South Carolina State Highway Dept. v. Booker, No. 19586

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
Citation195 S.E.2d 615,260 S.C. 245
PartiesSOUTH CAROLINA STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT, Appellant, v. J. Marshall BOOKER, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 19586
Decision Date15 March 1973

Page 615

195 S.E.2d 615
260 S.C. 245
SOUTH CAROLINA STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT, Appellant,
v.
J. Marshall BOOKER, Respondent.
No. 19586.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
March 15, 1973.

[260 S.C. 247]

Page 617

Atty. Gen. Daniel R. McLeod, Asst. Attys. Gen. Ellison D. Smith, IV, and Randall T. Bell, Columbia, J. N. Malphrus, Ridgeland, and Bogoslow & Goolsby, Walterboro, for appellant.

[260 S.C. 248] Dowling, Dowling, Sanders & Dukes, Beaufort, for respondent.

[260 S.C. 249] PER CURIAM:

We are of the opinion that the order of the Honorable William L. Rhodes, Jr., Trial Judge, properly sets forth and disposes all the issues submitted to this Court on appeal.

Let the order of Judge Rhodes be printed as the directive of this Court.

[260 S.C. 250] ORDER OF JUDGE RHODES

On April 28, 1972, the South Carolina State Highway Department served notice on the Condemnee of its taking of 16.89 acres of land owned by the Condemnee in Jasper County, South Carolina, for use as a Welcome Center. On May 16, 1972, the Board of Commissioners met and found the amount of just compensation, which was later tendered to the Condemnee by check. Within the Statutory time Condemnee appealed bringing the matter into this Court on a trial De novo.

Both the Condemnor and the Condemnee served Interrogatories and started discovery proceedings under the rules provided therefor in this State.

On August 4, 1972, the Condemnee took the oral deposition of Mr. S. O. Holstein, Chief of the Right-of-Way Division of the South Carolina State Highway Department. During that deposition Mr. Holstein refused, on advice of counsel, to produce for inspection certain sketches, maps, pictures, Et cetera enumerated in Condemnor's Answers to Interrogatories on the ground that they were contained in appraisal reports which were privileged. A timely motion was served by Condemnee seeking an Order of this Court requiring the Condemnor to produce said items for inspection.

The Condemnee has served notice on Condemnor's attorneys of his intention to take the oral deposition of Condemnor's expert witnesses. Condemnor has notified Condemnee's attorneys that its expert witnesses will be instructed not to answer

Page 618

questions concerning methods used or work done by the witnesses, or any other questions in regard to land evaluations found by the witnesses, on the grounds that the same are privileged and not discoverable. Condemnee has moved this Court for an Order requiring such expert witnesses to testify on oral depositions, the full and complete truth in response to the questions of Condemnee's attorneys in relation to any appraisal work and [260 S.C. 251] property evaluations they may have determined in connection with the property which is the subject of this action.

In addition, Condemnor has moved this Court for an Order limiting the scope of examination of the expert witnesses on the grounds that any appraisal reports that have been or are to be prepared by any of them are privileged documents, and, as privileged documents, neither they nor any of their contents are subject to disclosure within the scope of an oral examination conducted pursuant to Rule 87 of the Circuit Court Rules.

The issues presented by the Motions, and to be decided by this Court, are as follows:

(1) Are sketches, maps, photographs, Et cetera prepared by an expert witness and/or others and used by an expert witness in his investigation into fair market value of a landowner's property, and later contained in his report delivered to the South Carolina State Highway Department, privileged and undiscoverable so as to not be obtainable for inspection by Condemnee under Rule 88 of the Rules of Practice for the Circuit Courts of South Carolina; and

(2) Are appraisal reports and/or their contents prepared by expert real estate appraisers employed by the South Carolina State Highway Department and/or its attorneys privileged information and exempt from discovery on oral examination pursuant to Rule 87 of the Rules of Practice for the Circuit Courts of South Carolina; and

(3) Can Condemnee, during an oral deposition taken pursuant to said Rule 87, question Condemnor's expert real estate appraisers concerning their knowledge of the subject property; their method of appraising the subject property; the comparable sales they considered; their opinions and conclusions of value; and whether they found benefits or severance damages, and if so, to what extent?

The exact questions presented appear to be ones of first impression in the State of South Carolina. The Discovery [260 S.C. 252] Rules, Rules 43, 87, 88, 89 and 90 became effective on June 1, 1969, except for Rule 90, which became effective on January 1, 1972.

South Carolina, effective January 1, 1972, first adopted Rule 90 for Interrogatories. The Interrogatories permitted are of a limited nature and allow discovery only of the names and addresses of witnesses, a list of photographs, maps, sketches, and other prepared documents, the names and addresses of insurance companies for liability insurance coverage, and a statement of damages. Rule 90 can be used in any civil action; but Rule 87 can be used only in cases where the amount in controversy is over Ten Thousand ($10,000.00) Dollars, unless otherwise determined by agreement of counsel or by a Court Order.

The case of Hodge v. Myers, 255 S.C. 542, 180 S.E.2d 203 (1971), is the only reported case yet considered by the Supreme Court of South Carolina involving these discovery rules.

