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Clerk of Court Manual

CHAPTER 6

Case Processing Procedures in the Court of Common Pleas (Civil Matters)

6.0 Introduction and Brief Overview

Cases heard in the Court of Common Pleas involve civil disputes between two or more parties. The party initiating the action is the plaintiff, the party against whom the action is brought is the defendant. Both parties in civil suits are usually private citizens, businesses, or organizations; although state or local government may appear as either plaintiff or defendant.

Although civil cases may involve different areas of the law (tort, contract, etc.), for the purposes of processing cases through the court, the major factor influencing the way in which the clerk tracks a particular case is whether the case is a jury or non-jury matter. A request for arbitration in automobile damage liability claims also will result in different processing procedures.

Civil cases commence when the plaintiff files initiating document(s), usually a summons and complaint with the Clerk of Court and pays a filing fee. In specific or limited circumstances, the filing fee may not be required such as for statutory exemptions and when an order granting a "Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis" accompanies the summons and complaint (Rule 3, SCRCP). Based on the initiating documents, the clerk creates a case jacket, and enters the case information on the computer. As subsequent papers are filed, (an answer, a counterclaim, motions, etc.) they are recorded in the computer and filed in the case jacket. If necessary, motions will be scheduled on the Motion Calendar. Unless a case is withdrawn by the parties, or dismissed by the court, it will be placed on the trial roster, unless a continuance has been granted by a judge. Upon completion of the trial, the clerk will enter the judgment and close the case.

6.1 Description of Civil Case Types

6.1.1 Jury/Non-jury

When a case is filed, the plaintiff will designate whether the case will be a jury or non-jury matter. Recording this information is important because it will determine on which trial roster the case will be placed. Rule 40, SCRCP, governs the "General Docket, Trial Rosters, and Call of Cases for Trial."  It is imperative that a clerk working with Common Pleas matters be very familiar with this rule.

6.1.2 Automobile Arbitration

S. C. Code § 38-77-710 et seq. of the South Carolina Code of Laws authorizes the use of attorney panels to arbitrate automobile damage liability claims. Cases entering arbitration are recorded on a separate Arbitration Panel Docket, and processed as Common Pleas cases. (See 6.7.2 below). Appeals from Arbitration Panel decisions are processed as Common Pleas cases.

6.1.3 Appeals to the Circuit Court

Matters appealed to the Circuit Court from Magistrate Court (civil and criminal), Municipal Court, Probate Court, and administrative or regulatory agencies (such as the S.C. Worker's Compensation Commission) are all treated as new cases in the Common Pleas Court. This includes criminal appeals from magistrate and municipal courts. Petitions for judicial review of orders or decisions of the Chief Insurance Commissioner must be heard in Richland County but may be filed in any county. Filing fees are required, except for criminal appeals from summary court and actions pursuant to State Employment Security law. All appeals to the Circuit Court are non-jury cases. Appeals generally take precedence over regular civil cases on the non-jury roster. Reference: Rule 74, SCRCP

6.1.4 Inmate Litigation

A. Post Conviction Relief (PCR)
Actions to have criminal sentences vacated, set aside, or corrected are filed in the Court of Common Pleas as new civil cases under the Uniform Post-Conviction Procedure Act (S. C. Code § 17-27-10; Rule 71.1, SCRCP).  The filing fee for all PCR cases is waived pursuant to S. C. Code §17-27-20(a)(6).  PCR cases are summary in nature, and are usually heard during specifically designated CPNJ(PCR) terms or during certain days of a regular CPNJ term as designated by Court Administration. The roster for PCR hearings is typically set by the Office of the Attorney General. Procedures for Post-Conviction Relief are provided in Section 6.2.3 of this manual.

B. Habeas Corpus
"Habeas Corpus" is a Latin phrase that is translated as "you have the body." The filing of a habeas corpus petition is a civil action, typically filed by an incarcerated individual, the purpose of which is to attain a remedial writ in alleged instances of illegal incarceration (S. C. Code § 17-17-10). Similar to a PCR, petitions for habeas corpus usually name a state entity or official as the defendant; therefore, the Attorney General should be provided with a copy of the petition. If a hearing is scheduled in a habeas corpus action, it is typically included in a PCR/Non-jury term.

C. Other Inmate Litigation
Inmates may file civil actions for reasons as various as for any other civil filings, such as for damages. S.C. Code § 24-27-100 provides a means by which the court arranges for payment of fees and court costs from an inmate's trust account through the Department of Corrections.  As provided by law, the inmate must file a certified copy of his trust account with the court that reflects the prisoner's balance at the time the complaint is filed unless the prisoner does not have a trust account.

6.1.5 Sexually Violent Predator (SVP)

The Sexually Violent Predator Act, S. C. Code § 44-48-10 provides for the involuntary civil commitment of a person convicted of a sexually violent crime and that is found by the court to be a continuing danger to society. SVP cases begin with a finding by two assessment committees and a petition filed by the Attorney General pursuant to the provisions of the Sexually Violent Predator Act. By regulation, a filing of this type is exempt from filing fees. The hearings schedule for this process involves time sensitive scheduling that may or may not be handled directly by the Attorney General. These time limits can be found in the above referenced code section and are briefly outlined below:

Tasks:

1. Verify that the petition includes:

Case Caption

Proper county designation

Signature of filing party

Address of the respondent

2. There is no filing fee for such cases.

3. File and stamp the petition and any copies.

4. Assign a common pleas (CP) number.

5. Send two (2) clocked, certified copies to the Attorney General’s office, which they will provide.

Probable Cause Order. The court will issue an order establishing probable cause or an order of dismissal.

Tasks:

6. Immediately upon receipt of probable cause order or order of dismissal from Attorney General’s office, file and stamp the court’s order and send two (2) clocked, certified copies to the Attorney General.

7. If the court finds probable cause exists, the probable cause order should provide for the appointment of an attorney to represent the respondent.

(A) Appoint the next available attorney from your civil list.

(B) Mail copy of the order appointing counsel to the appointed attorney, respondent (if address available), and Attorney General’s office.

Probable Cause Hearing- The Attorney General’s office will schedule this hearing.

Tasks:

8. after the probable cause hearing, send the evaluation order to respondent’s attorney.

Trial-  At the trial, the jury will make a determination as to whether the respondent is a sexually violent predator.  The Attorney General will schedule the date of the trial.

Tasks:

9. File stamp the commitment order or discharge order.

10. Enter the disposition information into CMS.

11. Distribute copy of order to the respondent’s attorney.

Post Disposition Actions- An annual report is filed with the court that committed the respondent.  The court must conduct an annual hearing to review the status of the committed person.  If the court determines that probable cause exists to believe that the respondent is safe to be at large, a trial must be scheduled on the issue.  The Attorney General will schedule the annual hearing and any trial, if necessary.

