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2012-UP-237 - Molnar v. Warren

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


Lynda Molnar, Plaintiff,

v.

Piri Molnar and Phillip Warren, Individually and as the General Partners of Peaches Auto Sales, Defendants.

Of whom, Lynda Molnar and Piri Molnar are, Respondents,

v.

Philip Warren, Appellant.


Appeal From Greenville County
Edward W. Miller, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2012-UP-237
Heard April 11, 2012 – Filed April 25, 2012 


AFFIRMED


Ryan L. Beasley and Ransome H. Helmly, both of Greenville, for Appellant.

David S. Wyatt and Ralph L. Gleaton, II, both of Greenville, for Respondents. 

PER CURIAM:  This appeal arises from a jury verdict awarding Plaintiff-Respondent Lynda Molnar $90,000 in damages on an action for breach of contract against Defendant-Appellant Phillip Warren and Defendant-Respondent Piri Molnar, both individually and as the general partners of Peaches Auto Sales.  On appeal, Warren argues the trial court erred by (1) denying his motion for a directed verdict; (2) denying his motion for summary judgment; (3) failing to charge the jury on the statute of limitations; (4) denying his motion to amend the pleadings; and (5) denying his motion to subtract $28,000 from the judgment.  We affirm pursuant to Rule 220(b)(1), SCACR, and the following authorities:

1. As to whether the trial court erred by denying Warren's motion for directed verdict:  Fettler v. Gentner, 396 S.C. 461, 466, 722 S.E.2d 26, 29 (Ct. App. 2012) (providing that an appellate court is required to view the evidence and inferences that reasonably can be drawn from the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party when reviewing the denial of a motion for directed verdict); id. ("'An appellate court will only reverse the [trial] court's ruling when there is no evidence to support the ruling or when the ruling is controlled by an error of law.'" (citation omitted)).

2. As to whether the trial court erred by denying Warren's motion for summary judgment:  Mowrer v. Charleston Cnty. Park & Recreation Comm'n, 361 S.C. 476, 483, 605 S.E.2d 563, 566 (Ct. App. 2004) ("The denial of summary judgment is not appealable, even after final judgment . . . ."  (citation omitted)). 

3.  As to whether the trial court erred by failing to charge the jury on the statute of limitations:  Fairchild v. S.C. Dep't of Transp., 385 S.C. 344, 351, 683 S.E.2d 818, 822 (Ct. App. 2009) ("To warrant reversal, the party seeking the requested jury charge must demonstrate error and prejudice." (citation omitted)); Wolfe v. Brannon, 211 S.C. 282, 286, 44 S.E.2d 833, 835 (1947) ("A payment proved to have been made by the maker of a promissory note after it has become barred by the statute of limitations is equivalent to a promise in writing by the maker to pay the debt, upon which action may be brought at any time within [three] years after such payment."); Zaks v. Elliott, 106 F.2d 425, 427 (4th Cir. 1939) ("It is established in South Carolina that partial payment on a note within the [statutory] period immediately preceding the bringing of an action therein will remove the bar of the statute." (citation omitted)).

4.  As to whether the trial court erred by denying Warren's motion to amend the pleadings:  Rule 15(a), SCRCP (providing that when more than thirty days have passed since a responsive pleading is served, "a party may amend his pleading only by leave of court or by written consent of the adverse party; and leave shall be freely given when justice so requires and does not prejudice any other party"); Hale v. Finn, 388 S.C. 79, 87-88, 694 S.E.2d 51, 56 (Ct. App. 2010) ("Courts have wide latitude in amending pleadings and, while this power should not be exercised indiscriminately or to surprise or prejudice an opposing party, the matter of allowing amendments is left to the sound discretion of the trial judge." (internal quotation marks omitted)); Collins Entm't, Inc. v. White, 363 S.C. 546, 562, 611 S.E.2d 262, 270 (Ct. App. 2005) (finding the prejudice that the civil procedure rules envision, as would warrant denial of a motion to amend the pleadings, is a lack of notice that the new issue is to be tried and a lack of opportunity to refute it).

5. As to whether the trial court erred by denying Warren's motion to subtract $28,000 from the judgment:  Wright v. Craft, 372 S.C. 1, 35, 640 S.E.2d 486, 505 (Ct. App. 2006) (providing the jury's determination of damages is entitled to substantial deference and compelling reasons must exist to justify the trial court invading the jury's province by granting a new trial to adjust damages (citation omitted)); Vinson v. Hartley, 324 S.C. 389, 403, 477 S.E.2d 715, 722 (1996) (providing a trial court's decision to uphold a jury's verdict will not be disturbed on appeal unless such decision is wholly unsupported by evidence or controlled by an error of law (citation omitted)). 

AFFIRMED.

PIEPER, KONDUROS, and GEATHERS, JJ., concur.