RE: Service of Documents by Electronic Mail
The law firm of Nelson, Mullins, Riley and Scarborough seeks permission to experiment with the use of electronic mail (e-mail) for the service of legal documents. Because this experiment would provide valuable information regarding the feasibility of service by e-mail and use of the United States Postal Service Electronic Postmark, I grant permission to Nelson, Mullins, Riley and Scarborough, as well as other attorneys, to serve and receive documents through e-mail subject to the following conditions.
Attorneys must first agree in writing to serve and receive documents through e-mail. In such instances, service pursuant to Rule 5(b)(1), SCRCP, upon a party represented by an attorney may be effected by e-mail provided that the service has been postmarked by the United States Postal Service Electronic Postmark, as defined in S.C. Code Ann. § 26-6-20(18)(enacted July 16, 2004), and sent to the attorney’s e-mail address as provided by the attorney for the purpose of receiving service of legal documents and other correspondence. When service is made via e-mail, the sender must include a description of the contents of the document(s), as well as the caption and civil action number of the case. Such service, postmarked by the United States Postal Service Electronic Postmark, shall have the same effect as service via the United States mail. Service via e-mail shall be in conformity with the requirements contained in the South Carolina Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, S.C. Code Ann. §§ 26-6-10, et seq.
Based on the success of this limited experiment with e-mail service of documents under Rule 5(b)(1), SCRCP, the experiment may be extended at a later date to service of summons and complaints. Nelson, Mullins, Riley and Scarborough, and any other attorneys who participate in this experiment, are directed to provide the Court with feedback regarding their experience with the use of e-mail for service by February 28, 2005.
|s/Jean Hoefer Toal
Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal
Columbia, South Carolina
November 15, 2004