The Hodge case turns on the interpretation of Rule 43, the Pre-Trial Conference Rule. In the then absence of Rule 90 concerning Interrogatories, the Trial Judge had ordered both Plaintiff and Defendant, during the pre-trial conference, to provide the other with a list of the names and addresses

Page 619

of all persons known or reasonably believed to have knowledge or information concerning the matter at hand. On appeal by one of the parties, the Supreme Court of South Carolina unanimously affirmed the action of the Trial Judge and in the decision stated in part:

'Our State Court rules do not provide for interrogatories, but the entire thrust of these rules is for full and fair disclosure to prevent a trial from becoming a guessing game or one of surprise for either party.' Hodge at 205.

The Supreme Court in its opinion further stated:

'Since dockets must be kept current largely by settlements, litigants and attorneys should be allowed liberal discovery.[260 S.C. 253] . . . Such would, of course, increase the likelihood of fair trial.' Hodge at 206.

During argument on Question (1), Condemnor's attorneys took the position that no 'good cause,' as required by Rule 88, had been shown by the Condemnee for the production of certain maps, sketches, pictures, Et cetera enumerated by Condemnor in its Answer to Condemnee's Interrogatories.

The documents sought are contained in appraisal reports previously delivered to the South Carolina State Highway Department and used by them in their process of evaluating and condemning the Condemnee's property. There can be no question about the relevancy of such documents. They all involve the Condemnee's property and the Condemnor's ultimate...

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25 practice notes
  • Floyd v. Floyd, No. 3997.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • June 13, 2005
    ...The privilege belongs to the client and, unless waived by him, survives even his death. South Carolina State Highway Department v. Booker, 260 S.C. 245, 195 S.E.2d 615 (1973). Generally, the party asserting the privilege must raise it. State v. Love, [275] S.C. [55], 271 S.E.2d 110 Many jur......
  • In re Miller, No. 303PA02.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • August 22, 2003
    ...Sheldon, 172 Ohio St. 118, 173 N.E.2d 892 (1961); Curato v. Brain, 715 A.2d 631 (R.I. 1998); South Carolina State Highway Dep't v. Booker, 260 S.C. 245, 195 S.E.2d 615 (1973); see also 1 John W. Strong, McCormick on Evidence § 94, at 378 (Kenneth S. Broun et al. eds., 5th ed.1999) [hereinaf......
  • Fields v. REGIONAL MED. CENTER ORANGEBURG, No. 3623.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 14, 2003
    ...interrogatories is to promote full and fair disclosure to prevent surprise to either party. South Carolina State Highway Dep't v. Booker, 260 S.C. 245, 252, 195 S.E.2d 615, 619 (1973); see also Reed v. Clark, 277 S.C. 310, 316, 286 S.E.2d 384, 388 (1982) ("Disclosure of information between ......
  • State Highway Com'n of Mississippi v. Havard, No. 56512
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • May 27, 1987
    ...817 (Tex.1974); State Ex Rel. Dept. of Transportation v. Harvey, 680 S.W.2d 792 (Tenn.1984); South Carolina State Highway Dept. v. Booker, 260 S.C. 245, 195 S.E.2d 615, 622 It is highly significant--indeed, outcome determinative--that MSHC sought to proceed under the rule for discovery rega......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
26 cases
  • Floyd v. Floyd, No. 3997.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • June 13, 2005
    ...The privilege belongs to the client and, unless waived by him, survives even his death. South Carolina State Highway Department v. Booker, 260 S.C. 245, 195 S.E.2d 615 (1973). Generally, the party asserting the privilege must raise it. State v. Love, [275] S.C. [55], 271 S.E.2d 110 Many jur......
  • In re Miller, No. 303PA02.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • August 22, 2003
    ...Sheldon, 172 Ohio St. 118, 173 N.E.2d 892 (1961); Curato v. Brain, 715 A.2d 631 (R.I. 1998); South Carolina State Highway Dep't v. Booker, 260 S.C. 245, 195 S.E.2d 615 (1973); see also 1 John W. Strong, McCormick on Evidence § 94, at 378 (Kenneth S. Broun et al. eds., 5th ed.1999) [hereinaf......
  • Planned Parenthood S. Atl. v. State, 28127
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • January 5, 2023
    ...his office according to the usual course of practice or discipline of his church or religious body"); S.C. State Highway Dep't v. Booker, 260 S.C. 245, 254, 195 S.E.2d 615, 619 (1973) ("South Carolina recognizes privilege in civil matters in . . . husband-wife relations, and priest-penitent......
  • Fields v. REGIONAL MED. CENTER ORANGEBURG, No. 3623.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 14, 2003
    ...interrogatories is to promote full and fair disclosure to prevent surprise to either party. South Carolina State Highway Dep't v. Booker, 260 S.C. 245, 252, 195 S.E.2d 615, 619 (1973); see also Reed v. Clark, 277 S.C. 310, 316, 286 S.E.2d 384, 388 (1982) ("Disclosure of information between ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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