Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Site Map | Feedback
2012-UP-081 - Hueble v. SCDNR

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


William Alvin Hueble, Jr., Appellant,

v.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Eric Randall Vaughn, Defendants,

of whom Eric Randall Vaughn is, Respondent.


Appeal From Greenwood County
Eugene C. Griffith, Jr., Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No.  2012-UP-081
Heard January 26, 2012 – Filed February 15, 2012 


AFFIRMED


Jonathan S. Gasser and Gregory P. Harris, of Columbia and John P. Riordan, of Greenville, for Appellant.

Andrew F. Lindemann, of Columbia, J. Victor McDade, of Anderson and Thomas E. Hite, Jr., of Abbeville, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Appellant William Alvin Hueble, Jr. appeals from an order of the trial court denying his motion for costs and attorney's fees.  On appeal, Hueble argues the trial court erred by finding he was not the "prevailing party" and even if he was the prevailing party, the existence of special circumstances precluded an award of attorney's fees.  We find no error of law in the trial court's decision to decline awarding fees and costs, and therefore we affirm pursuant to Rule 220(b)(1), SCACR, and the following authorities:  42 U.S.C. § 1988(b) ("In any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of sections . . . 1983 . . . the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party, other than the United States, a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs . . . ."); Grissom v. The Mills Corp., 549 F.3d 313, 318 (4th Cir. 2008) (holding that in order for a plaintiff to qualify as the "prevailing party" for purposes of section 1988, there must be a material alteration of the parties' legal relationship and there must be judicial imprimatur on such an alteration); Buckhannon Bd. & Care Home, Inc. v. West Virginia Dep't of Health & Human Res., 532 U.S. 598, 604 (2001) (providing there must be an enforceable judgment upon the merits or a court-ordered consent decree to create the kind of material alteration in the legal relationship of the parties that is necessary for an award of "prevailing party" attorney's fees under the fee shifting statutes);   Belton v. State, 339 S.C. 71, 74 n.4, 529 S.E.2d 4, 5 n.4 (2000) ("A case resolved by acceptance of an offer of judgment is considered settled."); Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 429 (1983) (holding a prevailing plaintiff should ordinarily recover attorney's fees unless special circumstances would render such an award unjust); Gregg v. Ham, No. 3:08-4040-CMC, 2010 WL 5060583, at *1 n.3 (D.S.C. Dec. 6, 2010) (noting that a prevailing plaintiff is eligible for, rather than entitled to, an award of attorney's fees).

AFFIRMED.

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