Gilbert v. Duke Power Co., 19185

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Citation179 S.E.2d 720,255 S.C. 495
Decision Date08 March 1971
Docket NumberNo. 19185,19185
PartiesFloyd A. GILBERT, Respondent, v. DUKE POWER COMPANY, Appellant.

Page 720

179 S.E.2d 720
255 S.C. 495
Floyd A. GILBERT, Respondent,
No. 19185.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
March 8, 1971.

[255 S.C. 496]

Page 721

Steve C. Griffith, Jr., Charlotte, N.C., Charles E. McDonald, Jr., of Haynsworth, Perry, Bryant, Marion & Johnstone, Greenville, for appellant.

George F. Townes, of [255 S.C. 497] Abrams, Bowen & Townes, Greenville, for respondent.

MOSS, Chief Justice:

Floyd A. Gilbert, the respondent herein, instituted this action against Duke Power Company, the appellant herein, to recover actual and punitive damages. The respondent alleged that the appellant, a public utility corporation which had been furnishing him electric current at his home at 7 Elf Lane, in the City of Greenville, on or about March 28, 1969, without just cause or excuse, did unlawfully, willfully and [255 S.C. 498] wantonly discontinue the service; and that as a result thereof he was deprived of the use of his home, and the food which he had stored in his refrigerator and freezer was destroyed.

The appellant, while admitting that it had furnished the respondent with electric current for his home as claimed, alleged that it had discontinued such service on April 8, 1969, pursuant to due and proper notice, because of the respondent's failure to pay the monthly bill for service due on March 27, 1969.

This case came on for trial in the Greenville County Court on January 22, 1970, before The Honorable James H. Price, Jr., County Judge, and a jury, and resulted in a verdict in favor of the respondent for actual and punitive damages.

It is necessary that a short re sume of the testimony be given in order to properly pass upon the questions raised by the appellant. It is admitted that the respondent lived at 7 Elf Lane in the City of Greenville and that on and prior to March 12, 1969, the appellant had been supplying electricity to his home; that the respondent received a bill from the appellant dated March

Page 722

12, 1969, showing a total due for electricity supplied of $53.30, or, if paid after March 27, 1969, of $54.60. The respondent testified that he gave his mother a sufficient amount of cash to pay the electric bill. The mother testified that she went to the office of the appellant and attempted to pay the bill as rendered but the appellant refused to accept the money so tendered and demanded an additional sum of $31.38, which it claimed that the respondent owed for electricity furnished to 'Floyd Gilbert', a resident of 106 Hardy Street, because a check issued by a tenant of Floyd L. Gilbert in payment of the tenant's service bill was returned due to insufficient funds. The mother also testified that she explained to the appellant that her son had not ever lived at 106 Hardy Street and that he was not the same 'Floyd Gilbert', and hence did not owe the $31.38 demanded.

[255 S.C. 499] The mother further testified that the unpaid check in the amount of $31.38 was one given by James A. Ellenburg, 106 Hardy Street. She said that a lady clerk gave her a slip of paper showing the aforesaid name and the amount of the check. Upon receipt of the information concerning the check she said that she wanted this information so that she could explain to her son why the appellant refused to accept the payment of the electric bill as rendered. She testified that after she left the office of the appellant, on March 27, 1969, she went by the home of her son and the power was already cut off.

The respondent testified that he was a truck driver and was absent from his home at the time his electricity was cut off. He said that when he returned to Greenville on or about April 5, 1969, he went to his home and the power was cut off, and the...

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18 cases
  • Campus Sweater & Sportswear v. MB Kahn Const., Civ. A. No. 76-0292-5.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 28 de setembro de 1979
    ...may be entitled to punitive damages when he proves: "Wanton, willful or malicious invasion of one's rights." Gilbert v. Duke Power Co., 255 S.C. 495, 179 S.E.2d 720 (1971); Hinds v. United Ins. Co., 248 S.C. 285, 149 S.E.2d 771 While punitive damages will not be awarded for mere gross negli......
  • Potomac Elec. Power Co. v. Smith, 1395
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • 1 de setembro de 1988
    ...192 Kan. 226, 387 P.2d 149, 151 (1963) (court upheld award for punitive damages against the public utility); Gilbert v. Duke Power Co., 255 S.C. 495, 179 S.E.2d 720 (1971) (plaintiff would be entitled to punitive damages against power company when he proves wanton, willful or malicious viol......
  • Cox v. Stolworthy, 10906
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • 27 de abril de 1972
    ...(1954); Brosofske v. Gregory, 463 S.W.2d 48 (Tex.Civ.App.1971); Hannahs v. Noah, 158 N.W.2d 678 (S.D.1968); Gilbert v. Duke Power Co., 179 S.E.2d 720 (S.C.1971); Oller v. Hicks, 441 P.2d 356 (Okl.1967); Klein v. Elliott, 59 Tenn.App. 1, 436 S.W.2d 867 (1968); Scruggs v. Haynes, 252 Cal.App.......
  • Jimenez v. Chrysler Corp., CivA. 2:96-1269-11.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 2 de dezembro de 1999 market the defective latch, which evidence has a direct bearing on the issue of punitive damages. In Gilbert v. Duke Power Co., 255 S.C. 495, 179 S.E.2d 720, 723 (1971), the Supreme Court of South Carolina discussed the propriety of admitting evidence under such When the recovery of exem......
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