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Jordan v. Doe

Court of Appeals of South Carolina

December 13, 2017

Willie Jordan, Appellant,
v.
Jane Doe, Respondent. Appellate Case No. 2015-002354

          Heard June 21, 2017

         Appeal From Richland County W. Jeffrey Young, Circuit Court Judge

          Pamela R. Mullis, of Mullis Law Firm, PA, of Columbia, for Appellant.

          Helen F. Hiser and Andrew Luther Richardson, Jr., both of McAngus Goudelock & Courie, LLC, of Columbia, for Respondent.

          LOCKEMY, C.J.

         In this action pursuant to the uninsured motorist statute, Willie Jordan appeals the circuit court's order granting summary judgment to Jane Doe as a result of Jordan's failure to comply with section 38-77-170(3) of the South Carolina Code (2015). We reverse.

         FACTS

         On March 13, 2014, Willie Jordan filed a Jane Doe action claiming he was struck by an unknown driver and suffered injuries as a result of that accident. Jordan claimed he left his job at Owen Steel at 2:30 p.m. on April 1, 2011, to pick up a friend at a local store. Jordan parked his truck and, while walking to the store, made a phone call on his cell phone. Jordan claims a woman in a gray van then backed into him, driving him to the pavement. Jordan stated the woman got out of her van, saw him under the rear bumper, and yelled, "Them damn telephones will get you killed." According to Jordan, the van then left the parking lot quickly.[1]

         Jordan claimed he got up and asked other people in the parking lot which way the van went. Jordan then got back in his truck and drove around the area for approximately 20 minutes looking for the van, but could not find it. After his search, Jordan returned to the scene of the accident.

         Jordan went to one of the businesses in the shopping center to ask the owner if there was video of the driver. The store clerk indicated she had seen the driver and she frequented the store. The clerk also told Jordan the store's surveillance equipment captured an image of the driver. Jordan saw the picture but did not ask for a copy of the video. Jordan did not ask the clerk if she knew the identity of the driver.

         The next morning, Jordan woke up in pain and went to the emergency room for treatment. A nurse told Jordan he was going to call the police to report the accident. A police report prepared after speaking with Jordan indicates

Mr. Jordan stated the only reason he called law enforcement is because on today when visiting the hospital, hospital employees told him to do so. Mr. Jordan did not want law enforcement to be involved. Mr. Jordan stated that he did not want to prosecute. Mr. Jordan stated that he did not know if it was intentional or unintentional . . . . Mr. Jordan stated there was a video camera at the incident location.

         The police report also indicated officers spoke with the manager of the store the driver frequented. Officers took a picture of the driver from the store's video camera "for investigative purposes." An additional narrative attached to the police report indicates "Mr. Jordan will prosecute."

         Jane Doe filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging Jordan failed to comply with section 38-77-170 of the South Carolina Code, and Doe was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. During the motion hearing Doe asserted Jordan was negligent in failing to determine who the driver was and failed to produce an affidavit by an accident witness until four years after the accident. After the hearing, the circuit court issued an order granting Doe's motion ...


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