South Carolina              
Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

CAPTION:
Anna Babcock vs. South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

AGENCY:
South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

PARTIES:
Appellant:
Anna Babcock

Respondent:
South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
 
DOCKET NUMBER:
03-ALJ-08-0096-AP

APPEARANCES:
n/a
 

ORDERS:

ORDER OF REMAND

This matter is before the undersigned Administrative Law Judge pursuant to a purported appeal filed by National HealthCare of Greenville ("NHC Greenville") of the January 22, 2003 decision of the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") regarding the Appellant Anna Babcock's eligibility for certain Medicaid Nursing Home Vendor payments. A review of the order on appeal reveals that NHC Greenville represented the Appellant at the hearing before HHS with the approval of the Appellant's son, Ronnie Babcock, and that there was no objection to such representation.

This tribunal has a duty not to allow the unauthorized practice of law in cases pending before it. See Rule 407 - 5.5., SCRAP ("A lawyer shall not . . . [a]ssist a person who is not a member of the bar in the performance of activity that constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.").

Pursuant to South Carolina law, "[n]o person may practice or solicit the cause of another person in a court of this State unless he has been admitted and sworn as an attorney." S.C. Code Ann. § 40-5-310 (2001). Further, it is unlawful for a corporation to "practice or appear as an attorney at law for a person other than itself in a court in this State or before a judicial body." S.C. Code Ann. § 40-5-320 (2001).

In In re: Unauthorized Practice of Law Rules Proposed by the South Carolina Bar, 309 S.C. 304, 422 S.E.2d 123 (1992), the South Carolina Supreme Court held:

State agencies may, by regulation, authorize persons not licensed to practice law in South Carolina, including laypersons, Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions and persons possessing Limited Certificates of Admission, to appear and represent clients before the agency. These regulations are presumptively valid and acts done in compliance with the regulations are presumptively not the unauthorized practice of law. We recognize, however, that such an agency practice could be abused, and reserve the authority to declare unenforceable any regulation which results in injury to the public.



Id. at 307, 422 S.E.2d at 124. However, HHS has not promulgated any regulations allowing persons not licensed to practice law in South Carolina, including corporations, to appear and represent clients before that agency.

NHC Greenville cannot practice law on behalf of the Appellant, or appear as an attorney for the Appellant, in a court of this State or before any judicial body. To allow NHC Greenville to represent Appellant in this appeal would be to permit the unauthorized practice of law. Further, NHC Greenville cannot appear and represent the Appellant before HHS. Therefore,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this appeal is remanded to HHS in order for HHS to conduct a new hearing wherein Appellant is not represented by NHC Greenville, or by any other person, corporation, or voluntary association engaging in the unauthorized practice of law;

AND IT IS SO ORDERED.

________________________________________

C. DUKES SCOTT

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE

March 10, 2003

Columbia, South Carolina


Brown Bldg.

 

 

 

 

 

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