United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division
Phillip Wade GRIMES, Personal Representative of the Estate of O.G., Plaintiff,
YOUNG LIFE, INC., Inner Quest, Inc., and Adventure Experiences, Inc., Defendants.
T. Smith, Christina M. Bradford, Law Offices of Brian T.
Smith, Greenville, SC, Lee Delton Gunn, IV, Ryan A. Lopez,
Gunn Law Group PA, Tampa, FL, for Plaintiff.
Charles Rogers, Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP, W. Howard Boyd,
Jr., Gallivan White and Boyd, Greenville, SC, for Defendants.
OPINION & ORDER
M. HERLONG, JR., SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on Defendant Inner Quest,
Inc.'s ("Inner Quest") motion to reconsider the
court's February 17, 2017 order, which the court
construes as a motion to alter or amend the judgment pursuant
to Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. After
consideration, the court denies Inner Quest's motion.
motion to alter or amend the judgment under Rule 59(e) may be
made on three grounds: "(1) to accommodate an
intervening change in controlling law; (2) to account for new
evidence not available at trial; or (3) to correct a clear
error of law or prevent manifest injustice."
Hutchinson v. Staton, 994 F.2d 1076, 1081 (4th Cir.
1993). "Rule 59(e) motions may not be used, however, to
raise arguments which could have been raised prior to the
issuance of the judgment...." Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am.
Nat'l Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir.
1998). "In general reconsideration of a judgment after
its entry is an extraordinary remedy which should be used
sparingly." Id. (internal citation and
quotation marks omitted).
Quest realleges a number of arguments that the court fully
considered in its February 17, 2017 order. However, Inner
Quest argues that the court made a clear error of law by
failing to consider its argument that (1) the proper test
under South Carolina's common law choice of law rules is
the most significant relationship test, and (2) a genuine
issue of material fact exists as to whether the contract
between Inner Quest and Young
Life, Inc. was a contract for services or
the sale of goods. (Rule 59(e) Mot. 3-4, ECF No. 128.)
Quest argues that the court should have applied the most
significant relationship test, as defined by the Restatement
(Second) of Conflict of Laws § 146, rather than lex loci
contractus to determine which state's law applies for
choice of law. (Id., ECF No. 128.) However, courts
interpreting South Carolina choice of law rules have
repeatedly held that the proper test for contractual
interpretation is lex loci contractus. See
Gourdine v. Karl Storz Endoscopy-America, Inc., Civil
Action No. 2:14-4838-RMG, 2016 WL 5219636, at *10
(D.S.C. May 2, 2016); Witt v. Am. Tr. Ass'ns,
Inc., 860 F.Supp. 295, 300 (D.S.C. 1994); Green v.
U.S. Auto. Ass'n Auto & Prop. Ins. Co., 756
S.E.2d 897, 899 (S.C. 2014); Team IA, Inc. v. Lucas,
717 S.E.2d 103, 109 (S.C. Ct.App. 2011); Lister v.
NationsBank of Del., N.A., 494 S.E.2d 449, 455 (S.C.
Ct.App. 1997). Moreover, neither case Inner Quest cited in
its motion for summary judgment supports the proposition that
South Carolina courts would apply the most significant
relationship test in determining choice of law for cases
involving the interpretation of a contract. See
McDaniel v. McDaniel, 133 S.E.2d 809, 813 (S.C.
1963) (determining that South Carolina law allowing
administrator of estate to bring wrongful death action did
not apply in case involving Georgia wrongful death statute);
Menezes v. WL Ross & Co., LLC, 744 S.E.2d 178,
182 n.2 (S.C. 2013) (determining that Delaware law applied to
action for breach of fiduciary duty against a Delaware
corporation). Therefore, the court did not err in finding
that lex loci contractus was the proper test for choice of
law under South Carolina's common law.
Inner Quest's argument that the court failed to consider
its argument that a genuine issue of material fact exists as
to whether it's contract was for the sale of goods or
services is without merit. In the February 17, 2017 order,
the court applied the Fourth Circuit's test for whether a
contract is for services or the sale of goods and found that
two out of the three factors support the finding that Inner
Quest's contract was for services. (Feb. 17, 2017 Order
6-8, ECF No. 114.) The court considered whether there was a
genuine issue of material fact and found that one did not
exist. Based on the foregoing, Inner Quest's Rule 59(e)
motion is denied.
that Inner Quest's motion for reconsideration, docket
number 128, is denied.