THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE. IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS
PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 239(d)(2), SCACR.
THE STATE OF
John Thomas Meehan, Jr., Appellant,
Jerry Andrew Meehan, individually and as member of Lebanon Road, LLC; Robert N. Newton, individually and as member of Lebanon Road, LLC; James B. Rogers, individually and as member of Lebanon Road, LLC; A South Carolina Limited Liability Company; GrandSouth Bancorporation; Mountainbank; and Janet Elizabeth Kelly Dorado, Defendants,
of whom Jerry Andrew Meehan, individually and as member of
Lebanon Road, LLC; Robert N. Newton, individually and as member of Lebanon Road, LLC; James B. Rogers, individually and as member of Lebanon Road, LLC; A South Carolina Limited Liability Company; GrandSouth Bancorporation; and Janet Elizabeth Kelly Dorado, Respondents.
J. Cordell Maddox, Jr., Circuit Court Judge
Unpublished Opinion No. 2006-UP-088
Heard January 11, 2006 – Filed February 10, 2006
Robert Wallis Cone, of
Greenwood, for Appellant.
D. Sean Faulkner, of
Greenville, Harold P. Threlkeld and J. Calhoun Pruitt, Jr., of Anderson, for Respondents.
HEARN, C.J.: John Thomas Meehan, Jr. appeals the circuit court’s dismissal of his action for lack of standing pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), SCRCP. We affirm.
The respondents, Jerry Andrew Meehan (Jerry) and Janet Elizabeth Kelly Dorado (Janet), and the appellant, John Thomas Meehan, Jr. (Meehan), are the children of Mary Meehan (Mother), who is not a party to this action. Mother owned several large parcels of real estate located in
In May 2003, Jerry conveyed his entire interest in
Meehan claims Mother made numerous verbal and written representations to him that he would receive
Meehan filed this action to set aside the deeds of conveyance to Jerry and Janet from Mother based on fraud, duress, and undue influence. Meehan also sought a constructive trust for his benefit on
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Under Rule 12(b)(6), SCRCP, a defendant may move to dismiss based on a failure to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. Flateau v. Harrelson, 355 S.C. 197, 201, 584 S.E.2d 413, 415 (Ct. App. 2003). A trial judge may dismiss a claim when the defendant demonstrates the plaintiff has failed to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action in the pleadings. Williams v. Condon, 347 S.C. 227, 233, 553 S.E.2d 496, 500 (Ct. App. 2001). Generally, in considering a 12(b)(6) motion, the circuit court must base its ruling solely upon allegations set forth on the face of the complaint. Stiles v. Onorato, 318 S.C. 297, 300, 457 S.E.2d 601, 602-03 (1995). Upon review of a dismissal of an action pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the appellate court applies the same standard of review implemented by the circuit court. Doe v. Marion, 361 S.C. 463, 470, 605 S.E.2d 556, 560 (Ct. App. 2004).
Meehan argues the circuit court erred in dismissing his action pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), SCRCP. Specifically, Meehan contends the circuit court erred in finding he lacked the standing necessary to maintain the action. We disagree.
To have standing, one must have a personal stake in the subject matter of the lawsuit; one must be a real party in interest. Charleston County Sch. Dist. v. Charleston County Election Comm’n, 336 S.C. 174, 181, 519 S.E.2d 567, 571 (1999). “A real party in interest is one who has a real, material, or substantial interest in the subject matter of the action, as opposed to one who has only a nominal or technical interest in the action.” Anchor Point, Inc. v. Shoals Sewer Co., 308 S.C. 422, 428, 418 S.E.2d 546, 549 (1992). A private person does not have standing unless he has sustained, or is in immediate danger of sustaining, prejudice from an executive or legislative action. Baird v.
