Sheppard v. Nienow
|26 March 1970
|Lucy B. SHEPPARD, g.a.l. for Shannon Sheppard, Respondent, v. Art NIENOW and Nienow Plaza, Inc., Appellants.
|South Carolina Supreme Court
Nash & Chappell, Weinberg & Weinberg, Sumter, for appellants.
Bryan, Bahnmuller & King, Sumter, for respondent.
Shannon Sheppard, an infant three years of age, by her mother Lucy B. Sheppard, as Guardian ad litem, the respondent herein, instituted this action against Art Nienow and Nienow Plaza, Inc., the appellants herein, to recover damages for personal injury sustained on or about June 15, 1967, by reason of the alleged negligence and willfulness of the appellants. The injury was sustained on premises in the exclusive possession and control of Lucy B. Sheppard who was a tenant and had rented a trailer belonging to Art Nienow and a trailer lot owned by Nienow Plaza, Inc., such trailer being located on said lot. The mother was returning to her trailer in the nighttime carrying her child, Shannon Sheppard, in her arms and while approaching the said trailer in which she lived, tripped over a metal stake causing her to fall and resulting in injury to her child. The said Lucy B. Sheppard had been living in the trailer since May 10, 1967.
It is alleged in the complaint that there were light posts located at the entrance to the trailer park and such were at or near the trailer of Lucy B. Sheppard, and she agreed to pay for the electricity to be used for the lights located on said posts in exchange for gas to be used by her in the trailer and such gas was to be furnished and paid for by Nienow Plaza, Inc. She also alleged that the lights at the entrance to the trailer park were burned out and such were not replaced even though she had requested same and the appellants had agreed thereto. She further asserts that there were metal stakes in the yard of the trailer and the appellants failed to remove same after agreeing to her request for the removal of same.
It is then alleged that the injury to her child was caused and occasioned by the negligence and willfulness of the appellants in failing to keep the area properly lighted, failing to replace the burned out lights at the entrance to the trailer park, and failing to remove the metal stakes in the trailer yard even though the appellants had agreed so to do by reason of her request.
The appellants, by answers, set up several defenses and, by such, denied any liability to the respondent.
This case came on for trial at the 1969 April Term of the Court of Common Pleas for Sumter County, before The Honorable E. Harry Agnew, Presiding Judge, and a jury, and resulted in a verdict in favor of the respondent for actual and punitive damages.
At appropriate stages of the trial, the appellants made motions for a nonsuit and directed verdict in their favor and after verdict for judgment Non obstante veredicto upon the ground, Inter alia, that the relationship of landlord and tenant imposed no legal duty on the landlord to keep the leased premises in repair, and even where there was a valid contract to repair, failure to comply therewith gives rise to a cause of action for breach of contract, under which damages are not recoverable for personal injury sustained by reason of the defective condition of the rented premises and the failure of the landlord to keep the premises in repair. These motions were refused and this appeal followed.
Lucy B. Sheppard, along with her two children, had lived in and occupied a trailer owned by Art Nienow and located in Nienow Plaza from May 10, 1967, to June 15, 1967, the day of the injury to her child.
The lights at the entrance to the trailer...
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