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Nelson v. Concrete Supply Company

Supreme Court of South Carolina
Jan 7, 1991
303 S.C. 243 (S.C. 1991)

Summary

determining that comparative negligence is the “more equitable doctrine” and abolishing the “long-standing rule of contributory negligence” with reference to the lengthy discussion in Langley v. Boyter, 284 S.C. 162, 325 S.E.2d 550 (S.C.Ct.App.1984)

Summary of this case from Coleman v. Soccer Ass'n of Columbia

Opinion

23303

Heard November 14, 1990.

Decided January 7, 1991.

Ken Suggs, Suggs Kelly, Lawyers, Columbia, for appellant. Susan McWilliams and Susan Lipscomb, Nexsen, Pruet, Jacobs Pollard, Columbia, for respondents.


Heard Nov. 14, 1990.

Decided Jan. 7, 1991.


Appellant commenced this negligence action to recover damages for the death of Gladys Nelson. Mrs. Nelson was killed when the vehicle she was driving ran into the back of an eighteen-wheel tractor trailer truck owned by respondent Concrete Supply Company and driven by respondent John Clinkscales. The truck was on an entrance ramp to the interstate highway waiting to merge with oncoming traffic when the collision occurred. The jury returned a verdict for respondents. We affirm.

At trial, appellant requested a jury charge on the law of comparative negligence which the trial judge refused. In arguing for reversal, appellant asks this Court to overrule Freer v. Cameron, 37 S.C.L. (4 Rich.) 228 (1851), and subsequent precedent upholding our long-standing rule of contributory negligence. Having determined comparative negligence is the more equitable doctrine, we now join the vast majority of our sister jurisdictions and adopt it as the law of South Carolina to the extent set forth below. For an exhaustive analytical discussion of the history and merits of comparative negligence, we refer the bench and bar to the opinion of Chief Judge Sanders in Langley v. Boyter, 284 S.C. 162, 325 S.E.2d 550 (Ct.App. 1984).

For all causes of action arising on or after July 1, 1991, a plaintiff in a negligence action may recover damages if his or her negligence is not greater than that of the defendant. The amount of the plaintiff's recovery shall be reduced in proportion to the amount of his or her negligence. If there is more than one defendant, the plaintiff's negligence shall be compared to the combined negligence of all defendants. See Elder v. Orluck, 511 Pa. 402, 515 A.2d 517 (1986).

We note that on the record before us, the doctrine of comparative negligence would not aid appellant in this case since we find as a matter of law no negligence on the part of respondent Clinkscales. See S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-600 (1976).

We dispose of appellant's remaining exceptions pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 23.

Affirmed.

HARWELL, FINNEY and TOAL, JJ., and LITTLEJOHN, Associate Justice, concur.


Summaries of

Nelson v. Concrete Supply Company

Supreme Court of South Carolina
Jan 7, 1991
303 S.C. 243 (S.C. 1991)

determining that comparative negligence is the “more equitable doctrine” and abolishing the “long-standing rule of contributory negligence” with reference to the lengthy discussion in Langley v. Boyter, 284 S.C. 162, 325 S.E.2d 550 (S.C.Ct.App.1984)

Summary of this case from Coleman v. Soccer Ass'n of Columbia

determining that comparative negligence is the "more equitable doctrine" and abolishing the "long-standing rule of contributory negligence" with reference to the lengthy discussion in Langley v. Boyter, 325 S.E.2d 550 (S.C. Ct. App. 1984)

Summary of this case from Coleman v. Soccer Ass'n of Columbia

adopting judicially created comparative negligence rule

Summary of this case from The Shantigar Foundation v. Bear Mountain Builders

adopting the doctrine of comparative negligence and holding plaintiff can recover in South Carolina when his or her negligence is not greater than the defendant's negligence

Summary of this case from Henson v. International Paper Co.

In Nelson v. Concrete Supply Co., 399 S.E.2d 783 (S.C. 1991), the South Carolina Supreme Court overturned nearly 150 years of jurisprudence, see Freer v. Cameron, 37 S.C.L. (4 Rich.) 228 (1851), when it expressly rejected the doctrine of contributory negligence and joined the vast majority of its sister jurisdictions in adopting the more equitable doctrine of comparative negligence in assessing damages in tort actions. See Nelson, 399 S.E.2d at 784.