Tasks:

File stamp the annual report and file it in the case file.

Special Procedures

Petition for Release- If the Department of Mental Health determines that the respondent’s disorder has changed such that the person is safe to be released, the person shall be authorized to petition the court for release.  Upon receipt of the petition, the respondent’s attorney will schedule a hearing.  Either party may request the hearing before a jury.  If the respondent files a petition without approval of the Department of Mental Health, the petition should be filed.

Evidence- Pursuant to §44-48-150, SC Code, any psychological reports, drug and alcohol reports, treatment records, reports of the diagnostic center, medical records, or victim impact statements which are submitted to the court or admitted into evidence, must be kept as part of the record, but sealed to be opened only upon order of the court.  The court will designate those documents, which should be sealed. Pursuant to §44-48-140, SC Code, relevant information and records which otherwise are confidential or privileged must be released to the agency with jurisdiction as defined in §44-48-30(5), SC Code, and the Attorney General for the purpose of meeting the notice requirements of Section 44-48-40 and determining whether a person is or continues to be a sexually violent predator. 

Filing System- Due to the unusual nature of these cases, it is recommended that these cases be filed sequentially by case number, but separate from other Common Pleas cases.

Because SVP cases must remain active for yearly review, SVP cases can remain pending until the subject's release from supervision. Due to the length of time involved in the SVP process, such cases can distort pending caseload aging reports.

6.1.6 Bond Issues

The following statute relates to the clerk's responsibility with regard to the filing of public bond issues.  Documentation relating to bond issues should be kept in a file specifically for that purpose.

S. C. Code § 11-15-10. Record of public bond issues shall be kept and filed.
In case any county, township, school district, city, town or other municipality is authorized to issue bonds in pursuance of law, the persons and officers charged therewith shall make a full record of the proceedings connected with such bond issue, and a copy of the record of such proceedings shall be filed and indexed in the office of the Clerk of Court of the county in a special book to be furnished therefore.

A filing fee is not required when the copy of the record of proceedings is filed as set forth above; however, a petition filed to contest the bond issue requires the standard filing fee provided for in S. C. Code § 8-21-310(11)(a) and § 14-1-204(B)(1).  As the custodian of the original record of proceedings related to public bond issues, the chief officer of the public body sponsoring the bond issue is appropriately responsible for exemplification of the copy of the record to be filed.

6.1.7 Remedial or Injunctive Relief

In seeking a writ for remedial or injunctive relief, a litigant may initiate an action by way of petition. However, in most such instances a summons, complaint, and bond is also required. Please see Rule 65, SCRCP. The statutory filing fee provided for in S.C. Code Ann. § 8-21-310(11)(a) is applicable unless a statutory exemption exists. An example of an action filed in pursuit of injunctive relief is a civil action related to building code violations:

S. C. Code § 6-9-80. Mandamus and injunctive relief for violation of code or regulation.
For a violation of the building codes or regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter, the local building officials, municipal or county attorneys, or other appropriate authorities of a political subdivision, or an adjacent or neighboring property owner who would be damaged by the violation, in addition to other remedies, may apply for injunctive relief, mandamus, or other appropriate proceeding.

6.2 Case Initiation - Initiating Documents

Pursuant to Rule 3(a), SCRCP: "A civil action is commenced by filing and service of a summons and complaint."  A Common Pleas case can also be initiated by a petition, application, or appeal to the Circuit Court.

6.2.1 Summons and Complaint

A summons is a legal document that provides notification that an individual is required to respond to the attached complaint. The complaint is a legal document that provides notification to the individual that an action is being brought against the individual in a particular court and the basis for the civil action -- both documents must be signed by the attorney or party filing the complaint.

Tasks:

6.2.2 Notice of Appeal to the Circuit Court

A form Notice of Appeal is filed with the Circuit Court by a party appealing a decision from magistrate or probate court. Appeals pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act (S. C. Code § 1-23-380) will be initiated by a petition. These types of appeals will be filed as a Common Pleas case and are of a non-jury type. The supporting documents, however, will be received from the court or administrative agency from which the appeal is taken and the case will automatically be placed on the non-jury motion calendar.

References: Rules 74 and 75, SCRCP

Tasks:

NOTE: An appeal pursuant to S. C. Code § 27-37-120, appeal of an eviction action from magistrate's court, may be dismissed by the trial magistrate if the appellant fails to post bond within 5 days of the service of the notice of appeal as required by § 27-37-130. The magistrate makes a determination of the amount of the bond. Good communication between the clerk and the magistrate is needed in the administration of such appeals.

NOTE: Appeals from zoning board of appeals are heard in Circuit Court. S. C. Code §§§ 6-29-820, 6-29-825, and 6-29-830 govern these types of appeals. Pursuant to S. C. Code § 6-29-830, upon receipt of the petition appealing a zoning board appeal, the clerk of court must give immediate notice of the appeal to the secretary of the board. The board will then file with the clerk of court a certified copy of the proceedings held before the board of appeals, including a transcript of evidence heard before the board, if any, and the board’s decision including its findings of fact and conclusions.

6.2.3 Application for Post-Conviction Relief

Post-Conviction Relief actions are initiated when the applicant completes and files the Court-Approved PCR Application in Common Pleas Court. The form is required to initiate all PCR actions and is accessible under the Forms section of the SCJD website. Specially designated PCR terms will be scheduled, and the Attorney General's Office is typically responsible for creating the docket for the PCR term.

Tasks:

NOTE: Post-Conviction Relief case processing can be a frustrating and time-consuming task. Prior to the filing of a PCR application, it is common for a prospective applicant to make a request for documents from the General Sessions file. To formulate an appropriate mechanism to respond to such requests, and to protect yourself, you will need to become familiar with the Freedom of Information Act, S. C. Code § 30-4-10 et seq. Additionally, the Attorney General's Office will request a copy of the General Sessions file upon receipt of the application - some clerks find it more efficient to forward a copy of the GS file with the PCR application. Finally, the Attorney General's Office will request appointment of counsel for the applicant if the matter requires a hearing. Rule 602, SCACR and Rule 608, SCACR, establish procedures for appointments of counsel.

6.2.4 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

This is a petition for a remedial writ that is processed in the same manner as any other case in Common Pleas.  A copy should be forwarded to the Attorney General's Office.

Tasks:

Return document along with a copy of the order denying motion to filing party, along with instruction that the filing fee must be submitted in order to file the petition or arrangements for payment pursuant to S. C. Code § 24-27-100 must be made.

6.2.5 Lis Pendens

A lis pendens is an instrument that may be filed with the Clerk of Court with a summons and complaint or before the filing of a summons and complaint. The effect of the lis pendens is to put the community on notice that certain property is or may be subject to litigation.

