Carolina Convenience Stores, Inc., Harry Lancaster, Jr.asPower of Attorney for Harry Lancaster, Sr. and WillardOil Company, Inc., Petitioners,
City of Spartanburg, Respondent. Appellate No. 2012-212473
June 25, 2014
OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS
from Spartanburg County E. C. Burnett, III, Special Circuit
Court Judge, Roger L. Couch, Circuit Court Judge
Charles J. Hodge and Timothy Ryan Langley, both of Hodge
& Langley Law Firm, P.C., of Spartanburg, for
Leon Morrison, of Morrison Law Firm, L.L.C., of Columbia, for
PLEICONES CHIEF JUSTICE
Convenience Stores, Inc., Harry Lancaster, Jr., and Willard
Oil Company, Inc., (collectively, Petitioners) brought claims
for inverse condemnation and negligence against the City of
Spartanburg (the City) for damages to Petitioners'
convenience store caused by the City's police department
during its handling of a hostage situation. The circuit court
granted the City's summary judgment motion as to the
inverse condemnation claim, but denied it as to the
negligence claim. The jury returned a verdict in the
City's favor as to Petitioners' negligence claim.
Petitioners appealed only the inverse condemnation ruling.
The court of appeals affirmed, finding the circuit court
properly granted summary judgment as to the inverse
condemnation claim. Carolina Convenience Stores, Inc. v.
City of Spartanburg, 398 S.C. 27, 727 S.E.2d 28 (Ct.
App. 2012). We granted Petitioners' request for a writ of
certiorari and now affirm the court of appeals' decision
Johnson fled from police after being stopped for having an
expired vehicle license. Johnson, who was armed, entered
Carolina Convenience Store in Spartanburg, where he took
Saroj Patel hostage. The City's police department
negotiated with Johnson in an effort to encourage Johnson to
surrender. After the negotiations were unsuccessful, the
police department cut off the power to the convenience store
and introduced tear gas and pepper spray into the
building's ventilation system in another vain attempt to
these attempts to secure Johnson's surrender, the
City's police department was unable to determine,
visually or otherwise, Patel and Johnson's location
within the convenience store. After a twelve hour standoff,
the police decided to breach the building with a bulldozer,
which resulted in severe physical damage to the property.
Given the substantial damage to the store, Petitioners were
later asked by the City to tear it down as it did not comply
with ordinances regarding vacant commercial buildings in its
damaged state. After Petitioners refused, the City demolished
inverse condemnation action was based on the police
department's actions during the hostage situation, not
the City's later decision to demolish the building.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is proper when there is no genuine issue of material
fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law." Lanham v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield
of S.C., Inc., 349 S.C. 356, 361, 563 S.E.2d 331, 333
South Carolina Constitution provides that, "private
property shall not be taken . . . for public use without just
compensation being first made for the property." Art. I,
§ 13(A). Inverse condemnation occurs when a government
agency takes private property without formally exercising its
power of eminent domain. Carolina Chloride, Inc. v. S.C
Dep't. of Transp.,391 S.C. 429, 706 S.E.2d 501
(2011). Inverse condemnation may result either from the
government's physical appropriation of private property
or from ...