Hall v. Palmetto Enterprises II, Inc., of Clinton, No. 0189

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtGOOLSBY
Citation282 S.C. 87,317 S.E.2d 140
PartiesBruce C. HALL, Respondent, v. PALMETTO ENTERPRISES II, INC., OF CLINTON, Appellant. . Heard
Decision Date02 March 1984
Docket NumberNo. 0189

Page 140

317 S.E.2d 140
282 S.C. 87
Bruce C. HALL, Respondent,
v.
PALMETTO ENTERPRISES II, INC., OF CLINTON, Appellant.
No. 0189.
Court of Appeals of South Carolina.
Heard March 2, 1984.
Decided June 1, 1984.

Page 142

[282 S.C. 89] W. Ray Berry, of Columbia, for appellant.

Joe F. Anderson, of Edgefield, for respondent.

[282 S.C. 90] GOOLSBY, Judge.

The respondent Bruce Hall brought this action against the appellant Palmetto Enterprises II, Inc., to recover damages for personal injuries sustained while helping an employee of Palmetto load a pinball machine onto a truck. The appeal involves questions concerning the admissibility of certain testimony, the sufficiency of the evidence to support the verdict and its amount, the argument by Hall's counsel to the jury, and the trial court's jury instructions. We find no error; consequently, we affirm the jury's verdict in Hall's favor in the amount of $5,625.

Palmetto furnished amusement machines to a country store owned by Hall in Edgefield County. Melvin Smith, an employee of Palmetto, maintained the machines.

When a pinball machine at Hall's store malfunctioned, Palmetto arranged for Smith to replace it with a new one. Smith arrived at the store alone in a pick-up truck equipped with a hydraulic lift known as a "tommy" lift. A control located at the rear of the truck approximately four to five inches from a cable activated the lifting platform.

Smith unloaded the new machine by himself, but sought assistance from Hall in moving the old machine from the store and loading it onto the truck. Hall agreed to help Smith with the old machine. Although Smith instructed Hall on the operation of the lift, he did not warn Hall about its hazards.

As they loaded the pinball machine onto the pick-up truck, Smith held the back end of the machine while Hall operated the lift. When the platform pulled even with the truck bed, Hall jumped away from the truck holding his finger. Somehow the lift had pinched off the tip of Hall's little finger on his right hand. The severed fingertip was found in an area between the top of the lift and the metal frame that connected the lift to the truck.

As a result of losing his fingertip, Hall suffered pain, incurred medical expenses, and sustained permanent disfigurement.

I. Admissibility of Testimony

Palmetto questions the admissibility of testimony by Hall and Smith regarding Smith's failure to bring an additional employee to help him and the admission of testimony by Hall [282 S.C. 91] of a statement made by Smith that the matter should be settled.

Hall testified that after the accident, Smith told him "not to mention that he [Smith] was off down there by hisself [sic]." Palmetto objected to the testimony claiming that it was irrelevant. Later, Hall's counsel, also over objection, questioned Smith concerning Smith's need for Hall's assistance because he did not bring another employee to help him.

It is well-settled that the admissibility or exclusion of evidence is within the

Page 143

sound discretion of the trial judge. The exercise of his discretion will not be disturbed on appeal absent a clear showing of an abuse of discretion, the commission of legal error in its exercise, and prejudice to the rights of the appellant. S.C. State Highway Dept. v. Rural Land Co., 250 S.C. 12, 156 S.E.2d 333 (1967); Cudd v. John Hancock Mutual Life Ins. Co., 310 S.E.2d 830 (S.C.App.1983).

Palmetto acknowledges in its brief that the first statement "does not appear to be too harmful;" however, it claims that when the statement is "added to the question which counsel for [Hall] was allowed to ask [Smith]" concerning the failure to bring additional help, prejudice is demonstrated. We do not agree. The latter question merely sought an answer to the obvious and therefore could not possibly have prejudiced Palmetto. Had Palmetto sent enough employees to accomplish the task of moving both pinball machines, most probably Hall's assistance would not have been sought. The trial court did not err, therefore, in admitting the testimony complained of.

Hall also testified over objection that Smith told him that "he didn't see why the thing wasn't settled ... and ... done with ...." Palmetto takes the position that the statement was inadmissible in that it constituted an offer of settlement. Palmetto does not argue that Smith lacked authority to make it. See Hunter v. Hyder, 236 S.C. 378, 114 S.E.2d 493 (1960); 31A C.J.S. Evidence § 343 at 834 (1964).

