Mccollum v. Snipes, No. 16115.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtBAKER, Chief Justice
Citation49 S.E.2d 12
PartiesMcCOLLUM. v. SNIPES et al.
Decision Date30 July 1948
Docket NumberNo. 16115.

49 S.E.2d 12

McCOLLUM.
v.
SNIPES et al.

No. 16115.

Supreme Court of South Carolina.

July 30, 1948.


[49 S.E.2d 13]

Appeal from Common Pleas Circuit Court, of Pickens County; William H. Grimball, Judge.

Action by P. S. McCollum, administrator of the estate of Ethel Martin, deceased, against W. P. Snipes and others to determine distributees of personal estate and to determine share to which each person is entitled. From the order of distribution, W. P. Snipes, alone, appeals.

Order affirmed in entirety upon constitutional questions or issues, and affirmed as to result on construction of statute governing distribution of intestate estates.

Charles E. Hamilton, Jr., of Gastonia, N. C, and Felix L. Finley, Jr., of Pickens, for appellant.

Julien D. Wyatt, of Pickens, for respondent P. S. McCollum, administrator.

Lionel E. Wooten and Culbertson & Brown, all of Greenville, and W. E. Find-ley, of Pickens, for all other respondents.

BAKER, Chief Justice.

This action was instituted by the administrator of the estate of Ethel Martin, late of Clemson, Pickens County, who died on May 29, 1945, unmarried and intestate, to determine the distributees of the personal estate, and to further determine the share to which each such person is entitled, he having in hand or possession the proceeds of the sale of the personal property of the estate.

At the time of her death, Ethel Martin owned certain real property, and in a separate case entitled Jay Dunn et al. versus Eula F. Hall et al., this real property was ordered by the lower Court to be sold, and the proceeds of the sale withheld pending the further direction of the Court. It is stipulated by all parties in interest that the final judgment in the case on appeal shall also constitute the judgment in the case brought by Jay Dunn and others, such that it will not be necessary to refer to the Dunn case hereafter in the composition of this opinion.

The said Ethel Martin died without leaving a father, mother, brother or sister, or any lineal ancestor or descendant, but being survived by one maternal uncle of the whole blood, W. P. Snipes (sole appellant), and numerous first cousins, all children of nine predeceased paternal and maternal uncles and aunts of the whole blood. There are no relatives of the half blood.

The distribution of the estate is governed by Section 8906, Volume 4, Code of Laws 1942, as amended by Act May 14, 1945, No. 194 of the Acts of the South Carolina General Assembly for the year 1945, 44 St. at Large, p. 313, effective before the date of the death of the intestate. The title of the amendatory Act reads: "An Act to Amend Subdivision (6) Of Section 8906, Code Of Laws Of South Carolina, 1942, Relating To The Distribution Of Intestate Estates, So As To Further Provide For The Distribution of Such Estates."

And the said subsection as amended is as follows:

"(6) If the intestate shall leave no child or other lineal descendant, father, mother, brother or sister of the whole blood, nor child of such brother or sister of the whole blood, nor brother or sister of the half blood, or lineal ancestor, the widow shall take the entire estate. If the intestate shall leave no widow the estate shall descend in equal parts to the uncles and aunts; the children of a deceased uncle or aunt to take among them the share to which their parent would have been entitled had said parent survived the intestate. If there be no uncle, aunt or child of a deceased uncle or aunt, then the estate shall descend to the next of kin.

"In reckoning the degrees of kindred, the computation shall begin with the intestate

[49 S.E.2d 14]

and be continued up to the common ancestor, and then down to the person claiming kindred inclusively, each step inclusively being reckoned as a degree."

It is the contention of the appellant that he is entitled to the estate in its entirety since prior to Act No. 194 he would have been the sole distributee, and Act. No. 194 is unconstitutional, being in violation of Section 17, Article 3, Constitution of South Carolina, 1895; that if the whole Act is not unconstitutional, then so much thereof as permits children of a deceased uncle or aunt to take among them the share which their respective parent would have taken had the parent survived the intestate, conflicts with the same Section of the Constitution. Further, the appellant argues that even if Act No. 194 is found to be constitutional, its proper construction in relation to Section 8906 would give the entire estate to him.

It is the position of the respondents, all first cousins of the deceased (the administrator excepted, he being neutral), that the estate should be distributed in equal parts to the ten uncles and aunts, the children of the nine deceased uncles and aunts to take among them the share which their respective parent would have been entitled had such parent survived the intestate. This contention is based upon the provisions of Act No. 194 of 1945, previously quoted, and hereinafter referred to as Act No. 194.

The issues of law, the factual situation being without disagreement, were submitted to Judge Grimball, who after hearing oral argument, and receiving written briefs, filed his order, dated January 24, 1948, holding the Act to be constitutional and construing its provisions so as to permit the first cousins, respondents, to share per stirpes in the estate with the appellant uncle.