Tasks:

NOTE: The $150.00 civil action filing fee can be paid with the filing of a lis pendens. In such cases, the summons and complaint can be filed within 20 days without further filing fee charges.

NOTE: Generally, there is no fee charged for filing an amended lis pendens. However, the statutory fee [§ 8-21-310(11)(b)] applies for re-filing a lis pendens if the original has expired pursuant to § 15-11-10 or § 15-11-50.

6.2.6 Cancellation of Lis Pendens

A lis pendens may be cancelled by court order at any time after the case has been settled, discontinued or abated. A lis pendens may also be cancelled without a court order by the person who filed the notice at any time after the case has been settled, discontinued, abated or dismissed. This action requires the submission of a written notice of cancellation to the Clerk of Court in each county in which the lis pendens was recorded.

Tasks: - Cancellation by court order.

Tasks: - Cancellation by written request of submitting party.

Reference:  §15-11-40

6.2.7 Minor Settlements

Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. §62-5-433, a minor settlement is a case initiated that provides for the settlement of claims in favor of or against minors or incapacitated persons.  A minor settlement is initiated by the filing of a petition in the court in the county in which the minor or incapacitated person resides.  A petition may often be accompanied by an actual order approving the minor settlement, as well as petitions requesting appointment for a guardian ad litem.  In such instances, the case will be initiated and settled at once. 

Tasks:

NOTE: Original documents are kept for the court's file.

6.2.8  Bankruptcy Documents

An individual(s) filing bankruptcy must do so in the United States District Court.  The District Court will usually refer the matter to the United States Bankruptcy Court.  While bankruptcy cases (Chapters 7, 9, 11, 12, and 13) are not filed in state Circuit Court, the clerk of court may receive documents for filing that are bankruptcy-related.  The appropriate filing procedures and filing fees are addressed in the document located in the appendix of this chapter, entitled “Bankruptcy Procedures.”

6.2.9  Federal Court Transfers

A case may be transferred from the U.S. District Court to the Circuit Court to be disposed.  A U.S. District Court judge will sign an order to transfer or remand the case to the trial court level.  When the Federal Court remands a case to the Circuit Court, the county clerk of court will receive, as an attachment to an e-mail, a copy of the remand order and the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF).  Attorneys of record are responsible for supplementing the state record with all documents filed in Federal Court. 

Beginning September 1, 2005 attorneys who remove cases from the Circuit Court to the Federal Court must e-file the case records as an attachment to the Petition for Removal.  As a result of Electronic Case Filing (ECF), there is no longer a need for the county clerks of court to send a copy of the records to the Federal Courts.

Tasks:

Print and file stamp transfer order received from the Federal Court.

Assign CP Case number.

Collect $150 filing fee unless case was previously filed in the Circuit Court. The fee may be assessed at the time the attorney of record provides the hard copy of the file from the Federal Court.

6.2.10 Medical Malpractice

Prior to filing a civil action alleging medical malpractice in which the cause of action occurred after July 1, 2005, the plaintiff must file a Notice of Intent to File Suit and an Affidavit from an expert witness in the county where venue is proper. The case will proceed to mediation. If the matter cannot be resolved through mediation, the plaintiff may initiate a civil action by filing a summons and complaint. Medical Malpractice cases are governed by S. C. Code § 15-79-110 and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules.

Tasks:

Reference: S. C. Code § 15-79-125, and Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules

6.2.11 Filing and Enrolling Foreign Judgments - S. C. Code § 15-35-900

A copy of a foreign judgment authenticated in accordance with an Act of Congress or the statutes of this State may be filed with the Clerk of Court of any county in which the judgment debtor resides or owns real or personal property. Along with the foreign judgment, an affidavit of the judgment creditor or his/her attorney must be filed with the clerk stating that the judgment is final, that it is unsatisfied in whole or in part indicating the amount remaining unpaid on the judgment, and whether the judgment is further contested.

6.2.12    Court-Annexed Alternative Dispute Resolution

Note: Information regarding Automobile Arbitration is listed in Section 6.7.2.

You will find information regarding Medical Malpractice listed in Section 6.2.10.

Pursuant to Order of the Chief Justice dated May 5, 2008, in all cases in which ADR shall be ordered in the courts of this state, the Court-Annexed Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules shall apply.  Court appointed mediators in mandated cases shall be named by the court only from the roster of Certified Neutrals provided by the Supreme Court Commission on ADR. The roster is maintained by the SC Bar.  Court appointed mediators are not allowed to charge a fee for mediation services greater than the maximum allowed under the ADR Rule. The parties may select the mediator of their choice in accordance with the ADR Rules.  In the event that the parties select their own mediator, the mediator may charge such fee as shall be agreed upon between the mediator and the parties.

There are two types of Alternative Dispute Resolutions: Mediation and Arbitration.

ADR Rule 2 defines Mediation as an informal process in which a third-party mediator facilitates settlement discussions between parties. Any settlement is voluntary.  In the absence of settlement, the parties lose none of their rights to trial.

A mediator is a neutral person who acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute.  The mediator does not decide the issues in controversy or impose settlement.

ADR Rule 2 defines Arbitration as an informal process in which a third-party arbitrator issues an award deciding the issues in controversy. The award may be binding or non-binding as specified in these rules. 

An arbitrator is a neutral person who acts to decide the issues in controversy of a dispute.

A.  Mediation

In ADR cases, the parties may choose a neutral at any time.  In any event, the ADR Conference shall be held on or before the deadlines provided in the ADR Rules; however, if a Proof of ADR has not been filed by the 210th day after the filing of the action, the clerk should appoint a primary mediator and a secondary mediator from the current Roster of Certified Neutrals on a rotating basis.

Mediation Tasks:

1. Appoint a primary and secondary mediator using the Roster of Certified Neutrals on a rotating basis and among those mediators who have agreed to mediate cases in your county.

2. Complete the Notice of ADR Form (SCADR 102) and send a copy of the form to all parties and the appointed mediators.

Note:  If in the event of a conflict with both the primary and secondary mediators, and if the parties have not agreed to the selection of an alternate mediator, the plaintiff or his attorney shall immediately file with the clerk a notice advising the court of this fact and requesting the appointment of two or more mediators. Should this happen, the clerk will follow the same procedures above to appoint additional mediators.

Several things can happen after a mediation hearing.  Below are the possible outcomes of a mediation along with the tasks clerks should perform for each outcome.

Receipt of Proof of ADR (ADR RULE 5)

Tasks:

1.  Upon receipt of a Proof of ADR, file stamp the Proof of ADR.

2. Review the Proof of ADR to determine whether a final hearing on the matter has been requested. If it has been requested, add the case to the trial docket.

