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2010-UP-316 - Chaudari v. Avni Grocers

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Case No.:  2007-CP-10-0013

Virendra Puniyani, Deceased Employees, and Rajkumari Puniyani, Claimant,

v.

Avni Grocers, Employer, Defendant, and The South Carolina Uninsured Employers' Fund, Carriers,.


Case No.:2007-CP-10-0014

Dharmendra Chaudhari, Husband of Anita Chaudhari, Respondent,

v.

Avni Grocers, Employer, Defendant,

and

The South Carolina Uninsured Employers' Fund, Carriers, Appellant.


Appeal From Charleston County
D. Garrison Hill, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No.  2010-UP-316
Heard March 2, 2010 – Filed June 21, 2010


APPEAL DISMISSED


Latonya Dilligard Edwards, S.C. Second Injury Fund, of Columbia, and Terri Morrill Lynch, Matthew J. Story, Margaret M. Urbanic, all of Charleston, for Appellant.

Jarrel L. Wigger of N. Charleston, and John S. Nichols of Columbia, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: The South Carolina Uninsured Employers' Fund (Fund) appeals the order of the circuit court, which reversed the decision of the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission) denying benefits to Dharmendra Chaudhari, husband of deceased employee Anita Chaudhari and remanded the case to the Commission.  We find the order on appeal is not immediately appealable and therefore dismiss. 

FACTS/PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On November 14, 2002, Anita Chaudhari was killed by a co-worker while working at the Fast Point Gas Station.  Mr. Chaudhari brought this action seeking workers' compensation benefits.  As the Employer, Avni Grocers, did not have workers' compensation insurance, the Fund defended the action.  The single commissioner held Mr. Chaudhari failed to prove Avni Grocers regularly employed four or more employees as required by section 42-1-150 of the South Carolina Code (1985) to be subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission.  The Appellate Panel of the Commission affirmed.  The circuit court, however, reversed and remanded the matter to the Commission for further proceedings consistent with its order.  This appeal followed. 

LAW/ANALYSIS

Mr. Chaudhari argues the order of the circuit court is not immediately appealable.  We agree.

Our courts “have consistently held that an order of the circuit court remanding a case for additional proceedings before an administrative agency is not directly appealable.”  Montjoy v. Asten-Hill Dryer Fabrics, 316 S.C. 52, 52, 446 S.E.2d 618, 618 (1994).  The South Carolina Supreme Court recently reiterated that appeals from administrative agencies may only be from final decisions.  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hosp. Auth. v. S.C. Dep't of Health & Envtl. Control, S.C. Sup. Ct. Order dated April 8, 2010 (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 14 at 85).  It explained the general appealability statute, section 14-3-330 of the South Carolina Code (1976 & Supp. 2009), does not apply to appeals from administrative agencies.  Id. at 87.  The court overruled this court's opinion Canteen v. McLeod Regional Medical Center, 384 S.C. 617, 682 S.E.2d 504 (Ct. App. 2009) to the extent it relied on section 14-3-330 to permit the appeal of interlocutory orders of the administrative law court or an administrative agency.[1]  Id. 

A judgment is not final when there is some further act that must be done by the court prior to a determination of the rights of the parties or when the judgment determines the applicable law while leaving open questions of fact.  Id. at 88.  "A final judgment disposes of the whole subject matter of the action or terminates the particular proceeding or action, leaving nothing to be done but to enforce by execution what has been determined."  Id. 

The order on appeal remands the matter to the Commission for further proceedings.  It is not a final judgment.  Thus, the order is not immediately appealable. 

APPEAL DISMISSED. 

FEW, C.J., and HUFF and THOMAS, JJ., concur.


[1] It also overruled Oakwood Landfill, Inc. v. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, 381 S.C. 120, 671 S.E.2d 646 (Ct. App. 2009).