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2012-UP-240 - Longcreek Plantation v. Henderson

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

Longcreek Plantation Property Owners' Association, Inc., Respondent,

v.

Thomas L. Henderson and Dena C. Henderson, Appellants,

and

Fairways Development, a General Partnership, Respondent.


Appeal From Richland County
Joseph M. Strickland, Master-in-Equity


Unpublished Opinion No. 2012-UP-240
Heard December 7, 2011 – Filed April 25, 2012 


AFFIRMED


Timothy G. Quinn and Natalie J. Quinn, of Columbia, for Appellants.

Alfred Johnston Cox, Carlos W. Gibbons, Jr., and Eugene Charles Fulton, Jr., all of Columbia, for Respondents.

PER CURIAM:  This is an action involving the enforcement of restrictive covenants.  Thomas and Dena Henderson appeal the master's order granting the Longcreek Plantation Property Owners' Association's (Longcreek's) request for injunctive relief, in which the master ordered the Hendersons to withdraw from filing a plat subdividing their lot and instead file a plat showing the property as a single lot.  We affirm. 

1.  As to the Hendersons' argument the master failed to uphold the contract between the parties allowing the division of the lot, we find no reversible error.  The master ruled, "There was no meeting of the minds and, thus, no actual agreement."  The Hendersons failed to specifically challenge this ruling; thus, it is the law of the case.  See Ulmer v. Ulmer, 369 S.C. 486, 490, 632 S.E.2d 858, 861 (2006) (holding an unappealed ruling, right or wrong, is the law of the case).

2.   As to the Hendersons' argument the master erred in enforcing indefinite covenants and allowing the developer to arbitrarily decide what is not aesthetically pleasing, we find no error.  See River Hills Prop. Owners Ass'n v. Amato, 326 S.C. 255, 259, 487 S.E.2d 179, 181 (1997) (stating when a covenant provides an architectural review board with broad authority for approval of improvements, the architectural review board's discretion is constrained only by reasonableness and good faith); Sea Pines Plantation Co. v. Wells, 294 S.C. 266, 271, 363 S.E.2d 891, 894 (1987) (stating the courts will uphold an architectural review board's rejection of a homeowner's improvements based on aesthetic considerations when the board's decision is not arbitrary but bears a sufficient relation to the subdivision's general plan of development).  We hold Longcreek's denial of the Hendersons' request to subdivide bore a reasonable relation to the general plan of development.  In addition, Longcreek provided a reasonable explanation for why the Board refused to consider the Hendersons' house plans. 

3. As to the Hendersons' argument the master should have estopped the rescission of the contract, we upheld the master's ruling that there was no actual agreement, thus, there was no agreement to rescind.

4. As to the Hendersons' argument the master should have awarded them damages, we find no error.  First, we affirm the master's rulings on the above issues in favor of Longcreek.  Second, although the master noted in its order that the Hendersons had voluntarily dismissed their counterclaims against Longcreek at the conclusion of the case, the Hendersons did not argue in their Rule 59, SCRCP motion, or on appeal that they had not dismissed their counterclaims.  See Ulmer, 369 S.C. at 490, 632 S.E.2d at 861 (holding an unappealed ruling, right or wrong, is the law of the case); Revis v. Barrett, 321 S.C. 206, 210, 467 S.E.2d 460, 463 (Ct. App. 1996) (holding issue was not preserved on appeal when appellants never filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment to clarify discrepancy in an order pursuant to Rule 59, SCRCP).  The Hendersons have not established a basis for awarding damages to them. 

5.  As to the Hendersons' argument the master erred by allowing testimony regarding offers to compromise, we find no reversible error.  The Hendersons assert the statements should not be used as a factor when deciding the issue of whether they are liable for failing to mitigate their damages.  As stated above, the Hendersons are not entitled to any damages.  Accordingly, the Hendersons failed to establish any prejudice.  See Fields v. J. Haynes Waters Builders, Inc., 376 S.C. 545, 557, 658 S.E.2d 80, 86 (2008) ("[T]o warrant reversal based on the admission or exclusion of evidence, the appealing party must show both the error of the ruling and prejudice.").

AFFIRMED.

HUFF, PIEPER, and LOCKEMY, JJ., concur.