Duane v. Presley Const. Co., Inc., No. 20679

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtNESS; LEWIS
Citation270 S.C. 682,244 S.E.2d 509
PartiesJohn P. DUANE, Respondent, v. PRESLEY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC., Appellant, and W. H. Burkhalter, Ira J. Beaufort, and Edward W. King, d/b/a Riverside Builders, and Berry Construction Company, Respondents.
Docket NumberNo. 20679
Decision Date09 May 1978

Page 509

244 S.E.2d 509
270 S.C. 682
John P. DUANE, Respondent,
v.
PRESLEY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC., Appellant,
and
W. H. Burkhalter, Ira J. Beaufort, and Edward W. King, d/b/a
Riverside Builders, and Berry Construction
Company, Respondents.
No. 20679.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
May 9, 1978.

R. Davis Howser, of Richardson, Plowden, Grier & Howser, Columbia, for appellant.

George B. Snelling, Jr., of Augusta, Ga., for respondent Duane.

William H. Burkhalter, Jr., of Garvin, Grant, Fox, Nuessle, Zier & Burkhalter, North Augusta, for respondent W. H. Burkhalter, Ira J. Beaufort, and Edward W. King, d/b/a Riverside Builders.

[270 S.C. 683] Julian B. Salley, Jr., of Henderson, Salley, Lynn & Farmer, Aiken, for respondents W. H. Burkhalter, et al.

Kenneth R. Chance, of Harris, Chance & McCracken, Augusta, Ga., for respondent Berry Construction Co.

NESS, Justice.

This appeal is from an order granting summary judgment to respondent Riverside Builders. We reverse.

John P. Duane brought suit against Riverside Builders, seeking $20,000.00 damages for alleged water concentration and silting upon his property caused by Riverside's development of the adjacent Brookgreen Subdivision. Appellant Presley Construction Company, Inc., an independent contractor who had cleared and improved the land, was joined in the suit as an additional defendant.

Riverside moved for summary judgment upon the ground that if the clearing of the land in Brookgreen Subdivision resulted in any damage to the adjoining property, the independent contractor was responsible.

Appellant Presley asserts the trial court erred in granting Riverside's motion as a genuine issue of material fact existed whether Riverside, as a developer, was liable for any resulting damages to an adjoining landowner. We agree.

The trial court focused on the manner of making the improvements and concluded

Page 510

that if they were negligently made, the independent contractor rather than the developer-owner was liable. This leaves unresolved the question of whether Riverside was negligent in ordering the improvements.

Generally, an employer is not liable for the torts of an independent contractor committed in the performance of contracted work. Conlin v. City Council of Charleston, 15 Rich. 201 (1868); 41 Am.Jur.2d, Independent[270 S.C. 684] Contractors, § 24, p. 774. The owner is responsible, however, if the injury is caused by his own negligence in failing to take preventive measures....

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8 practice notes
  • FULTON BY FULTON v. Westvaco Corp., Civil Action No. 2:94-0975-18 to 2:94-0977-18.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • March 27, 1995
    ...Under South Carolina law, an employer is not liable for the torts of an independent contractor. Duane v. Presley Construction Company, 270 S.C. 682, 244 S.E.2d 509, 510 (1978). An independent contractor is one who "contracts to do a piece of work according to his own methods, without being ......
  • State ex rel. McLeod v. C & L Corp., Inc., No. 0099
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • February 24, 1984
    ...very least, a dispute as to a material issue of fact existed, making summary judgment improper. Duane v. Presley Construction Co., Inc., 270 S.C. 682, 244 S.E.2d 509 (1978). Accordingly, the Attorney General was entitled to go to trial on the issue of whether Funderburk and W.L. Cooper were......
  • McCain Mfg. Corp. v. Rockwell Intern. Corp., Civ. A. No. 80-1266-1.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • December 14, 1981
    ...to McCain, because a principal is not responsible for the negligence of an independent contractor. See Duane v. Pressley Construction Co., 270 S.C. 682, 244 S.E.2d 509 This case is similar to the case of McClish v. Niagara Machine & Tool Works, 266 F.Supp. 987 (S.D.Ind.1967). The plaintiff,......
  • Workman v. National Supaflu Systems, Inc., Civ. A. No. 4:86-2857-15.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • May 27, 1987
    ...is contractor and independent contractor, then only Carolina would be liable for its separate torts. Duane v. Presley Const. Co., Inc., 244 S.E.2d 509, 270 S.C. 682 (1978). In either case, it is clear Carolina may be liable under state law and hence is not a nominal party. In view of the ab......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • FULTON BY FULTON v. Westvaco Corp., Civil Action No. 2:94-0975-18 to 2:94-0977-18.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • March 27, 1995
    ...Under South Carolina law, an employer is not liable for the torts of an independent contractor. Duane v. Presley Construction Company, 270 S.C. 682, 244 S.E.2d 509, 510 (1978). An independent contractor is one who "contracts to do a piece of work according to his own methods, without being ......
  • State ex rel. McLeod v. C & L Corp., Inc., No. 0099
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • February 24, 1984
    ...very least, a dispute as to a material issue of fact existed, making summary judgment improper. Duane v. Presley Construction Co., Inc., 270 S.C. 682, 244 S.E.2d 509 (1978). Accordingly, the Attorney General was entitled to go to trial on the issue of whether Funderburk and W.L. Cooper were......
  • McCain Mfg. Corp. v. Rockwell Intern. Corp., Civ. A. No. 80-1266-1.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • December 14, 1981
    ...to McCain, because a principal is not responsible for the negligence of an independent contractor. See Duane v. Pressley Construction Co., 270 S.C. 682, 244 S.E.2d 509 This case is similar to the case of McClish v. Niagara Machine & Tool Works, 266 F.Supp. 987 (S.D.Ind.1967). The plaintiff,......
  • Workman v. National Supaflu Systems, Inc., Civ. A. No. 4:86-2857-15.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • May 27, 1987
    ...is contractor and independent contractor, then only Carolina would be liable for its separate torts. Duane v. Presley Const. Co., Inc., 244 S.E.2d 509, 270 S.C. 682 (1978). In either case, it is clear Carolina may be liable under state law and hence is not a nominal party. In view of the ab......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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