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Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter
Sponsors: Senators Martin, O'Dell and Reese
Document Path: l:\council\bills\dka\3706sd04.doc
Introduced in the Senate on February 10, 2004
Currently residing in the Senate Committee on Judiciary
Summary: Workers' compensation matters
HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS
Date Body Action Description with journal page number ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2/10/2004 Senate Introduced and read first time SJ-4 2/10/2004 Senate Referred to Committee on Judiciary SJ-4
View the latest legislative information at the LPITS web site
VERSIONS OF THIS BILL
TO AMEND SECTIONS 1-23-600, AS AMENDED, 1-23-610, AND 1-23-640, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, ALL RELATING TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE DIVISION HEARINGS AND PROCEEDINGS, QUASI-JUDICIAL AND JUDICIAL REVIEW OF DECISIONS, AND LOCATIONS WHERE CASES ARE HEARD; 14-8-200, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO JURISDICTION AND LIMITATION OF COURTS; 42-3-20 RELATING TO THE MEMBERSHIP, TERMS OF OFFICE, VACANCIES, AND DUTIES OF THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION; 42-3-50, RELATING TO THE JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT OF THE COMMISSION; 42-17-40, RELATING TO THE CONDUCT AND AWARD OF A HEARING; 42-17-50, RELATING TO THE REVIEW AND REHEARING BY THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION; 42-17-60, RELATING TO AWARDS OF AND APPEALS TO THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION; AND SECTION 42-17-70, RELATING TO A JUDGMENT ON AN AGREEMENT OR AWARD, ALL SO AS TO MODIFY THE APPELLATE REVIEW PROCESS IN WORKERS' COMPENSATION MATTERS SO THAT DECISIONS BY A SINGLE COMMISSIONER MUST BE REVIEWED BY AN ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE, WHOSE DECISION MUST BE REVIEWED BY THE SOUTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 1-23-600(B) and (D) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 452 of 1994, is further amended to read:
"(B) An administrative law judge of the division shall preside over all hearings of contested cases as defined in Section 1-23-310 involving the departments of the executive branch of government in which a single hearing officer is authorized or permitted by law or regulation to hear and decide
such those cases, except those arising under the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Act, those matters which are otherwise provided for in Title 56, or those other cases or hearings which are prescribed for or mandated by federal law or regulation, unless otherwise by law specifically assigned to the jurisdiction of the Administrative Law Judge Division.
(D) An administrative law judge of the division also shall preside over all hearings of appeals from final decisions of contested cases before the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission, and professional and occupational licensing boards or commissions within the Department of Labor, Licensing
, and Regulation pursuant to Section 1-23-380."
SECTION 2. Section 1-23-610 of the 1976 Code, as added by Act 181 of 1993, is amended to read:
"Section 1-23-610. (A) For quasi-judicial review of any final decision of an administrative law judge of cases involving departments governed by a board or commission authorized to exercise the sovereignty of the State, except in matters arising under the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Act, a petition by an aggrieved party must be filed with the appropriate board or commission and served on the opposing party not more than thirty days after the party receives the final decision and order of the administrative law judge. Appeal in these matters is by right. A party aggrieved by a final decision of a board in such a case is entitled to judicial review of that decision by the Circuit Court under the provisions of (A) of this section and pursuant to Section 1-23-610(C).
(B) For judicial review of any final decision of an administrative law judge of cases involving departments governed by the single director, a petition by an aggrieved party must be filed with the Circuit Court and served on the opposing party not more than thirty days after the party receives the final decision and order of the administrative law judge. Appeal in these matters is by right.
(C) For judicial review of any final decision of an administrative law judge of cases involving professional and occupational licensing boards within the Department of Labor, Licensing
, and Regulation, a petition by an aggrieved party must be filed with the Circuit Court and served on the opposing party not more than thirty days after the party receives the final decision and order of the administrative law judge. Appeal in these matters is by right.
