February 12, 2019
From Sumter County R. Ferrell Cothran, Jr., Circuit Court
William R. Padget and Francis M. Hinson, IV, of Finkel Law
Firm, LLC, of Columbia, for Appellant.
Cornwell Holler, of Lee, Erter, Wilson, Holler & Smith,
LLC, of Sumter, for Respondent.
premises liability action resulting from injuries suffered by
Dr. Win Myat while working at Tuomey Regional Medical Center
(Hospital), Myat appeals, arguing the trial court erred in
(1) permitting Hospital to amend its answer to assert a new
affirmative defense; (2) allowing Hospital to reopen its case
and offer new evidence in support of its charitable
affirmative defense; and (3) concluding Hospital was
qualified to receive the protections of the South Carolina
Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act (the Act). We affirm.
6, 2011, Myat fell while walking through Hospital as a result
of liquid on the floor. Myat suffered a broken patella and
torn tendon. Myat was employed by Hospital as the Medical
Director of Infectious Disease and also worked at Hospital as
a physician for his private medical practice. Myat claimed
his injuries left him with severe pain, which rendered him
unable to continue his medical practice.
filed a personal injury action against Hospital on October
15, 2012. Myat amended his complaint on November 5, 2012.
Hospital filed its answer on January 16, 2013. On August 21,
2015, Hospital moved to amend its answer to assert the
protections of the Act. Myat's initial and amended
complaints asserted, and Hospital's answer conceded, that
Hospital was an eleemosynary corporation. On August 24,
2015, the trial court granted Hospital's motion to amend
its answer to assert the Act as a defense.
case was tried before a jury August 31 to September 2, 2015.
At the close of Hospital's case, Myat moved for a
directed verdict on Hospital's failure to offer evidence
of its Section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States
tax status and the application of the Act's limitation on
liability. Hospital moved to reopen its case and
requested the court take judicial notice of its 501(c)(3) tax
status and the Act's charitable cap. Hospital also
offered to present evidence of its tax status. The court took
the issue under advisement and continued with the
presentation of evidence and testimony to the jury. The
parties agreed Hospital's tax status and the application
of the Act were not questions of fact for the jury.
to receiving the jury's verdict, the trial court granted
Hospital's motion to Act. The court also allowed Myat to
conduct discovery prior to a hearing on Hospital's tax
status and the Act. The jury returned a verdict for $2.5
million in actual damages for Myat.
March 8, 2016, the trial court held a hearing on
Hospital's tax status and the application of the Act. On
April 7, 2016, the court filed its order reducing the verdict
to $300, 000 pursuant to the Act's liability cap,
entering judgment, and denying Myat's outstanding
motions. This appeal follows.
Motion to Amend
argues the trial court erred in permitting Hospital to amend
its answer to assert a new affirmative ...