Barnette v. Adams Bros. Logging, Inc., No. 25711.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Citation355 S.C. 588,586 S.E.2d 572
Decision Date02 September 2003
Docket NumberNo. 25711.
PartiesVoncorie Jermal BARNETTE and Marlos Dupree Barnette, minors under the age of eighteen years, by Willie M. Barnette and Evelyn G. Barnette, their Parents and General Guardians, Appellants, v. ADAMS BROTHERS LOGGING, INC. and Dan Frederick Little, Respondents. Evelyn G. Barnette, Appellant, v. Adams Brothers Logging, Inc. and Dan Frederick Little, Respondents. Willie M. Barnette, Appellant, v. Adams Brothers Logging, Inc. and Dan Frederick Little, Respondents.

355 S.C. 588
586 S.E.2d 572

Voncorie Jermal BARNETTE and Marlos Dupree Barnette, minors under the age of eighteen years, by Willie M. Barnette and Evelyn G. Barnette, their Parents and General Guardians, Appellants,
v.
ADAMS BROTHERS LOGGING, INC. and Dan Frederick Little, Respondents.
Evelyn G. Barnette, Appellant,
v.
Adams Brothers Logging, Inc. and Dan Frederick Little, Respondents.
Willie M. Barnette, Appellant,
v.
Adams Brothers Logging, Inc. and Dan Frederick Little, Respondents

No. 25711.

Supreme Court of South Carolina.

Heard May 14, 2003.

Decided September 2, 2003.

Rehearing Denied October 8, 2003.


355 S.C. 590
Mitchell K. Byrd, of Byrd and Byrd, of Rock Hill, for Appellants

Mark S. Barrow, and William R. Calhoun, Jr., of Sweeny, Wingate, and Barrow, P.A., of Columbia, for Respondents.

Justice WALLER:

This is a tort action in which the circuit court dismissed the appellants' (the Barnettes/plaintiffs) complaints for failing to comply with pre-trial discovery. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

FACTS

This case involves an auto accident between the Barnettes' 1991 Plymouth van and a logging truck owned by respondent, Adams Brothers Logging, Inc. Sixteen-year old Voncorie Barnette was driving the Plymouth van; his eight-year old brother Marlos and his mother Evelyn were passengers. The van was stopped at a red light in Rock Hill. A logging truck driven by Adams Brothers employee, Dan Little, was stopped directly

355 S.C. 591
behind the Barnette vehicle. The light turned green and Voncorie began to proceed through the intersection; however, he decelerated believing another vehicle was about to enter the intersection. The logging truck driven by Little collided with the Barnette vehicle, having proceeded into the intersection approximately one car length. The Barnettes were transported to the hospital by ambulance where they were treated and released

Between March and May 1999, lawsuits were filed on behalf of Voncorie, Marlos, and Evelyn Barnette, seeking recovery for personal injuries, and a loss of consortium was filed on behalf of Evelyn's husband, Willie Barnette.

Approximately one and one-half years later, in January 2001, the chief administrative judge orally established a date of April 1, 2001, as the close of discovery. In May 2001, the court found that the plaintiffs had failed to timely name five expert witnesses; accordingly, it ruled they would not be allowed to testify. Simultaneously, the court ruled Evelyn Barnette would be required to produce Social Security records, and ordered the parties to provide pre-trial briefs to Judge Short by June 13, 2001.

On July 13, 2001, the circuit court issued an order dismissing all of the Barnettes' complaints. The order states, "Plaintiff's machinations and invidious manipulations of the discovery process had, by the time the undersigned became administrative judge for the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit, created an extremely hostile environment, consumed an inordinate amount of the Court's time to the detriment of other litigants in York County, and made what should have been a simple wreck case into an administrative nightmare." It held the actions of the Barnettes' attorney "manifest a persistent pattern of failing without justification to present his clients for deposition."1 The court found counsel's direct defiance of its orders and failure to cooperate in discovery, justified dismissal of plaintiffs' claims.

355 S.C. 592
ISSUES
1. Did the trial court err in excluding the testimony of plaintiffs' experts?
2. Did the trial court err in dismissing all three cases?

1. EXCLUSION OF EXPERTS

The Barnettes contend the trial court erred in excluding the testimony of their five expert witnesses, whom they named in late March 2001. We agree.

