Chaney v. Burgess, 18380

Citation246 S.C. 261,143 S.E.2d 521
Decision Date19 July 1965
Docket NumberNo. 18380,18380
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
PartiesGrover T. CHANEY, Appellant, v. William F. BURGESS, Respondent.

Henry Hammer, Isadore S. Bernstein, Columbia, Toole & Toole, Aiken, for appellant.

Henry Busbee, Aiken, Allgood & Childs, Augusta, Ga., for respondent.

LEWIS, Justice.

This is an appeal by the plaintiff from a judgment of nonsuit.

On Sunday afternoon, December 22, 1962, the defendant's boat trailer, upon which his boat was fastened, became stuck in the mud adjacent to a concrete boat ramp at Mills Creek Landing on the Santee Cooper lake in Orangeburg County. He could not pull the trailer from the mud with his automobile and secured the gratuitous assistance of the plaintiff who had a tractor at his cabin nearby. In response to the defendant's request for assistance, the plaintiff drove his tractor to the scene and carried with him a rather large twenty foot log chain to use in pulling. Upon the arrival of the plaintiff with his tractor, the defendant's automobile was still attached to the trailer. On the first of three attempts to pull the boat and trailer from the mud, the plaintiff and the defendant fastened one end of the chain to the front of defendant's automobile and the other to the tractor. This attempt to pull the boat and trailer from the mud failed.

The second attempt was made by detaching the automobile and connecting the tractor directly to the trailer by means of the chain. They were fastened together by the plaintiff and the defendant by tying the center of the chain around the tongue of the trailer and the ends of the chain to the tractor. In securing the ends of the chain, one end was fastened to a bar on the lower part of the tractor and the other to an upper bar apparently located just behind the driver. In fastening the vehicles together, the upper portion of the chain was left with a slack to lift the tongue of the trailer when the pull started. It is inferable that the ends of the chain were thus fastened so that the force of the pull was exerted on the portion of the chain connected to the lower bar. When this method was tried, the wheels of the tractor spun on the wet dirt and the second attempt to move the boat and trailer failed.

On the third and last attempt the plaintiff received the injuries for which recovery is now sought. The trailer was sitting immediately adjacent to a concrete boat ramp which was constructed so that it was inclined toward the water. In order to get more traction for the third attempt, the ends of the chain were unfastened and the tractor moved onto the ramp. When the tractor was thus positioned, the plaintiff got off to help refasten the ends of the chain. As he did so, the tractor started to roll backwards and he remounted to secure the brakes. While plaintiff was holding the brakes to insure that the tractor would not roll backwards, the defendant undertook to tie the chains to the tractor as they had been fastened on the second attempt to pull the trailer, that is, one end to the lower bar and the other to the upper bar. When the defendant finished, he stepped back and directed the plaintiff 'to go ahead.' Whereupon the plaintiff eased the tractor forward and tightened the chain. It appeared that the chain was holding, so plaintiff accelerated the motor. When he did, the bottom end of the chain came loose and the tractor suddenly ran out about three feet, causing the entire pull to be placed on the top chain or upper portion of the tractor. This caused the tractor to tilt backwards and throw the plaintiff to the ground, from which he received rather serious personal injury.

This action was subsequently instituted by the plaintiff against the defendant to recover for the personal injuries so sustained. The action was based upon the alleged negligence of the defendant in failing to properly fasten the chain to the tractor, resulting in the plaintiff being thrown to the ground when the insecurely fastened chain slipped and caused the tractor to tilt backwords. The answer of the defendant interposed a general denial and the pleas of contributory negligence and unavoidable accident.

The lower court granted a nonsuit at the conclusion of plaintiff's testimony upon the ground that there was no showing of actionable negligence on the part of the defendant. Our inquiry then is whether there was any evidence, direct or circumstantial, from which a reasonable inference could be drawn that the defendant failed to exercise due care in the performance of any duty owed to the plaintiff.

It is elementary that on a motion for a nonsuit the evidence and all reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom are to be considered in the light most ...

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34 cases
  • Jolly v. Gen. Elec. Co.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 1, 2021
    ...inferences to be drawn from the evidence are in doubt, the case should be submitted to the jury." Id. (quoting Chaney v. Burgess , 246 S.C. 261, 266, 143 S.E.2d 521, 523 (1965) )."In considering a JNOV, the [circuit court] is concerned with the existence of evidence, not its weight," and "n......
  • Garrison v. Target Corp.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • January 15, 2020
    ...inferences to be drawn from the evidence are in doubt, the case should be submitted to the jury." Id. (quoting Chaney v. Burgess , 246 S.C. 261, 266, 143 S.E.2d 521, 523 (1965) )."In considering a JNOV, the trial judge is concerned with the existence of evidence, not its weight." Curcio v. ......
  • Jolly v. Gen. Elec. Co.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 1, 2021
    ...... submitted to the jury." Id. (quoting Chaney. v. Burgess , 246 S.C. 261, 266, 143 S.E.2d 521, 523. (1965)). . . ......
  • Sides v. St. Anthony's Medical Center, SC 88948.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • August 5, 2008
    ...courts have expressly ruled ... that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur does not apply in a malpractice suit."), Chaney v. Burgess, 246 S.C. 261, 143 S.E.2d 521, 523 (1965) ("the so-called doctrine of res ipsa loquitur does not apply in this In the remaining ten states (Delaware, Hawaii, Kan......
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