Equivest Fin., LLC v. Ravenel, Appellate Case No. 2015-002257

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtKONDUROS, J.
Citation422 S.C. 499,812 S.E.2d 438
Parties EQUIVEST FINANCIAL, LLC, Respondent, v. Mary B. RAVENEL and AAA Plumbing, Inc., Defendants, Of Whom Mary B. Ravenel is the Appellant.
Docket NumberAppellate Case No. 2015-002257,Opinion No. Op. 5536
Decision Date14 February 2018

422 S.C. 499
812 S.E.2d 438

EQUIVEST FINANCIAL, LLC, Respondent,
v.
Mary B. RAVENEL and AAA Plumbing, Inc., Defendants,

Of Whom Mary B. Ravenel is the Appellant.

Appellate Case No. 2015-002257
Opinion No.
Op. 5536

Court of Appeals of South Carolina.

Heard October 10, 2017
Filed February 14, 2018
Rehearing Denied April 26, 2018


Bruce Alan Berlinsky, of Charleston, for Appellant.

Steven R. Anderson, of Law Office of Steven R. Anderson, and James B. Richardson, Jr., both of Columbia, for Respondent.

KONDUROS, J.:

422 S.C. 502

In this action to quiet title to a property sold at a tax sale, Mary Ravenel appeals the trial court's finding the tax sale of

422 S.C. 503

her property valid. Ravenel contends (1) the trial court erred in failing to take testimony; (2) the tax sale was void because the property was not levied, advertised, and sold in the name of the true owner; (3) judicial estoppel does not apply because Ravenel was not a party to the previous action; and (4) the delinquent tax collector did not comply with statutory requirements in sending notice to Ravenel. We affirm as modified.

FACTS/PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The subject real property is a home and land originally purchased by Ravenel on October 22, 2001. While Ravenel purchased five lots in total, only the lot on which she built her home was sold at the tax sale and is the subject of this appeal. Ravenel conveyed all five lots to her daughter and son, Lashanda Ravenel and Henry Lee Ravenel II, (collectively, Children) via a deed dated November 6, 2007, for the stated consideration of "$5, love and affection." On November 7, 2007, Ravenel filed for bankruptcy and did not indicate the recent conveyance on her sworn schedules.

Ravenel recorded the deed but never delivered the deed to Children, nor told them about the conveyance. Subsequently, the property taxes on the home became delinquent for the year 2007. The Charleston County Delinquent Tax Collector (DTC) first sent an execution notice to Children by regular mail, dated April 7, 2008, at the address given on the deed conveying the property to Children. This notice informed Children if the amount due was not paid, an official notice of levy would be mailed to them, the property would be advertised in the Charleston Post & Courier, a sign would be placed on the property announcing it would be sold due to nonpayment of taxes, and finally, the property would be sold.

When the 2007 taxes remained unpaid, the DTC levied upon the property by way of a levy notice sent by certified mail to Children's address dated May 22, 2008. This notice was returned unclaimed to the DTC on May 24, marked "Return to Sender, Unable to Forward." A sign was placed on the property on August 1, 2008, announcing the property was to be sold due to the nonpayment of taxes. The property was advertised in the local newspaper on August 15, 22, and 29, 2008. The DTC then sent the Final Notice of Property Redemption, also by certified mail, one to each of Children and one to them

422 S.C. 504

jointly, all of which were returned marked "Return to Sender/Unable to Forward" on October 26, 2009. The DTC then sent a courtesy copy of this notice by regular mail. After receiving the courtesy redemption letter, which was addressed to Children, Ravenel called the DTC to try and redeem the property. DTC informed Ravenel that in order to save the property, she would have to pay the redemption amount of $27,849.06, which she did not pay.

When the taxes remained unpaid, the property was sold at the tax sale on November 3, 2008, to Equifunding. Notices of redemption were sent to Children but were returned to the DTC unclaimed. These notices were addressed to Children at the address given in the deed conveying the property to them. This address was the same post office box shown as the address on the deed conveying the property to Ravenel. This post office box belonged to Ravenel's mother, who would collect the mail and bring it to her daughter. Because the property was not redeemed, a tax deed was delivered to Equifunding. Equifunding thereby conveyed the subject real property to Equivest Financial, LLC in a deed recorded on October 4, 2010.

In 2010, Children brought an action to quiet title to set aside the tax deed. In her testimony, Ravenel provided the reason for

812 S.E.2d 441

the transfer of the property to Children was to protect the assets from her creditors. The Master-in-Equity found the tax sale was valid and Ravenel had not delivered the deed to Children. The master found Ravenel's conveyance to Children was in violation of the Statute of Elizabeth, as she intended to defraud her creditors, and thus found the deed to the children was void and of no effect. Children appealed to this court, which affirmed the decision of the master on the grounds that Ravenel had not delivered the deed to Children. Equivest Fin., LLC v. Scarborough , 2013 WL 8541673, Op. No. 2013-UP-495 (S.C. Ct. App. filed Dec. 23, 2013).

