Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Charleston Electrical Services, Inc. v. Rahall

Court of Appeals of South Carolina

January 16, 2019

Charleston Electrical Services, Inc., and Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina, as Subrogee of Charleston Electrical Services, Inc., Appellants,
v.
Wanda G. Rahall, Respondent. Appellate Case No. 2016-001842

          Heard December 5, 2018

          Appeal From Charleston County Mikell R. Scarborough, Master-in-Equity

          Andrew F. Lindemann, of Lindemann, Davis & Hughes, PA, of Columbia, for Appellants.

          Edward K. Pritchard, III, and Elizabeth Fraysure Fulton, both of Pritchard Law Group LLC, of Charleston, for Respondent.

          OPINION

          LOCKEMY, C.J.

         In this action for contribution, Charleston Electrical Services, Inc. (CES) and its insurance carrier, Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina (Selective), appeal the master-in-equity's order granting judgment in favor of Wanda Rahall. We affirm.

         FACTS/PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On August 20, 2010, Elsie Rabon and her daughter, Wanda Rahall, visited Rahall's fiancé, George Kornahrens, at 60 Romney Street (the Property) in Charleston, South Carolina. The Property was owned by Kornahrens and leased to CES. During her visit, Rabon went into the yard looking for Kornahrens and was knocked to the ground by CES's "overly friendly" German shepherd guard dog, Gunner. Rabon was transported to the hospital and diagnosed with a broken hip.

         Kornahrens was CES's business manager. Although Kornahrens owned the Property, he had no ownership interest in CES[1]. The Property, which is fenced in its entirety, consists of two buildings and a large yard used for storing CES's trucks and equipment. Kornahrens lived in an apartment (the Apartment) in one of the buildings on the Property. Gunner was owned by CES and kept in the yard. Rahall and Kornahrens were both aware that Gunner had previously jumped on visitors.

         At the time of Rabon's injury, Rahall and Kornahrens had been involved in a romantic relationship for five years and had been engaged for four years. Rahall owned a home in Myrtle Beach and Rabon lived in a senior living apartment complex in Myrtle Beach. Rahall stayed in the Apartment when she was in Charleston, and Kornahrens stayed at Rahall's home when he was in Myrtle Beach. According to Rahall, she lived with Kornahrens "all the time" during 2010 and "70 percent of the time since 2008." Rahall had a key to the Apartment and kept personal items in the Apartment, but she did not pay rent or utilities. Rahall was not an agent or employee of CES and never had any ownership interest in CES or the Property. Kornahrens periodically invited Rabon to stay at the Apartment.

         On December 31, 2010, Rabon filed suit against CES alleging negligence and strict liability. In turn, CES filed a third-party indemnification action against Rahall and Kornahrens. Rabon and CES settled the underlying action for $200, 000 in exchange for which Rabon released CES, Rahall, and Kornahrens from liability. Thereafter, the action was dismissed with prejudice as to Rabon's claim and without prejudice as to CES's claims against Rahall and Kornahrens.

         On July 3, 2013, CES and its insurance carrier, Selective, filed suit against Rahall seeking to recover half of the settlement proceeds paid to Rabon. The suit was referred to the master-in-equity for trial. On August 2, 2016, the master ruled Rahall did not owe a duty of care to Rabon; thus, Rahall was not liable under either a premises liability theory or the special relationship exception. CES and Selective (collectively, Appellants) appeal.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         An action for contribution lies in equity. RIM Assocs. v. Blackwell, 359 S.C. 170, 178-79 n. 3, 597 S.E.2d 152, 157 n. 3 (Ct. App. 2004). In an action in equity, tried by a master without a jury, an appellate court may view the evidence to determine facts in accordance with its own view of the preponderance of the evidence. Tiger, Inc. v. Fisher Agro, Inc., 301 S.C. 229, 237, 391 S.E.2d 538, 543 (1989). This broad scope of review does not require the appellate court to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.