Julie Freeman, individually and on behalf of over five-thousand similarly situated car buyers, filed a lawsuit against J.L.H. Investments, LP, a/k/a Hendrick Honda of Easley ("Hendrick"), seeking damages under the South Carolina Dealers Act on the ground that Hendrick "unfairly" and "arbitrarily" charged all of its customers "closing fees" that were not calculated to reimburse Hendrick for actual closing costs. A jury returned a verdict in favor of Freeman in the amount of $1,445,786.00 actual damages. In post-trial rulings, the trial judge: (1) denied Hendrick's motions to overturn or reduce the jury's verdict; (2) granted Freeman's motions to double the actual damages award and to award attorneys' fees and costs; and (3) denied Freeman's motion for prejudgment interest. The South Carolina Supreme Court certified this case from the Court of Appeals, and finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Freeman v. J.L.H. Investments" on Justia Law
This case stemmed from a class action lawsuit brought by Appellants John Doe #53, John Doe #66, John Doe #66A, John Doe #67, Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2 and Rachel Roe. The plaintiffs in the underlying class action consisted of two classes: one for victims of childhood sexual abuse by agents of the Diocese and one for the spouses and parents of victims. A settlement in the class action was approved by the trial judge over Appellants' objections. Appellants moved to alter or amend the order approving the settlement. While Appellants' motion to alter or amend was pending, they reached a separate settlement agreement with the Diocese and class counsel. This agreement provided that the Diocese would pay Appellants $1.375 million to their settle claims, in exchange for Appellants' agreement to opt out of the class action, execute releases, and withdraw all pending motions and objections with prejudice. Appellants presented several issues for the Supreme Court's review, including some relating to the trial court's approval of the settlement agreements. Upon consideration of the arguments presented by the class, the Supreme Court found that due to the executed settlement agreement, there were no issues for further consideration. The Court dismissed the appeal as moot.