Singh v. City of Greenville, Unpublished Opinion No. 2012-UP-227

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
PartiesAmrik Singh and SBPS, Inc. d/b/a Travel Inn, Respondents, v. City of Greenville, Appellant.
Docket NumberUnpublished Opinion No. 2012-UP-227
Decision Date18 April 2012

Amrik Singh and SBPS, Inc. d/b/a Travel Inn, Respondents,
City of Greenville, Appellant.

Unpublished Opinion No. 2012-UP-227


Heard: March 15, 2012
Filed: April 18, 2012


Appeal From Greenville County
Edward W. Miller, Circuit Court Judge


Ronald W. McKinney, of Greenville, for Appellant.

James Walter Fayssoux, Jr., and Ryan Lewis Beasley, both of Greenville, for Respondents.

PER CURIAM: The City of Greenville (the City) appeals from an order of the circuit court reversing the City's revocation of a business license for the operation of Travel Inn at 755 Wade Hampton Boulevard. The circuit court issued its order following a hearing on remand from this court, pursuant to the opinion in Amrik Singh & SBPS, Inc. v. City of Greenville (Singh I), 384 S.C. 365, 681 S.E.2d 921 (Ct. App. 2009). In Singh I, this court directed the circuit court to review all police response calls to Travel Inn, from April 2004 through March 2007, to determine whether the City's decision to revoke Singh's license was arbitrary, unreasonable, or an obvious abuse of discretion. 384 S.C. at 371, 681 S.E.2d at 925. The circuit court did not rule on this issue; instead, it concluded that City Council's directive to the City Manager to determine compliance with certain conditions placed on the license was an unlawful delegation of legislative authority. The circuit court also concluded that the City Manager's subsequent revocation determination was arbitrary. On appeal, the City challenges both of these conclusions, as well as the circuit court's failure to address the merits of City Council's revocation decision. We reverse.

The City first argues that City Council's November 15, 2006 decision to confirm the City Manager's initial revocation, but to allow Singh a probationary period of operation under a Conditional Business License, was reasonable and fair. After the circuit court failed to address this issue on remand pursuant to Singh I, the City filed a motion pursuant to Rule 59(e), SCRCP, requesting a ruling on the issue. However, the circuit court declined to do so. We now address the issue and uphold City Council's decision.

Section 8-43(b)(2) of the Greenville City Code (2004) includes "public nuisance" as one of the grounds for license revocation, provided that the licensee has actual or constructive knowledge of one or more of the activities listed in the ordinance as constituting a public nuisance. Further, section 8-43(b)(2)(b) provides that an "unusually high number of response calls" by law enforcement qualifies as an activity from which a public nuisance arises. In an effort to examine all available information relevant to this standard, the circuit court, on remand from this court, requested the City to supplement the record with data showing the volume and character of calls to all hotels in the City from 2004 to 2006.1 The City submitted the requested data, which included calls from April 1, 2004 through June 16, 2006, the same period covered by the testimony given by Lieutenant Randle Evett of the Greenville Police Department in the administrative proceedings before the City Manager's hearing officer.

While the number of response calls shown in the supplemental data, i.e., 901 calls, was slightly less than the 918 calls previously indicated by Lieutenant Evett, this number nonetheless corroborated Lieutenant Evett's testimony that there was an unusually high volume of calls to the location when compared to other hotels in the City during the period in question. The number of calls made to Travel Inn, 901, was by far the highest in the City.2 The second highest number of calls made to a hotel in the City was 581, and the third highest was 407. Law enforcement made less than 300 calls to each of the other hotels in the City.

The data also indicated 390 of the 901 calls to Travel Inn, over forty percent, were considered by the City to be "serious." Singh points to the numbers of serious calls to four other hotels in the City: 347; 165; 146; and 112, respectively. In our view, it is reasonable to characterize the 390 "serious" calls made to Travel Inn as "an unusually high number." Further, we agree with the City that all of the calls, serious and non-serious, to each hotel potentially diverted law enforcement resources from responding to crimes in progress at other locations in the community. Notably, the language in section 8-43(b)(2)(b) of the Greenville City Code does not differentiate between the types of service calls included in the "unusually high number."

The foregoing data provides strong support for City Council's determination that Travel Inn constituted a public nuisance...

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