In Sea Pines Association for Protection of Wildlife, Inc. v. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, our supreme court set out the three “irreducible constitutional minimums of standing.” 345 S.C. 594, 601, 550 S.E.2d 287, 291 (2001) (quoting Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504
Here, Meehan does not satisfy the “irreducible constitutional minimum” of standing. Meehan fails to satisfy both the first and second prongs of the Lujan test. First, Meehan cannot establish an injury in fact. Meehan admits he did not own the
Second, Meehan fails to establish a causal connection between his alleged injury and the conduct of Jerry and Janet. The injury complained of is that Jerry and Janet committed unlawful acts against a third party—Mother— or that Mother conveyed the property to Meehan’s siblings in contravention of the 2001 letter promising him the property. Therefore, if Jerry and Janet committed the acts alleged by Meehan in his complaint, only Mother could seek redress for those tortious actions; or, in the alternative, because it was Mother who promised Meehan the property, he might have a claim against Mother, but not one against his siblings. As a result, the injury Meehan complains of is merely the result of the independent action of some third party not before the court. Because Meehan has not suffered an injury in fact and has failed to establish a causal connection between his injury and the conduct of Jerry and Janet, we find no error in the circuit court’s conclusion that Meehan lacks the standing necessary to maintain.
Meehan next argues the complaint adequately sets forth a claim against Jerry and Janet for intentional interference with inheritance rights. We find this issue not preserved for appellate review.
“It is axiomatic that an issue cannot be raised for the first time on appeal, but must have been raised to and ruled upon by the trial judge to be preserved for appellate review.” Wilder Corp. v. Wilke, 330 S.C. 71, 76, 497 S.E.2d 731, 733 (1998). An argument is not preserved for review when it is presented it to the court for the first time in a motion to alter or amend the judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e), SCRCP. Hickman v. Hickman, 301 S.C. 455, 457, 392 S.E.2d 481, 482 (1990). A party cannot use Rule 59(e), SCRCP, to present to the trial court an issue the party could have raised prior to judgment but did not.
In this case, Meehan neither alleged a cause of action for intentional interference with inheritance rights in his amended complaint, nor sought to proffer any further amendment to the complaint at the hearing. The first mention of an allegation supporting an action for intentional interference with inheritance rights came in Meehan’s Rule 59(e), SCRCP motion to alter or amend the judgment. Therefore, this issue is not preserved for our review.
Additionally, Meehan argues the circuit court erred in dismissing his action rather than affording him the opportunity to add Mother as an indispensable party. Again, we find this issue not preserved for appellate review.
Rule 15(a), SCRCP, provides, in part:
A party may amend his pleading once as a matter of course at any time before or within 30 days after a responsive pleading is served or, if the pleading is one to which no responsive pleading is required and the action has not been placed upon the trial roster, he may so amend it at any time within 30 days after it is served. Otherwise a party may amend his pleading only by leave of court or by written consent of the adverse party.
Accordingly, a party seeking to amend his pleadings at trial must proffer the amendment before the court, and must obtain a ruling from the circuit court denying the amendment. See Keels v. Pierce, 315 S.C. 339, 343, 433 S.E.2d 902, 904 (Ct. App. 1993).
Here, Meehan did not seek to add Mother as a party, nor did he proffer any amendment to the circuit court at the hearing. Meehan simply stated to the court “if we go on, I’ll have to amend the complaint anyway.” Even assuming this could be construed as an oral motion to amend, and we do not believe it can, Meehan did not receive a ruling from the circuit court. Therefore, the issue is not preserved for our review.
Lastly, Meehan alleges the circuit court erred in considering an affidavit of Mother in ruling on the dismissal. We disagree.
It is well settled that in considering a Rule 12(b)(6), SCRCP motion, the circuit court must base its ruling solely upon the allegations set forth in the pleadings. Stiles v. Onorato, 318 S.C. 297, 457 S.E.2d 697 (1995). If the circuit court considers matters outside of the pleadings, the 12(b)(6) motion will be converted to one for summary judgment under Rule 56, SCRCP. See Rule 12(b)(6), SCRCP.
There is no evidence that the circuit court relied on Mother’s affidavit in dismissing Meehan’s action under Rule 12(b)(6). The affidavit was introduced pursuant to Mother’s contemporaneous Motion to Quash the Deposition Subpoena of Meehan. While there was some dialogue between the circuit court and Meehan’s attorney concerning the affidavit, nothing indicates the circuit court considered the contents of the affidavit when it dismissed the action. The findings of fact and conclusions of law contained in the order dismissing the action make no reference to the affidavit or the facts contained in the affidavit, and Meehan cannot point to any evidence that the circuit court relied on the affidavit of Mother. Therefore, the action was not converted to a motion for summary judgment, and the circuit court correctly dismissed the action pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), SCRCP.
Accordingly, the circuit court’s dismissal of Meehan’s action pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is hereby
HUFF and BEATTY, JJ., concur.
 We need not address the other Respondents,