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In re South Carolian Electronic Filing Policies & Guidelines

Supreme Court of South Carolina

October 28, 2015

Re: South Carolina Electronic Filing Policies and Guidelines; Pilot Version-Common Pleas

Appellate Case No. 2015-001532.

Jean H. Toal C.J., Costa M. Pleicones J., Donald W. Beatty J., John W. Kittredge J., Kaye G. Hearn J.

ORDER

Pursuant to Art. V., § 4 of the South Carolina Constitution, the attached Electronic Filing Policies and Guidelines are hereby adopted by this Court. These Policies and Guidelines will govern E-Filing during the Pilot Program in the Court of Common Pleas, and will be effective upon the adoption of E-Filing on a county by-county basis as set forth in future Administrative Orders of this Court.

South Carolina Electronic Filing Policies and Guidelines

Pilot Version-Common Pleas

1. Definitions

(a) " Authorized E-Filer" is a licensed South Carolina attorney in good standing who has registered to E-File through the Attorney Information System.

(b) " Case Management System Public Index" is the automated system that allows members of the public to access case information and to view and print court documents via the internet through each county's webpage.

(c) " Document" is any pleading, motion, paper, exhibit, or other written attachment that is E-Filed under [415 S.C. 2] these Policies and Guidelines.

(d) " Electronic Filing System" or " E-Filing System" is the South Carolina Judicial Department's automated system for receiving and storing documents filed in electronic form.

(e) " Electronic Signature" is the Authorized E-Filer's s/[typed name] in electronically filed documents, combined with the use of the Authorized E-Filer's login and password to access the E-Filing System, and other pertinent identifying information set forth in Section 5 below.

(1) " E-Filing" or " E-File" is the electronic submission of documents by Authorized E-Filers for Electronic Filing with each county's Clerk of Court's Office via the E-Filing System.

(g) " Electronic Filing - Filer Interface User Guide" is an E-Filing manual for Authorized E-Filers that contains further instructions and guidance concerning the technical aspects of properly preparing, formatting, and perfecting E-Filings.

(h) " Electronic Service" or " E-Service" is the electronic transmission of notice of an Electronic Filing to an Authorized E-Filer under these Policies and Guidelines via the E-Filing System.

(i) " Notice of Electronic Filing" or " Notification of Electronic Filing" (" NEF" ) is a notice automatically [415 S.C. 3] generated by the E-Filing System at the time of a filing or other court action. An NEF is transmitted by email to all Authorized E-Filers who have appeared and been entered by the clerk as counsel of record in the case and includes a description of the filing and a list of parties to whom the NEF was transmitted.

(j) " PDF" refers to a Portable Document Format, a universal document format style used for consistency in E-Filing.

(k) " Supreme Court" refers to the Supreme Court of South Carolina.

(l) " Technical Failure" is a malfunction of court-run hardware, software, or communications that results in the inability of an Authorized E-Filer to submit a document for E-Filing. Technical Failure does not include malfunctioning of an Authorized E-Filer's equipment, software, hardware, or internet connection.

(m) " Traditional Filer" is a party or an attorney for a party who is not an Authorized E-Filer and who files and serves paper documents via Traditional methods of filing and service.

(n) " Traditional Filing" is the physical filing of paper documents bearing the original signature of the party or the attorney for the party in the office of the Clerk of Court or as otherwise authorized under [415 S.C. 4] the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure.

(o) " Traditional Service" is the service of a paper copy of a document using the forms or methods of service authorized under the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure.

2. Scope and Participation

(a) Commencement.

The Pilot Program shall commence in the Court of Common Pleas in a specified county or counties upon Order of the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and may expand to other counties as ordered by the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

(b) Scope.

Unless otherwise excluded by these Policies and Guidelines or by Order of the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice,[1] all filings in all civil cases commenced or pending in any E-Filing county after the effective date of the Pilot Program shall be E-Filed if the party is represented by an attorney. The Clerk of Court will not accept Traditional filings submitted by attorneys except in excluded cases, where an excluded document is filed in an E-Filing case, where an attorney has been excused from participation, or where the document cannot be E-Filed as otherwise set forth in these Policies and Guidelines.

