Proctor & Schwartz, Inc. v. Rollins

Decision Date13 November 1980
Docket NumberNo. 79-1876,79-1876
Citation634 F.2d 738
PartiesPROCTOR & SCHWARTZ, INC. and SCM Corporation, Appellants, v. C. F. ROLLINS, Appellee.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit

John P. Linton, Charleston, S. C. (Sinkler, Gibbs & Simons, Charleston, S. C., on brief) and Samuel P. Pierce, Jr., Atlanta, Ga. (Warner S. Currie, Swift, Currie, McGhee & Hiers, Atlanta, Ga., on brief), for appellants.

John E. Parker, Ridgeland, S. C. (Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick, Ridgeland, S. C., on brief), for appellee.

Before HAYNSWORTH, Chief Judge, and BUTZNER and SPROUSE, Circuit Judges.

HAYNSWORTH, Chief Judge:

By permission of this court, Proctor & Schwartz, Inc. and SCM Corporation prosecute this interlocutory § 1292(b) appeal of the denial of their motions to dismiss. Among the grounds asserted for reversal, they argue that South Carolina's "door-closing" statute, S.C.Code § 15-5-150, deprived the district court of jurisdiction. We agree.

In 1972, Rollins was injured in an accident involving a machine manufactured by Proctor & Schwartz. Rollins resides in, was injured in, and recovered workmen's compensation in Georgia. The allegedly defective machine was manufactured in Pennsylvania. Proctor & Schwartz, a Pennsylvania corporation, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SCM, a New York corporation.

Five years after the accident, Rollins sued the two foreign corporations in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. South Carolina's relatively long six-year statute of limitations, rather than any nexus with the facts giving rise to this cause of action, dictated Rollins' choice of forum. By 1977 the Georgia limitations period had long since run.

Section 15-5-150 opens the South Carolina state courts to two types of suits against foreign corporations: (1) by any resident for any cause of action; and (2) by a nonresident for any cause of action that arose within South Carolina. By implication, and by interpretation of the South Carolina Supreme Court, 1 the statute closes the doors of South Carolina's courts for suits, as the present one, involving a foreign cause of action brought by a foreign plaintiff against a foreign corporation.

In Szantay v. Beech Aircraft Corporation, 349 F.2d 60 (4th Cir. 1965), this court held that a South Carolina federal court exercising diversity jurisdiction must apply § 15-5-150 "unless there are affirmative countervailing federal considerations." Id. at 64. In refusing to apply the "door-closing" statute in Szantay, this court noted several countervailing federal considerations: (1) the purpose in the grant of diversity jurisdiction of avoiding discrimination against nonresidents; (2) the policy of encouraging a state to enforce the laws of its sister states; and (3) the fact that South Carolina was the only state in the country in which the two defendants could be joined.

Of the three countervailing federal considerations noted in Szantay, the third was the most crucial. This court recognized as much in Bumgarder v. Keene Corporation, 593 F.2d 572 (4th Cir. 1979). In that case the plaintiff was a resident of North Carolina, where the injury occurred. The defendants were foreign corporations. Refusing to apply the Szantay analysis "(b)ecause there was an alternate forum to the South Carolina court where Bumgarder could gain full...

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36 cases
  • Snyder v. Hampton Industries, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Maryland
    • July 31, 1981
    ...F.Supp. 895, 903-07 (D.Md.1980); Rollins v. Proctor & Schwartz, 478 F.Supp. 1137, 1143-47 (D.S.C. 1979), rev'd on other grounds, 634 F.2d 738 (4th Cir. 1980); Roorda v. Volkswagenwerk, A. G., 481 F.Supp. 868, 875-79 (D.S.C.1979); Fieldcrest Mills, Inc. v. Mohasco Corp., 442 F.Supp. 424, 428......
  • Witbeck v. Bill Cody's Ranch Inn
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • August 24, 1987
    ...F.2d 656, 663 (C.A.8, 1954); Rollins v. Proctor & Schwartz, 478 F.Supp. 1137, 1139-1140, n 2 (D SC, 1979), rev'd on other grounds 634 F.2d 738 (C.A.4, 1980). Only then can it be said that the nonresident had notice of potential liability that might arise from its contacts with the forum "Th......
  • Tuttle Dozer Works, Inc. v. Gyro-Trac (Usa), Inc., No. C/A2:06CV02182DCN.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Carolina
    • November 20, 2006
    ...federal interests preclude its application. See, e.g., Cent. Wesleyan Coll., 6 F.3d at 186 n. 3; Proctor & Schwartz, Inc. v. Rollins, 634 F.2d 738, 739 (4th Cir.1980); Bumgarder v. Keene Corp., 593 F.2d 572, 573 (4th Cir.1979) (per curiam); Szantay v. Beech Aircraft Corp., 349 F.2d 60, 63-6......
  • Collins v. RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Carolina
    • September 14, 1995
    ...override the application of the statute. Szantay v. Beech Aircraft Corporation, 349 F.2d 60 (4th Cir.1965); Proctor and Schwartz, Inc. v. Rollins, 634 F.2d 738 (4th Cir.1980); Bumgarder v. Keene Corp., 593 F.2d 572 (4th Cir.1979). There are no "affirmative countervailing federal considerati......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Beyond the Bar
    • United States
    • South Carolina Bar South Carolina Lawyer No. 33-4, January 2022
    • Invalid date
    ...does not constitute a countervailing consideration favoring the exercise of federal jurisdiction." Proctor & Schwartz, Inc. v. Rollins, 634 F.2d 738, 740 (4th Cir. 1980). See also Boisvert v. Techtronic Indus. N. Am., Inc., 56 F. Supp. 3d 750 (D.S.C. 2014) ("Szantay has been almost complete......

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