Downey v. Dixon, No. 1041

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtSANDERS
Citation362 S.E.2d 317,294 S.C. 42
PartiesVerneva W. DOWNEY, Appellant, v. William M. DIXON and Lonnie M. Starnes, Respondents. . Heard
Decision Date13 October 1987
Docket NumberNo. 1041

Page 317

362 S.E.2d 317
294 S.C. 42
Verneva W. DOWNEY, Appellant,
v.
William M. DIXON and Lonnie M. Starnes, Respondents.
No. 1041.
Court of Appeals of South Carolina.
Heard Oct. 13, 1987.
Decided Nov. 9, 1987.

[294 S.C. 43] Donald M. Holler, Moncks Corner, for appellant.

Aubrey R. Alvey, Charleston, for respondents.

SANDERS, Chief Judge.

The single issue presented by this appeal is whether the Circuit Court erred in ruling on the motion of appellant Verneva W. Downey that sanctions be imposed against respondent William M. Dixon for his failure to answer interrogatories or attend his deposition as required by the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, effective July 1, 1985. We reverse and remand the case for a new trial.

Ms. Downey sued Mr. Dixon and respondent Lonnie M. Starnes, alleging that Mr. Dixon had caused a motor vehicle accident in which she had been seriously injured. (Her claim against Mr. Starnes was based on the allegation that Mr. Dixon had been acting as his "employee, agent and/or servant.") Ms. Downey prayed for a judgment in the amount of $250,000 actual damages, as well as punitive damages in an unspecified amount.

[294 S.C. 44] Mr. Dixon and Mr. Starnes answered, alleging that the accident had been caused by the acts of Ms. Downey, asserting the defense of contributory negligence based on her acts, but not alleging any specific acts of Ms. Downey as having caused the accident or having contributed to its cause.

Ms. Downey served interrogatories on counsel for Mr. Dixon and Mr. Starnes asking that they state what acts of hers they were relying on to support the allegations contained in their answer. Mr. Dixon and Mr. Starnes did not respond to her interrogatories.

Page 318

Ms. Downey then served notice on counsel for Mr. Dixon and Mr. Starnes of the taking of the deposition of Mr. Dixon. Mr. Dixon failed to attend the deposition, and Ms. Downey moved for an order striking his answer or, in the alternative, for an order refusing to allow him to testify at the trial of the case. 1

Counsel for Mr. Dixon and Mr. Starnes did not offer any excuse for their failure to respond to the interrogatories of Ms. Downey or for the failure of Mr. Dixon to attend the deposition except to say that he had "never been able to get with the respondent, William M. Dixon."

The Circuit Court did not impose either of the sanctions sought by Ms. Downey but instead fined Mr. Dixon $50. The [294 S.C. 45] case thereafter proceeded to trial, which resulted in a jury verdict being returned for Mr. Dixon and Mr. Starnes and judgment being entered based on the verdict.

Ms. Downey contends that the Circuit Court erred in not imposing the sanctions which she sought.

The imposition of sanctions is generally entrusted to the sound discretion of the Circuit Court. Cf. Moran v. Jones, 281 S.C. 270, 276, 315 S.E.2d 136, 139 (Ct.App.1984) (addressing a prior Rule: "[T]he question of what sanctions, if any, are to be imposed for failure to comply with [the Rule requiring answers to certain standard interrogatories] is left largely to the discretion of the trial judge."). Nevertheless, whatever sanction is imposed should serve to protect the rights of discovery provided by the Rules. See...

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25 practice notes
  • Jamison v. Ford Motor Co., No. 4220.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 19 Marzo 2007
    ...to the sound discretion of the trial court. Halverson v. Yawn, 328 S.C. 618, 620-21, 493 S.E.2d 883, 884 (Ct.App. 1997); Downey v. Dixon, 294 S.C. 42, 46, 362 S.E.2d 317, 318 (Ct.App.1987). The circuit court's decision regarding the imposition of discovery sanctions will not be reversed abs......
  • Fields v. REGIONAL MED. CENTER ORANGEBURG, No. 3623.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 14 Abril 2003
    ...court. Griffin Grading & Clearing v. Tire Serv. Equip. Mfg. Co., 334 S.C. 193, 198, 511 S.E.2d 716, 718 (Ct.App.1999); Downey v. Dixon, 294 S.C. 42, 45, 362 S.E.2d 317, 318 (Ct.App.1987); McGaha v. Mosley, 283 S.C. 268, 277, 322 S.E.2d 461, 466 (Ct.App.1984). In deciding what sanction to 35......
  • Skywaves I Corp. v. Branch Banking & Trust Co., Appellate Case No. 2015-001809
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 2 Mayo 2018
    ...[c]ircuit [c]ourt." Karppi v. Greenville Terrazzo Co. , 327 S.C. 538, 542, 489 S.E.2d 679, 681 (Ct. App. 1997) (quoting Downey v. Dixon , 294 S.C. 42, 45, 362 S.E.2d 317, 318 (Ct. App. 1987) ). "A [circuit] court's exercise of its discretionary powers with respect to sanctions imposed in di......
  • Davis v. Parkview Apartments, Carolina Ltd., No. 27429.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 11 Septiembre 2014
    ...properly awarded.15 “The imposition of sanctions is generally entrusted to the sound discretion of the Circuit Court.” Downey v. Dixon, 294 S.C. 42, 45, 362 S.E.2d 317, 318 (Ct.App.1987). Therefore, an appellate court will not interfere with “a trial court's exercise of its discretionary po......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
25 cases
  • Jamison v. Ford Motor Co., No. 4220.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 19 Marzo 2007
    ...to the sound discretion of the trial court. Halverson v. Yawn, 328 S.C. 618, 620-21, 493 S.E.2d 883, 884 (Ct.App. 1997); Downey v. Dixon, 294 S.C. 42, 46, 362 S.E.2d 317, 318 (Ct.App.1987). The circuit court's decision regarding the imposition of discovery sanctions will not be reversed abs......
  • Fields v. REGIONAL MED. CENTER ORANGEBURG, No. 3623.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 14 Abril 2003
    ...court. Griffin Grading & Clearing v. Tire Serv. Equip. Mfg. Co., 334 S.C. 193, 198, 511 S.E.2d 716, 718 (Ct.App.1999); Downey v. Dixon, 294 S.C. 42, 45, 362 S.E.2d 317, 318 (Ct.App.1987); McGaha v. Mosley, 283 S.C. 268, 277, 322 S.E.2d 461, 466 (Ct.App.1984). In deciding what sanction to 35......
  • Skywaves I Corp. v. Branch Banking & Trust Co., Appellate Case No. 2015-001809
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 2 Mayo 2018
    ...[c]ircuit [c]ourt." Karppi v. Greenville Terrazzo Co. , 327 S.C. 538, 542, 489 S.E.2d 679, 681 (Ct. App. 1997) (quoting Downey v. Dixon , 294 S.C. 42, 45, 362 S.E.2d 317, 318 (Ct. App. 1987) ). "A [circuit] court's exercise of its discretionary powers with respect to sanctions imposed in di......
  • Davis v. Parkview Apartments, Carolina Ltd., No. 27429.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 11 Septiembre 2014
    ...properly awarded.15 “The imposition of sanctions is generally entrusted to the sound discretion of the Circuit Court.” Downey v. Dixon, 294 S.C. 42, 45, 362 S.E.2d 317, 318 (Ct.App.1987). Therefore, an appellate court will not interfere with “a trial court's exercise of its discretionary po......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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