Summary of this case from Talkington v. Atria Reclamelucifers Fabrieken

abolishing contributory negligence

Summary of this case from Stone v. Thompson

abolishing contributory negligence

Summary of this case from State v. Beaty

In Nelson, this Court stated that, under comparative negligence "a plaintiff in a negligence action may recover damages if his or her negligence is not greater than that of the defendant."

Summary of this case from Berberich v. Jack

In Nelson v. ConcreteSupply Company, 303 S.C. 243, 399 S.E.2d 783 (1991), we adopted a modified version of comparative negligence. Under this system, "[f]or all causes of action arising on or after July 1, 1991, a plaintiff in a negligence action may recover damages if his or her negligence is not greater than that of the defendant."

Summary of this case from Davenport v. Cotton Hope Plantation

In Nelson, we adopted Chief Judge Sanders's analysis of comparative negligence as stated in Langley v. Boyter, 284 S.C. 162, 325 S.E.2d 550 (Ct.App. 1984) opinion quashed on proceduralgrounds by 286 S.C. 85, 332 S.E.2d 100 (1985).

Summary of this case from Davenport v. Cotton Hope Plantation

abolishing contributory negligence

Summary of this case from Russo v. Sutton

In Nelson v. Concrete Supply Co., ___ S.C. ___, 399 S.E.2d 783 (1991), the South Carolina Supreme Court held that for all causes of action based on negligence arising on or after July 1, 1991, the doctrine of comparative negligence will apply.

Summary of this case from Dennis v. American Honda Motor Co.

stating that under comparative negligence "a plaintiff in a negligence action may recover damages if his or her negligence is not greater than that of the defendant"

Summary of this case from Edwards v. Jordan

In Nelson v. Concrete Supply Company, 303 S.C. 243, 399 S.E.2d 783 (1991), our Supreme Court adopted the doctrine of comparative negligence. Under the doctrine of comparative negligence, negligence by the plaintiff does not automatically bar recovery by the plaintiff, provided his negligence is not greater than that of the defendant.

Summary of this case from Trivelas v. Scdot

In Nelson v. Concrete Supply Co., 303 S.C. 243, 399 S.E.2d 783 (1991), the concept of contributory negligence was discarded in favor of the doctrine of comparative negligence, and even simple negligence, in the face of reckless behavior, could potentially reduce a claimant's recovery.

Summary of this case from Cothran v. Brown

In Nelson v. Concrete Supply Co., 303 S.C. 243, 399 S.E.2d 783 (1991), our Supreme Court adopted a modified version of comparative negligence. Under this system, for all causes of action arising on or after July 1, 1991, a plaintiff in a negligence action may recover damages if his or her negligence is not greater than that of the defendant.

Summary of this case from Lydia v. Horton

In Nelson v. Concrete Supply Co., 303 S.C. 243, 399 S.E.2d 783 (1991), the Supreme Court abrogated the doctrine of contributory negligence in favor of comparative negligence.

Summary of this case from Pike v. South Carolina Dep't of Transp

In Nelson v. Concrete Supply Co., 303 S.C. 243, 399 S.E.2d 783 (1991), the supreme court referred the bench and bar to Langley for "an exhaustive analytical discussion of the history and merits of comparative negligence."

Summary of this case from Spahn v. Town of Port Royal

In Nelson v. Concrete Supply Co., 303 S.C. 243, 399 S.E.2d 783 (1991), our supreme court adopted the doctrine of comparative negligence and overruled South Carolina's long-standing rule of contributory negligence.

Summary of this case from Davenport v. Cotton Hope

In Nelson, the supreme court referred the bench and bar to Langley v. Boyter, 284 S.C. 162, 325 S.E.2d 550 (Ct.App. 1984), quashed on procedural grounds, 286 S.C. 85, 332 S.E.2d 100 (1985), for "an exhaustive analytical discussion of the history and merits of comparative negligence."

Summary of this case from Davenport v. Cotton Hope
Case details for

Nelson v. Concrete Supply Company

Case Details

Full title:Rick NELSON, Personal Representative for the Estate of Gladys H. Nelson…

Court:Supreme Court of South Carolina

Date published: Jan 7, 1991

Citations

303 S.C. 243 (S.C. 1991)
399 S.E.2d 783

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