McGee v. Thornton, 2013-UP-156

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
PartiesTim McGee, Appellant, v. David Thornton and Thornton Brothers Construction, Respondents. Appellate Case No. 2012-208046
Decision Date17 April 2013
Docket Number2013-UP-156

Tim McGee, Appellant,

David Thornton and Thornton Brothers Construction, Respondents.

Appellate Case No. 2012-208046

No. 2013-UP-156

Court of Appeals of South Carolina

April 17, 2013


Heard March 13, 2013

Appeal From Dorchester County Edgar W. Dickson, Circuit Court Judge.

Max G. Mahaffee, of Grimball & Cabaniss, LLC, of Charleston, for Appellant.

Zachary J. Closser, of Smith & Koontz P.A., of Charleston, for Respondents.


Tim McGee appeals the circuit court's order dismissing his complaint and entering judgment in favor of David Thornton and Thornton Brothers Construction (collectively, Thornton). We affirm.

1. As to whether the circuit court erred by finding McGee was the general contractor on the project, we find the record supports the circuit court's finding. See Townes Assocs., Ltd., v. City of Greenville, 266 S.C. 81, 86, 221 S.E.2d 773, 775 (1976) ("In an action at law, on appeal of a case tried without a jury, the findings of fact of the judge will not be disturbed upon appeal unless found to be without evidence which reasonably supports the judge's findings."). At trial, the homeowner testified that he hired McGee to supervise the construction of the home. Similarly, McGee testified that he was hired by the homeowner to "oversee" construction. Additionally, McGee admitted that he hired, supervised, and paid the subcontractors on the project. See S.C. Code Ann. § 40-59-20(6) (2011) (defining a residential builder as "one who constructs, superintends, or offers to construct or superintend the construction, repair, improvement, or reimprovement of a residential building or structure" (emphasis added)).

2. As to whether the circuit court erred in finding McGee's action to recover damages under the contract was barred by section 40-59-30(B) of the South Carolina Code (2011), we affirm. Section 40-59-30(B) prohibits an unlicensed residential builder from enforcing a residential construction contract. McGee concedes that he does not have a residential home builder's license. However, he contends the statute is intended to protect homeowners and, consequently, does not apply to disputes between a contractor and subcontractor. This court has previously interpreted the effect of section 40-59-30(B) in the context of a dispute between a home owner and a residential builder. See Lenz v. Walsh, 362 S.C. 603, 608 S.E.2d 471 (Ct. App. 2005). This court noted that in such a dispute, "because the statute is plain and...

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