Pursuant to the provisions of S.C. CONST. Art. V, §4,
IT IS ORDERED that the following procedures shall be followed in the management and disposition of all complex common pleas cases now pending or hereafter filed in each circuit:
On the Chief Administrative Judge's own motion or on motion of counsel on an approved form, a copy of which is attached and made a part of this order, made after the filing of the original complaint, the Chief Administrative Judge can designate a case as complex, establish a date prior to which the case will not be called for trial and assign the case to a judge assigned to the circuit or an adjoining circuit who will be given exclusive jurisdiction to handle that case from beginning to end.
The motion may be granted on the information contained in the motion or the Chief Administrative Judge may require a hearing to determine whether the case justifies special handling.
If the motion is granted, the case will not be called for trial prior to the date designated in the order. The Chief Administrative Judge will assign the case to a judge assigned to the circuit or an adjoining circuit and all pretrial motions and other matters pertaining to that case will be under the exclusive jurisdiction of the judge assigned to the case. When appropriate, the case should be given a date certain for trial with the trial of the case also handled by the assigned judge.
If the Chief Administrative Judge believes that the case is not so complex as to require the assignment of a specific judge to handle the case from beginning to end, the Chief Administrative Judge can partially grant the motion by providing a date in his or her order before which the case cannot be called to trial. This will allow counsel adequate time to prepare the case for trial without the necessity of having to attend roster meetings and justify a continuance. Continuances beyond the date established in the scheduling order should not be requested or granted by the Chief Administrative Judge without exceptional circumstances being shown. Once the continuance has expired, the case will be handled in the same manner as all other normal cases.
If the Chief Administrative Judge does not believe that the case is complex or requires additional time for preparation, the motion will be denied and the case will be placed on the trial roster and handled in the same manner as all other normal cases.
If the motion is granted and a specific judge is assigned to handle the case from beginning to end, copies of the motion and order granting the motion will be provided by the clerk of court to counsel of record and the judge assigned to the case.
This Order shall be effective immediately and shall remain in effect until rescinded or modified by future Order of the Chief Justice. All previous Orders regarding procedures to be followed in the management and disposition of complex common pleas cases are hereby rescinded.
|s/Jean Hoefer Toal
Jean Hoefer Toal
July 26, 2006
Columbia, South Carolina