Thereafter, Equivest commenced the present action to quiet title as to Ravenel because she was not a party to the first action. The trial court held Ravenel was judicially estopped from claiming she did not receive notice of the tax sale, as she was the one who attempted to fraudulently convey the property. The court further held the two-year statute of limitations

422 S.C. 505

applied, making the tax sale incontestable. This appeal followed.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

"An action to remove a cloud on and quiet title to land is one in equity." Johnson v. Arbabi , 355 S.C. 64, 69, 584 S.E.2d 113, 115 (2003) (quoting Bryan v. Freeman , 253 S.C. 50, 52, 168 S.E.2d 793 (1969) ). "In an action at equity, tried by a judge alone, an appellate court may find facts in accordance with its own view of the preponderance of the evidence." Inlet Harbour v. S.C. Dep't of Parks, Rec. & Tourism , 377 S.C. 86, 91, 659 S.E.2d 151, 154 (2008).

LAW/ANALYSIS

I. Testimony

Ravenel maintains the trial court erred by failing to take testimony. She contends genuine issues of material fact needed to be addressed. Specifically, Ravenel contends the issue of fact regarding whether the DTC sent her the required notices under section 12-51-40 of the South Carolina Code (2014) should have been addressed and because it was not, her...

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8 practice notes
  • State v. Heyward, Appellate Case No. 2015-000709
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 14 Febrero 2018
    ...and (3) the court erroneously allowed testimony focusing on Chambers' death when the jury did not convict Heyward of Chambers' murder.812 S.E.2d 438 We find these arguments are not preserved for our review. Heyward did not object to the court conducting sentencing at a late hour as a violat......
  • Oldcastle APG South, Inc. v. Albert, 2021-UP-006
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 13 Enero 2021
    ...basis to affirm the circuit court's order, we note Albert failed to cite any authority in his brief. See Equivest Fin., LLC v. Ravenel, 422 S.C. 499, 505, 812 S.E.2d 438, 441 (Ct. App. 2018) ("[A]n issue is deemed abandoned and will not be considered on appeal if the argument is raised in a......
  • Oldcastle APG S., Inc. v. Albert, Appellate Case No. 2017-002183
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 13 Enero 2021
    ...basis to affirm the circuit court's order, we note Albert failed to cite any authority in his brief. See Equivest Fin., LLC v. Ravenel, 422 S.C. 499, 505, 812 S.E.2d 438, 441 (Ct. App. 2018) ("[A]n issue is deemed abandoned and will not be considered on appeal if the argument is raised in a......
  • Scott v. Ford, 2019-UP-163
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 8 Mayo 2019
    ...Head, pro se. PER CURIAM: Affirmed pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities: Equivest Financial, LLC v. Ravenel, 422 S.C. 499, 506, 812 S.E.2d 438, 441 (Ct. App. 2018) ("When a party provides no legal authority regarding a particular argument, the argument is abandoned ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • State v. Heyward, Appellate Case No. 2015-000709
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 14 Febrero 2018
    ...and (3) the court erroneously allowed testimony focusing on Chambers' death when the jury did not convict Heyward of Chambers' murder.812 S.E.2d 438 We find these arguments are not preserved for our review. Heyward did not object to the court conducting sentencing at a late hour as a violat......
  • Oldcastle APG South, Inc. v. Albert, 2021-UP-006
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 13 Enero 2021
    ...basis to affirm the circuit court's order, we note Albert failed to cite any authority in his brief. See Equivest Fin., LLC v. Ravenel, 422 S.C. 499, 505, 812 S.E.2d 438, 441 (Ct. App. 2018) ("[A]n issue is deemed abandoned and will not be considered on appeal if the argument is raised in a......
  • Oldcastle APG S., Inc. v. Albert, Appellate Case No. 2017-002183
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 13 Enero 2021
    ...basis to affirm the circuit court's order, we note Albert failed to cite any authority in his brief. See Equivest Fin., LLC v. Ravenel, 422 S.C. 499, 505, 812 S.E.2d 438, 441 (Ct. App. 2018) ("[A]n issue is deemed abandoned and will not be considered on appeal if the argument is raised in a......
  • Scott v. Ford, 2019-UP-163
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 8 Mayo 2019
    ...Head, pro se. PER CURIAM: Affirmed pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities: Equivest Financial, LLC v. Ravenel, 422 S.C. 499, 506, 812 S.E.2d 438, 441 (Ct. App. 2018) ("When a party provides no legal authority regarding a particular argument, the argument is abandoned ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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