Monday, April 14, 2014

South Carolina Supreme Court Rules Against Gamecock Club (I Join in the Dissent)

I didn't get a chance to post on this when it came out, but this opinion from the South Carolina Supreme Court is definitely worth exploring.

The language in the contract is that Mr. Lee had "the opportunity to purchase tickets" from the Gamecock Club. Mr. Lee took the position that the Gamecock Club could not subsequently require him to pay additional seat licencing fees, and the South Carolina Supreme Court agreed with him.

Writing for the majority, Justice Kittredge stated:
Were we to accept the University's view of the Agreement, it would mean Lee received little or nothing in the bargain, for the University would always have the ability to demand additional consideration for the opportunity to purchase tickets.
This seems incorrect to me, and the problem is because the operative word is "opportunity". The seat tax was not additional consideration. The seat tax is simply a new condition precedent to have the the opportunity to buy tickets.

Respectfully, I have to side with Justice Pleicones' dissent in this case. Writing a lone dissent, Justice Pleicones stated:
Looking to the plain language, it provides that Lee would be a "Lifetime Full Scholarship Member" with "the opportunity to purchase tickets." Lee has received exactly what he bargained for...I am unable to find any language prohibiting additional fees. Further, the majority acknowledges that a court must enforce an unambiguous contract regardless of its wisdom, folly, apparent  unreasonableness, or the parties' failure to guard their rights carefully.
I have to agree.

The language of the contract said that Mr. Lee would have "the opportunity to buy tickets", and requiring the payment of an additional seat tax does has not deprived Mr. Lee of that opportunity. If he wanted to lock in a certain price, or exempt himself from any future fees, he should have done so.

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