(c) Excluded Cases.

The following cases are excluded from participation in the Pilot Program:

Post-Conviction Relief Cases, Habeas Corpus Cases, Mandamus Actions on Behalf of Inmates, and all other Inmate Petitions or actions;
Sexually Violent Predator Actions; and
Petitions by Minors for Judicial Consent for Abortion.

(d) Excluded Documents.

The following documents may not be E-Filed, regardless of whether the filer is an attorney, and must be Traditionally filed:

A motion to quash a subpoena filed by or on behalf of a non-party;
A motion that may be filed ex parte in an existing case;
Any other pleadings filed by or on behalf of a person or entity who is not a party to an existing case, other than motions to intervene or filings by a person or entity granted intervenor status; and
A filing that initiates a new case and exceeds 40 Megabytes when converted to PDF. If the filing is Traditionally filed under this subsection, the E-Filer must also file a Certificate of Technical Difficulty certifying that the intended submission exceeds 40 Megabytes.

(e) Attorneys Excused from

[415 S.C. 6] Participation. An attorney may be excused from participation only upon a showing that the attorney has a disability that prevents the attorney from complying with these Policies and Guidelines. An attorney seeking to be excused from participation shall submit a request to the Clerk of the Supreme Court on a Form approved by the Supreme Court establishing the basis for the disability claim and indicating whether the disability is permanent or temporary. For the purposes of this section, the Clerk of Court may consider the ability of an employee of the attorney's law firm, office, or business to comply with the Policies and Guidelines in determining whether to excuse the attorney. An attorney excused from participation in the Pilot Program shall file and serve documents as a Traditional Filer.

3. Authorization

(a) Attorneys.

(1) Eligibility.

Any attorney who is licensed by the Supreme Court of South Carolina, is a member in good standing of the South Carolina Bar, and is authorized to engage in the practice of law before the Court of Commons Pleas is eligible to register and participate in the E-Filing Pilot Program. Attorneys admitted pro hac vice are not eligible to participate in the [415 S.C. 7] Pilot Program and must submit Electronic Filings through local counsel of record.

(2) Registration.

To register, an attorney must complete an Electronic Registration Agreement by logging on to the attorney's account in the Attorney Information System (AIS). The attorney's email address for E-Service shall be the same email address(es) the attorney provided in AIS in accordance with Rule 410(e), SCACR. The attorney is responsible for updating any change in his or her email address(es) as set forth in Rule 410(g), SCACR.

(3) Agreement to Terms and Conditions.

In addition to complying with these Policies and Guidelines, an eligible attorney must agree to the Terms and Conditions of Electronic Filing prior to participating in the Pilot Program.

(b) Consent to Electronic Service and Electronic Filing of all Documents.

An Authorized E-Filer consents to E-Service as set forth in Section 4 below. All Authorized E-Filers must utilize the E-Filing System to E-File all documents and pleadings that are required to be served on other parties to the case under Rule 5(d), SCRCP.

(c) Use and Misuse of Login and Passwords.

(1) Supervised Use Permitted.

Authorized E-Filers are solely responsible for and shall protect their login information and passwords. [415 S.C. 8] However, an attorney who is an Authorized E-Filer may permit an authorized agent, such as another attorney or a non-attorney assistant under the attorney's supervision, to utilize the attorney's login and password information and file on behalf of the attorney. Attorneys who are Authorized E-Filers are responsible for supervising other attorneys and non-attorney employees with respect to any E-Filing performed on their behalf.

(2) Notification of Unauthorized Use.

An Authorized E-Filer shall immediately notify the South Carolina Judicial Department Information Technology (IT) Helpdesk at the telephone number or email address listed on the South Carolina Judicial Department's website, www.sccourts.org, if the Authorized E-Filer learns or suspects his or her login and password has been used without authorization.

4. E-Filing and E-Service

(a) Electronic Filing.

The electronic transmission of a document to the E-Filing System in accordance with these Policies and Procedures and the Filer Interface User Guide constitutes the filing of that document in accordance with Rule 5(e), SCRCP. Any required filing fees and/or ...


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