Johnson v. South Carolina Nat. Bank, No. 22700

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; NESS
Citation292 S.C. 51,354 S.E.2d 895
PartiesStephen L. and Glenda JOHNSON, Appellants, v. SOUTH CAROLINA NATIONAL BANK, Respondent.
Decision Date13 April 1987
Docket NumberNo. 22700

Page 895

354 S.E.2d 895
292 S.C. 51
Stephen L. and Glenda JOHNSON, Appellants,
v.
SOUTH CAROLINA NATIONAL BANK, Respondent.
No. 22700.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Submitted Jan. 21, 1987.
Filed April 13, 1987.

[292 S.C. 52] David W. Goldman and Kelly J. Golden of Bryan, Bahnmuller, King, Goldman & McElveen, Sumter, for appellants.

Manton M. Grier and Elizabeth A. Carpentier of Boyd, Knowlton, Tate & Finlay, P.A. and L. Henry McKellar, Associate Gen. Counsel of South Carolina Nat. Bank, Columbia, for respondent.

PER CURIAM:

The Circuit Court denied appellants' (the Johnsons') motion to transfer this case to the jury roster.

We reverse and remand.

FACTS

This is the second appeal in this litigation. The Johnsons brought suit against respondent South Carolina National Bank (SCN) to rescind a guaranty agreement on the ground of fraud. In the same complaint, the Johnsons also sought money damages in causes of action for outrage, invasion of legal rights and breach of fiduciary duty. SCN answered and moved to require the Johnsons to elect to proceed "in equity or at law." The Johnsons elected to proceed on the equitable theory of rescission. The trial judge ruled, however, that the Johnsons' other causes of action could be maintained in the same complaint.

[292 S.C. 53] SCN then moved for an order transferring the case to the non-jury roster on the ground the Johnsons had elected to pursue an equitable remedy. The motion was granted and the Johnsons appealed. This

Page 896

Court affirmed, holding that the "main purpose" of the action was rescission, an equitable remedy for which there is no right to a jury trial. See Johnson v. South Carolina National Bank, 285 S.C. 80, 328 S.E.2d 75 (1985).

The case was remanded and placed on the non-jury roster for an August 1985 term of court. Both parties joined in a request that the case be continued to an October 1985 term, but the presiding judge struck the case from the roster pursuant to Rule 40(c)(3), SCRCP.

Thereafter, the Johnsons refiled their complaint, captioned "Non-jury." SCN's answer included a compulsory, legal counterclaim for damages under the guaranty agreement. See Rule 13(a), SCRCP. The Johnsons replied and demanded a jury trial of the counterclaim. See Rule 38(b), SCRCP. SCN moved to strike the demand. The Circuit Court granted the motion, holding the Johnsons had no right to a jury trial on the counterclaim.

ISSUE

Where the plaintiff's complaint is equitable and the defendant's counterclaim is legal and compulsory, does the plaintiff have a right to a jury trial on the counterclaim?

DISCUSSION

In C & S Real Estate Services v. Massengale, 290 S.C. 299, 350 S.E.2d 191 (1986), this Court issued an order clarifying the procedure to be followed under Rules 13, 38 and 42, SCRCP, when a complaint is equitable and a counterclaim is legal and compulsory:

(4) If the complaint is equitable and the counterclaim legal and compulsory, the defendant has the right to a jury trial on the counterclaim. In that case, the proper procedure is as follows:

(a) The trial judge should, pursuant to Rule 42(b), order separate trials of the legal and equitable claims ... [Emphasis supplied].

[292 S.C. 54] 290 S.C. at 302, 350 S.E.2d at 193.

SCN contends the C & S order is not applicable here because the plaintiff's, not the defendant's, rights are at issue. It argues that the Johnsons waived any right to a jury trial on the counterclaim when they voluntarily filed a complaint seeking an equitable remedy. This position has some support in case law. See, e.g., Gulesian v. Newton Trust Co., 302 Mass. 369, 19 N.E.2d 312 (1939).

