Williams Carpet Contractors, Inc. v. Skelly, No. 5040.

CourtSouth Carolina Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtKONDUROS
Citation400 S.C. 320,734 S.E.2d 177
PartiesWILLIAMS CARPET CONTRACTORS, INC., Appellant, v. Mark SKELLY, Respondent.
Decision Date24 October 2012
Docket NumberNo. 5040.

400 S.C. 320
734 S.E.2d 177

WILLIAMS CARPET CONTRACTORS, INC., Appellant,
v.
Mark SKELLY, Respondent.

No. 5040.

Court of Appeals of South Carolina.

Heard June 7, 2012.
Decided Oct. 24, 2012.


[734 S.E.2d 178]


Henrietta U. Golding and James K. Gilliam, of Myrtle Beach, for Appellant.

G. Michael Smith, of Conway, for Respondent.


KONDUROS, J.

[400 S.C. 322]Williams Carpet Contractors, Inc. appeals the circuit court's granting of Mark Skelly's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV). Williams Carpet argues the court improperly weighed the evidence in making its determination. We reverse.

FACTS/PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Williams Carpet provides and installs floor coverings, including carpet, tile, and hardwood floors, in the Myrtle Beach area. Skelly is a builder and developer in Horry County. Around 1982, Williams Carpet and Skelly began doing business together. Over the years, Williams Carpet provided materials to projects Skelly developed and built through various corporations. Williams Carpet dealt directly with Skelly for those projects, and Skelly paid each time. The parties [400 S.C. 323]never entered into a written contract but had oral agreements sealed with a handshake.

In 2003, M.S. Industries acquired a parcel of property known as Green Haven on which to develop and build condominiums. Skelly was the president of M.S. Industries, and he and John L. Martini, Jr. were shareholders.

[734 S.E.2d 179]

Skelly selected carpet and tile from Williams Carpet by himself on his initial visit, and he and his wife made the final selections. Skelly negotiated the price and verbally agreed to pay with a handshake for the items. Skelly did not inform Williams Carpet that anyone was involved in building or developing the project other than himself.

Before construction of Green Haven began in 2005, M.S. Industries hired Baldwin Construction Company as the general contractor for the project; it built the first three buildings. M.S. Industries then replaced Baldwin with Rick Ruonala, a former employee of Baldwin, and his new LLC, Ruonala and Company, for the remaining six buildings, all without Williams Carpet's knowledge. On April 18, 2005, Skelly, through M.S. Industries, and Ruonala and Company entered into a contract to construct six buildings at Green Haven for $650,000 per building. Williams Carpet began installing carpet and tile at Green Haven in 2005, and Skelly requested it send all invoices to Ruonala and Company, which alarmed Williams Carpet. Skelly told Williams Carpet “don't worry about it, you bill it and I will pay for it” and “I'll make sure you get paid for it,” and Williams Carpet agreed to send all invoices to Ruonala and Company.

Because Williams Carpet had not been paid after it installed carpet and tile in five of the six buildings, it informed Skelly it would not do any of the remaining work until it was paid and threatened to file a mechanic's lien if it did not receive payment. Skelly asked it to refrain from filing a mechanic's lien and promised it would receive full payment once it completed the job. Skelly requested Williams Carpet send all invoices directly to him, and it completed the final building. Skelly, through M.S. Industries, paid Williams Carpet $45,272.33 and Williams Carpet received a total of $78,781.52 with a balance of $188,851.40 remaining. Skelly and Martini [400 S.C. 324]each received one million three thousand dollars for the project.

Williams Carpet brought suit against Ruonala and Company, Skelly, and M.S. Industries for breach of contract, quantum meruit, negligent misrepresentation, and violations of the Unfair Trade Practices Act. At trial, just after the selection of the jury, Williams Carpet dismissed its breach of contract claim, without objection. The owners of Williams Carpet testified that it would have never agreed to do business with Ruonala and Company because the owner had no money and had previously worked at Baldwin Construction, which failed to pay Williams Carpet for prior jobs. Beverly Causey, one of the owners of Williams Carpet, testified Skelly asked it not to file a mechanic's lien, requesting “please get this last building done and I will pay you all your money.”

Prior to the case being submitted to the jury, Williams Carpet dismissed M.S. Industries and Ruonala and Company from the suit. At the conclusion of Williams Carpet's case, Skelly moved for a directed verdict on all of the causes of action. The trial court denied the motion as to the quantum meruit and negligent misrepresentation actions and granted the motion as to the Unfair Trade Practices action. The jury found in favor of Skelly on the negligent misrepresentation action and Williams Carpet for the quantum meruit cause of action and awarded it $168,000 in damages. Skelly moved for a JNOV, arguing awarding quantum meruit to Williams Carpet would result in Skelly paying for its products and services twice because M.S. Industries had paid Ruonala and Company the full contract price of $650,000 per building. Williams Carpet argued it had presented evidence M.S. Industries did not pay Ruonala and Company in full.

