Floyd v. Country Squire Mobile Homes, Inc., No. 0569

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtBELL
Citation336 S.E.2d 502,287 S.C. 51
Docket NumberNo. 0569
Decision Date23 September 1985
PartiesShirley FLOYD and Mae Floyd, Respondents, v. COUNTRY SQUIRE MOBILE HOMES, INC., Appellant. . Heard

Page 502

336 S.E.2d 502
287 S.C. 51
Shirley FLOYD and Mae Floyd, Respondents,
v.
COUNTRY SQUIRE MOBILE HOMES, INC., Appellant.
No. 0569.
Court of Appeals of South Carolina.
Heard Sept. 23, 1985.
Decided Oct. 31, 1985.

John L. Weaver of Yarborough, Lewis, Weaver & Stewart, Florence, for appellant.

T. Kenneth Summerford, Florence, for respondents.

[287 S.C. 52] BELL, Judge:

This is an action for breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act. Shirley and Mae Floyd, the plaintiffs, obtained a jury verdict for $2998.63 actual damages and $10,000 punitive damages against the defendant, Country Squire Mobile Homes, Inc. Country Squire appeals from the denial of its motions for an involuntary nonsuit and a directed verdict. It also takes exception to the trial judge's refusal to give certain requested jury charges. We affirm.

Where appeal is taken from refusal to grant a nonsuit or a directed verdict, this Court must view the evidence and all inferences to be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Kennedy v. Carter, 249 S.C. 168, 153 S.E.2d 312 (1967). If the evidence, so considered, is susceptible of more than one

Page 503

reasonable inference, then the motions for nonsuit and directed verdict are properly denied. Id.

Viewed in the light most favorable to the Floyds, the evidence in this case tends to establish the following facts.

In early July 1981 Mae Floyd, her daughter Shirley Floyd, and her daughter-in-law Mary Louise Floyd went to Country Squire to shop for a mobile home. They dealt with a salesman named James Player. The Floyds told Player they wished to purchase a mobile home, but their credit was bad because Shirley's car had been repossessed for failure to make car payments. They also explained they could not afford to pay more than $175 a month for a mobile home. Player advised the Floyds that a Brigadier mobile home selling for $18,345 would meet their needs and stated that if they paid him a good faith binder of $100 he would undertake to arrange financing for $175 a month or less. If the financing were obtained, Country Squire would retain the $100; if it were not, the $100 would be refunded. The Floyds agreed. They signed a credit application and gave Player $100.

After contacting a number of finance companies, Player arranged financing with General Electric Credit Corporation at a monthly payment of $271.02. He telephoned the [287 S.C. 53] Floyds, told them their credit had been approved, and asked them to bring him a down payment of $2998.63.

The Floyds returned to Country Squire on July 21st. Player worked up the financing figures on a yellow sheet, indicating a monthly payment of $175. He then had the Floyds sign a written sales contract and the financing documents in blank, explaining that the figures on the yellow sheet would be transferred to the contract later. He returned the $100 binder and the Floyds gave him a check for the $2998.63 down payment. Player agreed to hold the check until the mobile home had been delivered to the Floyds.

Player cashed the down payment check on July 23d. On August 15th, the Floyds received copies of the closing documents in the mail. When they saw the monthly payments were $271.02, they returned to Country Squire and demanded their money back. They left with the understanding that Player would arrange to refund their down payment. The down payment was never returned and the mobile home was never delivered. Player left the employment of Country Squire thereafter.

I.

Country Squire contends that, if it is liable to the Floyds at all, it is liable for a simple breach of contract, not breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act. Because there was insufficient evidence to establish a fraudulent act, Country Squire argues, the trial judge should have granted its motions for nonsuit and a directed verdict.

Our law has long recognized a plaintiff's right to recover punitive damages for breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act. See Welborn v. Dixon, 70 S.C. 108, 49 S.E. 232 (1904). However, mere breach of a contract, even if willful or with fraudulent purpose, is not sufficient to entitle a plaintiff to go to the jury on the issue of punitive damages. Vann v. Nationwide Ins. Co., 257 S.C. 217, 185 S.E.2d 363 (1971); Holland v. Spartanburg Herald-Journal Co., 166 S.C. 454, 165 S.E. 203 (1932). To recover punitive damages for breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act, the plaintiff must prove three...

