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2011-UP-527 - Reaves v. Ivey

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

Reverend Franklin C. Reaves, Appellant,

v.

Brenda Ivey, City Treasurer of Mullins, J.C. Richardson, Tax Collector of the City of Mullins, Robert H. Corley, City Attorney of Mullins, J. Wayne George, Mayor of City of Mullins, George H. Hardwick, Director of Finance of City of Mullins, Joyce W. Lett, Marion County Treasurer, John A. Padgett, Marion County Auditor, Respondents.


Appeal From Marion County
Thomas A. Russo, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-527
Submitted November 1, 2011 – Filed December 2, 2011   


APPEAL DISMISSED


Rev. Franklin C. Reaves, pro se, of Chadbourn, North Carolina.

Douglas C. Baxter and Mason A. Summers, both of Myrtle Beach; and Robert T. King, of Florence, for Respondents.

PER CURIAM: Franklin C. Reaves appeals the denial of his motion to reconsider the circuit court's grant of summary judgment to Respondents.  Reaves argues the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment based on a violation of the statute of limitations applicable to the recovery of land sold at tax sales when he did not receive the statutory notice of delinquent taxes and, in the alternative, paid the taxes for the period during which the property was sold.[1]  We dismiss the appeal as moot. [2]

Reaves's issues on appeal stem from his claim that Respondents failed to give him notice of the delinquent property taxes as required in section 12-51-40 of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 1997).  Assuming without deciding that Reaves's claim of lack of notice is supported by evidence and would entitle him to relief, the remedy would consist of setting aside the tax sale of the property at issue.  See Hawkins v. Bruno Yacht Sales, Inc., 342 S.C. 352, 364-65, 536 S.E.2d 698, 704 (Ct. App. 2000) ("[A]ll conditions governing tax sales are mandatory and strictly enforced. . . . [and an appellate court] will set aside tax sales where the requisite statutory conditions of [section] 12-51-40 have not been complied with by public officials.").  However, subsequent to the tax deed being issued, the purchaser at the tax sale reconveyed the property to Reaves.  Therefore, setting aside the tax sale and consequently cancelling the deed from the property record would have no practical legal effect, and this appeal is moot.  See Sloan v. Greenville Cnty., 380 S.C. 528, 535, 670 S.E.2d 663, 667 (Ct. App. 2009) ("An appellate court will not pass judgment on moot and academic questions; it will not adjudicate a matter when no actual controversy capable of specific relief exists.  A case becomes moot when judgment, if rendered, will have no practical legal effect upon the existing controversy."). 

APPEAL DISMISSED.

SHORT, WILLIAMS, and GEATHERS, JJ., concur.


[1]The circuit court's order separately granted Respondents' motion for summary judgment as to Reaves's claim for damages resulting from Respondents' failure to give him notice on the basis of the statute of limitations from the South Carolina Tort Claims Act.  Reaves did not appeal that portion of the circuit court's order. 

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