The trial court gave the parties seven days to submit further research on the matter. The trial court ultimately granted Skelly's JNOV motion, finding, “the evidence proved that [Skelly's] corporation, M.S. Industries, Inc., paid for the value of the materials provided by [Williams Carpet] for the project when it paid in excess of the full construction contract price to Ruonala and Company, LLC.” Williams Carpet filed a motion for reconsideration pursuant to Rules 59 and 60, SCRCP, which the trial court denied. This appeal followed.

[400 S.C. 325]STANDARD OF REVIEW

A motion for JNOV, under Rule 50(b), SCRCP, is a renewal of the directed

[734 S.E.2d 180]

verdict motion. Glover v. N.C. Mut. Life Ins. Co., 295 S.C. 251, 256, 368 S.E.2d 68, 72 (Ct.App.1988). When ruling on a JNOV motion, the trial court is required to view the evidence and the inferences that reasonably can be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Sabb v. S.C. State Univ., 350 S.C. 416, 427, 567 S.E.2d 231, 236 (2002). This court must follow the same standard. Welch v. Epstein, 342 S.C. 279, 299, 536 S.E.2d 408, 418 (Ct.App.2000). “If more than one reasonable inference can be drawn or if the...

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18 practice notes
  • Garrison v. Target Corp., Appellate Case No. 2017-000267
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • January 15, 2020
    ...that reasonably can be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party." Williams Carpet Contractors, Inc. v. Skelly , 400 S.C. 320, 325, 734 S.E.2d 177, 180 (Ct. App. 2012). "This court must follow the same standard." Id. "If more than one reasonable inference can be dra......
  • Jolly v. Gen. Elec. Co., 5858
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 1, 2021
    ...that reasonably can be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party." Williams Carpet Contractors, Inc. v. Skelly, 400 S.C. 320, 325, 734 S.E.2d 177, 180 (Ct. App. 2012). "This court must follow the same standard." Id. "If more than one reasonable inference can be draw......
  • Ashmore v. Dodds, Civil Action No.: 8:15–cv–00561–JMC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • July 5, 2017
    ...Gignilliat v. Gignilliat, Savitz & Bettis, L.L.P., 385 S.C. 452, 684 S.E.2d 756, 764 (2009) ;Williams Carpet Contractors, Inc. v. Skelly, 400 S.C. 320, 734 S.E.2d 177, 180 (S.C. Ct. App. 2012) ; QHG of Lake City, Inc. v. McCutcheon, 360 S.C. 196, 600 S.E.2d 105, 108 (S.C. Ct. App. 2004).9 B......
  • Jolly v. Gen. Elec. Co., Appellate Case No. 2017-002611
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 1, 2021
    ...can be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party." 869 S.E.2d 828 Williams Carpet Contractors, Inc. v. Skelly , 400 S.C. 320, 325, 734 S.E.2d 177, 180 (Ct. App. 2012). "This court must follow the same standard." Id. "If more than one reasonable inference can be draw......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • Garrison v. Target Corp., Appellate Case No. 2017-000267
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • January 15, 2020
    ...that reasonably can be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party." Williams Carpet Contractors, Inc. v. Skelly , 400 S.C. 320, 325, 734 S.E.2d 177, 180 (Ct. App. 2012). "This court must follow the same standard." Id. "If more than one reasonable inference can be dra......
  • Jolly v. Gen. Elec. Co., 5858
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 1, 2021
    ...that reasonably can be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party." Williams Carpet Contractors, Inc. v. Skelly, 400 S.C. 320, 325, 734 S.E.2d 177, 180 (Ct. App. 2012). "This court must follow the same standard." Id. "If more than one reasonable inference can be draw......
  • Ashmore v. Dodds, Civil Action No.: 8:15–cv–00561–JMC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • July 5, 2017
    ...Gignilliat v. Gignilliat, Savitz & Bettis, L.L.P., 385 S.C. 452, 684 S.E.2d 756, 764 (2009) ;Williams Carpet Contractors, Inc. v. Skelly, 400 S.C. 320, 734 S.E.2d 177, 180 (S.C. Ct. App. 2012) ; QHG of Lake City, Inc. v. McCutcheon, 360 S.C. 196, 600 S.E.2d 105, 108 (S.C. Ct. App. 2004).9 B......
  • Jolly v. Gen. Elec. Co., Appellate Case No. 2017-002611
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 1, 2021
    ...can be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party." 869 S.E.2d 828 Williams Carpet Contractors, Inc. v. Skelly , 400 S.C. 320, 325, 734 S.E.2d 177, 180 (Ct. App. 2012). "This court must follow the same standard." Id. "If more than one reasonable inference can be draw......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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