Receipt of a Consent Judgment, Voluntary Dismissal, or Mediation Agreement (ADR RULE 6(f))

ADR Rule 6(f) states: upon reaching an agreement, the parties shall, before the adjournment of the mediation, reduce the agreement to writing and sign along with their attorneys. If the parties envision a more formal agreement, the mediator shall assign one of the parties’ attorneys to prepare the agreement. A consent judgment or voluntary dismissal shall be filed with the court by such persons as may be designated by the mediator.

Tasks:

1. Upon receipt of the Agreement, Consent Judgment, or Voluntary Dismissal, file stamp the document.

2. Enter case information in CMS.  Dispose the case with a disposition code “3.”

B.  Arbitration

Receipt of Proof of ADR from Arbitrator

Tasks:

1.  Upon receipt of a Proof of ADR, file stamp the Proof of ADR.

2.   Review the Proof of ADR to determine whether a final hearing on the matter has been requested. If it has been requested, add the case to the trial docket.

Receipt of a Proposed Order Directing Entry of Judgment on an Arbitration Award (ADR Rule 12(e))

Tasks: 

1.   Upon receipt of a Proposed Order Directing Entry of Judgment on an Arbitration Award, file stamp the document. 

2.   Schedule a hearing for the Chief Administrative Judge to approve the award.

3.   After the Order Directing Entry of Judgment on an Arbitration Award is issued, you will dispose the case and use disposition code “9.”

6.3 Case Processing

6.3.1 Filing Fees

As a general rule, filing fees are required for all cases filed in the Court of Common Pleas. These fees are required or waived pursuant to the South Carolina Code of Laws. The amounts of filing fees are set by S. C. Code § 8-21-310 and § 14-1-204(B)(1). The two most common filing fees are the $150.00 fee that is paid at the initiation of a civil action and the $25.00 filing fee which is paid when a Notice of Motion and Motion (commonly referred to as a motion) is filed in a civil action.

A. Case Initiation Filing Fees

The fee to initiate most actions in the Court of Common Pleas is $150.00. S. C. Code § 8-21-310(11)(a) states that the filing fee is $100.00. S. C. Code §14-1-204(B)(1) requires that an additional filing fee of $50.00 be imposed on filings in Family and Circuit Court. This increase is in addition to the $100.00 fee required by S. C. Code § 8-21-310 (11)(a). Thus, the total cost for initiating most civil actions is $150.00.

Please note that there are some types of actions that do not require the $150.00 filing fee.

Listed below are the most common types of actions that are initiated in the Court of Common Pleas and the fee that should be charged pursuant to statute.

$150 Filing Fee Required

$100 Filing Fee Required

$10 Filing Fee Required

$25 Filing Fee Required

$200 Filing Fee Required

Inmate Litigation Filing Fees (other than PCR) are governed by the following:

Filing Fee Not Required

B. Motion Fees

Pursuant to § 8-21-320 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, there is a $25.00 fee assessed for every motion made in the Court of Common Pleas. The motion fee applies to all motions, including motions filed with the original complaint, unless otherwise determined to be exempt. Please access the below motion fee list to review the list of the most commonly filed motions which require the $25.00 motion fee and the most commonly filed motions which are exempt from the $25.00 motion fee.

Chief Justice Toal’s December 22, 2010 Memorandum and Motion Fee List

C. Motion and Order Information Form and Coversheet

The Motion and Order Information Form and Coversheet is to be submitted with every motion or proposed order filed with the clerk of court or presented to a judge at chambers and shall remain as an attachment to the motion or proposed order, or copy of the same, as proof of payment, or in the alternative, as instruction for payment. Please note that a motion coversheet is necessary on all motions and proposed orders, regardless of whether a motion fee is to be assessed or not assessed.

Court Administration November 14, 2003 Memorandum

Motion Fee Disputes: When there is a motion fee dispute between the attorney and the clerk, the judge is to make the final decision as to whether the fee should be assessed. The judge should only be involved when the resolution of the dispute over the assessment of a motion fee is necessary. The Motion and Order Information Form and Coversheet provides documentation for situations when there is a motion fee dispute between the attorney and the clerk.

D. Tasks for Case Initiation Fees and Motion Fees:

A. If Motion is granted:

- File stamp the document.
- Assign case number and process as usual.

B. If Motion is denied, return document along with a copy of the order denying motion to filing party, along with instruction that the appropriate filing fee must be submitted in order to file the petition.

6.3.2 Assign Case Number

Each Common Pleas case is assigned a unique case number, including a "CP" designation, that will identify it throughout its pendency in the court, and for subsequent modifications. See Chapter 1, General Office Procedures, for the general procedures used in assigning case numbers.

Example: 2000-CP-40-0000X

Year 

 

Court Designation

 

County Code

 

Sequential Number

2000

-

CP

-

40

-

0000X

Stand-alone confessions of judgment can receive a "JG" designation.

Tasks:

·         Write or stamp case number on original complaint and any copies returned to the filing attorney or party.

6.3.3 Case Jackets

As each case is opened, a separate jacket should be prepared to hold all original papers associated with that case. The case number should be typed or written on the file tab, and the jackets filed in numerical order by sequential case number. The case name may also be written on the jacket.

As additional papers are filed, they should be added to the case jacket.

6.3.4 Procedures for Restoring Common Pleas Cases

The following scenarios may require case restoration:

CP Case Ended by:

Procedure:

Ended in Error
(Use Restore Date Field)

Original Case #
Original Filing Date

Granted New Trial Before Appealed
(Use Restore Date Field)

Original Case #
Original Filing Date

Remanded from Federal Court
(Use Restore Date Field)

Original Case #
Original Filing Date

In all of the above-referenced situations, the Restore Date Field should be used to reinstate the case to the active docket. If you are unable to use the Restore Date Field, you must call the Data Entry Supervisor at SCJD (803-734-1800) so that the case can be manually restored. If you are simultaneously restoring and disposing of a previously disposed case, please keep in mind that the Restore Date Field must reflect a date that is on or before the new Disposition Date, otherwise an error will occur. In all instances of using the Restore Date Field, you must use an "M" (for "modified") action code to successfully retransmit the modified record.

The examples of restored cases listed below are functionally new records, even though they are related to prior cases. These types of records should be transmitted using an "A" (for "added") action code.

CP Case Ended by:

Procedure:

Remanded from Higher SC Court
(New Record)
Original Filing Date

Original Case #
Suffix 'A'

Bankruptcy [not 40(j)]
(New Record)
Original Filing Date

Original Case #
Suffix 'B'

Rule 40(j)
(New Record)
New Filing Date

New Case #
Suffix 'R'

Ended due to Incomplete Service
(New Record)

New Case #
New Filing Date

Dismissed without Prejudice
(New Record)

New Case #
New Filing Date

Dismissed with Prejudice

May not be restored

Please note that CMS automatically adds the above-referenced suffixes during the restore process if one of the reasons is selected.  The suffix will be included with the case number for CMS to review.  The suffix will not be included in the case number available to the clerk in CMS. In other words, the suffix will not be included with the case number when the clerk is looking at the record in his or her CMS program.

