In re: Amendments to Rule 411(c)(1), SCACR.
O R D E R
The Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection Committee of the South Carolina Bar has proposed amending Rule 411(c)(1), SCACR, to raise the per claim maximum payout from $20,000 to $40,000 and to raise the per lawyer maximum payout from $100,000 to $200,000. The proposed amendments are approved.
Pursuant to Article V, § 4, of the South Carolina Constitution, we hereby amend Rule 411(c)(1), SCACR, to reflect the changes set forth above. These amendments shall be effective immediately. A copy of the amended rule is attached.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/Jean H. Toal C.J.
s/James E. Moore J.
s/John H. Waller, Jr. J.
s/E. C. Burnett, III J.
s/Costa M. Pleicones J.
Columbia, South Carolina
November 4, 2004
(c) Duties of Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection Committee.
(1) The Committee shall be authorized, commencing on January 1, 1980, to consider applications for reimbursement of losses which arise after the effective date of this Rule and which are caused by the dishonest conduct of a member of the South Carolina Bar who was acting either as a lawyer or in a fiduciary capacity customary to the practice of law in the matter in which the loss arose, but only to the extent to which these losses are not bonded or to the extent these losses are not otherwise covered; and provided the Bar member has died, has been adjudicated a bankrupt, has been adjudicated mentally incompetent, has been disbarred or suspended from the practice of law, has voluntarily resigned from the practice of law, has left the jurisdiction of this state or cannot be found, or has become a judgment debtor of the applicant based upon his dishonest conduct as a lawyer; or provided that the application has been certified to the Committee by the Commission on Lawyer Conduct of the Supreme Court or the Board of Governors of the South Carolina Bar as an appropriate case for consideration because the loss was caused by the dishonest conduct of a member of the South Carolina Bar. For the purposes of this rule, dishonest conduct of a member of the South Carolina Bar shall include not only dishonest conduct committed by the member, but also dishonest conduct of any person who is not a member of the Bar employed by a member or the firm of a member to assist the member or firm in providing legal services. Reimbursement for losses caused by dishonest conduct of an employee of a member or firm shall only be allowed if the acts giving rise to the loss occurred during the course of that employment.
The Committee shall investigate applications which are brought to its attention. The Committee shall be authorized and empowered to reject or allow applications in whole or in part to the extent that funds are available to it. The Committee shall have complete discretion in determining the order, extent, and manner of payments of applications. The payment to any applicant shall not exceed the sum of $40,000 per claim; provided, however, that the aggregate total of claims paid per attorney shall not exceed $200,000. In operating the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection pursuant to this Rule, the South Carolina Bar does not create or acknowledge any legal responsibility for the acts of individual lawyers in the practice of law. All reimbursements of losses from the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection shall be a matter of grace in the sole discretion of the Committee and not as a matter of right. No client or member of the public shall have any right in the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection as a third party beneficiary or otherwise. No attorney shall be compensated for representing an applicant except as authorized by the Committee.
In order for an application to be considered by the Committee, the application must be received by the South Carolina Bar within three (3) years of the date the applicant discovered or reasonably ought to have discovered the dishonest conduct. No application may be considered after the expiration of six years from the date of the dishonest conduct.
The Committee is further authorized to disburse funds as ordered by the Supreme Court pursuant to Rule 31(f) contained in Rule 413, SCACR. Unless otherwise provided by the order of the Supreme Court, the Committee shall be entitled to reimbursement from the suspended, disbarred, disappeared, or deceased attorney or his estate.