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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
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In State of SC----I leased a building to a couple (to run and

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In State of SC----I leased a building to a couple (to run and manage restaurant) and a silent partner who was to provide funding. The managing couple of which husband was a contractor was to renovate my building within limitations of the lease agreement. Husband proceeded to gut my building to accommodate their plans. The tenants violated every provision of the lease agreement.

When the rent got behind, I called the funding partner and told him. He said that he had already sent the couple $30,000 and all they had done was the demolition phase of remodeling my building. He said that he had not done his homework before getting involved and now he wanted out of the lease. He stopped funding and the renovations came to a complete halt. It also came to light that the contractor husband only had a residential license and could not get a permit from the City beyond a demolition permit since he did not have a commercial license.

When my attorney filed for damages and past due rent, the couple declared bankruptcy. Due to their providing the bankruptcy court with an incorrect mailing address for us, we were not notified as a creditor, and they were even discharged from bankruptcy without our knowledge. The couple filed Aug 2012 and were discharged in Nov 2012. The couple and funding partner had by now joined forces to fight my suit and were using the same attorney.

My attorney wrote their attorney requesting to depose his clients and their attorney could depose me. On April 25, 2013, their attorney arranged the depositions to take place in his office. On the morning of the depositions, my attorney found out that the couple may have filed for bankruptcy from my real estate agent who arranged the lease of my building. Since I had not been notified and her attorney set up the depositions, he and I went to the depositions.

My attorney deposed the lady of the couple and also the funding partner. Their attorney deposed me. During the deposition of the lady tenant, he asked her if she had filed for bankruptcy and she said yes and that they had already been discharged. My attorney did not ask if my claim was included as a creditor and neither she nor her attorney volunteered the information. At the conclusion of the session, her attorney walked up to me and my attorney and flashed a sheet of paper that showed my name as a creditor. We told him that we had not been notified. At that point I noticed that my mailing address listed on the creditors sheet was not accurate. When I called that to his attention, he said well, you were included. Nothing else was said.

A few weeks later my attorney received a letter from the lady's bankruptcy attorney demanding $10,000 saying we had violated her non-contact status by a creditor and would sue me for a greater amount if we did not pay. I refused to pay but my attorney got the bankruptcy attorney to lower the demand to $3,000 and he personally paid the blackmail request. We were obviously set up and shook down.

As a part of the agreement, my attorney released the couple from our law suit for damages to our building and past due rent ($51,000).

The funding partner is the only one left in our law suit.
Another attorney said that my attorney made a mistake by releasing the couple from the suit even though they were in bankruptcy. He said that SC law will prevent us from pursuing the remaining partner who has resources to pay the claim. He said that if we release one partner we cannot go after the other partner for the claim.

Is this attorney correct. If so, where can I find that in the SC Code of Laws or Regulations.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

The SC Courts have stated:

At common law, a valid release of one joint tort-feasor was usually a release of all the joint wrongdoers and was a bar to a suit against any of them for the same wrong. At the base of this rule was the theory that there could be but one compensation for the joint wrong. If the injured party was paid by one of the wrongdoers for the injury he had suffered, each wrongdoer being responsible for the whole damage, his cause of action was satisfied in exchange for a release, and he could not proceed against the others. Thus a release of one joint wrongdoer released all. But when the consideration received for the release was not full compensation for the injury, the purpose for the harsh rule did not exist. See: Ackerman v. Travelers Indem. Co., 318 S.C. 137, 456 S.E.2d 408 (S.C. App., 1995).

Thus, if you released the one because of bankruptcy, with less than full payment being received, you can continue to sue the other partner.

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