Hamilton v. Miller

Decision Date09 March 1989
Docket NumberNo. 23146,23146
Citation301 S.C. 45,389 S.E.2d 652
PartiesCaroline A. HAMILTON and George C. Hamilton, Petitioners, v. Tiffany Layne MILLER, Mary Ann Smith and Nationwide Insurance Company, a corporation, Respondents. . Writ Issued
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court

Judson F. Ayers, of Ayers & Anderson, Greenwood, for petitioners.

Stephen D. Baggett, of Burns, McDonald, Bradford, Patrick & Dean, Greenwood, for respondents.

HARWELL, Justice.

This case is before the Court on Writ of Certiorari to the Court of Appeals. 1 The issue is whether the circuit court properly found as a matter of law that respondent Tiffany Layne Miller was not acting within the scope of her employment at the time she was involved in an automobile accident.

I. FACTS

Petitioners in this case, Caroline A. and George C. Hamilton (Hamiltons), brought this action against Tiffany Layne Miller (Miller), Mary Ann Smith (Smith), and Nationwide Insurance Company (Nationwide) for personal injuries and loss of consortium resulting from an accident involving a car driven by Miller and owned by Smith. Jim Wills was the owner of a Nationwide insurance agency. Smith was the office manager, an associate agent, and Miller's immediate supervisor. Miller was the receptionist and typist in the three person office and occasionally ran errands for Smith with Wills' permission. On the date of the accident at about 5:00 p.m., Smith asked Miller to take her automobile and pick up Smith's son at the dentist's office. While Miller was on the way to the dentist's office, the accident occurred.

The Hamiltons alleged that Miller was an agent or employee of Nationwide who was acting within the scope of her employment at the time of the accident. The trial court granted Nationwide's motion for summary judgment on the grounds that Miller was engaged in a personal errand for Smith, not acting within the scope of her employment at the time of the accident, and that Nationwide's business was neither furthered nor facilitated by Miller's trip. The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's decision holding that under the facts of this case, the employer is not liable for the acts of the employee when the employee is attending to a personal matter. The Court of Appeals further held that Nationwide's business was not furthered by Miller's personal errand for Smith and that there was no evidence creating a genuine issue of fact. We granted a writ of certiorari to address whether a genuine issue of fact exists as to whether Miller was acting within the scope of her employment and in furtherance of her employer's business when the accident occurred.

II. DISCUSSION

To obtain summary judgment, the moving party must show that no genuine issue exists as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. Rule 56(c), SCRCP. In determining whether any triable issues of fact exist, all inferences from the facts in the record must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the summary judgment motion. Manning, et al. v. Quinn, 294 S.C. 383, 365 S.E.2d 24 (1988). Even where there is no dispute as to the evidentiary facts, but only as to the conclusions or inferences to be drawn from them, summary judgment should not be granted. Jamison v. Howard, 271 S.C. 385, 247 S.E.2d 450 (1978).

What is within the scope of employment may be determined by implication from the circumstances of the case. Hancock v. Aiken Mills, 180 S.C. 93, 185 S.E. 188 (1936). A relevant factor in determining whether Miller acted within the scope of her employment is whether she acted in furtherance of Nationwide's business at the time of the accident. In concluding summary judgment was appropriate, both the circuit court and the Court of Appeals relied on Smith's testimony that Nationwide's business was not furthered by Miller's going to pick up Smith's child. The Court of Appeals stated that Smith's testimony "negated" the Hamiltons' contention that...

To continue reading

Request your trial
14 cases
  • Etheredge v. Richland School Dist. I
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • March 30, 1998
    ...denied. Tupper, supra; Koester, supra, Gilliland v. Elmwood Properties, 301 S.C. 295, 391 S.E.2d 577 (1990). See also Hamilton v. Miller, 301 S.C. 45, 389 S.E.2d 652 (1990) (trial court should deny summary judgment if there is genuine issue as to conclusions or inferences to be drawn from u......
  • Estate of Mims v. The South Carolina Department of Disabilities And Special Needs
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • November 8, 2017
    ... ... inferences to be drawn from them, summary judgment should be ... denied." (quoting Hamilton v. Miller , 301 S.C ... 45, 47, 389 S.E.2d 652, 653 (1990)); Flateau , 355 ... S.C. at 208, 584 S.E.2d at 418-19 (finding Section ... ...
  • Frazier v. Badger
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • September 27, 2004
    ...within the "scope of employment" may be determined by implication from the circumstances of a particular case. Hamilton v. Miller, 301 S.C. 45, 48, 389 S.E.2d 652, 653 (1990); Wade v. Berkeley County, 330 S.C. 311, 319, 498 S.E.2d 684, 688 (Ct.App.1998). In Prince, we held that the course o......
  • Tedder v. Dixie Lawn Serv.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • May 22, 2007
    ...the dentist. Although the employer was an insurance agency, the employer allowed the employee to run errands for her supervisor. Id. at 47, 389 S.E.2d at 653. determining that the employee was acting within the scope of her employment, the court was persuaded by evidence that the employee w......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 books & journal articles
  • Rule 56. Summary Judgment
    • United States
    • South Carolina Rules Annotated (SCBar) (2020 Ed.) South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure VII. Judgment
    • Invalid date
    ...facts, but only as to the conclusions or inferences to be drawn from them, summary judgment should not be granted." Hamilton v. Miller, 301 S.C. 45, 47, 389 S.E.2d 652, 653 (1990). "In order to be entitled to summary judgment, the moving party must show that no genuine issue of material fac......
  • Rule 56. Summary Judgment
    • United States
    • South Carolina Rules Annotated (SCBar) (2019 Ed.) South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure VII. Judgment
    • Invalid date
    ...facts, but only as to the conclusions or inferences to be drawn from them, summary judgment should not be granted." Hamilton v. Miller, 301 S.C. 45, 47, 389 S.E.2d 652, 653 (1990). "In order to be entitled to summary judgment, the moving party must show that no genuine issue of material fac......
  • B. Vicarious Liability
    • United States
    • The South Carolina Law of Torts (SCBar) Chapter 10 Allocating Liability
    • Invalid date
    ...285 S.C. 348, 329 S.E.2d 753 (1985) hazing of initiate members was held to be within the scope.[151] See, e.g., Hamilton v. Miller, 301 S.C. 45, 389 S.E.2d 652 (1990) (jury issue as to whether employee directed to run personal errand for boss during work hours acting within scope of employm......
  • Rule 56. Summary Judgment
    • United States
    • South Carolina Rules Annotated (SCBar) (2021 Ed.) VII. Judgment
    • Invalid date
    ...facts, but only as to the conclusions or inferences to be drawn from them, summary judgment should not be granted." Hamilton v. Miller, 301 S.C. 45, 47, 389 S.E.2d 652, 653 (1990). "In order to be entitled to summary judgment, the moving party must show that no genuine issue of material fac......

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