Other courts, however, have held that a defendant or a plaintiff has a right to a jury trial of issues raised in a compulsory legal counterclaim interposed in an equitable action. In Landers v. Goetz, 264 N.W.2d 459 (N.D.1978), the court construed Rules...

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30 practice notes
  • Wells Fargo Bank, NA, v. Smith, No. 4988.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • August 8, 2012
    ...C & S Real Estate Servs., Inc. v. Massengale, 290 S.C. 299, 302, 350 S.E.2d 191, 193 (1986), modified by Johnson v. S.C. Nat'l Bank, 292 S.C. 51, 354 S.E.2d 895 (1987). “A mortgage foreclosure is an action in equity.” U.S. Bank Trust Nat'l Ass'n v. Bell, 385 S.C. 364, 373, 684 S.E.2d 19......
  • Wells Fargo Bank, NA v. Smith, Appellate Case No. 2009-125666
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 13, 2012
    ...C & S Real Estate Servs., Inc. v. Massengale, 290 S.C. 299, 302, 350 S.E.2d 191, 193 (1986), modified by Johnson v. S.C. Nat'l Bank, 292 S.C. 51, 354 S.E.2d 895 (1987). "A mortgage foreclosure is an action in equity." U.S. Bank Trust Nat'l. Ass'n v. Bell, 385 S.C. 364, 373, 68......
  • Wachovia Bank v. Blackburn, Appellate Case No. 2011-203088
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 26, 2014
    ...claims, but the jury's determination of common factual issues shall be binding upon the court.Johnson v. S.C. Nat'l Bank (Johnson II), 292 S.C. 51, 55-56, 354 S.E.2d 895, 897 (1987) (citation omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted), modifying C & S Real Estate Servs., Inc. v. Massen......
  • Carolina First Bank v. Badd, L.L.C., No. 27486.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • January 28, 2015
    ...as it does not arise out of the same transaction or occurrence as the execution of the guaranty agreements. See Johnson v. S.C. Nat'l Bank,292 S.C. 51, 55, 354 S.E.2d 895, 897 (1987)(stating a defendant waives his right to a jury trial by asserting a permissive counterclaim in an equitable ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
30 cases
  • Wells Fargo Bank, NA, v. Smith, No. 4988.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • August 8, 2012
    ...C & S Real Estate Servs., Inc. v. Massengale, 290 S.C. 299, 302, 350 S.E.2d 191, 193 (1986), modified by Johnson v. S.C. Nat'l Bank, 292 S.C. 51, 354 S.E.2d 895 (1987). “A mortgage foreclosure is an action in equity.” U.S. Bank Trust Nat'l Ass'n v. Bell, 385 S.C. 364, 373, 684 S.E.2d 19......
  • Wells Fargo Bank, NA v. Smith, Appellate Case No. 2009-125666
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 13, 2012
    ...C & S Real Estate Servs., Inc. v. Massengale, 290 S.C. 299, 302, 350 S.E.2d 191, 193 (1986), modified by Johnson v. S.C. Nat'l Bank, 292 S.C. 51, 354 S.E.2d 895 (1987). "A mortgage foreclosure is an action in equity." U.S. Bank Trust Nat'l. Ass'n v. Bell, 385 S.C. 364, 373, 68......
  • Wachovia Bank v. Blackburn, Appellate Case No. 2011-203088
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 26, 2014
    ...claims, but the jury's determination of common factual issues shall be binding upon the court.Johnson v. S.C. Nat'l Bank (Johnson II), 292 S.C. 51, 55-56, 354 S.E.2d 895, 897 (1987) (citation omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted), modifying C & S Real Estate Servs., Inc. v. Massen......
  • Carolina First Bank v. Badd, L.L.C., No. 27486.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • January 28, 2015
    ...as it does not arise out of the same transaction or occurrence as the execution of the guaranty agreements. See Johnson v. S.C. Nat'l Bank,292 S.C. 51, 55, 354 S.E.2d 895, 897 (1987)(stating a defendant waives his right to a jury trial by asserting a permissive counterclaim in an equitable ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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