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2011-UP-329 - Still v. SCBCB

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

Gail S. Still, Appellant,

v.

South Carolina Budget and Control Board, Employee Insurance Program, Respondent.


Appeal from the Administrative Law Court
Carolyn C. Matthews, Administrative Law Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-329
Submitted June 1, 2011 – Filed June 27, 2011


AFFIRMED


Mark D. Ball and M. League Boylston, both of Hampton, for Appellant.

James T. Hedgepath, of Greenville, and Michael T. Brittingham, of Columbia, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: Gail S. Still appeals the Administrative Law Court's (ALC) order, which affirmed the Employee Insurance Program's (the Insurance Program) denial of her claim for long-term disability benefits.  On appeal, Still argues substantial evidence in the record exists proving she was disabled.  We affirm.[1]

This court will affirm the decision of the ALC if it is supported by substantial evidence.  S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-380(5)(e) (Supp. 2010).  "Substantial evidence is not a mere scintilla of evidence, but evidence which, considering the record as a whole, would allow reasonable minds to reach the conclusion the agency reached."  Converse Power Corp. v. S.C. Dep't of Health & Envtl. Control,  350 S.C. 39, 46, 564 S.E.2d 341, 345 (Ct. App. 2002).  "The court may not substitute its judgment for the judgment of the agency as to the weight of the evidence on questions of fact."  S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-380(5) (Supp. 2010).  "The mere possibility of drawing two inconsistent conclusions from the evidence does not prevent a finding from being supported by substantial evidence."  DuRant v. S.C. Dep't of Health & Envtl. Control, 361 S.C. 416, 420, 604 S.E.2d 704, 707 (Ct. App. 2004).  However, this court may reverse or modify a decision if it is affected by an error of law or is arbitrary or capricious.  S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-380(5)(d), (f) (Supp. 2010).

Here, we hold substantial evidence supports the ALC's decision to affirm the Insurance Program's denial of Still's claim for long-term disability.  See Wilson v. State Budget & Control Bd. Emp. Ins. Program,  374 S.C. 300, 305, 648 S.E.2d 310, 313 (Ct. App. 2007) (finding this court must affirm the agency's decision when substantial evidence exists refuting claimant's disability claims by several physicians).

Although Still presented evidence that she suffered from several chronic illnesses, substantial evidence exists to support a finding that the illnesses do not preclude her from performing the material duties of her job. See DuRant, 361 S.C. at 420, 604 S.E.2d at 707.  The doctors acknowledged Still suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and Still would most likely suffer from periodic flare-ups.  However, the medical records indicated Still's arthritis was relatively stable and she had only suffered from two flare-ups in 2006.  The records also indicated her arthritis symptoms improved in 2007.  Moreover, Still worked for almost seven years after her rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis and nothing in the record indicated a substantial change in her arthritis occurred that prevented her from performing her sedentary work.  Additionally, substantial evidence in the record exists to support the finding that Still's asthma and hepatitis C were stable and did not affect Still's ability to perform her job.

AFFIRMED.

SHORT, KONDUROS, and GEATHERS, JJ., concur.


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