The Supreme Court of South Carolina
RE: Service by E-Mail in the Trial Courts
Appellate Case No. 2022-000029
a) Purpose. Pursuant to Rule 613 of the South Carolina Appellate Courts Rules (SCACR), the Supreme Court may promulgate an order setting forth permissible methods of electronic service in the trial courts, including by e-mail.1 The purpose of this order is to provide a uniform rule for service by e-mail in the various trial courts of this state.
(b) E-Mail as Additional Method of Service. In addition to the methods of service that may be provided for in the rules governing service of pleadings and other papers in the circuit, family, probate, and summary courts of this state, pleadings and other papers may be served by e-mail pursuant to the provisions of this order.
(c) E-Mail Service on Lawyers. A lawyer admitted to practice law in this state may serve a pleading or other paper on another lawyer admitted to practice law in this state by e-mail using that lawyer's primary e-mail address listed in the Attorney Information System (AIS). The primary e-mail address for a lawyer admitted in South Carolina can be accessed utilizing the Attorney Information Search at: https://www.sccourts.org/attorneys/dspSearchAttorneys.cfm. Lawyers are reminded of their obligation under Rule 410(g) of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules (SCACR) to ensure their AIS information is current and accurate at all times.
(d) E-Mail Service By and On Self-Represented Litigants. A self-represented litigant who is not a lawyer admitted to practice in this state may consent in writing to be served by e-mail and designate a correct e-mail address for service. A lawyer may consent in writing to accept service by e-mail from a self-represented litigant.
(e) Requirements for Service. In all cases:
(1) E-mail service under this order is intended for the service of pleadings and other papers subsequent to the initiation of a case, and may not be used for the service of a summons and complaint, subpoena, or other pleading or document required to be personally served under any rule of court. However, this provision does not prohibit a party from consenting to accept such service by e-mail or other electronic means.
(2) Pleadings and papers served by e-mail must be sent as an attachment in Adobe Acrobat portable document format (.pdf) unless otherwise agreed by the parties. In the absence of consent, a party serving a document may not utilize another file format or a file-sharing service for e-mail service.
(3) Service by e-mail under this order is complete upon transmission of the e-mail. If the serving party learns the e-mail did not reach the intended recipient(s), the party shall immediately provide a copy of the pleading or paper by other means set forth in the applicable court rule, together with evidence of the prior attempt at service by e-mail.
(4) E-Mail service under this order may not be utilized for documents that are required to be E-Filed in accordance with Section 2 of the South Carolina Electronic Filing Policies and Guidelines, except as to parties that are not authorized E-Filers. Lawyers are reminded that the E-Filing System automatically serves parties that have appeared in a case, and the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) indicates which parties have been served.
(5) In any action governed by the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure (SCRCP), computation of the time for a response after service by e-mail is governed by Rule 6, SCRCP. In accordance with Rule 6(e), SCRCP, service by e-mail will be treated the same as service by U.S. Mail for purposes of determining the time to respond; therefore, five days shall be added to the prescribed period to respond from the date of transmission of the e-mail serving the document.
(6) For attorneys admitted pro hac vice, service on the associated South Carolina lawyer under this method of service shall be construed as service on the pro hac vice attorney; if appropriate, it is the responsibility of the associated lawyer to provide a copy to the pro hac vice attorney.
(f) Proof of Service. Any proof of service of a document that is served by e-mail shall include a copy of the sent e-mail with the proof of service, affidavit of service, or certificate of service for that document.
s/Donald W. Beatty C.J.
s/John W. Kittredge J.
s/Kaye G. Hearn J.
s/John Cannon Few J.
s/George C. James, Jr. J.
Columbia, South Carolina
May 6, 2022
1 The Supreme Court similarly permits service by electronic means in matters governed by the SCACR in accordance with 262(c)(3), SCACR, which states that, in addition to service by delivery or via U.S. mail, a party may also serve a copy by electronic means in a manner specified by order of the Supreme Court.