Gadson v. Hembree, No. 25980.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtBurnett
Citation613 S.E.2d 533
PartiesJohn GADSON and Julia Gadson as personal representatives of the Estate of James Gadson, et al., Appellants, v. J. Gregory HEMBREE as successor in interest to Ralph Wilson, Solicitor for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, ex officio on behalf of the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office and the Georgetown Police Department, Respondents.
Docket NumberNo. 25980.
Decision Date15 June 2005

Page 533

613 S.E.2d 533
John GADSON and Julia Gadson as personal representatives of the Estate of James Gadson, et al., Appellants,
v.
J. Gregory HEMBREE as successor in interest to Ralph Wilson, Solicitor for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, ex officio on behalf of the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office and the Georgetown Police Department, Respondents.
No. 25980.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Heard March 16, 2005.
Decided May 9, 2005.
Rehearing Denied June 15, 2005.

Page 534

Michael S. Church, of Turner, Padget, Graham & Laney, P.A., and Larry C. Smith, both of Columbia, for Appellants.

Attorney General Henry Dargan McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Deputy Attorney General T. Stephen Lynch, Assistant Deputy Attorney General J. Emory Smith, Jr., all of Columbia, and Lisa Marie Hatley, of Conway, for Respondents.

Justice BURNETT.


This is an action seeking return of property pursuant to the innocent owner provision of S.C.Code Ann. § 44-53-586 (2002). The trial court granted Respondents' motion for dismissal and summary judgment. This Court certified the case from the Court of Appeals pursuant to Rule 204(b), SCACR. We affirm as modified.

FACTUAL/PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

James Gadson owned a lot and building in the City of Georgetown. He leased the building to Harriet Ann Singleton Evans. Evans operated the Winyah Grill, a bar and lounge, on the premises.1 Ronald Lee McCants, an employee of Evans was arrested for distribution of crack cocaine inside Gadson's building.2

On May 4, 1993, Judge Shuler signed a seizure warrant authorizing the solicitor, on behalf of the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office and Georgetown City Police Department, to seize the property due to violations of the drug code. Judge Shuler also signed a notice of seizure on May 4, 1993.

On May 13, 1993, the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) inspected the building and found numerous structural and electrical defects and also determined the fire exits were wholly inadequate. On May 17, 1993, the Resident Fire Marshal and Mayor of Georgetown signed a "notice of unsafe building." The notice provided that if remedial work was not completed by June 30, 1993, to correct the building, structural, and fire code deficiencies, the City of Georgetown would demolish the property.

Also on May 17, 1993, the special prosecutor filed a lis pendens giving notice of the forfeiture action based on the controlled substances violations. City Council revoked Evans' business license on May 24, 1993, due to the controlled substances sales, as well as, building and fire code violations.

In July 1993, the City of Georgetown demolished the building after Gadson failed to take corrective actions to resolve the building defects. On November 2, 1993, the City filed a demolition lien on the property in the amount of $16,292.50.

By motion dated April 28, 1994, Gadson requested the circuit court "restore" the property to him pursuant to the innocent owner provision of the forfeiture statute. See 44-53-586(b)(1) (2002). On May 20, 1994, Judge Sydney Floyd denied Gadson relief on his motions.

On December 7, 1994, Gadson filed a suit in federal court. On May 3, 1996, Judge Norton signed an order effecting the parties' agreement to voluntarily dismiss the federal suit. The parties agreed Gadson could re-file the federal action prior to the close of the 1996 calendar year. Gadson failed to re-file the federal lawsuit by December 31, 1996.

In late 1996, Gadson died. On June 20, 1997, the probate court appointed the personal representatives of Gadson's estate. On January 28, 1998, Gadson's estate filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment dissolving the seizure warrant and lien. On May 5, 1999, the circuit court dismissed the complaint because there was a prior pending action (this action) which provided Gadson's estate the exclusive remedy. The order allowed Gadson's estate to proceed with the April 1994 state court lawsuit.

