South Carolina              
Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Charles Robinson #307902 vs.

South Carolina Department of Corrections,

Charles Robinson #307902

South Carolina Department of Corrections




In the above-captioned matter, Appellant Charles Robinson appeals the decision of Respondent South Carolina Department of Corrections (Department) to deny his grievance concerning his disciplinary conviction on December 14, 2005, for failure to provide a urine specimen within a specific timeframe, as determined by Department policy guidelines. Based upon the record presented in this appeal, I find that Appellant’s disciplinary conviction in the instant matter must be reversed.


In Step 1 and Step 2 Inmate Grievance Forms, submitted on December 24, 2006, and May 18, 2006, respectively, and identified as grievance number RCI 0009-06, Appellant challenges his disciplinary conviction on December 14, 2005. Specifically, Appellant was convicted for the Use or Possession of Narcotics, Marijuana or Unauthorized Drugs, Including Prescription Drugs or Inhalants (9.03), as contained in SCDC Policy Op-22.14, Inmate Disciplinary System. In response to Appellant’s grievance, the Department informed Appellant that there was sufficient evidence to support his conviction. Therefore, by a final agency decision dated May 18, 2006, the Department denied Appellant’s grievance. Appellant now appeals that denial before this Court.


This appeal is before this Court pursuant to Al-Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. 354, 527 S.E.2d 742 (2000), Sullivan v. South Carolina Department of Corrections, 355 S.C. 437, 586 S.E.2d 124 (2003), and Slezak v. South Carolina Department of Corrections, 361 S.C. 327, 605 S.E.2d 506 (2004). In the instant matter, Appellant failed to provide a urine specimen within the mandated three-hour time frame, as provided by Department policy, on December 8, 2005. Appellant contends that he did not refuse to provide a specimen, but rather he was unable to provide the specimen because of the prescription medication, Triavil/Amitriptyline, he was prescribed by his doctor and was taking at that time. Appellant informed Department administrative officials that he was taking the prescribed medication, and that its side effects could inhibit a person’s ability to urinate.

Appellant’s medical records document that he was taking the medication when requested by the Department to provide a urine specimen. When Appellant was unable to produce the specimen, J. Hughes, a Department Registered Nurse, opined that this medication would not prevent Appellant from urinating. Despite a doctor’s note contradicting the RN’s assertion, Department officials incorrectly relied upon the RN’s opinion and sanctioned Appellant under SCDC Policy OP-22.14, as referenced above. Dr. Cusack’s note clearly apprised Department officials of Appellant’s condition as related to his current medication:


FOR: C. Robinson SER. No.: 307902

LOCATION: Ridgeland DATE: 14 of March 05

RX This patient was prescribed a medication that seriously delays urination and causes constipation.

M.D. /s/ M.D.

(Record on Appeal (“R.” at 3)[1] (emphasis in original).

The doctor’s note and medical drug information clearly indicate that a potential side effect of Triavil,[2] specifically relevant to the instant matter, is urinary retention. Hence, it is highly probable that Appellant, for legitimate medical reasons, would be incapable of producing a urinary specimen on demand. Department officials should have made allowances under the circumstances and retested him or allowed him additional time to produce a urine specimen. In light of the substantial and overwhelming evidence that contradicts the Department’s decision, the Appellant’s disciplinary conviction must be reversed as this tribunal cannot find that the Department’s decision to deny Appellant’s grievance was the result of a routine and good-faith exercise of the Department’s administrative responsibilities and not arbitrary or capricious in nature.


For the reasons set forth above,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Appellant’s disciplinary conviction in the instant matter is hereby REVERSED.




Administrative Law Judge

1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 224

Columbia, South Carolina 29201-3731

April 10, 2007

Columbia, South Carolina

[1] The Record on Appeal, as submitted by the Department, does not reference page numbers; however, the copy of Appellant’s prescription is located at page three if the Record had contained page numbers.

[2] Three readily-accessible web search engines contain patient education regarding the prescribed medication, Triavil. Each search engine recognizes the above-referenced side effect of this particular medication. See;; and,


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