When a case is restored after it has been in Bankruptcy status, the case will be restored using its original case number and to designate bankruptcy and will retain the original filing date.

When a case is restored after an appeal has been granted, the case will be restored using the original case number to designate appeal and will retain the original filing date.

When a case is restored following a dismissal pursuant to Rule 40(j), SCRCP, which allows for a case to be restored within a year, the case receives a new case number with a suffix of ‘R’. If the case is restored after a year, the case receives a new case number with no suffix. No suffix is required for those restored after a year because they are treated as a new case since the period to restore has expired.

When a case is restored after it has previously been dismissed due to a Home Modification Program loan, the case will be restored using its original case number and will retain its original filing date. The clerk will flag the case and indicate that the case was restored due to an HMP default.

6.4 Case Updating

Between the time a case is filed with the court and the time it is set for trial, additional papers will be filed with the clerk's office. Some will simply be recorded in CMS and placed in the case jacket. Others will require further action by the clerk, such as scheduling matters on the Motion Calendar, processing Orders of Reference and scheduling for status and pretrial conferences. Finally, the case will be placed on the proper trial roster. In order for this process to occur smoothly, all intermediate filings must be properly processed and readily accessible for court review.

6.4.1 Subsequent Filings

In addition to the summons and complaint, other pleadings may be filed with the clerk of court. They include the defendant's answer, affidavit of service of the complaint, counterclaim, cross claim, various motions, affidavits, etc.  Rule 7, SCRCP, discusses the pleadings allowed. The general procedure for processing these additional filings is discussed in Chapter 1, General Office Procedures.

Tasks:

6.4.2 Motion Calendar

Certain matters are to be placed on the Motion Calendar as a matter of course. Others are placed on the Motion Calendar because one of the parties has filed a Motion upon which the judge must rule. Depending upon the nature of the motion, it may be resolved quickly or it may require extended time for argument. Motions may be considered in chambers or may need to be scheduled during a non-jury term. A Motion and Order Information Form and Coversheet (SCCA 233) should be included with the motion when it is filed. The motion coversheet is accessible under the Forms section of the SCJD Website.

The following matters are to be placed on the motion calendar as they are filed:

Motions

- Appeals from Magistrate Court
- Appeals from Municipal Court
- Appeals from administrative agency hearings
- Appeals from Probate Court
- Other matters requiring summary (non-jury) hearing in the Circuit Court.

Note: Appeals from the Master-in-Equity go to the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals. [Rule 53(e), SCRCP]


Note: If a motion is filed for a case that has been placed on the trial roster, the motion should not be scheduled on the motion calendar unless so indicated by the judge.

Tasks:

NOTE: Because a printout of a hearing roster contains the case information elements listed above, some offices may find that sending a copy of the hearing roster is more convenient than generating separate notices. However, for some offices, such a practice could be costly in terms of postage and paper. The clerk may utilize the CMS system to email court notices to attorneys or pro se litigants who provide an email address. If a pro se litigant does not provide an email, the clerk will need to mail the notice to him or her.

6.4.3 Pretrial/Status Conferences

Depending on the particular case, or the judge involved, pretrial and/or status conferences (Rule 16, SCRCP) may be scheduled. These conferences help to refine the issues and estimate time needed for trial. In circuits where larger numbers of cases are routinely scheduled for pretrial conferences, a separate pretrial docket may be maintained. When fewer pretrials are required, they may be scheduled as time allows on the regular rosters.

Local practice may vary in preparing for pretrial conferences. The following tasks may be used as a guide for pretrial conferences.

Tasks:

Set cases with completed information on the pretrial conference docket in chronological order, oldest case first.

Send notice to attorneys that the case has been placed on pretrial conference docket.

If cases settle after being placed on the pretrial conference docket, substitute other cases in the available time slots.

Prior to or at the time of the conference, each attorney will submit a Pretrial Brief to the judge. These briefs are not to be filed with the clerk nor are they made a part of the record. Rule 16(c) SCRCP.

6.4.4 Trial Roster

Trial rosters consist of lists of cases which are to be heard during a particular term of court. Both jury and non-jury rosters are prepared by the Clerk of Court. No jury roster, however, should be prepared for a week that has been designated as a non-jury week.

Rule 40, SCRCP, governs the preparation of trial rosters. Within a given circuit, this may be done by the clerk following procedures set by the court, or it may be done in consultation with the Chief Judge for Administrative Purposes.

Pursuant to Rule 40(b), the clerk initially shall place all cases in which a jury has been requested on the General Docket. A case may not be called for trial until it has been transferred to the Jury Trial Roster. Trial shall be had no earlier than 30 days from the date the case first appears on the Jury Trial Roster. Cases shall be called for trial in the order in which they are placed on the Jury Trial Roster, unless the court in a Scheduling Order has set a date certain for the trial, or, after the case has been set on the Jury Trial Roster, the court, upon motion, grants a continuance as provided in (i) below. The first 20 cases on the Jury Trial Roster at the opening of court on the first day of a term, excluding those previously dismissed, continued or otherwise resolved before the opening of that term of court, may be called for trial. For each additional judge sitting during that term of court an additional 20 cases are subject to call. All other cases may be called for trial in that term only upon no less than 24 hours notice. Notwithstanding the foregoing, no action may be called for trial until 180 days after service of the last pleading which adds a new party to the action, unless all parties consent in writing.

Tasks:

The format of the trial roster is determined in each circuit, but they should include

Court identification information:

    Trial date
    Presiding judge (optional)
    Name of Court
    Designation as jury or non-jury roster

Case identification information:

    Case number
    Case name
    Attorney for plaintiff
    Attorney for defendant
    Other case information which may be useful includes
        Date filed
        Nature of action (optional, but required if the trial roster is used for notice purposes)

The format of the roster should provide sufficient space for notes to be made in monitoring the roster - such as notations concerning continuances or a party's scheduling conflict.

NOTE: Because a printout of a hearing or trial roster contains the case information elements listed above, some offices may find that sending a copy of the hearing roster is more convenient than generating separate notices. However, for some offices, such a practice could be costly in terms of postage and paper. The clerk may utilize the CMS system to email court notices to attorneys or pro se litigants who provide an email address. If a pro se litigant does not provide an email, the clerk will need to mail the notice to him or her.

