Brown v. Brown, No. 3827.

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtSTILWELL, J.
Citation360 S.C. 7,598 S.E.2d 728
PartiesWoodrow Wilson BROWN, Appellant, v. Joseph Wilson BROWN and Town of Harleyville, Respondents.
Decision Date21 June 2004
Docket NumberNo. 3827.

360 S.C. 7
598 S.E.2d 728

Woodrow Wilson BROWN, Appellant,
v.
Joseph Wilson BROWN and Town of Harleyville, Respondents

No. 3827.

Court of Appeals of South Carolina.

Submitted April 6, 2004.

Decided June 21, 2004.


360 S.C. 8
Helen Tyler McFadden, of Kingstree, for appellant

Christy Stephens, of Walterboro, for respondents.

STILWELL, J.:

Woodrow Brown brought this action against Joseph Wilson Brown and the Town of Harleyville alleging negligence by a

360 S.C. 9
police officer resulting in injury to Woodrow. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the town. We affirm.1

FACTS

Officer McKee of the Harleyville Police Department stopped Earl Felder's car after he noticed Felder driving in an erratic manner. Woodrow, his brother Joseph, and another young man were all traveling as passengers in the car. While speaking with Felder, the officer smelled alcohol on his breath and required him to perform several field sobriety tests. Felder performed marginally well indicating that, although he had consumed alcohol, he did not lack control of his functions, nor was he fully impaired. The men insisted they lived at an address less than one mile from the stop site and promised to go straight home. Officer McKee did not issue a citation but determined one of the passengers should drive the car.

When asked by the officer whether any of the passengers could drive, Joseph volunteered. Joseph was allowed to drive only after he satisfactorily completed the same battery of field sobriety tests given to Felder. The men assured the officer they would go straight home.

As an added precaution, Officer McKee followed the car to observe Joseph's driving. The officer testified that Joseph was not driving erratically or unsafely. He finally turned around and resumed his patrol once the car reached the town limit of Harleyville.

Rather than driving home as promised, the men waited until the patrol car was out of sight and reversed course and began driving to a party. Sometime before reaching the party, Joseph ran off the road and into a tree. Woodrow, along with other passengers, suffered minor injuries. When the highway patrol arrived they discovered Joseph was not a licensed driver. He was issued tickets for driving without a license, no insurance, driving too fast for conditions, and failing to wear a safety belt. No citation was issued for DUI.

Two years after the accident, Woodrow brought this action asserting claims for common law negligence against Joseph

360 S.C. 10
and negligence against the town for 1) failing to properly train and supervise its officers; 2) failing to properly require officers to provide for health and safety on the roadway; 3) failing to charge Felder with DUI; 4) choosing Joseph, an unlicensed driver, to operate the vehicle; and 5) violations of statutes and the common law of South Carolina. The trial court granted the town's motion for summary judgment, finding the public duty rule applied and as such Woodrow failed to establish a duty owed to him individually by Officer McKee. Additionally, the court concluded Woodrow produced no evidence of any special undertaking by the officer that would create an exception to the rule

DISCUSSION

When we review the trial court's grant of a motion for summary judgment, we apply the same standard that governs the trial courts. Summary judgment is proper when there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. On appeal, we review the evidence and all inferences reasonably drawn from it in the light most favorable to the nonmoving...

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6 practice notes
  • State v. Robinson, No. 27463.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • November 12, 2014
    ...Olson, 495 U.S. at 97 n. 6, 110 S.Ct. 1684 ; Missouri, 361 S.C. at 110, 115, 603 S.E.2d at 595, 597 ; Flowers, 360 S.C. at 6, 598 S.E.2d at 728.9 Rakas, 439 U.S. at 149, 99 S.Ct. 421 (discussing Jones v. United States, 362 U.S. 257, 80 S.Ct. 725, 4 L.Ed.2d 697 (1960), overruled on other gro......
  • Webb v. Lott, C. A. 3:19-2031-JMC-SVH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • December 16, 2020
    ...and are, therefore, not liable to individuals for damages caused by an escaped inmate under the public duty rule.”); Brown v. Brown, 598 S.E.2d 728, 731 (S.C. Ct. App. 2004) (“Woodrow's complaint also included negligence claims based on Officer McKee's decision to choose Joseph as the repla......
  • Smith v. Koon, C/A No.: 3:19-2155-JMC-SVH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • August 3, 2020
    ...have done under the circumstances of the situation," when the officer effected a roadside traffic stop on plaintiff); Brown v. Brown, 598 S.E.2d 728, 731 (S.C. Ct. App. 2004) (finding the public duty rule did not bar the plaintiff's negligence claims against police officers for decisions th......
  • Garcia v. Brown, C/A No.: 3:19-1934-JMC-SVH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • June 24, 2020
    ...the officer's decision to stop the plaintiff created a duty to the plaintiff under the common law, not a statute); Brown v. Brown, 598 S.E.2d 728, 731 (S.C. Ct. App. 2004) (finding the public duty rule did not bar the plaintiff's negligence claims against police officers forPage 24 decision......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • State v. Robinson, No. 27463.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • November 12, 2014
    ...Olson, 495 U.S. at 97 n. 6, 110 S.Ct. 1684 ; Missouri, 361 S.C. at 110, 115, 603 S.E.2d at 595, 597 ; Flowers, 360 S.C. at 6, 598 S.E.2d at 728.9 Rakas, 439 U.S. at 149, 99 S.Ct. 421 (discussing Jones v. United States, 362 U.S. 257, 80 S.Ct. 725, 4 L.Ed.2d 697 (1960), overruled on other gro......
  • Webb v. Lott, C. A. 3:19-2031-JMC-SVH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • December 16, 2020
    ...and are, therefore, not liable to individuals for damages caused by an escaped inmate under the public duty rule.”); Brown v. Brown, 598 S.E.2d 728, 731 (S.C. Ct. App. 2004) (“Woodrow's complaint also included negligence claims based on Officer McKee's decision to choose Joseph as the repla......
  • Smith v. Koon, C/A No.: 3:19-2155-JMC-SVH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • August 3, 2020
    ...have done under the circumstances of the situation," when the officer effected a roadside traffic stop on plaintiff); Brown v. Brown, 598 S.E.2d 728, 731 (S.C. Ct. App. 2004) (finding the public duty rule did not bar the plaintiff's negligence claims against police officers for decisions th......
  • Garcia v. Brown, C/A No.: 3:19-1934-JMC-SVH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • June 24, 2020
    ...the officer's decision to stop the plaintiff created a duty to the plaintiff under the common law, not a statute); Brown v. Brown, 598 S.E.2d 728, 731 (S.C. Ct. App. 2004) (finding the public duty rule did not bar the plaintiff's negligence claims against police officers forPage 24 decision......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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