Appeals

Landry v. Hilton Head Plantation Prop. Owner’s Ass’n

Landry v. Hilton Head Plantation Prop. Owner’s Ass’n, 317 S.C. 200, 452 S.E.2d 619 (Ct.App.1994), is a published December 2004 opinion from the South Carolina Court of Appeals.  It was the first appeal I handled solo and my first published appeal.

I had been assistant counsel for Mrs. Landry and her husband at trial.  That trial involved a claim for injuries she suffered when tripping over an open drainage hole in a common area at the Hilton Head Plantation, where the Landrys were homeowners and dues-paying members.  At trial, the judge charged the jury that the Landrys were “licensees,” to whom the Plantation owed a limited duty of care.  We contended that, because the Landrys had purchased property from the Plantation and paid dues to the Plantation, they had conferred a financial benefit to the Plantation and were thus “invitees,” to whom the Plantation owed a much greater standard of care.  After the jury returned a verdict for the Plantation we appealed.

The Court of Appeals agreed that Mrs. Landry was an “invitee” and remanded the matter back to the Circuit Court for a new trial.  This case established that property owners in South Carolina who lived in planned residential communities were invitees when using common areas.  It further expanded the duties owed an invitee to include “a duty of due care to discover risks and to warn of or eliminate foreseeable unreasonable risks.”