We concur in so much of Judge Grimball's order as holds this amending Act to be constitutional and, following this paragraph, that portion of his order on the constitutional issue, with a few changes in punctuation, is quoted, which we adopt as part of the opinion of this Court, with one exception. We do not concur in the last paragraph of the quoted excerpt insofar as Judge Grimball concludes that Act No. 194 "amended subsection 6 and nothing more, " which point will be hereinafter discussed. The following is the portion of the order appealed from pertinent to the constitutional issue decided:

"The law is well settled that the burden is on the persons claiming the Act to be unconstitutional to prove and show that it is unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt. O'Shields et al. v. Caldwell et al., 207 S. C. 194, 35 S.E.2d 184; Connor v. Charleston High School District et al., 191 S. C. 412; 4 S.E.2d 431.

"It is therefore apparent to the Court that the attorneys for the surviving uncle, W. P. Snipes, have the burden of convincing the Court, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the Act in question is in violation of Section 17, Article 3 of the Constitution of South Carolina, and while their argument is persuasive, it is far short of convincing.

"The law is well established in this State that this section of the constitution which provides: 'No law shall embrace more than one subject which shall be expressed in title, ' should be liberally construed, and construed so as to uphold the Act if practicable. McKiever v. City of Sumter, 137 S.C. 266, 135 S.E. 60; Freeman v. Holliday, 165 S.C. 408, 164 S.E. 20; Arthur v. Johnston, 185 S.C. 324, 194 S.E 151; Stewart v. Woodman of the World Life Ins. Soc, 195 S.C. 365, 11 S.E.2d 449; Crouch v. Benet, 198 S.C. 185, 17 S.E.2d 320; and numerous other decisions. Const.Art. 3, 17 is complied with if title expressed a general subject and if body of act provides means, methods or...

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23 practice notes
  • Meade v. Freeman, No. 10249
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • August 28, 1969
    ...v. Barbieri, supra; cases cited supra, note 8. 11 See Anglin v. Mayo, 83 So.2d 918, 921 (Fla., 1956); McCollum v. Snipes, 213 S.C. 254, 49 S.E.2d 12 12 An obvious corollary to the $200 damages provision is the 'In Lieu' damages section in the American Copyright law. 17 U.S.C.A. § 101(b) (19......
  • Caldwell v. McMillan, No. 16780
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • September 24, 1953
    ...Benet, 198 S.C. 185, 17 S.E.2d 320; Plowden v. Beattie, Comptroller General, 185 S.C. 229, 193 S.E. 651; McCollum v. Snipes, 213 S.C. 254, 49 S.E.2d 12; Gaud v. Walker, 214 S.C. 451, 53 S.E.2d 316; State ex Rel. Richards v. Moorer, 152 S.C. 455, 150 S.E. 269, and cases cited This being an e......
  • Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co. v. South Carolina Tax Commission, No. 17428
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 20, 1958
    ...for the accomplishment of the general purpose. Gasque v. Nates, 191 S.C. 271, 2 S.E.2d 36; McCollum v. Snipes, 213 S.C. 254, 49 S.E.2d 12; Caldwell v. McMillan, 224 S.C. 150, 77 S.E.2d 798. It is true, also, that the subject of the act under consideration is, broadly viewed, state finances;......
  • Independence Ins. Co. v. Independent Life & Acc. Ins. Co., No. 16414
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • September 27, 1950
    ...law and one undertaking to exhaust the field of the subject was recently pointed out by this court in McCollum v. Snipes, 213 S.C. 254, 49 S.E.2d 12, where it was applicable conversely to this The question may be approached from other angles with the same result. The comprehensive act of 19......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
23 cases
  • Meade v. Freeman, No. 10249
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • August 28, 1969
    ...v. Barbieri, supra; cases cited supra, note 8. 11 See Anglin v. Mayo, 83 So.2d 918, 921 (Fla., 1956); McCollum v. Snipes, 213 S.C. 254, 49 S.E.2d 12 12 An obvious corollary to the $200 damages provision is the 'In Lieu' damages section in the American Copyright law. 17 U.S.C.A. § 101(b) (19......
  • Caldwell v. McMillan, No. 16780
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • September 24, 1953
    ...Benet, 198 S.C. 185, 17 S.E.2d 320; Plowden v. Beattie, Comptroller General, 185 S.C. 229, 193 S.E. 651; McCollum v. Snipes, 213 S.C. 254, 49 S.E.2d 12; Gaud v. Walker, 214 S.C. 451, 53 S.E.2d 316; State ex Rel. Richards v. Moorer, 152 S.C. 455, 150 S.E. 269, and cases cited This being an e......
  • Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co. v. South Carolina Tax Commission, No. 17428
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 20, 1958
    ...for the accomplishment of the general purpose. Gasque v. Nates, 191 S.C. 271, 2 S.E.2d 36; McCollum v. Snipes, 213 S.C. 254, 49 S.E.2d 12; Caldwell v. McMillan, 224 S.C. 150, 77 S.E.2d 798. It is true, also, that the subject of the act under consideration is, broadly viewed, state finances;......
  • Independence Ins. Co. v. Independent Life & Acc. Ins. Co., No. 16414
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • September 27, 1950
    ...law and one undertaking to exhaust the field of the subject was recently pointed out by this court in McCollum v. Snipes, 213 S.C. 254, 49 S.E.2d 12, where it was applicable conversely to this The question may be approached from other angles with the same result. The comprehensive act of 19......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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