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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

James E. McNeil #147700 vs. SCDOC

South Carolina Department of Corrections

James E. McNeil #147700

South Carolina Department of Corrections




On September 25, 2000, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (Department) filed a motion to dismiss this matter. The Department moved to dismiss the Appellant's claim under SCRCP 12(b)(1), lack of jurisdiction over the claim; SCRCP 12(b)(6), failure of Appellant to allege facts sufficient to state a claim; and Al-Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. 354, 527 S.E.2d 742 (S.C. 2000).

The Administrative Law Judge Division's (Division) jurisdiction to hear this matter is derived entirely from the decision of the South Carolina Supreme Court in Al-Shabazz v. State, Op. No. 24995 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed February 14, 2000) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 6 at 21), 2000 WL 156547. In Al-Shabazz, the Supreme Court created a new avenue by which inmates could seek review of final decisions of the Department in "non-collateral" matters, i.e., matters in which an inmate does not challenge the validity of a conviction or sentence, by appealing those decisions to the Division and ultimately to circuit court pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act.

The right of appeal is accorded only to a "party aggrieved." Also, a party cannot appeal a ruling unless he has been "substantially" aggrieved by that ruling. Bivens v. Knight, 254 S.C. 10, 173 S.E.2d 150 (1970); See also S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-380(A) (judicial review available to parties who are aggrieved by a final decision of an agency). Although there are exceptional cases, the general rule is that a plaintiff or defendant cannot appeal or prosecute a writ of error from or to a judgment, order, or decree in his own favor, since he is not aggrieved thereby. See Wilson v. Southern Ry., Carolina Division, et al., 123 S.C. 399, 115 S.E. 764 (1923). A person is "aggrieved" by judgment or decree, as requirement for right to appeal, when a judgment or decree operates on his rights of property or bears directly upon his interest and constitutes substantial grievance, denial of some personal or property right, or imposition on a party of some burden or obligation. Burns v. Gardner, 328 S.C. 608, 493 S.E.2d 356 (S.C. App. 1997).

In this instance, the Appellant filed a grievance in which he requested that legal materials be returned to him that had been removed from his possession when the inmate was moved to another cell. However, those legal materials were returned to him in a timely manner. See Attached SCDC Forms 10-5 (Step 1), 10-5A, Step 2, and 18-68. Therefore, the Department has given the Appellant the relief to which he was entitled, thereby rendering this appeal moot. See Mathis v. South Carolina State Highway Dep't, 260 S.C. 344, 195 S.E.2d 713 (1973) (An issue is moot when a judgment on the issue will have no practical effect on an existing case or controversy.)

Therefore, based on the foregoing,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Respondent's Motion to Dismiss is granted and that this appeal of James E. McNeil is hereby dismissed.



Ralph King Anderson, III

Administrative Law Judge

November 20, 2000

Columbia, South Carolina


You are entitled to appeal this final order of the Administrative Law Judge Division by filing a petition for judicial review in circuit court within thirty (30) days after receipt of this order. S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-610 (Supp. 1999). The petition may be filed in any circuit court as long as the chosen forum is neither arbitrary nor unreasonable, and provided that no statute controls venue in a particular type of case. The review of the administrative law judge's order must be confined to the record. The reviewing tribunal may affirm the decision or remand the case for further proceedings; or it may reverse or modify the decision if the substantive rights of the petitioner have been prejudiced because the finding, conclusion, or decision is: (a) in violation of constitutional or statutory provisions; (b) in excess of the statutory authority of the agency; (c) made upon unlawful procedure; (d) affected by other error of law; (e) clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative and substantial evidence on the whole record; or (f) arbitrary or capricious or characterized by abuse of discretion or clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion.

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