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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Vincent T. Martinez #198248vs. SCDOC

South Carolina Department of Corrections

Vincent T. Martinez #198248

South Carolina Department of Corrections




On July 14, 2000, Respondent South Carolina Department of Corrections (Respondent or Department) filed a motion to dismiss this matter. Respondent seeks a dismissal on the basis that Appellant does not have a grievance against the Respondent, but rather may have a grievance against some other entity which was not named as a party in this matter. Respondent seeks a dismissal under Al-Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. 354, 527 S.E.2d 742 (2000), SCRCP 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and SCRCP 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Appellant did not oppose this motion.

This Division has subject matter jurisdiction over this appeal under Al-Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. 354, 527 S.E.2d 742 (2000). Appellant claims that the Department is responsible for damages to a television that was sent to B.S.S. Electronics for repairs. Prison policies mandate that such repairs be performed by B.S.S. Electronics. According to the Department, the television was damaged while out of its custody when it was being shipped from B.S.S. Electronics to the prison. The Department suggested to Appellant that he contact B.S.S Electronics or the shipping company to resolve the problem. On appeal, Appellant contends that the business entity responsible for the damages was authorized by the Department to perform the repairs, thereby rendering that entity an arm of the State; as a result, Appellant believes that the Department should be responsible for the damages to his television.

Relevant factors in determining whether an entity is an arm of the State include whether any judgment against the entity would have to be paid by the State treasury, the entity's independence from the State, case law, whether the entity is separately incorporated, whether the entity is performing a governmental or proprietary function, whether the entity has been granted the right to hold and use property, whether the entity is concerned primarily with local, as opposed to state-wide, problems, whether the entity has the power to sue and be sued and to enter into contracts, and whether the entity's property is immune from state taxation. Am. Jur.2d Job Discrimination § 2352 (1994). Similarly, factors to establish "state action" under the U.S. Constitution include whether a right or privilege has a source in state authority, whether the entity can in fairness be viewed as a state actor, whether the entity relies on governmental assistance and benefits, whether the entity is performing a traditional government function, and whether the injury caused is aggravated in a unique way by the incidents of governmental authority. Am. Jur.2d Constitutional Law § 800 (1994).

There is no evidence in the record to support that either B.S.S Electronics or the shipping company should be considered an arm of the State. See Cox v. Bates, 116 S.E.2d 828, 237 S.C 198, 216 (1960) (referring to counties as arms of the State); State v. Sprouse, 325 S.C. 275, 478 S.E.2d 871, 876 (Ct. App. 1996) (social worker at S.C Department of Social Services was not an agent of law enforcement where social worker did not wear uniform or carry a gun and statements were made voluntarily to social worker). Appellant asserts that B.S.S. Electronics is the only entity to which inmates may send televisions for repair. I conclude that Appellant does not have a grievance against Respondent; instead, Appellant should attempt to resolve this matter with B.S.S. Electronics or the shipping company.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Respondent's motion to dismiss is hereby GRANTED.




Administrative Law Judge

Post Office Box 11667

Columbia, South Carolina 29211-1667

September 8, 2000

Columbia, South Carolina

Brown Bldg.






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