Smith v. South Carolina Dept. of Social Services

Decision Date12 March 1985
Docket NumberNo. 22256,22256
Citation284 S.C. 469,327 S.E.2d 348
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court

Angela Scutero, of Palmetto Legal Services, Lexington, for appellant.

Bruce Holland, of S.C. Dept. of Social Services, Columbia, for respondent.

HARWELL, Justice:

This is an appeal under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) from the denial of food stamps to the appellant Wilmarth Smith. We affirm.

The respondent Department of Social Services rendered its final agency decision on November 13, 1981. On December 10, 1981, the appellant filed a Petition for review of the decision in circuit court. The agency moved to dismiss the appeal on January 22, 1982, alleging that the Court lacked jurisdiction over the matter because the Petition failed to specify any error. 1 The appellant moved to amend her Petition on August 24, 1982. The trial court dismissed the appeal and did not consider the Motion to Amend.

The trial court correctly concluded that the unamended Petition was insufficient. We adopt his analysis of that issue.

"I conclude as a matter of law that the term 'petition' as used in paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) of § 1-23-380 denotes more than a court paper phrased in broad, vague, and unspecific terms. Rather a petition which will suffice legally must be one which will direct the court's attention to the abuse or abuses allegedly committed below through a distinct and specific statement of the rulings complained of. In short, the petition must include all that is necessary to enable the appellate court to decide whether the ruling complained of was erroneous. 4 Am.Jur.2d, Appeal and Error, § 430 (1962).

Measured against this requirement, it is readily apparent that the petition filed by the appellant is both broad and unspecific, and there is no allegation which would explain why she believes the agency decision was wrong. In essence, the petition merely represents a statement by her that she is dissatisfied with the decision that she received from the agency below. She places this court, as a court of first review, in a situation in which it must review a large volume of written material with absolutely no guidance as to where to look for errors. This court must 'grope in the dark' in order to identify errors which in actuality may not exist. Such a predicament has often been deplored by our State's highest court and used by that tribunal as a basis for the dismissal of an appeal. See Frederick Richards, Inc. v. Port City Glass & Mirror, Inc., 274 S.C. 558, 266 S.E.2d 67 (1980); Williams v. Regula, 266 S.C. 228, 222 S.E.2d 7 (1976); Barbee v. Poston, 277 S.C. 504, 289 S.E.2d 649 (1982); Burris v. State, 278 S.C. 151, 293 S.E.2d 309 (1982). Being aware that the Supreme Court dismissed these cases under Supreme Court Rule 4, it is nevertheless my conclusion that such a result is...

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14 cases
  • Al-Shabazz v. State
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • 23 August 1999
    ...or unsubstantiated ruling. A mere expression of dissatisfaction with the ruling is not sufficient. See Smith v. South Carolina Dep't of Social Servs., 284 S.C. 469, 327 S.E.2d 348 (1985). In reviewing a final decision of the ALJ, as when reviewing a final decision of an agency, the circuit ......
  • Bass v. Kenco Group
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • 21 November 2005
    ...or greater weight of the evidence standard for the appropriate substantial evidence standard. Smith v. South Carolina Department of Social Services, 284 S.C. 469, 327 S.E.2d 348 (1985), sets forth the specificity requirement for appeals under the [A] petition which will suffice legally must......
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    • South Carolina Supreme Court
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    ... 407 S.C. 583 757 S.E.2d 408 AMISUB OF SOUTH CAROLINA, INC., AnMed Enterprises, ... Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHEC) is obligated to enforce the State ... , Chairman White and Representative Murrell Smith, Chairman of the Ways and Means healthcare ... branch, to determine finally which social" objectives or programs are worthy of pursuit.’ \xE2" ... ...
  • Campbell v. Carr
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • 27 September 2004, i.e., "search the record for reasons to affirm." 308 S.C. at 444 n. 2,418 S.E.2d at 559 n. 2; cf. Smith v. South Carolina Dep't of Soc. Servs., 284 S.C. 469, 327 S.E.2d 348 (1985) (holding, under prior appellate court rules, the supreme court would not "grope in the dark" in order to id......
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