetown, Inc., 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 IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, and REMANDED.

WILLIAMS, GEATHERS, and LOCKEMY, JJ., concur.


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