6.4.5 Masters and Special Referees

Rule 53(b), SCRCP, provides that in an action where the parties consent or in a default case, some or all of the causes of action in a case may be referred to a master or special referee by order of a circuit judge or the Clerk of Court. In all other actions, the Circuit Court may, upon application of any party or upon its own motion, direct a reference of some or all of the causes of action in a case. When a reference is made, the master or special referee shall enter final judgment as to the causes of action referred. A case shall not be referred to a master or special referee for the purpose of making a report to the Circuit Court. The clerk shall promptly provide the master or special referee with a copy of the order of reference.

You may access the complete Rule by clicking on the following link: Rule 53, SCRCP.

NOTE: Because the Master determines final disposition on references, when the case is ended the file will be returned to the clerk who will enter and enroll (if applicable) judgment, update the record, and close the file as with a typical Common Pleas case.

6.5 Trials

Once a case has been placed on the trial roster it will remain there unless settled or moved to another roster by order of the court. The clerk is usually responsible for having all case jackets in the courtroom as the cases are called. The individual responsible for specific tasks involved in preparing for trial as well as during trial may vary from circuit to circuit, or judge to judge. For example, the judge's staff or the clerk's staff may be responsible for delivering case jackets. During court, the judge may announce cases and swear witnesses, or the clerk may do so. To ensure efficiency in the courtroom, it may be helpful to review local procedure with each new judge, and to modify the procedure as requested when working with that judge.

6.5.1 Tasks - Preparation for Trial

·         Prior to the date of the trial pull case jackets and place in the order as cases appear on trial roster.

·         Deliver to courtroom/judge.

6.5.2 Tasks - in-Court

A. In jury cases:

B. In all cases:

A. Sample Oaths for Witnesses:

"State your full name, raise your right hand and place your left hand on the Bible. The evidence you shall give the Court and jury upon the trial of this case shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So help you God (if no objection)."

OR

"You do solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give in this case to be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So help you God (if no objection)."

B. Sample Oath for Interpreters:

"Do you solemnly promise and swear that you shall interpret the testimony of the witness as he or she makes the answers to you? So help you God (if no objection)."

C. Sample Oath for Constable (Bailiff):

"You and each of you solemnly swear you will keep the jury sworn. You will suffer no one to speak to them, neither speak to them yourselves about this case. So help you God (if no objection)."

D. Oath for Constable to take jury to meal:

"Do you solemnly swear that you will keep the jurors sworn in this case and take them to some convenient place for lunch; that you will suffer no person to speak with them, nor any of them, neither speak with them yourself, nor suffer them to speak with any persons and after lunch return them to their jury room and keep them there until further directed by this Court? So help you God (if no objection)."

6.6 Case Disposition

Cases will be disposed at various stages of the judicial process. Some will be withdrawn by the parties, others will be settled. Failure by the parties to comply with processing requirements may cause the court to strike the case. Some cases will progress to trial and result in a final judgment.

No matter what the type of disposition, the clerk's office must record the appropriate information in CMS to officially close the case. The information that follows will discuss the types of dispositions first, and then the general tasks involved in closing the case records.

6.6.1 Types of Dispositions and Disposition Codes

A. Withdrawn by plaintiff - The plaintiff may file a notice of dismissal with the clerk and serve a copy on the defendant before the defendant answers the complaint or other motions go forward. Later in the proceedings, the action may be withdrawn by filing a stipulation of dismissal signed by all parties who have appeared in the action.

B. Transferred to another court - A change of venue or transfer on other grounds does not resolve the case. For the purposes of the court in which the case was originally filed, however, the matter is disposed of and can be removed from the pending cases once the transfer is complete. It is highly recommended that when transferring a case file to another court by mail that certified mail be used.

C. Default - When the defendant fails to respond to a properly served summons and complaint, the plaintiff may move for judgment on the pleadings and request a hearing on damages.

D. Settlement or Dismissal - Settlement or dismissal may be moved for by the parties at any time between the filing of the case and judgment at trial. A form order is frequently used although the attorneys may draw their own order and forward it to the court. If approved or modified by the court, the order will be signed and filed with the clerk.  Cases may also be dismissed by stipulation of parties and without an order of the court pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1), SCRCP

E. Rule 40(j) Dismissal - When a case on the trial roster is called for trial and the parties indicate the case is not ready for trial, the case can be dismissed with leave to restore, unless a continuance is granted.
Note: Some judges may require a meeting with attorneys prior to a Rule 40(j), SCRCP dismissal.

F. Ended by jury or non-jury trial - Action proceeded through trial.

G. Other dispositions may occur due to Bankruptcy actions or through Binding Arbitration.

H.  Disposition Codes

The following is a reference list of disposition codes used in Common Pleas:

1 -        Transferred to Other Court

2 -        Dismissed by Court, not by Rule 40(j)

3 -        Discontinued, Settled, or Withdrawn by Parties

4 -        Rule 40(j) Dismissal

5 -        Ended by a Non-Jury Trial

6 -        Ended by a Jury Trial

7 -        Uncontested/Default

8 -        Other

9 -        Ended by Judgment/Dismissal/Arbitration/Mediation

6.6.2 Entry of Judgment

Pursuant to Rule 58, SCRCP, all judgments must be entered by the Clerk of Court.

6.6.3 Closing Case Records

Receipt of a jury verdict, final order, notice of voluntary dismissal, or notice of dismissal by stipulation triggers the closing of the case records. The judgment must be entered, and enrolled if appropriate, and the case is disposed in CMS. The judgment may take the form of an order or a decree. When multiple claims or multiple parties are involved in one action, there may be more than one judgment rendered before the entire action is resolved.

NOTE: Unless otherwise ordered by the court, all judgments are to be entered.

Tasks for Entering Judgment:

6.6.4 Enrolling a Judgment

If the final judgment affects title to real property it must be immediately enrolled after filing. Judgments involving the payment of a sum of money or affecting personal property should also be enrolled. Enrolling the judgment particularly provides notice to those individuals who may want to determine whether a property is encumbered. Not all judgments must be enrolled. For example, the court may order that a particular judgment should not be enrolled. Additionally, the following types of cases generally will not affect title to property and it is recommended that they should not be automatically enrolled:

Note: When in doubt as to whether real or personal property is affected, the final judgment should be enrolled.

Tasks:

Use original case number to enroll judgment. Pursuant to Chief Justice Toal’s November 26, 2009 order, if a General Sessions or Family Court judgment is being enrolled in Common Pleas Court, assign such judgments a CP number.

Write that number on the judgment.

Record the number and case name in the judgments index.

Enroll an abstract of the judgment in the Judgment Roll book. Include the following information: case name, nature of judgment, date of entry of judgment, costs as allocated.

Reference: SCRCP 78(b); Chapter 1.

Tasks:

NOTE: Cancellation of judgment is provided by the following statute:

§ 15-35-650. Entry of cancellation on margin or index of judgment.

