Mar. 16 2020

Supreme Court Issues Order Regarding Recordings of In-Person or Virtual Court Proceedings + Court Operations

September 28, 2020 | Supreme Court of South Carolina
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect court operations, virtual platforms are commonly and frequently used to conduct court proceedings. In order to protect the integrity of the judicial process, the Supreme Court ordered that taking still photographs, recording (visual or audio), or streaming of any live, virtual, or subsequently broadcasted court proceeding is strictly prohibited unless specifically authorized by the presiding judge pursuant to Rule 605, SCACR. This Order includes, but is not limited to, all Circuit, Family, Probate, Master in Equity and Summary court proceedings. The written transcript remains the official record of any court proceeding. Persons found to be in violation of this Order may be held in contempt of court and subject to sanctions. This Order is effective immediately and shall remain in effect unless amended or rescinded by subsequent Order of the Chief Justice.

September 25, 2020 | Supreme Court of South Carolina
For the past six months, our state and nation have battled the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, the South Carolina Judicial Branch has been forced to alter our courts’ normal operating procedures. Pursuant to the Supreme Court’s order dated April 3, 2020, titled RE: Operation of the Trial Courts During the Coronavirus Emergency (As Amended April 22, 2020), this memo serves as notice that beginning October 5, 2020, court operations will resume normal scheduling and docket management, including in-person hearings in magistrate and municipal courts, excluding jury trials. All matters may be heard in-person effective October 5, 2020. Judges, however, have discretion to determine whether it is appropriate to conduct a hearing using remote communication technology. Consent of the parties or counsel is not required. The preferred conferencing platform is WebEx, however, other platforms may be used. Videoconferencing should be hosted by the judge and not by a party to the case. In cases where members of the press request to observe a remote hearing that ordinarily would be open to the public, an invitation to the videoconference should be provided to them.

When an in-person hearing is conducted, only attorneys, the parties, necessary witnesses, necessary court staff and a limited number of members of the press will be allowed to appear. Hearings must be adequately staggered to minimize the number of people appearing at the same time in the courtroom or hearing room, and the waiting rooms, hallways or other common areas which support the courtroom or hearing room. Particular attention should be paid to scheduling so that at least fifteen (15) minutes separate the conclusion of one hearing and the beginning of the next hearing. It is understood that this scheduling will limit the number of hearings held each day. Where appropriate, judges should consider ruling upon motions without need for a hearing.

Any matter heard in person must be conducted in a reasonably safe manner in accordance with established COVID-19 protocol. Reasonably safe manner assumes adherence to CDC social distancing recommendations, wearing of personal protective equipment when appropriate, availability of adequate sanitizing supplies, and staggering of hearings.

September 18, 2020 | United States District Court – District of South Carolina
Due to the continuing and evolving COVID-19 national public health emergency and the resulting necessary modifications of court operations, the Court finds it appropriate to amend the August 21, 2020 Fourth Amended Standing Order (see Misc. No. 3:20-mc-00371-RBH) to extend various continuance dates and account for other Standing Orders that have been issued (see Misc. No. 3:20-mc-00122-RBH; Misc. No. 3:20-mc-00272-RBH). Accordingly, the Court issues the following order, effective immediately:

  • All civil and criminal jury selections, jury trials, and roster meetings are CONTINUED (i.e., postponed) until further order of the Court unless an individual Presiding Judge determines there is a need to go forward with a jury trial.
  • All grand jury proceedings are CONTINUED, unless otherwise ordered by the Chief Judge.
  • Existing deadlines in civil cases, whether set by the court or by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or Local Rules, are not further extended by this Order. Any judge has the inherent authority to extend any deadlines in his or her cases. This Order does not toll any applicable statutes of limitation.
  • Any non-jury civil matters currently set, or to be set, shall not be continued, unless canceled or rescheduled by the Presiding Judge. The individual Presiding Judge has the discretion to decide whether to proceed with a hearing, without a hearing, reschedule the hearing for a later date, or address the matter via video or telephone conference, if practicable. Absent an order from the individual Presiding Judge, the matter will proceed as set.

The 9-28-20 Order is located here.

The 9-25-20 Memorandum is located here.

The 9-14-20 Memorandum is located here.

The 7-30-20 Order is located here.

The 7-6-20 Courthouse Guide is located here.

The 6-3-20 Order is located here.

Click here to view court roster postponements and cancellations by county

Click here to view ALL court COVID-19 information.

Federal Court/USDC District of South Carolina COVID-19 Updates

The 9-18-20 Order is located here.

The 8-21-20 Order is located here.

The 7-24-20 Order is located here.

The 6-26-20 Order is located here.

The 4-14-20 USDC District of SC Order can be found here.

The 4-2-20 USDC District of SC Order can be found here.

The 3-31-20 USDC District of SC Order can be found here.

The 3-16-20 USDC District of SC Order can be found here.

Click here to visit the USDC Court website.

Questions? Contact one of MGC’s litigation attorneys.

This legal update is published as a service to our clients and friends. It is intended to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice regarding any specific situation. Past success does not indicate likelihood of success in any future legal representation.