Hudson v. Zenith Engraving Co., Inc., No. 21075

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtRHODES; LEWIS
Citation273 S.C. 766,259 S.E.2d 812
Parties, 115 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 4851 James A. HUDSON, Jr., Appellant, v. ZENITH ENGRAVING COMPANY, INC., Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 21075
Decision Date05 November 1979

Page 812

259 S.E.2d 812
273 S.C. 766, 115 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 4851
James A. HUDSON, Jr., Appellant,
v.
ZENITH ENGRAVING COMPANY, INC., Respondent.
No. 21075.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Nov. 5, 1979.

[273 S.C. 767] H. Jackson Gregory of Holler & Gregory, Columbia, for appellant.

John M. Spratt, Jr. of Spratt, McKeown & Spratt, York, for respondent.

RHODES, Justice:

Hudson (appellant) seeks damages for mental distress on the basis of an alleged retaliatory discharge from employment [273 S.C. 768] with Zenith Engraving Company (respondent) for his pursuit of workmen's compensation

Page 813

benefits. The lower court granted summary judgment for respondent. We affirm.

Appellant was an at-will employee with respondent in its copper roller department when he sustained an injury to his lower back on November 18, 1976. He had previously suffered a similar injury in May 1975 while on the job and had received temporary total disability compensation for that injury. As a result of his second injury to his lower back, appellant was continuously absent from work from November 19, 1976 through October 20, 1977. During this time he again received temporary total disability benefits and also sought permanent disability compensation.

On October 20, 1977 appellant was terminated from employment. Respondent gave as its reasons for such termination the fact that appellant had given no indication of any intent of returning to work or that he would be physically able to resume his job, and the fact that his job position no longer existed since the copper roller division had been discontinued. Appellant's claim for permanent disability was settled for a lump sum payment of $18,000.00 subsequent to his discharge from employment.

Although appellant contends that a right to his continued employment existed by virtue of his forbearance from seeking another job and the implied promise of respondent to place him in another position, such arguments are unavailing and his position with respondent was undeniably at will. A contract of permanent employment or for a duration of years, which is not supported by any consideration other than the obligation of service to be performed on the one hand and wages on the other, is normally terminable at the will of either party. Gainey v. Coker's Pedigreed Seed Co., 227 S.C. 200, 87 S.E.2d 486 (1955). Since appellant was in the status of temporary total disability during the time he was supposedly abstaining from seeking another job, there was no benefit to respondent or detriment [273 S.C. 769] to appellant for such alleged forbearance, and therefore no consideration. Shayne of Miami, Inc. v. Greybow, Inc., 232 S.C. 161, 101 S.E.2d 486 (1957). Likewise, respondent's arrangement for less strenuous jobs for...

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28 practice notes
  • Phillips v. United States, Civ. A. No. 79-551-8
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • June 21, 1983
    ...Moreover, it is important to note that the line of cases culminating in Ford v. Hutson, see, e.g., Hudson v. Zenith Engraving Co., Inc., 273 S.C. 766, 259 S.E.2d 812 (1979); Bellamy v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 269 S.C. 578, 575 F. Supp. 1319 239 S.E.2d 73 (1977); Rhodes v. Security ......
  • Williams v. Riedman, No. 3127.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • February 28, 2000
    ...of an at-will employee does not normally give rise to a cause of action for breach of contract. Hudson v. Zenith Engraving Co., 273 S.C. 766, 259 S.E.2d 812 (1979). However, when the at-will status of the employee is altered by the terms of an employee handbook, thereby creating a contractu......
  • Malhotra v. Cotter & Co., No. 88-2880
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 12, 1989
    ...of action for retaliatory discharge. See Kelly v. Mississippi Valley Gas Co., 397 So.2d 874 (Miss.1981); Hudson v. Zenith Engraving Co., 273 S.C. 766, 259 S.E.2d 812 (1979); Martin v. Tapley, 360 So.2d 708 (Ala.1978); Segal v. Arrow Indus. Corp., 364 So.2d 89 (Fla.App.1978); Dockery v. Lamp......
  • Satterfield v. Lockheed Missiles & Space Co., Inc., Civ. A. No. 2:84-0454-1.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • September 6, 1985
    ...party. Ludwick v. This Minute of Carolina, Inc., 283 S.C. 149, 321 S.E.2d 618 (S.C.App.1984); Hudson v. Zenith Engraving Company, Inc., 273 S.C. 766, 259 S.E.2d 812 (1979); Gainey v. Coker's Pedigreed Seed Company, 227 S.C. 200, 87 S.E.2d 486 (1955); Orsini v. Trojan Steel Corporation, 219 ......
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28 cases
  • Phillips v. United States, Civ. A. No. 79-551-8
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • June 21, 1983
    ...Moreover, it is important to note that the line of cases culminating in Ford v. Hutson, see, e.g., Hudson v. Zenith Engraving Co., Inc., 273 S.C. 766, 259 S.E.2d 812 (1979); Bellamy v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 269 S.C. 578, 575 F. Supp. 1319 239 S.E.2d 73 (1977); Rhodes v. Security ......
  • Williams v. Riedman, No. 3127.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • February 28, 2000
    ...of an at-will employee does not normally give rise to a cause of action for breach of contract. Hudson v. Zenith Engraving Co., 273 S.C. 766, 259 S.E.2d 812 (1979). However, when the at-will status of the employee is altered by the terms of an employee handbook, thereby creating a contractu......
  • Malhotra v. Cotter & Co., No. 88-2880
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 12, 1989
    ...of action for retaliatory discharge. See Kelly v. Mississippi Valley Gas Co., 397 So.2d 874 (Miss.1981); Hudson v. Zenith Engraving Co., 273 S.C. 766, 259 S.E.2d 812 (1979); Martin v. Tapley, 360 So.2d 708 (Ala.1978); Segal v. Arrow Indus. Corp., 364 So.2d 89 (Fla.App.1978); Dockery v. Lamp......
  • Satterfield v. Lockheed Missiles & Space Co., Inc., Civ. A. No. 2:84-0454-1.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • September 6, 1985
    ...party. Ludwick v. This Minute of Carolina, Inc., 283 S.C. 149, 321 S.E.2d 618 (S.C.App.1984); Hudson v. Zenith Engraving Company, Inc., 273 S.C. 766, 259 S.E.2d 812 (1979); Gainey v. Coker's Pedigreed Seed Company, 227 S.C. 200, 87 S.E.2d 486 (1955); Orsini v. Trojan Steel Corporation, 219 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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