Curcio v. Caterpillar, Inc., No. 25688.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Citation585 S.E.2d 272,355 S.C. 316
Decision Date28 July 2003
Docket NumberNo. 25688.
PartiesPamela C. CURCIO, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Dennis M. Turner, Petitioner, v. CATERPILLAR, INC., a/k/a Caterpillar Tractor Company, Respondent.

355 S.C. 316
585 S.E.2d 272

Pamela C. CURCIO, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Dennis M. Turner, Petitioner,
v.
CATERPILLAR, INC., a/k/a Caterpillar Tractor Company, Respondent

No. 25688.

Supreme Court of South Carolina.

Heard February 20, 2003.

Decided July 28, 2003.

Rehearing Denied August 20, 2003.


355 S.C. 318
B. Randall Dong, of Suggs & Kelly, P.A., David G. Owen, John D. Kassel, and John S. Nichols, of Bluestein & Nichols, all of Columbia, for Petitioner

W. Frances Marion, Jr., of Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A., of Greenville, for Respondent.

Justice PLEICONES.

The circuit court set aside a jury verdict for petitioner in this products liability wrongful death action, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. Curcio v. Caterpillar, Inc., 344 S.C. 266, 543 S.E.2d 264 (Ct.App.2001). We granted certiorari, and now reverse.1

FACTS2

The deceased was killed while working on a track loader manufactured by respondent ("CAT"). Petitioner alleged two bases for her strict liability claim: (1) a design defect theory and (2) an inadequate warning theory. The jury returned a general verdict in the amount of $500,000 for petitioner on her strict liability claim.

Following the verdict, CAT moved for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict ("JNOV"). As to the design defect theory, CAT argued that the alternate design proposed by petitioner's expert would not have prevented the accident. CAT argued that it was entitled to a JNOV on the inadequate warning theory as well, contending the warning given was adequate as a matter of law. The trial judge issued an order ("JNOV order") holding that the warning was adequate as a matter of law, but finding that there was evidence to support the design defect theory. Accordingly, CAT's JNOV motion was denied.

CAT then filed a motion to reconsider the JNOV order. CAT argued that the finding in the JNOV order that the

355 S.C. 319
warning was adequate precluded petitioner's recovery on the design defect theory as a matter of law. See S.C.Code Ann. §§ 15-73-10 and -30 (1976) (adopting Restatement (Second) of Torts § 402A and incorporating comments to § 402A as the legislative intent of the Chapter); see, e.g. Allen v. Long Mfg. NC, Inc., 332 S.C. 422, 505 S.E.2d 354 (Ct.App.1998) ("If a warning is given which, if followed, makes the product safe for use, the product cannot be deemed defective or unreasonably dangerous."); Anderson v. Green Bull, Inc., 322 S.C. 268, 471 S.E.2d 708 (Ct.App.1996) ("A product bearing a warning that the product is safe for use if the user follows the warning is neither defective nor unreasonably dangerous; therefore the seller is not liable for any injuries caused by the use of the product if the user ignores the warning"). The trial court agreed, and set aside the verdict

Petitioner appealed, and the Court of Appeals held that the verdict was properly set aside on both theories. Curcio v. Caterpillar, Inc., supra.

ISSUE

Was the verdict properly set aside?

ANALYSIS

As explained below, we agree with Chief Judge Hearn's dissent and find that there was evidence to support the inadequate warning verdict. Since the jury returned a general verdict, we need...

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27 practice notes
  • Jolly v. Gen. Elec. Co., 5858
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 1, 2021
    ...has authority to decide credibility issues or to resolve conflicts in the testimony or the evidence." Curcio v. Caterpillar, Inc., 355 S.C. 316, 320, 585 S.E.2d 272, 274 (2003) (second alteration in original) (quoting Reiland v. Southland Equip. Serv., Inc., 330 S.C. 617, 634, 500 S.E.......
  • Garrison v. Target Corp., Appellate Case No. 2017-000267
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • January 15, 2020
    ...considering a JNOV, the trial judge is concerned with the existence of evidence, not its weight." Curcio v. Caterpillar, Inc. , 355 S.C. 316, 320, 585 S.E.2d 272, 274 (2003). "When considering a JNOV, ‘neither [an appellate] court, nor the trial court has authority to decide credi......
  • Crenshaw v. Erskine Coll., Appellate Case No. 2018-001926
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • September 9, 2020
    ..."[t]he jury's verdict must be upheld unless no evidence reasonably supports the jury's findings." Curcio v. Caterpillar, Inc. , 355 S.C. 316, 320, 585 S.E.2d 272, 274 (2003). See also Johnson v. Parker , 279 S.C. 132, 135, 303 S.E.2d 95, 97 (1983) ("A jury verdict should be u......
  • Burns v. Universal Health Services, Inc., No. 3869.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 27, 2004
    ...In deciding a motion for JNOV, the trial judge is concerned with the existence of evidence, not its weight. Curcio v. Caterpillar, Inc., 355 S.C. 316, 585 S.E.2d 272 (2003). When considering a JNOV motion, neither an appellate court, nor the trial court has authority to decide credibility i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
27 cases
  • Jolly v. Gen. Elec. Co., 5858
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 1, 2021
    ...has authority to decide credibility issues or to resolve conflicts in the testimony or the evidence." Curcio v. Caterpillar, Inc., 355 S.C. 316, 320, 585 S.E.2d 272, 274 (2003) (second alteration in original) (quoting Reiland v. Southland Equip. Serv., Inc., 330 S.C. 617, 634, 500 S.E.......
  • Garrison v. Target Corp., Appellate Case No. 2017-000267
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • January 15, 2020
    ...considering a JNOV, the trial judge is concerned with the existence of evidence, not its weight." Curcio v. Caterpillar, Inc. , 355 S.C. 316, 320, 585 S.E.2d 272, 274 (2003). "When considering a JNOV, ‘neither [an appellate] court, nor the trial court has authority to decide credi......
  • Crenshaw v. Erskine Coll., Appellate Case No. 2018-001926
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • September 9, 2020
    ..."[t]he jury's verdict must be upheld unless no evidence reasonably supports the jury's findings." Curcio v. Caterpillar, Inc. , 355 S.C. 316, 320, 585 S.E.2d 272, 274 (2003). See also Johnson v. Parker , 279 S.C. 132, 135, 303 S.E.2d 95, 97 (1983) ("A jury verdict should be u......
  • Burns v. Universal Health Services, Inc., No. 3869.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 27, 2004
    ...In deciding a motion for JNOV, the trial judge is concerned with the existence of evidence, not its weight. Curcio v. Caterpillar, Inc., 355 S.C. 316, 585 S.E.2d 272 (2003). When considering a JNOV motion, neither an appellate court, nor the trial court has authority to decide credibility i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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