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Contract – Civil Practice – Issue Preservation – Contract Existence – Satisfaction

Stevens & Wilkinson of South Carolina, Inc. v. City of Columbia (Lawyers Weekly No. 010-094-14, 5 pp.) (Kaye Hearn, J.) Appealed from Richland County Circuit Court (L. Casey Manning, J.) On writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals. Opinion No. 27433, S.C. S. Ct.

Holding: The only issue that the defendant-city properly raised before the circuit court was the existence of a contract between the parties; therefore, the circuit court correctly refused to consider the city’s argument that its agreement to pay plaintiff $650,000 constituted a counteroffer because this issue was improperly raised for the first time in a Rule 59(e), SCRCP, motion. Similarly, the city’s request on appeal – that this court deem the terms of the contract satisfied – is equally unpreserved.

Affirmed as modified.

It is improper for the city to concede the sole issue before the circuit court and attempt to inject new issues and theories on appeal. Plaintiff never had the opportunity to present an argument on the exact terms of the contract, how the contract was breached, and what damages flowed from that breach.

We therefore affirm the court of appeals’ opinion as modified and hold plaintiff’s estimate to continue services constituted an offer and the city’s authorization to pay $650,000 in interim architectural design services served as an acceptance. We remand the case for further proceedings for determination of the terms of the contract and whether the contract has been satisfied or damages should be awarded.

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