South Carolina              
Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Hannah L. Hill vs. SCDHHS

South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Hannah L. Hill

South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services




I. Introduction

On October 9, 1998, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) filed a Motion to Dismiss Hannah L. Hill's (Hill) petition on the ground that the Administrative Law Judge Division (ALJD) lacked appellate jurisdiction to decide this matter. Based upon the facts of this appeal, the Motion to Dismiss is granted.

II. Analysis

A. Law

Decisions made by DHHS may be appealed to the ALJD pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). S.C. Code Ann. § 44-6-190 (Supp. 1997). Under the APA, the petitioner must appeal an adverse decision of DHHS within thirty days of the receipt of the DHHS decision. S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-380 (Supp. 1997); Hamm v. South Carolina Public Service Com'n, 287 S.C. 180, 336 S.E.2d 470 (1985) ("While a literal reading of Section 1-23-380(b) suggests the thirty days to appeal runs from the time the decision is made, we believe the statute must be read to allow a party thirty days after notice of a decision to bring an appeal."). DHHS's Motion to Dismiss asserts Hill did not timely appeal and that a late appeal requires dismissal of Hill's petition. I agree.

An appellate court has the responsibility to determine whether it has jurisdiction to review a case. 4 C.J.S. Appeal and Error § 39 (1993). In conducting that review, the appellate court must dismiss a matter due to a lack of jurisdiction when the appealing party fails to timely file the appeal notice. Mears v. Mears, 287 S.C. 168, 337 S.E.2d 206 (1985). Although an issue of jurisdiction is essentially a question of law (see Bridges v. Wyandotte Worsted Co., 243 S.C. 1, 132 S.E.2d 18 (1963)), where factual determinations are necessary to resolve the question of jurisdiction, the court may rely upon the facts placed before it. Woodard v. Westvaco Corp., 315 S.C. 329, 433 S.E.2d 890 (Ct. App. 1993). Here, affidavits and documents submitted by the parties establish the jurisdictional facts to be examined.

B. Facts

On August 24, 1998, DHHS issued an order to Hill in which Hill was notified that she was being denied benefits under the South Carolina Medicaid Program. The August 24, 1998 order of DHHS was received by Hill on August 27, 1998 and acknowledged her receipt of the order by signing a return receipt requested form from the United States Postal Service. Via an envelope with a postmarked date of October 5, 1998, Hill filed her notice of appeal with the ALJD.

C. Conclusion

Thus, given the receipt of the DHHS order on August 27, 1998 and the filing of an appeal with the ALJD on October 5, 1998, thirty-nine days had elapsed. Based upon the late filing, the appeal was not timely and the petition must be dismissed. Mears v. Mears, 287 S.C. 168, 337 S.E.2d 206 (1985).

III. Order

The appeal filed by Hannah L. Hill was not timely filed. Accordingly, this matter is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction and the appeal is ended.




Administrative Law Judge

Dated: October 16, 1998

Columbia, South Carolina

Brown Bldg.






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