(D) For judicial review of any final decision of an administrative law judge in cases involving decisions of the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission, an appeal must be taken to the South Carolina Court of Appeals as provided by the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules. Review of decisions of the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission by the administrative law judge is de novo.
(E) The review of the administrative law judge's order must be confined to the record. The reviewing tribunal may affirm the decision or remand the case for further proceedings; or it may reverse or modify the decision if the substantive rights of the petitioner has been prejudiced because of the finding, conclusion, or decision is:
(a) in violation of constitutional or statutory provisions;
(b) in excess of the statutory authority of the agency;
(c) made upon unlawful procedure;
(d) affected by other error of law;
(e) clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative and substantial evidence on the whole record; or
(f) arbitrary or capricious or characterized by abuse of discretion or clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion.
Where appropriations in the annual general appropriations act, or where fees, fines, forfeitures, or revenues imposed or collected by agencies or commissions were required to be used for the hearing of contested cases,
such these appropriations or monies must continue to be used for these purposes after the effective date of this article."
SECTION 3. Section 1-23-640 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 452 of 1994, is further amended to read:
"Section 1-23-640. The division shall maintain its principal offices in the City of Columbia. However, judges of the division shall hear a contested
cases case at the offices or location of the involved department or commission as prescribed by the agency or commission, at the division's offices, or at suitable locations outside the City of Columbia as determined by the chief judge. An appeal from a decision of the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission must be heard at the division's principal offices in the City of Columbia."
SECTION 4. Section 14-8-200(a) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 55 of 1999, is further amended to read:
"(a) Except as limited by subsection (b)
below and Section 14-8-260, the court shall have has jurisdiction over any case in which an appeal is taken from an order, judgment, or decree of the circuit or family court, or the Administrative Law Judge Division in matters arising under the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Act. This jurisdiction shall be is appellate only, and the court shall apply the same scope of review that the Supreme Court would apply in a similar case. The court shall have the same authority to issue writs of supersedeas, grant stays, and grant petitions for bail as the Supreme Court would have in a similar case. The court, to the extent the Supreme Court may by rule provide for it to do so, shall have jurisdiction to entertain petitions for writs of certiorari in post-conviction relief matters under Section 17-27-100."
SECTION 5. Section 42-3-20 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 42-3-20. The commission shall consist of seven members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate for terms of six years and until their successors are appointed and qualify. The Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate shall designate one commissioner as chairman for a term of two years and the chairman may serve two terms in his six-year term but not consecutively.
The commissioners shall hear and determine all contested cases, conduct informal conferences when necessary, approve settlements,
hear applications for full Commission reviews and handle such other matters as may come before the department for judicial disposition. Full Commission reviews shall be conducted by six commissioners only, with the original hearing commissioner not sitting at such reviews. When one commissioner is temporarily incapacitated or a vacancy exists on the Commission, reviews may be conducted by the five remaining commissioners but in such cases decisions of the hearing commissioner shall not be reversed except on the vote of at least four commissioners; provided, however, that effective July 1, 1981 full Commission reviews may be conducted by three-member panels composed of three commissioners appointed by the chairman excluding the original hearing commissioner. The chairman, with unanimous approval of the other commissioners, shall determine which full commission reviews shall be assigned to panels. The decisions of such panels shall have the same force and effect as nonpanel full commission reviews."
SECTION 6. Section 42-3-50 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 42-3-50. The commissioners shall appoint an executive assistant for the judicial department, to serve at their pleasure, who shall prepare all dockets for hearings
, and informal conferences and full commission reviews, maintain liaison with the director of the administrative department, receive all files from that department when they are ready for hearing, informal conference, settlement or other disposition, and perform such other duties as shall be assigned to him by the chairman to whom the executive assistant shall be is solely responsible.
The executive assistant with the approval of the chairman of the commission
shall be is authorized to employ and, if necessary, discharge all support personnel required to exercise the functions herein prescribed for his office."
