Travis A. Roddey, Individually and as the Personal Representative of the Estate of Alice Monique Beckham Hancock, deceased, Appellant,
Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P., U.S. Security Associates, Inc., and Derrick L. Jones, Respondents. Appellate Case No. 2016-002248
February 14, 2018
From Lancaster County G. Thomas Cooper, Jr., Circuit Court
Whitney B. Harrison and Shawn Deery, both of Columbia, and S.
Randall Hood, of Rock Hill, all of McGowan Hood & Felder,
LLC, for Appellant.
Stephanie G. Flynn, of Smith Moore Leatherwood, LLP, and W.
Howard Boyd, Jr., of Gallivan, White & Boyd, PA, both of
Greenville, for Respondents.
appeal presents us with the opportunity to revisit our
decision in Roddey v. Wal-Mart Stores E., LP, 415
S.C. 580, 784 S.E.2d 670 (2016), wherein we reversed and
remanded for a new trial after determining the Court of
Appeals erred in affirming the circuit court's decision
granting Wal-Mart's motion for a directed verdict on the
appellant's negligence action. On remand, the circuit
court, believing the new trial to be limited to the
negligence action, issued an order striking the negligent
hiring, training, supervision, and entrustment action and
barring any evidence in support of the action on the basis of
res judicata. Travis Roddey, individually and as the
personal representative of Alice Hancock's estate,
("Appellant") appealed the order and we certified
the appeal pursuant to Rule 204(b), SCACR. We affirm.
Factual and Procedural History
suspected Alice Hancock's sister, Donna Beckham, of
shoplifting. As Beckham was exiting the store and heading for
Hancock's car, Wal-Mart's employees told Derrick
Jones, an on-duty Wal-Mart security guard employed with U.S.
Security Associates, Inc. ("USSA"), to delay
Beckham from leaving its premises. Beckham, however, got into
Hancock's car and Hancock exited the parking lot and
entered the highway. Jones pursued Hancock onto the highway
in contravention of Wal-Mart's policies after
Wal-Mart's employees repeatedly asked him to obtain
Hancock's license tag. Hancock died in a single-car
accident shortly thereafter.
filed suit against Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, USSA, and Jones
(collectively "Respondents"), alleging negligence
and negligent hiring, training, supervision, and entrustment.
At the conclusion of Appellant's case, Wal-Mart moved for
a directed verdict on both causes of action, submitting: (1)
Appellant failed to present evidence showing Wal-Mart
breached its duty of care; (2) Appellant failed to present
evidence showing Wal-Mart's actions were the proximate
cause of Appellant's injuries; and (3) Hancock was more
than 50% negligent for the injuries in this case. The circuit
court granted Wal-Mart's motion and dismissed it from the
case, concluding "there is insufficient evidence that
Wal-Mart was negligent, or even if they were there is [a]
lack of proximate cause that the events were not
subsequently moved for a directed verdict on the negligent
hiring cause of action. USSA argued the fact that Jones had a
suspended driver's license and a criminal record did not
make it foreseeable that "Jones would engage in a high
speed pursuit down the highway off [Wal-Mart's]
premises." The court denied the motion and both the
negligence action and the negligent hiring action were sent
to the jury.
Appellant's negligence action, the jury found Jones and
USSA 35% negligent and Hancock 65% negligent. On
Appellant's negligent hiring action, the jury found USSA
was negligent for hiring Jones, but determined its negligence
did not proximately cause Appellant's injuries. Appellant
filed a Rule 59, SCRCP motion seeking a new trial based, in
part, on the circuit court's decision to direct a verdict
in favor of Wal-Mart on the negligence cause of action,
arguing he presented enough evidence from which a jury could
find Wal-Mart breached its duty and that its breach
proximately caused the injuries in this case. The circuit
court denied the motion and Appellant appealed to the Court
split decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit
court's ruling granting Wal-Mart's motion for a
directed verdict on the negligence action. Roddey v.
Wal-Mart Stores E., LP, 400 S.C. 59, 732 S.E.2d 635 (Ct.
App. 2012). We granted certiorari to review the Court of
Appeals' decision and reversed in a 3-2 decision.
Roddey v. Wal-Mart Stores E., LP, 415 S.C. 580, 784
S.E.2d 670 (2016). We found "there is evidence from
which a jury could determine that Wal-Mart was negligent, and
that its negligence proximately caused the injuries in this
case." Id. at 589, 784 S.E.2d at 675.
Accordingly, we remanded "for a new trial as to all of
the [Respondents]." Id.
remand, prior to the new trial, Respondents filed a motion to
exclude the negligent hiring action from retrial on the basis
of res judicata. Respondents submitted: (1)
Appellant could not pursue the action against USSA and Jones
because it was tried and decided by a jury during the first
trial and Appellant did not appeal the verdict; and (2)
Appellant could not pursue the action against Wal-Mart
because USSA hired Jones and because Appellant only appealed
the circuit court's grant of Wal-Mart's motion for a
directed verdict on the cause of action for negligence and
not negligent hiring.
circuit court agreed with Respondents and issued an order
striking the negligent hiring cause of action and barring any
evidence concerning that action from retrial. Appellant
appealed the circuit court's ruling to the Court of