The Department appeals from the Department of Motor Vehicle
Hearings (DMVH) hearing officer’s order which rescinded the Department’s
suspension of Walter O. Manning’s driving privileges based on his arrest for
Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The hearing officer’s order stated: “There
being no evidence corroborating what Implied Consent Warning was read to the
Respondent, I conclude as a matter of law that the Petitioner has failed to
meet its burden of proof.” See order at 6. In the Department’s
Statement of the Issues on Appeal in its brief, the third issue is set out as
“Did the AHO err when he determined that the officer’s uncontroverted testimony
had to be independently corroborated by other evidence?” However, the
Department completely failed to address this issue in its brief, nor did it cite
any legal authority in support of its argument. Respondent in his brief argues
that this issue must be considered abandoned. I agree.
DMVH matters, this court sits in an appellate capacity. S.C. Code Ann. §§ 1-23-380
& -660 (Supp. 2006). Assuming without deciding that the DMVH was wrong in
all other particulars as the Department argues, failure to appeal that basis
for the DMVH order is fatal to the Department’s appeal. South Carolina law is
well settled that issues for which no legal authority is cited are abandoned. See,
e.g., Colleton County Taxpayers Ass'n v. School Dist.
of Colleton County, 371 S.C. 224, 242, 638 S.E.2d 685, 694 (2006); First Sav. Bank v. McLean, 314 S.C. 361, 363, 444 S.E.2d 513, 514 (1994); R & G
Constr., Inc. v. Lowcountry Reg'l Transp. Auth., 343 S.C. 424, 437, 540
S.E.2d 113, 120 (Ct. App. 2000). Indeed, as the Court of Appeals recently held
and our courts have long reiterated: “An issue raised on appeal but not argued in the
brief is deemed abandoned and will not be considered by the
appellate court.” Wright v. Craft, 372 S.C. 1, 20,
640 S.E.2d 486, 496-97 (Ct. App. 2006); Fields v. Melrose Ltd. P'ship, 312 S.C. 102, 106, 439
S.E.2d 283, 284 (Ct. App. 1993); Bell v. Bennett, 307 S.C. 286, 294,
414 S.E.2d 786, 791 (Ct. App. 1992). South Carolina law is also well
settled that a trial court’s or hearing officer’s unappealed ruling, right or
wrong, is the law of the case. See, e.g., Charleston Lumber Co.
v. Miller Housing Corp., 338 S.C. 171, 175, 525 S.E.2d 869, 871 (2000) (finding that an unappealed ruling,
right or wrong, is the law of the case and
requires affirmance); Mid-South Mgmt. Co. v. Sherwood Devel. Corp., 374 S.C.
588, 596 n.3, 649 S.E.2d 135, 139 n.3 (Ct. App. 2007); Fickling v. City of Charleston, 372 S.C.
597, 599, 643 S.E.2d 110, 112 n.1 (Ct. App. 2007).
Based on these two principles of law, the
hearing officer’s above quoted conclusion is the law of the case, having been
abandoned by the Department on appeal. As such, IT IS THEREFORE
ORDERED that that the Final Order and Decision of the DMVH is AFFIRMED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
November 15, 2007 JOHN
Columbia, South Carolina Administrative