In determining the appropriate sanction for late disclosure of an expert witness, this Court has stated, "it lies within the discretion of the trial judge to decide what sanction, if any, should be imposed. The rule is designed to promote decisions on the merits after a full and fair hearing, and the sanction of exclusion of a witness should never be lightly invoked." Jackson v. H & S Oil Co., Inc., 263 S.C. 407, 411, 211 S.E.2d 223, 225 (1975) (quoting Carver v. Salt River Valley Water Users' Ass'n., 8 Ariz.App. 386, 446 P.2d 492, 496 (1968)). In Orlando v. Boyd, 320 S.C. 509, 466 S.E.2d 353 (1996), we addressed the trial court's exclusion of the plaintiff's expert witness for failing to abide by a pre-trial scheduling date for taking depositions, stating, "[w]hatever sanction is imposed should serve to protect the rights of discovery provided by the rules. A sanction of dismissal is too severe if there is no evidence of any intentional misconduct." 320 S.C. at 511-512, 466 S.E.2d at 355.

In Jumper v. Hawkins, 348 S.C. 142, 558 S.E.2d 911...

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33 practice notes
  • Skywaves I Corp. v. Branch Banking & Trust Co., Appellate Case No. 2015-001809
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 2, 2018
    ...South Carolina courts have been more open to striking the answer of a defendant in recent years. See Barnette v. Adams Bros. Logging , 355 S.C. 588, 595, 586 S.E.2d 572, 576 (2003) (holding the circuit court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing one of the plaintiff's actions "[g]......
  • Arthur v. Sexton Dental Clinic, No. 4103.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 10, 2006
    ...order. Instead, the judge made the appropriate inquiry and considered the requisite factors. Cf. Barnette v. Adams Bros. Logging, Inc., 355 S.C. 588, 593, 586 S.E.2d 572, 575 (2003) (reversing decision of trial court to exclude plaintiffs' witnesses where "the trial court made no speci......
  • Jenkins v. Few, No. 4763.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • February 28, 2011
    ...142, 558 S.E.2d 911 (Ct.App.2001); see, e.g., Callen v. Callen, 365 S.C. 618, 620 S.E.2d 59 (2005); Barnette v. Adams Bros. Logging, Inc., 355 S.C. 588, 586 S.E.2d 572 (2003); Bryson v. Bryson, 378 S.C. 502, 662 S.E.2d 611 (Ct.App.2008); Arthur v. Sexton Dental Clinic, 368 S.C. 326, 628 S.E......
  • Jenkins v. Few, Opinion No.  4763
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 8, 2010
    ...558 S.E.2d 911 (Ct. App. 2001); see, e.g., Callen v. Callen, 365 S.C. 618, 620 S.E.2d 59 (2005); Barnette v. Adams Bros. Logging, Inc., 355 S.C. 588, 586 S.E.2d 572 (2003); Bryson v. Bryson, 378 S.C. 502, 662 S.E.2d 611 (Ct. App. 2008); Arthur v. Sexton Dental Clinic, 368 S.C. 326, 628 S.E.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
33 cases
  • Skywaves I Corp. v. Branch Banking & Trust Co., Appellate Case No. 2015-001809
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 2, 2018
    ...South Carolina courts have been more open to striking the answer of a defendant in recent years. See Barnette v. Adams Bros. Logging , 355 S.C. 588, 595, 586 S.E.2d 572, 576 (2003) (holding the circuit court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing one of the plaintiff's actions "[g]......
  • Arthur v. Sexton Dental Clinic, No. 4103.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 10, 2006
    ...order. Instead, the judge made the appropriate inquiry and considered the requisite factors. Cf. Barnette v. Adams Bros. Logging, Inc., 355 S.C. 588, 593, 586 S.E.2d 572, 575 (2003) (reversing decision of trial court to exclude plaintiffs' witnesses where "the trial court made no speci......
  • Jenkins v. Few, No. 4763.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • February 28, 2011
    ...142, 558 S.E.2d 911 (Ct.App.2001); see, e.g., Callen v. Callen, 365 S.C. 618, 620 S.E.2d 59 (2005); Barnette v. Adams Bros. Logging, Inc., 355 S.C. 588, 586 S.E.2d 572 (2003); Bryson v. Bryson, 378 S.C. 502, 662 S.E.2d 611 (Ct.App.2008); Arthur v. Sexton Dental Clinic, 368 S.C. 326, 628 S.E......
  • Jenkins v. Few, Opinion No.  4763
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 8, 2010
    ...558 S.E.2d 911 (Ct. App. 2001); see, e.g., Callen v. Callen, 365 S.C. 618, 620 S.E.2d 59 (2005); Barnette v. Adams Bros. Logging, Inc., 355 S.C. 588, 586 S.E.2d 572 (2003); Bryson v. Bryson, 378 S.C. 502, 662 S.E.2d 611 (Ct. App. 2008); Arthur v. Sexton Dental Clinic, 368 S.C. 326, 628 S.E.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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