All clerks of court shall enter the word "cancelled," together with the signature of such officer, upon the margin or across the indices of judgments when any such judgment is duly cancelled of record by the judgment creditor or his assignee. Such cancellation and signature shall be entered in the margin opposite the names of the judgment debtor and judgment creditor, respectively, or across such names, and the like cancellation shall on the demand of the judgment debtor, or his legal representative, be made on judgments theretofore cancelled of record. Upon failure of such Clerk of Court to comply with the provisions of this section, he shall, in each instance, forfeit and pay to the judgment debtor the sum of ten dollars, to be recovered in any court of competent jurisdiction, and if such failure be willful he shall, on conviction, be fined not more than one hundred dollars or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, in the discretion of the court. The solicitor of each circuit shall see that the provisions of this section are complied with or shall forthwith prosecute violators thereof.

6.7 Special Procedures

Special procedures have been established for certain groups of cases or matters handled by the court, as a means of expediting or ensuring uniform treatment. Those currently in operation are discussed below.

6.7.1 Foreclosures

A case is to be considered closed when the judge or Master-in-Equity enters foreclosure.

6.7.2 Automobile Arbitration

The South Carolina Automobile Reparation Reform Act of 1974 (§ 38-77-710, et seq.) created a procedure for the arbitration of property damage claims arising out of motor vehicle collisions and accidents. Records for these arbitrations are maintained by the Clerk of Court. Once the resident judge has issued an order of reference appointing an attorney or attorneys as member(s) of an arbitration panel, the clerk is responsible for assigning members of the panel to hear cases as they arise.

The clerk must provide the following forms necessary for pursuing a claim:

1.      Claim for Property Damage

2.      Summons for Arbitration

3.      Affidavit of Service

4.      Notice of Assignment as Arbitrator

5.      Notice of Arbitration Hearing

6.      Entering and Filing of Decision Upon Arbitration (this form is to be printed on the back of the Claim for arbitration form.)

7.      Agreement

8.      Subpoena and Subpoena Duces Tecum

A separate Arbitration Docket must be maintained in the clerk's office.

Procedure for Automobile Arbitration:

A.    Initiating documents - Claim for Property Damage and Summons for Arbitration must be filed in triplicate. If multiple defendants are named an additional copy for each defendant is required.

Tasks:

B.    Filing fee - A $10.00 filing fee is required for all arbitration cases. Of this $10.00, the clerk retains $5.00 to cover the cost of filing the case and enrolling the judgment. The other $5.00 covers the cost of service.

Tasks:

C.    Service - As with Common Pleas cases, all parties named in arbitration cases must be served.

Tasks:

D.    Assign Arbitrator - After 30 days or after the filing of a response by the defendant, assign the case to a panel of three arbitrators. The clerk must assign the arbitrators on a rotating basis.

NOTE: Upon receipt of a written Agreement, signed by the parties (not their attorneys), a single arbitrator may be assigned.

Tasks:

E.    Notify parties of hearing. As the arbitrators are notified of their assignment, the parties are notified of the hearing date.

Tasks:

F.       Decision - Following the hearing, the arbitration panel will enter the decision and file it with the Clerk of Court.

Tasks:

G.      Appeal - If an appeal is taken from an arbitration decision, it will be considered a new Common Pleas case, will receive a new CP number, and processed accordingly.

6.7.3 Confiscation and Forfeiture of Vehicles

The Highway Safety Act provides for the confiscation and forfeiture of vehicles driven by individuals arrested or convicted of a fourth or subsequent offense of driving under suspension (DUS) within the last five years or a third offense for driving under the influence (DUI) within the last ten years [§56-5-6240]. The vehicle is confiscated at the time of arrest. The sheriff or chief of police of the jurisdiction where the vehicle was seized or his authorized agent must notify the registered owner of the confiscation by certified mail within 72 hours of the confiscation.  The registered owner must also be notified that they have ten days from receipt of the notice to request a hearing before the presiding judge or his designated hearing officer.  A copy of this notice and proof of the date of the registered owner’s receipt should also be served on the clerk.

A.    Confiscation - Tasks

B.    Forfeiture

If the defendant is convicted of a fourth or subsequent violation of DUI or DUS, the law enforcement agency may initiate the forfeiture proceedings by filing a summons and complaint or petition. Forfeiture does not proceed automatically upon conviction. If forfeiture proceedings are not initiated by the confiscating law enforcement agency, the clerk need take no further action. A forfeiture proceeding is initiated by the filing of a summons and complaint, a petition, or consent order.

Tasks:

6.7.4 Reinstatement of Permanently Revoked Driver's License

Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 56-1-385, under certain conditions, a person may petition the Circuit Court to reinstate driving privileges. Currently, a $200.00 filing fee is required for processing and 100% of the revenue from this fee shall be paid to the county.

6.7.5 Petition by Minor for Judicial Consent for Abortion

The following code section governs petitions filed by minors seeking judicial consent for abortion. Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 44-41-34(B) and (D), the standard filing fee may be waived, hearings are closed to the public, and court records in such matters must be sealed by the court.

S.C. Code Ann. § 44-41-32. Petitioning court for right to obtain abortion without consent of parent or legal guardian.

Every minor has the right to petition the court for an order granting her the right to obtain an abortion without the consent required in § 44-41-31(1). In seeking this relief the following procedures apply:

(1) The minor may prepare and file a petition in either the circuit or family court. The petition may be filed in the name of Jane Doe to protect the anonymity of the minor.

(2) The Adoption and Birth Parent Services Division of the Department of Social Services, upon request of the minor, must provide assistance to the minor in preparing and filing the petition. Preparation and filing of the petition must be completed within forty-eight hours after the request. The Department of Social Services shall promulgate regulations establishing the procedures to be followed in providing this assistance.

(3) Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor, taking into consideration the preference of the minor. The minor may participate in court proceedings on her own behalf, but the court shall advise her that she has a right to court-appointed counsel and shall provide her with counsel upon her request.

(4) All proceedings pursuant to this section must be given precedence over other matters pending before the court.

(5) The court shall hold a hearing and rule on the merits of the petition within seventy-two hours of the filing of the petition. This time may be extended upon the request of the minor. The court shall consider the emotional development, maturity, intellect, and understanding of the minor; the nature and possible consequences of the abortion and of the alternatives to the abortion; and other evidence that the court may find useful in determining whether the minor should be granted the right on her own behalf to consent to the abortion or whether the abortion is in the best interest of the minor.

