THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Supreme Court


Quality Towing, Inc., Appellant,
 

v.

City of Myrtle Beach and William D. Stephens, Respondents.


Appeal From Horry County
Jack M. Scoville, Jr., Special Referee


Opinion No. 25293
Heard February 7, 2001 - Filed May 21, 2001


REVERSED AND REMANDED


Robert C. Childs, III and Laura W. H. Teer, both of Mitchell, Bouton, Yokel & Childs, of Greenville, for appellant.

James B. Van Osdell and Charles B. Jordan, Jr., both of Van Osdell, Lester, Howe & Jordan, P.A., of Myrtle Beach, for respondents.


CHIEF JUSTICE TOAL: Quality Towing, Inc. ("Quality") appeals the Special Referee's Order finding in favor of the City of Myrtle Beach ("City").

FACTUAL/ PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Quality is a South Carolina corporation engaged in the business of towing vehicles in the Myrtle Beach area. On June 13, 1995, the City Council of Myrtle Beach enacted Ordinance 950613-36 ("1995 Ordinance") which instructed the City Manager to contract with one or more wrecker services to provide towing services for the City. Prior to the issuance of the Ordinance, the City operated a Rotation List whereby the City rotated among qualified wrecker services when the City needed vehicles towed. Vehicles towed by the City included City owned vehicles, vehicles illegally parked or abandoned, and privately owned vehicles whose owners had requested the City to tow their vehicle. Under the Rotation List, participants executed yearly contracts which terminated on July 31 of each year. Quality had been one of the wrecker services on the City's Rotation List, which was repealed by the 1995 Ordinance.

Under the 1995 Ordinance, the City was requir