Submitted September 19, 2018
From Richland County L. Casey Manning, Circuit Court Judge.
Sims Radeker and Taylor Meriwether Smith, IV, of Harrison,
Radeker & Smith, P.A., of Columbia, both for Appellant.
Smith Bowers, Jr., of Columbia, for Respondent.
Glassmeyer appeals the circuit court's order granting
declaratory and injunctive relief in this Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) case. On appeal, Glassmeyer argues the
circuit court erred by (1) failing to address his
counterclaims, (2) entering judgment on the pleadings, (3)
finding the South Carolina Lottery Commission (SCLC) had
standing to bring the action, and (4) failing to grant his
motion to dismiss. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and
March 31, 2014, Glassmeyer submitted a FOIA request to SCLC
for information related to any claims for any South Carolina
lottery prize equal to or greater than one million dollars in
gross proceeds from March 1, 2013, to March 20, 2014.
Specifically, Glassmeyer requested (1) the claimants'
full names, (2) the claimants' complete addresses, (3)
the claimants' telephone numbers, (4) the gross dollar
amount of the claims, (5) the dates of the claims, and (6) a
copy of any form of identification SCLC obtained from the
claimants. On April 1, 2014, SCLC mailed letters to the
claimants who were affected by the FOIA request. Many of the
claimants objected to the release of their personal
information and filed complaints against SCLC. On April 4,
2014, one of the claimants, "John Doe," requested
the circuit court to grant a permanent injunction enjoining
SCLC from disclosing Doe's name, address, telephone
number, amount of claim, date of claim, and any forms of
identification obtained for the claim.
then responded to Glassmeyer's request on April 16, 2014.
In sum, SCLC informed Glassmeyer that (1) the request for the
claimants' full names, complete addresses, telephone
numbers, and forms of identification were exempted from
disclosure by section 30-2-310 (A)(1)(e) of the South
Carolina Code (Supp. 2018)and, therefore, were exempted from
disclosure under section 30-4-40(a)(4) of the South Carolina
Code (2007); (2) the request for copies of the
claimants' forms of identification, such as their
driver's licenses, were not public records under FOIA;
and (3) SCLC could not disclose an individual's personal
identifying information because it would be an invasion of
privacy. However, SCLC did disclose the following information
to Glassmeyer: the gross dollar amount of the claims, dates
of the claims, the hometowns and states of the claimants, and
the games associated with the prizes won. Glassmeyer
submitted two more FOIA requests in letters dated April 16
and April 17, 2014. Glassmeyer stated that the response he
received from SCLC on April 16 "did not
satisfy my request." (emphasis in original). Again,
Glassmeyer requested that SCLC provide him with the
"claimants' full names."
Doe's action against SCLC proceeded forward in the
circuit court. The circuit court found that
[Doe] therefore is entitled to a declaratory judgment that
the release of all or any part of [Doe's] personal
identifying information, such as [claimant's] name, would
result in an unreasonable invasion of [Doe's] personal
privacy in accordance with Section
on April 25, 2014, the court granted a permanent injunction
and ordered that SCLC be "permanently restrained and
enjoined from releasing any and all information regarding
[Doe] in response to the FOIA request of Mr. George
Glassmeyer and any other FOIA request."
in a letter dated May 7, 2014, SCLC responded to
Glassmeyer's April 16 and April 17 requests. SCLC granted
Glassmeyer's request pertaining to information that it
determined was disclosable, but informed Glassmeyer that his
request for the claimants' full names would constitute an
unreasonable invasion of personal privacy and this
information was exempt under section 30-4-40(a)(2). On that
same day, SCLC filed a summons and complaint against
Glassmeyer requesting the court grant declaratory judgment
and injunctive relief "with respect to the release of
personal information regarding claimants of lottery
winnings," which resulted in the present appeal.
suit for declaratory judgment is neither legal nor equitable,
but is determined by the nature of the underlying
issue." Felts v. Richland Cty., 303 S.C. 354,
356, 400 S.E.2d 781, 782 (1991). "In equitable actions,
the appellate court may find facts in accordance with its own
view of the preponderance of the evidence." Id.
"In law actions, the lower court must be affirmed where
there is 'any evidence' to support its
findings." Id. "An issue [that is]
essentially one at law will not be transformed into one in
equity simply because declaratory relief is sought."
Id. "A declaratory judgment action under the
FOIA to determine whether certain information should be
disclosed is an action at law." Burton v. York Cty.
Sheriff's Dep't, 358 S.C. 339, 346, 594 S.E.2d
888, 892 (Ct. App. 2004). The appellate court reviews
questions of law de novo. See Glassmeyer v. City of
Columbia, 414 S.C. 213, 218, 777 S.E.2d 835, 838 (Ct.
argues SCLC did not have standing under FOIA to file this
action because the statute indicates only citizens may apply
to the circuit court for a declaratory judgment or
injunction. We disagree.
have standing, one must have a personal stake in the subject
matter of the lawsuit. In other words, one must be a real
party in interest." Sea Pines Ass'n for the
Prot. of Wildlife, Inc. v. S.C. Dep't of Nat. Res.,
345 S.C. 594, 600, 550 S.E.2d 287, 291 (2001). "Standing
may be acquired: (1) by statute; (2) through the rubric of
'constitutional standing;' or (3) under the
'public importance' exception." ATC S., Inc.
v. Charleston Cty., 380 S.C. 191, 195, 669 S.E.2d 337,
339 (2008). The FOIA statute specifically "contains a
civil enforcement provision granting standing to a South
Carolina citizen to seek injunctive relief against a
violation of any FOIA provision." Cricket ...