6.7.6 Foreign Subpoenas and Depositions in Out-of-State Actions

Pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act of 2010, when a subpoena issued from another state requires that a person attend and give testimony at a deposition, produce designated books, documents, records, electronically stored information or tangible items, or permit inspection of premises, a party must submit the subpoena to the clerk of court of the county in which the discovery is sought to be conducted in this state. A foreign subpoena means subpoena issued under authority of a court of record of a foreign jurisdiction (SC Code Ann. §15-47-110(3)).

SC Code Ann. §15-47-100(B) provides when a party submits a foreign subpoena to a clerk of court in this state, the clerk in accordance with the rules of court, promptly shall issue a subpoena for service upon the person to which the foreign subpoena is directed. The subpoena must incorporate the terms used in the foreign subpoena and contain or be accompanied by the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all counsel of record in the proceeding to which the subpoena relates and of any party not represented by counsel.

Tasks:

  1. Upon receipt of a foreign subpoena, the clerk should charge the $50.00 filing fee set by order of the Chief Justice, effective March 1, 2003. A civil action coversheet should be attached. No other documents are required to be filed along with the foreign subpoena.

  2. The clerk should assign the subpoena a Common Pleas number.

  3. The clerk should then promptly issue a subpoena for service upon the person to which the foreign subpoena is directed. The subpoena should include the terms used in the foreign subpoena and contain or be accompanied by the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all counsel of record in the proceeding to which the subpoena relates and of any party not represented by counsel.

  4. The clerk should file the original foreign subpoena and also keep a copy of the subpoena that the clerk issues.

  5. Once entered into the system, the case should be opened and closed immediately since it is likely that no further action will be necessary by the court issuing the subpoena. The judge code that should be used to close this case is the Clerk of Court Code 2099.

6.7.7 Structured Settlements

Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. §15-50-10 et seq, a structured settlement means an arrangement for periodic payment of damages for personal injuries or sickness established by settlement or judgment in resolution of a tort claim.  A structured settlement agreement means the agreement, judgment, stipulation, or release outlining the terms of a structured settlement.   

Tasks:

Case caption
Proper county designation
Original signature of filing party
Filing fee (See 6.3.1)

NOTE: Original documents are kept for the court's file.

6.7.8 Administrative Warrants Procedure

Pursuant to S.C. Code § 41-15-26 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, an administrative warrant is issued by a Circuit Court judge. The Administrative Warrant, a copy of the Return and all papers in connection therewith, are to be filed with the Clerk of Court. S.C. Code § 41-15-26(B)(4) requires that the Administrative Warrant, a copy of the Return, and supporting affidavit and documents be kept for a period of three years from the date of the issuance of each warrant.

Tasks:

  1. File stamp the Administrative Warrant, Copy of the Return, and all papers in connection therewith and copies.
  1. Assign the Administrative Warrant a Common Pleas number.
  1. Return copies of the filed Administrative Warrant with the case number to the party who submitted the documents.
  1. The Administrative Warrant shall be filed along with a copy of the Return and all papers in connection therewith.
  1. Once entered into the system, the case should be opened and closed immediately since it is likely no further action will be necessary. The judge code that should be used to close this case is the code 2099 for Clerk of Court.

6.7.9 Motions to Quash Subpoena When Subpoena is Issued in Another County

From time to time you will receive a Motion to Quash Subpoena for a Subpoena that was issued in your county and the action is located in another county. 

Tasks:

6.7.10 Common Pleas Court Subpoenas

A. Pursuant to Rule 45, SCRCP, the clerk of court shall issue a subpoena, signed but otherwise in blank to a party requesting it, who shall complete it before service. An attorney as an officer of the court may also issue and sign a subpoena on behalf of a court in which the attorney is authorized to practice.

There is a subpoena form (SCCA 254) for a civil action located in the forms section of the SC Judicial Department website which you may use to issue a subpoena.

B. Subpoenas for cases in other counties

From time to time, you may receive a request to issue a subpoena from your county for a case that is filed in another county. When this situation occurs, you should issue the subpoena and list the other county’s case number on the subpoena. You do not need to open a new case. You should maintain a copy of the subpoena for your files.

This procedure is pursuant to Rule 45(a)(2), SCRCP, which states a subpoena for attendance at a deposition shall issue from the court for the county designated by the notice of deposition as the county in which the deposition is to be taken. If separate from a subpoena commanding the attendance of a person, a subpoena for production or inspection shall issue from the court for the county in which production or inspection is to be made. Provided, however, that a subpoena to a person who is not a party or an officer, director, or managing agent of a party, commanding attendance at a deposition or production or inspection shall issue from the court for the county in which the non-party resides or is employed or regularly transacts business in person.

C. Signing Subpoenas

Rule 45(a)(3), SCRCP, states the clerk shall issue a subpoena, signed but otherwise blank, to a party requesting it, who shall complete it before service. The clerk of court should not use an electronic signature or signature stamp when issuing subpoenas. All subpoenas should be signed by the clerk or their appointed deputy clerk.\

6.7.11 Business Courts Statewide Program

The Supreme Court by Order dated January 3, 2014 approved the expansion of the South Carolina Business Court Pilot Program statewide. You may review the order by clicking on the above link.  This program was created as an option to litigate complex business, corporate, and commercial matters in the Circuit Courts of South Carolina.

Attorneys petitioning assignment of a case to the Business Court shall request assignment no later than 180 days after the commencement of the action. This requirement may be waived by the Business Court Judge. 

Tasks:

  1. The clerk of court will receive from the petitioner the original and at least one copy of the Motion and Order for Case Assignment to the Business Court Program (SCCABC 101).  The clerk shall clock-stamp both the original and the copy(ies) of the motion and accept the $25.00 motion fee. Please note that prior to the motion being filed with the clerk of court, the case will be initiated with a summons and complaint.
  1. The clerk shall file the clock-stamped copy and return the original and additional copies to the petitioner. 

    Note: The petitioner shall send the original, clocked-in motion (SCCABC 101) to the Business Court Judge of the appropriate region.  The Business Court Judge shall submit the original order to the Chief Justice with his or her recommendation regarding assignment of the case to Business Court.

  1. The clerk shall enter the motion into CMS.  The clerk should not schedule a hearing for this motion.
  1. Whether the Motion and Order for Case Assignment is approved or denied by the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court shall send the original, signed order to the clerk of court for filing. The Supreme Court shall also send copies of the signed order to the assigned Business Court Judge and to Court Administration.
  1. Upon receipt of the original signed order, the clerk shall file the order, scan the order, and enter the order into CMS. If the case is assigned to Business Court, the clerk shall indicate in CMS which regional Business Court judge is assigned to the case.
  1. The clerk shall send a copy of the clocked-in order signed by the Chief Justice to all counsel or case parties.

    Note: The Business Court Judge shall schedule all hearings and/or the trial associated with the case.

The Business Court Regions and their designated Business Court Judges are indicated in the January 3, 2014 Order referenced above.