South Carolina              
Administrative Law Court
Edgar A. Brown building 1205 Pendleton St., Suite 224 Columbia, SC 29201 Voice: (803) 734-0550

SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

CAPTION:
Percival Hyatt vs. SCDHHS

AGENCY:
South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

PARTIES:
Appellant:
Percival Hyatt

Respondent:
South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
 
DOCKET NUMBER:
06-ALJ-08-0939-AP

APPEARANCES:
n/a
 

ORDERS:

ORDER OF DISMISSAL

In the above-captioned matter, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (Department) issued a final agency determination on November 15, 2006 in regards to Appellant’s Medicaid claim. The Department determined that Appellant was not eligible for Medicaid benefits due to his receipt of income beyond the limits specified under the Aged, Blind, or Disabled program of Medicaid. On March 2, 2007, the Department filed a Motion to Dismiss with the South Carolina Administrative Law Court (“ALC” or “Court”) alleging that Appellant’s Notice of Appeal is “insufficient” and thus failed to properly invoke the jurisdiction of the ALC. (Department’s Motion to Dismiss at 1). As of the date of this Order, Appellant has not responded to the Department’s Motion to Dismiss nor has he filed an appellate brief with this Court to amend, supplement, or modify his grounds for appeal.

Appellant’s Notice of Appeal (a two-page letter filed December 11, 2006) neither contains a cognizable ground for appeal to this tribunal nor does it set forth a specific reason for the reversal or modification of the Department’s final determination that falls within the grounds for appeal enumerated in Section 1-23-380(5) of the Administrative Procedures Act. S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-360(5) (Supp. 2006). Rather, Appellant refers to his health issues and difficult financial situation as the basis for appealing the Department’s decision. While this Court is sympathetic to Appellant’s situation, Appellant has failed to state a particular error of law or fact in his Notice of Appeal for this tribunal to review, as required by ALC Rule 33(B). ALC Rule 33 provides that:

The notice [of appeal] . . . shall contain the following information: . . . a general statement of the grounds for appeal as provided in S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-380(A)(6). The grounds for appeal may be amended, supplemented or modified in the statement of issues in the brief required by Rule 37(B)(1).

ALC Rule 33 (emphasis added). Therefore, this appeal must be dismissed as this Court is limited in granting or denying relief to the Appellant in the instant matter as he has not properly stated his grounds for appeal of the Department’s decision regarding his Medicaid claim.

This tribunal is mindful of the difficulties facing pro se litigants and its duty to assist them to ensure fairness. See ALC Rule 38 and accompanying note. This tribunal is also aware that appellate courts will occasionally hear an appeal despite poorly-stated grounds for appeal if the court is able to readily determine the issue to be reviewed and the appeal appears to have merit. See, e.g., Sandel v. Cousins, 266 S.C.19, 221 S.E.2d 111 (1975). Nonetheless, where, as here, the appellant does not set forth any articulable grounds for appeal, and no grounds, meritorious or otherwise, readily appear to the reviewing court, an appellate tribunal has little choice but to dismiss the appeal. See, e.g., Kiawah Prop. Owners Group v. Pub. Serv. Comm’n of South Carolina, 359 S.C. 105, 113, 597 S.E.2d 145, 149 (2004) (“[A] petition . . . pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) must direct the Court’s attention to the abuse allegedly committed below, including a distinct and specific statement of the rulings of which appellant complains.” (quoting Pringle v. Builders Transp., 298 S.C. 494, 495, 381 S.E.2d 731, 732 (1989))); Smith v. South Carolina Dep’t of Social Services, 284 S.C. 469, 471, 327 S.E.2d 348, 349 (1985) (“[A] petition must include all that is necessary to enable the appellant court to decide whether the ruling complained of was erroneous.” (citing 4 Am.Jr.2d, Appeal and Error, § 430 (1962))); Solley v. Weaver, 247 S.C. 129, 131, 146 S.E.2d 164, 165 (1966) (“We have held in many cases that every ground of appeal ought to be so distinctly stated that the Court may at once see the point which it is called upon to decide without having to ‘grope in the dark’ to ascertain the precise point at issue.”).

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the above-captioned appeal is DISMISSED pursuant to ALC Rule 38 for Appellant’s failure to state a cognizable ground for appeal.

AND IT IS SO ORDERED.

______________________________

JOHN D. GEATHERS

Administrative Law Judge

1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 224

Columbia, South Carolina 29201-3731

March 21, 2007

Columbia, South Carolina


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