SECTION 7. Section 42-17-40(B) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 55 of 1999, is further amended to read:
In the event any If a commissioner or any a member of his family residing in the commissioner's household or any an employee of the Workers' Compensation Commission receives an injury in the course of employment, the case must be heard and determined by the circuit court judge in the county in which the injury occurred. The clerk of court shall docket these cases in the file book for the court of common pleas and these cases must be heard in that court. These cases may be called up for trial out of their order by either party an administrative law judge. An appeal from an order of the circuit court judge administrative law judge, pursuant to this subsection, shall must be taken to the South Carolina Court of Appeals in the manner provided by the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules. If the order is not appealed, payment must be made as provided in Section 42-17-60. However, this subsection does not apply with respect to claims involving medical benefits only; for claims solely only involving medical benefits, subsection (A) applies."
SECTION 8. Section 42-17-50 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 197 of 1989, is further amended to read:
"Section 42-17-50. An application for review of a decision of a commissioner must be made to the South Carolina Administrative Law Judge Division. If an application for review is made to the
commission Administrative Law Judge Division within fourteen days from the date when notice of the award shall have been was given, the Commission Administrative Law Judge Division shall review the award and, if good grounds be shown therefor, reconsider the evidence, receive further evidence, rehear the parties or their representatives and, if proper, amend the award.
Each application for
commission review to the Administrative Law Judge Division must be accompanied by a fee equal to that charged in circuit court for filing a summons and complaint in order to defray the costs of the review. If the commission Administrative Law Judge Division determines at the conclusion of the review that the appeal was without merit, it may charge, in its sole discretion, the appellant an additional fee not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars."
SECTION 9. Section 42-17-60 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 439 of 1990, is further amended to read:
"Section 42-17-60. The award of the commission, as provided in Section 42-17-40, if not reviewed in due time, or an award of the
commission Administrative Law Judge Division upon such review, as provided in Section 42-17-50, is conclusive and binding as to all questions of fact. However, either party to the dispute, within thirty days from the date of the award or within thirty days after receipt of notice to be sent by registered mail of the award, but not thereafter, may appeal from the decision of the commission Administrative Law Judge Division to the court of common pleas of the county in which the alleged accident happened, or in which the employer resides or has his principal office, South Carolina Court of Appeals in the same manner provided in the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules for errors of law under the same terms and conditions as govern appeals in ordinary civil actions. Notice of appeal must state the grounds of the appeal or the alleged errors of law. In case of an appeal from the decision of the commission Administrative Law Judge Division on questions of law, the appeal does not operate as a supersedeas and thereafter the employer is required to make payment of the award involved in the appeal or certification until the questions at issue have been fully determined in accordance with the provisions of this title."
SECTION 10. Section 42-17-70 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 42-17-70. Any party in interest may file in the court of common pleas of the county in which the injury occurred a certified copy of a memorandum of agreement approved by the commission, an order or decision of the commission or the Administrative Law Judge Division, an award of the commission or the Administrative Law Judge Division unappealed from or an award of the commission or the Administrative Law Judge Division affirmed upon appeal, whereupon
such the court shall render judgment in accordance therewith and notify the parties. Such The judgment shall have has the same effect and all proceedings in relation thereto to it shall thereafter be the same as though such judgment had been rendered in a suit duly heard and determined by such the court. But if the judgment debtor shall file files a certificate duly issued by the commission, showing compliance with Section 42-5-20, with the clerk of the court in the county in which such the judgment is docketed, such the clerk shall make upon the judgment roll an entry showing the filing of such the certificate which shall operate as a discharge of the lien of such the judgment and no execution shall must be issued thereon on it. But if at any time there is default in the payment of any installment due under the award set forth in such the judgment, the court may, upon application for cause and after ten days' notice to the judgment debtor, may order the lien of such the judgment restored and execution or other proper process may be immediately issued thereon immediately for past-due installments and for future installments as they may become due."
SECTION 11. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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