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42 practice notes
  • Edens v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., No. 87-2677
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • December 7, 1988
    ...S.E.2d 316 (1964); Thompson v. Home Security Life Ins., 271 S.C. 54, 244 S.E.2d 533 (1978); Floyd v. Country Squire Mobile Homes, Inc., 287 S.C. 51, 336 S.E.2d 502 (Ct.App.1985); Scott v. Mid Carolina Homes, Inc., 293 S.C. 191, 359 S.E.2d 291 (Ct.App.1987); Glover v. North Carolina Mutual L......
  • Vanwyk Textile Systems v. Zimmer Mach. Amer., Inc., No. 3:95CV483-MCK.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Western District of North Carolina
    • December 4, 1997
    ...permits claims for fraud and breach of contract to be raised independently in the same action. Floyd v. Country Squire Mobile Homes, Inc., 287 S.C. 51, 336 S.E.2d 502 (App.1985)("Our law has long recognized a plaintiff's right to recover punitive damages for breach of contract accompanied b......
  • Interclaim Holdings v. Ness, Motley, Loadholt, No. 00 C 7620.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • January 8, 2004
    ...are available for a breach of contract where it is accompanied by a fraudulent act. See Floyd v. Country Squire Mobile Homes, Inc., 287 S.C. 51, 336 S.E.2d 502, 503-04 (1985); Lister v. NationsBank of Delaware, N.A., 329 S.C. 133, 494 S.E.2d 449, 454 (1997). The element of the claim that gi......
  • Curtis v. Café Enters., Inc., CIVIL ACTION NO. 5:15-CV-00032-RLV-DSC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Western District of North Carolina
    • November 21, 2016
    ...to go to the jury on the issue ofPage 20 punitive damages." Edens, 858 F.2d at 202 (citing Floyd v. Country Squire Mobile Homes, Inc., 287 S.C. 51, 53, 336 S.E.2d 502, 503 (Ct. App. 1985). "To establish a breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act and recover punitive damages, a pla......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
42 cases
  • Edens v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., No. 87-2677
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • December 7, 1988
    ...S.E.2d 316 (1964); Thompson v. Home Security Life Ins., 271 S.C. 54, 244 S.E.2d 533 (1978); Floyd v. Country Squire Mobile Homes, Inc., 287 S.C. 51, 336 S.E.2d 502 (Ct.App.1985); Scott v. Mid Carolina Homes, Inc., 293 S.C. 191, 359 S.E.2d 291 (Ct.App.1987); Glover v. North Carolina Mutual L......
  • Vanwyk Textile Systems v. Zimmer Mach. Amer., Inc., No. 3:95CV483-MCK.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Western District of North Carolina
    • December 4, 1997
    ...permits claims for fraud and breach of contract to be raised independently in the same action. Floyd v. Country Squire Mobile Homes, Inc., 287 S.C. 51, 336 S.E.2d 502 (App.1985)("Our law has long recognized a plaintiff's right to recover punitive damages for breach of contract accompanied b......
  • Interclaim Holdings v. Ness, Motley, Loadholt, No. 00 C 7620.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • January 8, 2004
    ...are available for a breach of contract where it is accompanied by a fraudulent act. See Floyd v. Country Squire Mobile Homes, Inc., 287 S.C. 51, 336 S.E.2d 502, 503-04 (1985); Lister v. NationsBank of Delaware, N.A., 329 S.C. 133, 494 S.E.2d 449, 454 (1997). The element of the claim that gi......
  • Curtis v. Café Enters., Inc., CIVIL ACTION NO. 5:15-CV-00032-RLV-DSC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Western District of North Carolina
    • November 21, 2016
    ...to go to the jury on the issue ofPage 20 punitive damages." Edens, 858 F.2d at 202 (citing Floyd v. Country Squire Mobile Homes, Inc., 287 S.C. 51, 53, 336 S.E.2d 502, 503 (Ct. App. 1985). "To establish a breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act and recover punitive damages, a pla......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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