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ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2019 Jul 02 3:24 PM - HORRY - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2019CP2601732

STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA ) IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS


) FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
COUNTY OF HORRY ) NO.: 2019-CP-26-01732

City of Myrtle Beach, )


) HORRY COUNTY’S
For Itself and a Class of Similarly ) RULE 12(c) MOTION FOR JUDGMENT
Situated Plaintiffs, ) ON THE PLEADINGS REGARDING
) CLASS-ACTION ALLEGATIONS
Plaintiff, )
)
vs. )
)
Horry County, )
)
Defendant. )
____________________________________)

Horry County respectfully moves, pursuant to Rule 12(c), SCRCP, for judgment

on the pleadings on the City of Myrtle Beach’s allegations about this case being a class

action.

Introduction

This motion is simple: The City pled its claims as a class action. State law

specifically prohibits a class action. Therefore, the City’s case cannot proceed as a class

action, and the court should dispose of those allegations now.

Factual Allegations

This Court is already familiar with this case, in which the City challenges the

validity of the County’s Hospitality Fee. As relevant to this motion, the City has pled

its claims as a class. It seeks to represent “[a]ll individuals, corporations, companies,

associations, firms, partnerships, joint stock companies, political subdivisions,

counties, municipalities, state agencies, and instrumentalities of the State” who have
ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2019 Jul 02 3:24 PM - HORRY - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2019CP2601732
paid the Hospitality Fee since January 1, 2017. Compl. ¶ 7. The City then alleges that

common questions of law and fact exist and that the City is the right entity to represent

the class members. Compl. ¶¶ 8–13.

The County denied that a class action is appropriate. Answer & Countercls. ¶¶

8–4

Legal Standard

Rule 12(c) allows a party, “[a]fter the pleadings are closed,” to “move for

judgment on the pleadings.” Rule 12(c), SCRCP. This motion should be granted

whenever “no issue of fact raised by the complaint that would entitle plaintiff to

judgment if resolved in plaintiff’s favor.” Sapp v. Ford Motor Co., 386 S.C. 143, 146,

687 S.E.2d 47, 49 (2009). “A motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c)

is considered under a similar standard as Rule 12(b)(6), with the key difference being

that on a 12(c) motion, the court considers the answer as well as the complaint.”

Billioni v. Bryant, No. 0:14-CV-03060-JMC, 2015 WL 4928999, at *1 (D.S.C. Aug. 18,

2015).

The note to Rule 12(c) observes that this rule “is more important than the

Federal Rule, because of the requirement for fact pleading” in South Carolina. Rule

12(c), Note, SCRCP; see also Rule 8(a), SCRCP.

Argument

This case cannot proceed as a class action.

Section 12-60-80 prohibits any class remedy for the “refund of taxes” (which

includes fees, see S.C. Code § 12-60-30(27)) or for “declaratory relief where the sole

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ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2019 Jul 02 3:24 PM - HORRY - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2019CP2601732
issue is whether a statute is constitutional,” id. § 12-60-80(B), (C). Moreover, this

statute specifically prohibits a political subdivision from being named as a defendant

in a class action. Id. § 12-60-80(C).

The language of this statute is clear. See Hodges v. Rainey, 341 S.C. 79, 85,

533 S.E.2d 578, 581 (2000). A plaintiff cannot bring a class claim for declaratory

relief. S.C. Code § 12-60-80(B). Nor can a plaintiff bring a class claim for a refund.

Id. § 12-60-80(C); see also Lightner v. Hampton Hall Club, Inc., 419 S.C. 357, 368, 798

S.E.2d 555, 560 (2017) (“The plain language of the statute prohibits a claim for a tax

refund from being brought as a class action in any court of law in this state.”).

In light of this statute, the City’s attempt to pursue class certification here

must fail. Therefore, the Court should grant the County’s motion for judgment on

the pleadings about the class-action allegations in the Complaint.

Conclusion

The County is entitled to judgment on the pleadings on City’s the class-action

allegations in its Complaint.

Respectfully submitted:

Burr & Forman LLP

s/Henrietta U. Golding
Henrietta U. Golding, S.C. Bar # 2173
2411 N. Oak Street, Suite 206 (29577)
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Ph: (843) 444-1107
Fax: (843) 443-9137
Email: hgolding@burr.com

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ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2019 Jul 02 3:24 PM - HORRY - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2019CP2601732
Adam R. Artigliere, S.C. Bar #75328
Poinsett Plaza
104 South Main Street
Suite 700
Greenville, SC 29601
Ph: (864) 271-4940
Fax: (864) 271-4015
Email: aartigliere@burr.com

Wm. Grayson Lambert, S.C. Bar #101282


Post Office Box 11390
Columbia, S.C. 29211
Ph: (803) 799-9800
Fax: (803) 753-3278
Email: glambert@burr.com

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Attorneys for Defendant


Dated: July 2, 2019