Thursday, July 31, 2014

SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

CAPTION:
Charles R. Robertson vs. SCDMV, et al

AGENCY:
South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles

PARTIES:
Appellant:
Charles R. Robertson

Respondents:
South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles and West Columbia Police Department
 
DOCKET NUMBER:
07-ALJ-21-0291-AP

APPEARANCES:
n/a
 

ORDERS:

ORDER OF DISMISSAL

This matter is currently pending before the South Carolina Administrative Law Court (ALC) pursuant to the Charles R. Robertson’s (Appellant) Notice of Appeal which was filed on June 21, 2007. The Respondent South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (Department) filed a Motion to Dismiss on September 7, 2007. The Appellant did not file a response to this Motion.

This Court has jurisdiction to hear this matter under ALC Rule 33. Rule 33 states that:

The notice of appeal from the final decision of an agency to be heard by the Administrative Law Court shall be filed with the Court and a copy served on each party and the agency whose final decision is the subject of the appeal within thirty (30) days of receipt of the decision from which the appeal is taken.

As set forth in ALC Rule 33, the Department must be served with a copy of the notice of appeal within thirty (30) days of the Appellant’s receipt of the final decision of the Department.


In this case, there is no evidence in the record that the Department was served with the Notice of Appeal within thirty (30) days of the Appellant’s receipt of the Department’s final decision. Appellant filed a Notice of Appeal with the ALC on June 21, 2007. The copy of the Record on appeal sent by the Department of Motor Vehicle Hearing (DMVH) contains a cover letter and a certificate of service concerning a Notice of Intent to Appeal, but the record does not contain a copy of the actual notice, and the Certificate of Service does not indicate that the Respondent Department was ever served with it. “Subject matter jurisdiction of the court depends on the authority granted to the court by the constitution and laws of the state.” Paschal v. Causey, 309 S.C. 206, 420 S.E.2d 863, 865 (Ct. App. 1992). The Department was not served with the notice of appeal within thirty (30) days, as required by ALC Rule 33. Therefore, the Appellant has not properly invoked the jurisdiction of this tribunal.

The Supreme Court has set forth that a court must dismiss an appeal where the Appellant fails to serve a party with the notice of appeal in a timely manner. See Southbridge Properties, Inc., v. Jones, 292 S.C. 198, 355 S.E.2d 535 (1987) (applying appellate court rules and dismissing the case for failure to serve a notice of intent to appeal in a timely manner); Mears v. Mears, 287 S.C. 168, 337 S.E.2d 206 (1985) (applying appellate court rules and finding lack of jurisdiction for failure to serve a notice of appeal in a timely manner). Additionally it is well established that a court does not have the authority to extend the time for taking an appeal from a decision of a state agency. E.g. Mears v. Mears, 287 S.C. 168, 337 S.E.2d 206 (1985); Burnette v. S.C. Highway Dep’t, 252 S.C. 568, 167 S.E.2d 571 (1969). This tribunal recognizes the harsh result of this decision but is constrained by the rules and legal precedent in this State. See McClain v. Ingram, 314 S.C. 359, 444 S.E.2d 512 (1994).[1]


Because Appellant failed to serve his Notice of Appeal on the Department, this court does not have jurisdiction to hear this matter. Therefore, this case must be dismissed.

It is hereby ORDERED that the Respondent’s Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.

AND IT IS SO ORDERED.

______________________________________

CAROLYN C. MATTHEWS

Administrative Law Judge

December 12, 2007

Columbia, South Carolina



[1] In addition, Respondents argue that the Appellant’s brief was not in strict compliance with the rules and that the Appellant failed to timely request a hearing transcript. Because this Court lacks jurisdiction over this case, these issues will not be reached.


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