The South Carolina legislature passed legislation effective July, 2003 adopting the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, mandating that all corporations and partnerships register an e-mail address for service of original process (Summons and Complaints) under SCRCP 4(d)(3) and 4(d)(8). Below is a abbreviated version of the law highlighting the pertinent sections.
Cross referenced is the text of the South Caroline Rule of Civil Procedure 4(d)(3) and 4(d)(8).
The South Carolina Supreme Court Administrative Order is requesting comments from participants in e-service of documents between parties under SCRCP 5(b)(1) by February 28, 2005 so that a determinations may be made to "extend at a later date to service of summons and complaints."
3/4/05 UPDATE: The South Carolina Supreme Court received no comments in response to the Administrative Order issued on November 15, 2004.
South Carolina General Assembly
115th Session, 2003-2004
A279, R426, H4720
Sponsors: Rep. Harrison
Document Path: l:\council\bills\ms\7061mm04.doc
Companion/Similar bill(s): 908
Introduced in the House on February 10, 2004
Introduced in the Senate on March 9, 2004
Last Amended on June 1, 2004
Passed by the General Assembly on June 2, 2004
Governor's Action: July 16, 2004, Signed
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Uniform Electronic Transactions Act
SECTION 1. Title 26 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Uniform Electronic Transactions Act
. . .
Section 26‑6‑20 (18) ‘United States Postal Service Electronic Postmark’ means an electronic service provided by the United States Postal Service that provides evidentiary proof that an electronic document existed in a certain form at a certain time and the electronic document was opened or the contents of the electronic document were displayed at a time and date documented by the United States Post Office.
Section 26‑6‑190. (A) The South Carolina State Budget and Control Board shall adopt standards to coordinate, create, implement, and facilitate the use of common approaches and technical infrastructure, as appropriate, to enhance the utilization of electronic records, electronic signatures, and security procedures by and for public entities of the State. Local political subdivisions may consent to be governed by these standards.
(B) The Secretary of State may develop, implement, and facilitate the use of model procedures for the use of electronic records, electronic signatures, and security procedures for all other purposes, including private commercial transactions and contracts. The Secretary of State also may promulgate regulations as to methods, means, and standards for secure electronic transactions including administration by the Secretary of State or the licensing of third parties to serve in that capacity, or both.
(C) In accordance with Sections 26‑6‑20(18) and 26‑6‑195, and in reference to all South Carolina laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to service of process where service shall be made on entities described in Rule 4(d)(3) of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, those entities shall be served under Rule 4(d)(8) of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure by:
(1) registered or certified mail‑return receipt requested, addressed to the office of the registered agent;
(2) registered or certified mail‑return receipt requested, addressed to the office of the secretary of the corporation at its principal office;
(3) e‑mailing the service of process that has been postmarked by a United States Postal Service Electronic Postmark in a manner approved by the South Carolina Supreme Court to an e‑mail address registered with the Secretary of State for the corporation; or
(4) e‑mailing the service of process that has been postmarked by a United States Postal Service Electronic Postmark in a manner approved by the South Carolina Supreme Court to an e‑mail address registered with the Secretary of State for the agent for service of process for the corporation.
Section 26‑6‑195. Notwithstanding any other provisions in this chapter, a governmental agency may use, in accordance with policies and procedures developed by the South Carolina Budget and Control Board and as circumstances allow, in order to perfect service of process of any communication, an e‑mail address from any vendor, entity, or individual the governmental agency regulates or does business with, or an e‑mail address from the agent for service of process of that vendor, entity, or individual. Such communication postmarked by a United States Postal Service Electronic Postmark shall have the same force of law as the United States Post Office certified mail‑return receipt requested. The South Carolina Budget and Control Board shall devise policies and procedures for the use of the United States Postal Service Electronic Postmark in respect to state agencies and operations. These policies and procedures, where necessary, must consider the persons or entities which do not have an e‑mail address.
. . .
South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure
Rule 4. Process
(a) Summons: Issuance. The summons shall be issued by plaintiff or plaintiff's attorney. Copies of the original summons shall be served upon each defendant.
(b) Same: Form. The summons shall be signed by the plaintiff or his attorney, contain the name of the State and county, the name of the court, the file number of the action, and the names of the parties, be directed to the defendant, state the name and address of the plaintiff's attorney, if any, otherwise the plaintiff's address, and the time within which these rules require the defendant to appear and defend, and shall notify him that in case of his failure to do so judgment by default will be rendered against him for the relief demanded in the complaint.
By whom served. Service
of summons may be made by the sheriff, his deputy, or by any other person not
less than eighteen (18) years of age, not an attorney in or a party to the
action. Service of all other process shall be made by the sheriff or his deputy
or any other duly constituted law enforcement officer or by any person
designated by the court who is not less than eighteen (18) years of age and not
an attorney in or a party to the action, except that a subpoena may be served as
provided in Rule 45.
(Amended effective May 1, 1986)
(d) Summons: Personal service. The summons and complaint must be served together. The plaintiff shall furnish the person making service with such copies as are necessary. Voluntary appearance by defendant is equivalent to personal service; and written notice of appearance by a party or his attorney shall be effective upon mailing, or may be served as provided in this rule. Service shall be made as follows
(1) Individuals. Upon an individual other than a minor under the age of 14 years or an incompetent person, by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to him personally or by leaving copies thereof at his dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or by delivering a copy to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.
(2) Minors, Incompetents and Persons Confined. Upon a minor under the age of 14 years, a person judicially declared incapable of conducting his own affairs, or an incompetent person by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to such minor, or incompetent personally and also a copy to (a) the guardian or committee of such person, or if there be none such within the State upon (b) a parent or other person having the care and control of such person, or (c) any competent person with whom he resides or (d) in whose service he is employed. If the individual upon whom service is made is a minor between the ages of 14 and 18, who lives with a parent or guardian, a copy of the summons and complaint shall likewise be served upon said parent or guardian, if said parent or guardian resides within the State. Service on imprisoned persons or persons confined in a state hospital or similar institution, in or out of this State, shall be made by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to the confined person personally; and service shall be made by the sheriff of the county in which the person is imprisoned or confined. In cases of persons imprisoned, and patients in a state hospital or similar institution, personal service of process may be made by the superintendent of the institution or by the director of the prison system or by assistants duly designated by the superintendent or the director in writing for the purpose of making service of process, instead of the sheriff. The superintendent or the director or their designated assistants shall not be entitled to any costs therefore. Service on confined or imprisoned persons shall also conform to the provisions of § 15-9-510, S.C. Code, 1976.
(3) Corporations and Partnerships. Upon a corporation or upon a partnership or other unincorporated association which is subject to suit under a common name, by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to an officer, a managing or general agent, or to any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process and if the agent is one authorized by statute to receive service and the statute so requires, by also mailing a copy to the defendant.
(4) State of South Carolina.
(A) When State a Party. Upon the State of South Carolina by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to the Attorney General, or when another official is designated to be served by the statute permitting such action by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to that official and sending a copy of the summons and complaint by registered or certified mail to the Attorney General at Columbia.
(B) When Unconstitutionality of Statute is Asserted. In any action attacking the Constitutionality of a State statute when the State, officer or agency is not made a party, a copy of the summons and complaint shall be sent by registered or certified mail to the Attorney General.
(5) State officer or Agency. Upon an officer or agency of State by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to such officer or agency and by sending a copy of the summons and complaint by registered or certified mail to the Attorney General at Columbia. If the agency is a corporation the copy shall be delivered as provided in paragraph (3) of this subdivision of this rule.
(6) Governmental Subdivision. Upon a municipal corporation, county or other governmental or political subdivision subject to suit, by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to the chief executive officer or clerk thereof, or by serving the summons and complaint in the manner prescribed by statute for the service of summons and complaint or any like process upon any such defendant.
(7) Statutory Service. Service upon a defendant of any class referred to in paragraph (1) or (3) of this subdivision of this rule is also sufficient if the summons and complaint are served in the manner prescribed by statute.
(8) Service by Certified Mail. Service of a summons and complaint upon a defendant of any class referred to in paragraph (1) or (3) of this subdivision of this rule may be made by the plaintiff or by any person authorized to serve process pursuant to Rule 4 (c), including a sheriff or his deputy, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested and delivery restricted to the addressee. Service is effective upon the date of delivery as shown on the return receipt. Service pursuant to this paragraph shall not be the basis for the entry of a default or a judgment by default unless the record contains a return receipt showing the acceptance by the defendant. Any such default or judgment by default shall be set aside pursuant to Rule 55 (c) or Rule 60 (b) if the defendant demonstrates to the court that the return receipt was signed by an unauthorized person. If delivery of the process is refused or is returned undelivered, service shall be made as otherwise provided by these rules.