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2012-UP-009 - SCDSS v. Joseph M.

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

South Carolina Department of Social Services, Respondent,

v.

Amanda B.; Tywon J.; Joseph M., Jr.; John Doe (whose true name is unknown); and John Roe (whose true name is unknown), Defendants,

Of whom, Joseph M., Jr., is the, Appellant.

In the interest of three minor children under the age of eighteen (18) years.


Appeal From Spartanburg County
 James F. Fraley, Jr., Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2012-UP-009
Submitted January 1, 2012 – Filed January 13, 2012   


AFFIRMED


Carlos C. Johnson, of Spartanburg, for Appellant.

Deborah  Murdock, of Mauldin, for Respondent.

Michael Todd Thigpen, of Spartanburg, for Guardian Ad Litem.

PER CURIAM: Joseph M., Jr., appeals the family court's final order terminating his parental rights (TPR) to his minor child, arguing the family court erred in: 1) finding he was properly served the Summons and Complaint for TPR; 2) finding he made a general appearance, thereby waiving any defect in service; and 3) improperly proceeding with the trial without having personal jurisdiction over him.  We affirm.[1]

1.  We find the family court did not err in finding Father was properly served the Summons and Complaint for TPR.  See Roche v. Young Bros. of Florence, 318 S.C. 207, 209-10, 456 S.E.2d 897, 899 (1995) ("Rule 4, SCRCP[,] serves at least two purposes.  It confers personal jurisdiction on the [family] court and assures the defendant of reasonable notice of the action.  We have never required exacting compliance with the rules to effect service of process."); id. at 211, 456 S.E.2d at 900 ("When the civil rules on service are followed, there is a presumption of proper service." (internal quotation marks omitted)); Ex parte S.C. Dep’t of Revenue, 350 S.C. 404, 407, 566 S.E.2d 196, 198 (Ct. App. 2002) ("The [family] court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction over a party will not be disturbed on appeal unless wholly unsupported by the evidence or manifestly influenced or controlled by error of law." (internal quotation marks omitted)).    

2.  Because our ruling on the first issue is dispositive as to service, we need not address the issue of whether Father waived service by voluntarily appearing.  See Futch v. McAllister Towing of Georgetown, Inc., 335 S.C. 598, 613, 518 S.E.2d 591, 598 (1999) (ruling an appellate court need not review remaining issues when its determination of a prior issue is dispositive of the appeal). 

3.  We find the family court did not err in proceeding with the trial because it obtained personal jurisdiction through proper service.  See BB&T v. Taylor, 369 S.C. 548, 551, 633 S.E.2d 501, 503 (2006) ("A [family] court generally obtains personal jurisdiction by the service of a summons.").

AFFIRMED. 

HUFF, PIEPER, and LOCKEMY, JJ., concur.


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