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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 October 18, 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 Appellant then filed a motion that the Department refile the exhibits attached to the motion to dismiss on October 24, 2000, an objection to the Department's motion to dismiss on November 1, 2000, and a motion to dismiss with supporting brief on November 6, 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, and administrative matters, i.e., matters typically arising when an inmate is disciplined and punishment is imposed and those matters when an inmate believes prison officials have erroneously calculated his sentence, sentence-related credits, or custody status. The inmates are now able to appeal those types of decisions to the Division and ultimately to circuit court pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act.

However, 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). A party who is aggrieved is one who "is injured in a legal sense; one who has suffered an injury to person or property." Bivens, 173 S.E.2d at 152, citing Parker v. Brown, 195 S.C. 35, 10 S.E.2d 625. The word "aggrieved" refers to a substantial grievance, "a denial of some personal or property right or the imposition on a party of a burden or obligation." Id. Furthermore, a party must be "substantially aggrieved" within the ambit of the Al-Shabazz decision: either non-collaterally or administratively.

In this appeal, although the Department may have not followed its written policy, the Department did offer substantial evidence that the officer who was involved in this incident, Officer Michael Canty, was written-up by supervising officer Sergeant Charles Robinson. Furthermore, this appeal does not involve either a non-collateral or administrative matter. This matter is not one involving one in which the Appellant was disciplined for misbehavior or one in which his custody status has been altered. Therefore, I find that although the officer involved in this incident may have acted inappropriately, I conclude that this appeal does not rise to the level of a "substantial grievance" under the Al-Shabazz decision. Therefore, based on the foregoing,

IT IS ORDERED that the Respondent's Motion to Dismiss is granted and that this appeal 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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