We recognize that evidence of an offer by the defendant to pay medical bills is ordinarily not admissible to prove liability. See McIntire v. Winn-Dixie Greenville, Inc., 275 S.C. 323, 270 S.E.2d 440 (1980); Crosby v. Southeast Zayre, Inc., 274 S.C. 519, 265 S.E.2d 517 (1980); 31A C.J.S. [282 S.C. 92] Evidence § 291 at 743 (1964). We also recognize that an offer to compromise the controversy involved in a litigation is generally not admissible as an admission. Hunter v. Hyder, supra; Neal v. Clark, 199 S.C. 316, 19 S.E.2d 473 (1942); 31A C.J.S. Evidence § 285a at 722 (1964). Here, however, the statement attributed to Smith by Hall makes no mention of medical expenses and apparently was not made tentatively and hypothetically, in manifest contemplation of a compromise and with a view toward mutual concessions. See Id. § 285b at 728. We conclude, as the...

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22 practice notes
  • Clark v. Ross, No. 0406
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • November 21, 1984
    ...as a present sense impression. See FED.R.EVID. 803(1). We recently observed in Hall v. Palmetto Enterprises II, Inc., of Clinton, 282 S.C. 87, 317 S.E.2d 140 (S.C.App.1984), that the admission or exclusion of evidence is within the sound discretion of the trial judge and that the exercise o......
  • Seaside Resorts, Inc. v. Club Car, Inc., No. 1794
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 16, 1991
    ...for appeal. Edwards v. Grand Lodge K.P. of South Carolina, 166 S.C. 445, 165 S.E. 181 (1932); Hall v. Palmetto Enterprises, II, Inc., 282 S.C. 87, 317 S.E.2d 140 (1984) (where objection has not been raised at trial or passed upon by the trial judge, it will not be considered by the Court of......
  • Benjamin v. Shaw, Civil Action No.: 4:15-cv-05110-RBH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • July 28, 2017
    ...Tables when the plaintiff testified without objection about his permanent knee injury (citing Hall v. Palmetto Enterprises II, Inc., 282 S.C. 87, 93, 317 S.E.2d 140, 144 (Ct. App. 1984))). 10. Defendant also briefed this argument in its post-trial supplemental brief. See ECF No. 60 at 3-5. ......
  • Campbell v. Paschal, No. 0772
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 28, 1986
    ...however, prove future damages in a personal injury case to a mathematical certainty. Hall v. Palmetto Enterprises II, Inc., of Clinton, 282 S.C. 87, 317 S.E.2d 140 Evidence that Campbell, who was 22 years old at the time of the accident, suffers recurring pain and tenderness in his leg and ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
22 cases
  • Clark v. Ross, No. 0406
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • November 21, 1984
    ...as a present sense impression. See FED.R.EVID. 803(1). We recently observed in Hall v. Palmetto Enterprises II, Inc., of Clinton, 282 S.C. 87, 317 S.E.2d 140 (S.C.App.1984), that the admission or exclusion of evidence is within the sound discretion of the trial judge and that the exercise o......
  • Seaside Resorts, Inc. v. Club Car, Inc., No. 1794
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 16, 1991
    ...for appeal. Edwards v. Grand Lodge K.P. of South Carolina, 166 S.C. 445, 165 S.E. 181 (1932); Hall v. Palmetto Enterprises, II, Inc., 282 S.C. 87, 317 S.E.2d 140 (1984) (where objection has not been raised at trial or passed upon by the trial judge, it will not be considered by the Court of......
  • Benjamin v. Shaw, Civil Action No.: 4:15-cv-05110-RBH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • July 28, 2017
    ...Tables when the plaintiff testified without objection about his permanent knee injury (citing Hall v. Palmetto Enterprises II, Inc., 282 S.C. 87, 93, 317 S.E.2d 140, 144 (Ct. App. 1984))). 10. Defendant also briefed this argument in its post-trial supplemental brief. See ECF No. 60 at 3-5. ......
  • Campbell v. Paschal, No. 0772
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 28, 1986
    ...however, prove future damages in a personal injury case to a mathematical certainty. Hall v. Palmetto Enterprises II, Inc., of Clinton, 282 S.C. 87, 317 S.E.2d 140 Evidence that Campbell, who was 22 years old at the time of the accident, suffers recurring pain and tenderness in his leg and ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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