Proctor v. Whitlark & WhitlarkAnnotate this Case
Lauren Proctor and Trans-Union National Title Insurance Company brought this action against Whitlark & Whitlark, Inc., d/b/a Rockaways Athletic Club ("Rockaways") and Pizza Man, Forrest Whitlark, Paul Whitlark, Charlie E. Bishop, and Brett Blanks (collectively "Defendants") seeking to recover money Proctor lost while gambling on video poker machines located at Rockaways and Pizza Man over the course of several years, including a time period following the South Carolina Legislature's ban of video poker in 2000. The circuit court granted Proctor's motion for partial summary judgment on her claim under the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act ("UTPA") as to the liability of Defendants. In so ruling, the court found the Legislature had abrogated the doctrine of in pari delicto with regard to losses sustained by illegal gambling for public policy reasons. The Court of Appeals affirmed. After its review, the Supreme Court found that the Legislature enacted specific gambling loss statutes as the exclusive remedy for a gambler seeking recovery of losses sustained by illegal gambling. By this opinion, the Court overruled its decisions that have implicitly authorized recovery beyond these statutes. As a result, the Court held that one engaged in illegal gambling could not recover under UTPA. However, based on the distinct facts of this case, the Court found that Proctor could pursue the portion of her UTPA claim for the losses she alleged that she sustained between 1999 and July 1, 2000, the day on which the ban on video poker became effective.