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Rhame v. Charleston County Sch. Dist.

Supreme Court of South Carolina

April 22, 2015

Ricky Rhame, Petitioner,
v.
Charleston County School District, Respondent

Heard November 18, 2014

Appeal from the Workers' Compensation Commission. Appellate Case No. 2012-213148.

Blake A. Hewitt and John S. Nichols, both of Bluestein Nichols Thompson & Delgado, of Columbia; Kenneth W. Harrell and Patrick L. Jennings, both of Joye Law Firm, of North Charleston, for Petitioner.

Stephen L. Brown, Catherine H. Chase, and Leslie M. Whitten, all of Young Clement Rivers, LLP, of Charleston, for Respondent.

OPINION

Page 160

[412 S.C. 275] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS

KITTREDGE, JUSTICE.

We granted Ricky Rhame's petition for a writ of certiorari to review the court of appeals' decision in Rhame v. Charleston County School District, 399 S.C. 477, 732 S.E.2d 202 (Ct.App. 2012). We are presented with a legal question-- whether an Appellate Panel of the Workers' Compensation Commission has the authority to entertain motions for rehearing. We hold an Appellate Panel of the Commission, on review of a single commissioner's decision, has such authority, and we reverse the contrary decision of the court of appeals. We remand to the court of appeals for consideration of Rhame's appeal from the Commission.

I.

Rhame filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits. The single commissioner found the claim compensable. Respondent sought review, and the matter was heard by an Appellate Panel of the Commission. The Appellate Panel reversed, denying the claim. Rhame filed a motion for rehearing before the Appellate Panel. He did not file his notice of appeal until after the Appellate Panel denied his motion for rehearing. The notice of appeal was filed more than thirty days after the Appellate Panel's initial denial of the claim.

The court of appeals dismissed Rhame's appeal because the notice of appeal was not filed within thirty days from the date the Appellate Panel denied his claim. Rhame, 399 S.C. at 482-83, 732 S.E.2d at 205. The court of appeals held that motions for rehearing are not permitted before the Commission on review of a single commissioner's decision. Id.

We granted Rhame's petition for a writ of certiorari, which asked this Court to reverse the court of appeals and reinstate his appeal.

II.

Whether the legislature has granted the Commission, on review of a single commissioner's decision, the authority to entertain motions for rehearing is a question of statutory interpretation, and this Court reviews that question de novo. Bone v. U.S. Food Serv., 404 S.C. 67, 75, 744 S.E.2d 552, 556 [412 S.C. 276] (2013). Rhame argues section 1-23-380(1) of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2014) grants him the right to seek ...


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