League v. Nat'l Sur. Corp., No. 15337.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtFISHBURNE, Justice
Citation17 S.E.2d 783
PartiesLEAGUE. v. NATIONAL SURETY CORPORATION.
Docket NumberNo. 15337.
Decision Date02 December 1941

17 S.E.2d 783

LEAGUE.
v.
NATIONAL SURETY CORPORATION.

No. 15337.

Supreme Court of South Carolina.

Dec. 2, 1941.


[17 S.E.2d 783]

Appeal from Common Pleas Court, of Greenville County; Wm. H. Grimball, Judge.

Action by J. B. League against the National Surety Corporation on the official bond of one George Thompson, a state highway patrolman. From a judgment on a verdict for the plaintiff for $900, defendant appeals.

Affirmed.

Stephen Nettles and Dakyns B. Stover, both of Greenville, for appellant.

E. P. Riley and Wyche, Burgess & Wofford, all of Greenville, for respondent.

FISHBURNE, Justice.

This is an action against National Surety Corporation, the surety on the official bond of one George Thompson, a state highway patrolman, for damages to a truck and trailer alleged to have been caused by the negligence and unlawful conduct of the patrolman while acting as such on the night of April 1, 1940. The damages to plaintiff's truck were sustained when it collided with another truck which had been stopped on the highway by the officer. The case resulted in a verdict and judgment for the plaintiff in the sum of $900. The appeal of the defendant surety company is based on alleged error of the trial Court in refusing its motion for a directed verdict, and the refusal to grant a new trial.

Thompson entered upon the discharge of his duties as a highway patrolman in February, 1940, and resigned his office the day following the accidental collision.

The bond sued on was issued by National Surety Corporation to the South Carolina Highway Department, and covered all highway patrolmen, including Thompson. It was executed pursuant to the provisions of Section 6004, 1932 Code, and, as to

[17 S.E.2d 784]

Thompson, was in the penal sum of $2,000. The condition of the bond is as follows:

"Now, the condition of the above obligation is such, that if the above bound employee or employees or those accepted by the Surety and added later shall well and truly perform the duties of the said office as now or hereafter required by law during the whole period he or they may continue in the said office, and shall make a full, prompt and proper accounting of all funds, and property, coming into his or their hands and shall pay any judgment recovered against him in any Court of competent jurisdiction upon a cause of action arising out of breach or abuse of official duty or power, and damages sustained by any member of the public from any unlawful act of such officer, then the above obligation to be void and of none effect or else to remain in full force and virtue."

The issues made by the appeal arise out of the following facts:

On the night of April 1, 1940, about 11:30 o'clock, Thompson, dressed in the complete uniform of a highway patrolman, with cap, badge, gun, and flashlight, was riding a motorcycle of the department along the public highway between the town of North and the City of Orangeburg. He was traveling in the direction of Orangeburg, and it is admitted that he was drunk, having imbibed too much wine. At a point on the highway about six miles from the town of North and twelve miles from Orangeburg, he and the motorcycle landed in a ditch, on the right-hand side of the highway. Being unable to move the motorcycle, Thompson abandoned it and walked out upon the highway and began stopping traffic with the idea of obtaining a ride.

It is in evidence and not disputed that the patrolman was off duty on a thirty-six hour leave which he wished to spend with his family in Columbia, but had missed the road, and at the time he lost control of the motorcycle he was en route back to Orangeburg where he was regularly stationed. Thompson first stopped a large fertilizer truck coming from the direction of Orangeburg. While this truck was still stationary, or had just commenced to move forward again, another truck, loaded with gasoline, approached from the direction of Orangeburg, which Thompson with his flashlight also flagged to a stop. Thompson requested the driver, one Bice, to turn around and give him a ride to Orangeburg. This the driver refused to do because he had just left Orangeburg and was headed in the opposite direction.

The two halted trucks were about eighty yards from the crest of an ascending grade and were on their right hand side of the highway. When the patrolman spoke to the driver of the second truck he was standing practically in the middle of the highway. He told Bice, the driver, "Well, go ahead, " and both trucks began to slowly move forward. At this moment the patrolman says that he looked up the road toward North and saw the plaintiff's truck coming over the crest of the hill, going in the direction of Orangeburg. He stepped to the middle of the lane on which the approaching truck was traveling and commenced to flag it, his purpose still being to obtain a ride to Orangeburg.

The driver of the plaintiff's truck testified that he saw the lights of the two trucks on his left as he came down the hill, and saw no obstruction on his...

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6 practice notes
  • State v. McAteer, No. 2795.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 21, 1998
    ...should not serve to rob him of Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment protection. Cf. League v. National Surety Corp., 198 S.C. 289, 295-96, 17 S.E.2d 783, 785 (1941) (off-duty patrolman's appearance in official uniform carried assurance to public he was in discharge of his duties; respect for and......
  • Allman v. Hanley, No. 18490.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • April 19, 1962
    ...it would never arise." See also Jones v. Buckelew, 247 Ala. 475, 25 So.2d 23 (1946); League v. National Surety Corp., 198 S.C. 289, 17 S.E. 2d 783 (1941); De Busk v. Harvin, 212 F.2d 143 (5th 302 F.2d 562 The absence of detailed grounds setting forth basis for removal is not fatal to d......
  • In re Jeremiah W., No. 3588.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • January 6, 2003
    ...A police officer's status may be exercised whenever the public need or his duty requires it. League v. Nat. Sur. Corp., 198 S.C. 289, 17 S.E.2d 783, 785 6. The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized the "fighting words" exception to protected speech, meaning that the conduct must const......
  • Morris v. South Carolina State Highway Dept., No. 20011
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 13, 1975
    ...subject to liability if the act otherwise is within the service, * * *.' The case of League v. National Surety Corporation, 198 S.C. 289, 17 S.E.2d 783 was concerned with liability under the official bond of a highway patrolman and accordingly not legally precisely in point with the instant......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • State v. McAteer, No. 2795.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 21, 1998
    ...should not serve to rob him of Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment protection. Cf. League v. National Surety Corp., 198 S.C. 289, 295-96, 17 S.E.2d 783, 785 (1941) (off-duty patrolman's appearance in official uniform carried assurance to public he was in discharge of his duties; respect for and......
  • Allman v. Hanley, No. 18490.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • April 19, 1962
    ...it would never arise." See also Jones v. Buckelew, 247 Ala. 475, 25 So.2d 23 (1946); League v. National Surety Corp., 198 S.C. 289, 17 S.E. 2d 783 (1941); De Busk v. Harvin, 212 F.2d 143 (5th 302 F.2d 562 The absence of detailed grounds setting forth basis for removal is not fatal to d......
  • In re Jeremiah W., No. 3588.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • January 6, 2003
    ...A police officer's status may be exercised whenever the public need or his duty requires it. League v. Nat. Sur. Corp., 198 S.C. 289, 17 S.E.2d 783, 785 6. The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized the "fighting words" exception to protected speech, meaning that the conduct must const......
  • Morris v. South Carolina State Highway Dept., No. 20011
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 13, 1975
    ...subject to liability if the act otherwise is within the service, * * *.' The case of League v. National Surety Corporation, 198 S.C. 289, 17 S.E.2d 783 was concerned with liability under the official bond of a highway patrolman and accordingly not legally precisely in point with the instant......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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