Riddle v. Pitts, 22187

Decision Date17 October 1984
Docket NumberNo. 22187,22187
Citation324 S.E.2d 59,283 S.C. 387
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court
PartiesJ.R. RIDDLE, Respondent, v. C.H. PITTS, D/B/A Pitts Auto Sales, Appellant. . Heard

Clayton Walker, Jr., Columbia, for appellant.

William M. Grant, Jr., of Haynsworth, Perry, Bryant, Marion & Johnstone, Greenville, for respondent.

NESS, Justice:

In this action for fraud in the sale of an automobile, appellant Pitts appeals from a jury verdict of $13,000 actual damages and $3,000 punitive damages which was reduced by the trial judge to $8,000 actual damages and $3,000 punitive damages.

Section 56-15-110 of the 1976 S.C. Code of Laws mandates double recovery of actual damages and permits punitive damages up to three times actual damages for a willful violation. We affirm the $3,000 award of punitive damages but reduce actual damages to $2,000.

Appellant first alleges the trial judge erred in failing to bind respondent to his election of cause of action at the pretrial conference. We disagree.

The parties stipulated that during the pretrial conference a judge other than the trial judge told respondent he would require him to elect. Respondent responded he would probably proceed under breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act.

Appellant made no motion to force respondent to elect as required by Circuit Court Rule 78, and at trial, the judge refused to find the pretrial election binding and allowed respondent to elect at the close of the evidence.

In Griffith v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 189 S.C. 52, 200 S.E. 89 (1938), the trial judge allowed plaintiff to change her theory of the case from breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act to fraud. We held no binding election had been made, especially in light of the fact defendant made no motion to require her to elect and was not prejudiced by the judge's ruling.

Appellant next contends the trial court erred in denying his motion for a directed verdict because the only reasonable inference supported by the evidence was the parties' agreement was reached by mutual mistake. We disagree.

In reviewing a motion for a directed verdict, we must view the evidence in the light most favorable to respondent. If there is more than one reasonable inference a directed verdict is properly denied. King v. North River Insurance Company, 278 S.C. 411, 297 S.E.2d 637 (1982).

Respondent alleges a willful misrepresentation as to the model year. Appellant contends he had no knowledge the automobile was a 1978...

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6 cases
  • Beck v. Clarkson
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • September 13, 1989
    ...of which could support a verdict for the plaintiff, then a motion for a directed verdict or non-suit should be denied. Riddle v. Pitts, 283 S.C. 387, 324 S.E.2d 59 (1984). Before ruling on Clarkson's motion for directed verdict, the trial judge observed that Beck's evidence as to damages wa......
  • Schnellmann v. Roettger
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • May 7, 2007
    ...true and the value he actually received, together with any proximately caused consequential or special damages. E.g., Riddle v. Pitts, 283 S.C. 387, 324 S.E.2d 59 (1984); Byrn v. Walker, 275 S.C. 83, 267 S.E.2d 601 (1980); Reid v. Harbison Dev. Corp., 285 S.C. 557, 330 S.E.2d 532 (Ct.App.19......
  • Tant v. Dan River, Inc., 22575
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • May 6, 1986
    ...party. If the facts are susceptible of more than one reasonable inference, a directed verdict is properly denied. Riddle v. Pitts, 283 S.C. 387, 324 S.E.2d 59 (1984). When there is conflicting testimony on an issue of fact the issue must be submitted to the jury. Hammond v. Cummins Engine C......
  • Holloman v. McAllister
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • February 26, 1986
    ...non-moving party. If more than one reasonable inference can be drawn from the evidence, the motion is properly denied. Riddle v. Pitts, 283 S.C. 387, 324 S.E.2d 59 (1984). In the light most favorable to Holloman, the evidence shows the On the morning of the accident, McAllister, after havin......
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