Page 535

On October 21, 2003, Appellants filed a motion for summary judgment requesting the seizure warrant and lis pendens placed on the property be dissolved and vacated. Appellants also allege they are entitled to the return of property still in possession of the Respondents, and recovery...

To continue reading

Request your trial
29 practice notes
  • Miller v. Blumenthal Mills, Inc., No. 4013.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 5 July 2005
    ...where further inquiry into the facts of the case is desirable to clarify the application of the law. Gadson v. Hembree, 364 S.C. 316, 613 S.E.2d 533 (2005); Montgomery v. CSX Transp., Inc., 362 S.C. 529, 608 S.E.2d 440 (Ct.App.2004). Even when there is no dispute as to evidentiary facts, bu......
  • Bennett v. Investors Title Ins. Co., No. 4152.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 25 September 2006
    ...further inquiry into the facts of the case is desirable to clarify the application of the law. Gadson v. Hembree, 364 S.C. 316, 320, 613 S.E.2d 533, 535 (2005); Miller, 365 S.C. at 220, 616 S.E.2d at 729; Montgomery v. CSX Transp., Inc., 362 S.C. 529, 608 S.E.2d 440 (Ct.App.2004). Even when......
  • Moore v. Weinberg, No. 4209.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 20 February 2007
    ...where further inquiry into the facts of the case is desirable to clarify the application of the law. Gadson v. Hembree, 364 S.C. 316, 613 S.E.2d 533 (2005); Montgomery v. CSX Transp., Inc., 362 S.C. 529, 608 S.E.2d 440 (Ct.App.2004). Even when there is no dispute as to evidentiary facts, bu......
  • Singleton v. Sherer, No. 4346.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 25 February 2008
    ...where further inquiry into the facts of the case is desirable to clarify the application of the law. Gadson v. Hembree, 364 S.C. 316, 613 S.E.2d 533 (2005); Montgomery v. CSX Transp., Inc., 362 S.C. 529, 608 S.E.2d 440 (Ct.App.2004). Even when there is no dispute as to evidentiary facts, bu......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
29 cases
  • Miller v. Blumenthal Mills, Inc., No. 4013.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 5 July 2005
    ...where further inquiry into the facts of the case is desirable to clarify the application of the law. Gadson v. Hembree, 364 S.C. 316, 613 S.E.2d 533 (2005); Montgomery v. CSX Transp., Inc., 362 S.C. 529, 608 S.E.2d 440 (Ct.App.2004). Even when there is no dispute as to evidentiary facts, bu......
  • Bennett v. Investors Title Ins. Co., No. 4152.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 25 September 2006
    ...further inquiry into the facts of the case is desirable to clarify the application of the law. Gadson v. Hembree, 364 S.C. 316, 320, 613 S.E.2d 533, 535 (2005); Miller, 365 S.C. at 220, 616 S.E.2d at 729; Montgomery v. CSX Transp., Inc., 362 S.C. 529, 608 S.E.2d 440 (Ct.App.2004). Even when......
  • Moore v. Weinberg, No. 4209.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 20 February 2007
    ...where further inquiry into the facts of the case is desirable to clarify the application of the law. Gadson v. Hembree, 364 S.C. 316, 613 S.E.2d 533 (2005); Montgomery v. CSX Transp., Inc., 362 S.C. 529, 608 S.E.2d 440 (Ct.App.2004). Even when there is no dispute as to evidentiary facts, bu......
  • Singleton v. Sherer, No. 4346.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 25 February 2008
    ...where further inquiry into the facts of the case is desirable to clarify the application of the law. Gadson v. Hembree, 364 S.C. 316, 613 S.E.2d 533 (2005); Montgomery v. CSX Transp., Inc., 362 S.C. 529, 608 S.E.2d 440 (Ct.App.2004). Even when there is no dispute as to evidentiary facts, bu......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT