Mar. 16 2020

Supreme Court Issues Second Amended Standing Order, and the District of South Carolina Releases Guide for Courthouse Visitors

July 6, 2020: District of South Carolina Guide for Courthouse Visitors
The District of South Carolina has been working diligently to implement a number of changes to promote social distancing and safety at our courthouses.

What to Do Before Arriving at the Courthouse

  • Conduct a daily health self‐assessment that includes a temperature check. Any person answering yes to any of the below questions should consult with the Court before coming to the courthouse. The Court will make reasonable accommodations and reschedule appearances and hearings as needed.
    • Have you had a fever or chills, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell senses, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea within the last 14 days?
    • Has anyone in your household had any of these symptoms within the last 14 days?
    • Have you or anyone in your household been asked to self‐quarantine by a physician, hospital or health agency within the last 14 days?
    • Have you or anyone in your household or anyone who is a close contact been diagnosed with or been told they may have COVID‐19 within the last 14 days?

What to Expect Upon Arriving at the Courthouse

  • Although Court offices will remain closed to the public, you may enter the building for the limited purposes of participating in or observing in‐court proceedings or for delivering payments and pro se filings to the Court’s drop box.
    • Anyone coming into the courthouse must wear a face covering or mask. Visitors without a mask will be provided one by the Court as available.
    • Everyone should continue to maintain a safe physical distance of six feet from others.
    • Elevator capacity is temporarily reduced to ensure social distancing. The capacity of each elevator will be noted with floor decals and wall signs.
    • Consistent reminders have been placed throughout each building.

What to Expect While in the Courtroom

• A face covering or mask must be worn at all times unless the wearer is speaking for the record.
• After each hearing, participants are asked to wipe down counsel tables and chairs, and change out microphone covers, using the supplies provided on each table.
• Some courtrooms have already been outfitted with protective barriers and marked to indicate proper social distancing, and more are in the process of being outfitted and marked.
• Social distancing of at least six feet from others must be maintained.
• Meetings where appropriate social distancing may not be practical should be avoided.
• As recommended by the CDC, everyone should avoid touching his or her face, and should wash hands often and for at least 20 seconds to help prevent the spread of disease.
• Use hand sanitizer, particularly after touching shared equipment or commonly touched
points like door handles.

June 26, 2020: Supreme Court Issues Second Amended Standing Order
Due to the continuing and evolving COVID-19 national public health emergency and the resulting necessary modifications of court operations, the South Carolina Supreme Court finds it appropriate to amend the April 14, 2020 Standing Order to extend various continuance dates and account for other Standing Orders that have been issued.

  1. All civil and criminal jury selections, jury trials and roster meetings scheduled to commence through August 1, 2020, are postponed pending further order of the Court.
  2. All grand jury proceedings scheduled through August 1, 2020, are postponed, unless otherwise ordered by the Chief Judge.
  3. 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.
  4. Any non-jury civil matters currently set, or to be set, for hearing between July 6 through August 1, 2020, shall not be postponed, 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. By separate order, on July 1, 2020, the Court will extend its Standing Order Regarding Video Teleconferencing and Telephone Conferencing, which pursuant to the CARES Act allows certain criminal proceedings to occur by video or telephone conferencing if a criminal defendant consents. Where a statute or rule requires a defendant’s presence within a certain time, and where video or telephone conferencing cannot be accomplished (i.e., failure of a defendant to consent or otherwise), then applicable initial criminal proceedings are to be conducted in person to satisfy constitutional and statutory requirements. Individual judges in their discretion may also schedule in-court plea/sentencing hearings between July 6 through August 1, 2020, especially in cases where the defendants do not consent to video or telephone conferencing proceedings.

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

The 6-26-20 Order is located here.

The 6-3-20 Order is located here.

The 5-26-20 Order is located here.

The 4-24-20 Memorandum is located here.

The 4-22-20 Amended Order is located here.

The 4-14-20 Amended Order is located here (replaced by 4-22-20 Order).

The 4-3-20 Order is located here.

The 3-18-20 Order is located here (replaced by 4-14-20 Order).

The 3-16-20 Memorandum 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 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.