In December 2011, appellant’s sisters filed an action to partition real property they owned with appellant; the partition order was filed on July 19, 2013; this court remitted appellant’s appeal from the partition case on March 10, 2014; respondent Hammel purchased the property on June 23, 2015, and sold the property on May 22, 2018; and appellant brought this action to void the partition order on July 21, 2018. Appellant did not file this case within a reasonable time under Rule 60(b), SCRCP.
We affirm the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment for respondent.
The circuit court did not abuse its discretion in finding appellant did not file this case in a reasonable time because (1) appellant’s appeal from the partition order was remitted four years and four months prior to appellant’s filing of this case; (2) the claims appellant raised in this case are the same or extremely similar to those he previously raised in his motion for reconsideration of the partition order and that could have been raised in his appeal of the partition order had he pursued his appeal; and (3) the property was sold to respondent, and appellant admitted he learned of this sale approximately three years prior to his filing of this action.
Furthermore, appellant’s fraud-on-the-court claims are also barred by the doctrine of laches. Appellant delayed bringing this case for four years and four months after his appeal from the partition order was remitted and three years after he learned of the sale of the property. Appellant offered no explanation for his delay in bringing this case, and his claims in this case echo his arguments from his motion to reconsider the partition order, reflecting no new reasons for his claims in this action. Moreover, respondent, who bought the property for $385,000 and held the property for almost three years, would be prejudiced if appellant’s claims were not barred. Thus, we hold the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in finding the doctrine of laches barred appellant’s fraud-on-the-court claims.
Houston v. Boone (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-010-23, 7 pp.) (Per Curiam) Appealed from Beaufort County Circuit Court (Edgar Dickson, J.) Charles Houston, pro se; Thomas Calvin Taylor, Kirby Darr Shealy and Cliff Moore for respondent. S.C. App. Unpub.