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2008-UP-032 - Smith v. Mills

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 SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Fletcher N. Smith, Jr., Appellant,

v.

Timothy Lee Mills, Respondent.


Appeal From Greenville County
 Larry R. Patterson, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2008-UP-032
Submitted January 1, 2008 – Filed January 11, 2008   


DISMISSED


Fletcher N. Smith, Jr., of Greenville, for Appellant.

Timothy Lee Mills, Chester, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Attorney Fletcher N. Smith, Jr. appeals from a decision by the Resolution of Fee Disputes Board ordering him to return a portion of his retainer fee to Timothy Mills.  The circuit court affirmed the decision by the Board requiring Smith to refund $1,900 of his $2,500 fee to Mills.  Smith appeals the decision.  We dismiss.[1]

FACTS

Timothy Mills, or someone on his behalf, paid Fletcher Smith a retainer fee of $2,500 on October 26, 2001.  Though there was no written agreement, it was understood that Smith would file a Motion For Reconsideration for Mills in this criminal case.  He had been sentenced on August 15, 2001. 

Under Rule 29 (a) SCRCP, any motion to reconsider must be filed within 10 days of sentencing and Smith was not hired until more than 30 days had elapsed.  Mills wanted a refund of his fee to Smith because he should have been told by Smith that it was too late to file a Motion to Reconsider.  

The Fee Disputes Board found that though the money was actually paid by Mills’ girlfriend and there was no fee agreement that a portion of the fee should be returned to Mills.  The Board calculated that Smith should retain $600 and refund $1,900 to Mills.  Smith appealed the decision to the circuit court where it was affirmed. 

LAW/ANALYSIS

Smith argues the trial court should have considered South Carolina Code Section 40-5-390 and vacated the Fee Disputes Board’s decision.  This court, however, lacks jurisdiction to review this appeal.  In Rule 416 SCACR Rule 20, it states that “a party may appeal the final decision of the Board to the circuit court.” No other avenue of appeal is set forth in the rule.  A very straight forward process is set forth with review by the Board and appeal to the circuit court only.  In Wright v. Dickey, 370 S.C. 517, 521, 636 S.E.2d 1, 3 (2006), this court stated “there is no appeal from a decision of the Resolution of Fee Disputes Board of the South Carolina Bar beyond the circuit court as set forth in Rule 416, SCACR, Rule 20.”  Therefore, this court has no jurisdiction for this appeal.

CONCLUSION

We conclude that there is no appeal from the South Carolina Resolution of Fee Disputes Board beyond the circuit court.  Therefore this appeal is dismissed.

DISMISSED.

HUFF and PIEPER, JJ., and GOOLSBY, AJ., concur.


[1] We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.