Mutual Sav. and Loan Ass'n v. McKenzie, No. 21228

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtGREGORY; LEWIS
Citation274 S.C. 630,266 S.E.2d 423
PartiesMUTUAL SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff, v. James Glee McKENZIE, who is Appellant, and Eunice S. McKenzie, who is Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 21228
Decision Date13 May 1980

Page 423

266 S.E.2d 423
274 S.C. 630
MUTUAL SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff,
v.
James Glee McKENZIE, who is Appellant,
and Eunice S. McKenzie, who is Respondent.
No. 21228.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
May 13, 1980.

Page 424

[274 S.C. 631] Martin S. Driggers, of Saleeby, Cox, Driggers & Bledsoe, Hartsville, for appellant.

A. E. Morehead, III, of Swearingen & Morehead, Florence, for respondent.

J. Alex Stanton, of Shand, Lide & Stanton, Hartsville, for plaintiff.

GREGORY, Justice:

Appellant James Glee McKenzie and respondent Eunice S. McKenzie were named as defendants in this mortgage foreclosure action commenced by plaintiff Mutual Savings and Loan Association. The appeal is from an order denying appellant's motion to set aside a default judgment taken against him by respondent on a cross-complaint. We reverse.

On the day of their marriage appellant conveyed respondent a life estate interest in the subject property. Several days after the deed was recorded, appellant executed the mortgage plaintiff now seeks to foreclose. It erroneously stated appellant was a widower and unmarried. Respondent, unaware of appellant's action, executed neither the mortgage nor the renunciation of dower thereon.

The cross-complaint alleges appellant thereafter fraudulently misrepresented that he would convey respondent the [274 S.C. 632] remainder interest free of the mortgage lien. Respondent is now the record title holder of both the life estate and the remainder interest, conveyed by a separate and subsequent deed which respondent affirmatively denies in her cross-complaint she ever accepted.

Respondent sought actual damages of $50,000.00 and punitive damages of $100,000.00 on the cross-claim. Having previously consented to the foreclosure action, appellant failed to timely respond to the cross-complaint. The lower court awarded respondent $42,816.96 actual damages and punitive damages of $50,000.00 after a default hearing. Appellant's timely motion to set aside the judgment was denied and this appeal followed.

One of several grounds asserted by appellant in support of setting aside the default judgment is that the cross-complaint fails to state a cause of action upon which relief could be granted. Since we agree the pleading insufficiently alleges actionable fraud, thereby rendering the relief obtained by respondent invalid, we need not reach the other grounds.

A party seeking a default judgment is entitled to only such relief as is framed by his pleading, and then only to the extent requested therein. See cases collected in 12 West's South Carolina Digest, Judgment, at Key Number 117; see also Section 15-35-70, Code of Laws of South Carolina (1976). It follows that if a complaint fails to state a cause of action, the rendering of a default judgment thereon is without authority of law and therefore reversible error. Gadsden v. Home Fertilizer and Chemical Co., 89 S.C. 483, 72 S.E. 15 (1911); Williams v. American Ry. Express Co., 118 S.C. 121, 110 S.E. 125 (1921).

Page 425

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  • State v. Brown, No. 27231.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • March 13, 2013
    ...266 S.E.2d at 422. The defendant argued that the State failed to prove that the watch was worth at least fifty dollars. Id. at 624, 266 S.E.2d at 423. This Court agreed: There is evidence that the watch in question was a Helbros gold watch with a broken band given to the victim by his grand......
  • Masters v. Rodgers Development Group, No. 0286
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • March 21, 1984
    ...of a default judgment thereon is without authority of law and therefore reversible error. Mutual Savings & Loan Association v. McKenzie, 274 S.C. 630, 632, 266 S.E.2d 423, 424 (1980). An objection that the complaint does not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action is not waiv......
  • State v. Cox, No. 21227
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 13, 1980
    ...prosecuting witness identifying an undergarment as hers and to the subsequent admission of the garment into evidence. We have carefully[274 S.C. 630] reviewed the transcript and find no error. Because no error appears and no matter of precedent is involved, this exception is disposed of und......
  • Peoples Federal Sav. and Loan Ass'n v. Edwards, No. 0542
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 19, 1985
    ...inferable from the allegations of the pleading to state a good cause of action." Mutual Savings and Loan Association v. McKenzie, 274 S.C. 630, 266 S.E.2d 423, 425 AFFIRMED. BELL and CURETON, JJ., concur. ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • State v. Brown, No. 27231.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • March 13, 2013
    ...266 S.E.2d at 422. The defendant argued that the State failed to prove that the watch was worth at least fifty dollars. Id. at 624, 266 S.E.2d at 423. This Court agreed: There is evidence that the watch in question was a Helbros gold watch with a broken band given to the victim by his grand......
  • Masters v. Rodgers Development Group, No. 0286
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • March 21, 1984
    ...of a default judgment thereon is without authority of law and therefore reversible error. Mutual Savings & Loan Association v. McKenzie, 274 S.C. 630, 632, 266 S.E.2d 423, 424 (1980). An objection that the complaint does not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action is not waiv......
  • State v. Cox, No. 21227
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 13, 1980
    ...prosecuting witness identifying an undergarment as hers and to the subsequent admission of the garment into evidence. We have carefully[274 S.C. 630] reviewed the transcript and find no error. Because no error appears and no matter of precedent is involved, this exception is disposed of und......
  • Peoples Federal Sav. and Loan Ass'n v. Edwards, No. 0542
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 19, 1985
    ...inferable from the allegations of the pleading to state a good cause of action." Mutual Savings and Loan Association v. McKenzie, 274 S.C. 630, 266 S.E.2d 423, 425 AFFIRMED. BELL and CURETON, JJ., concur. ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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