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E-Filing Attorney FAQs

Tips of the Week

1.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: E-Filing the Summons and Complaint

Did you know that you no longer have to fill out and file a Civil Action Coversheet when you E-File a summons and complaint?  All of the information you would normally include in the Civil Action Coversheet will be inputted by you in the E-Filing System.  Also, the summons and complaint should be saved in a single document before being converted to PDF to be E-Filed.

2.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: E-Filing Motions

Did you know that you no longer have to submit a Motion and Order Information Form and Coversheet when you E-File a motion?  You can simply submit the motion and indicate whether you are requesting a hearing in the E-Filing System.  Only use the Motion and Order Information Form and Coversheet if you wish to E-File a proposed order without an accompanying motion.

3.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Electronic Signatures

A document or pleading prepared by an attorney, such as a summons and complaint, answer, or motion, should be electronically signed by that attorney.  If you are an attorney, simply insert your typed name, i.e."s/John Doe", and include your bar number, physical address, telephone number, and email address below your electronic signature.  The document should then be converted from a word-processing format to PDF for E-Filing.  However, only attorneys may use an electronic signature.  Any time a document is signed by a person who is not the attorney E-Filing the document, such as certificate of service signed by a paralegal or any notarized document, that document must be hand-signed and E-Filed as a scanned PDF image.

4.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Uploading Pleadings to the E-Filing System

The E-Filing System is designed to upload documents individually using specific "Actions".  For example, a motion to compel generally includes the written motion to compel, a copy of the previously served discovery requests, and a certificate of service (assuming the opposing party is not an E-Filer).  To E-File in this example, you would upload: (1) the motion to compel using the action "Motion/Compel"; (2) the previously served discovery requests using the action "Exhibit/Filing of Exhibits"; and (3) the certificate of service under "Service/Certificate of Service".  All of these separate documents would be E-Filed simultaneously, but will appear as individual documents in the E-Filing System and on the Public Index.

5.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Accessing Cases in the E-Filing System

To review what filings have been made in any case in a county where E-Filing is active, we recommend you go to the "CASES" screen, enter the case number, and click the "HISTORY" button.  Also, remember that in some counties, images of documents filed before E-Filing begins may not be available to view over the internet. 

6.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Motions and Proposed Orders

Motions with proposed orders are treated differently in E-Filing than in traditionally filed cases.  While the motion you E-File should be converted to PDF for E-Filing, the proposed order you E-File should be E-Filed in Word format.  If you need to E-File a Form 4 Order, that should also be filed in Word.  There is also no need to include a signature line on the proposed order, as the judge or the clerk will sign the order electronically.

7.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Cover Letters Not Necessary

In the E-Filing System, there is no need to submit a cover letter with your E-Filing.  Many attorneys continue to E-File the same cover letters they use to mail documents to the clerk of court, which often state an original and a copy of a pleading are enclosed for filing, and request that the clerk file and return a clocked copy in the envelope provided.  If you need to communicate with the clerk you can utilize the "Special Filing Instructions for the Clerk" text box on the Review and Approve Filing Page, or E-File a cover letter together with your E-Filing submission, but separately from your pleading, by using the Letter/Letter Action choice. 

8.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Special Referees

Due to a recently discovered technical problem in the E-Filing System, orders signed and submitted by attorneys acting as special referees may NOT be E-Filed, but should be submitted by the special referee using a Traditional filing method, such as (1) submitting documents to the clerk of court directly or mailing the documents to the clerk; or (2) with advance permission of the clerk of court, via email. The Judicial Department is working on a technical solution that will solve the problem and allow special referees to E-File signed orders.

 Attorneys who are special referees should continue to E-File in cases where they are counsel for a party.

 

9.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Proposed Orders and Signature Lines

Generally, Judges and other Court Officials electronically sign proposed orders with an electronic signature page.  Therefore, when you E-File a proposed order in Microsoft Word, you should omit signature and date lines.  The E-Filing system will automatically add a page containing the E-Signature and indicating the date Judge or other appropriate Court Official signed the order.

10.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: E-Filing "Additional Parts"

When E-Filing documents, attorneys are required to pick from a number of Actions that describe nearly all types of filings in the Court of Common Pleas.  A number of E-Filers have been using the Action choice of "E-Filing/Additional Parts" to E-File certificates of service.  "E-Filing/Additional Parts" is meant to be used when a document exceeds the size limits of 8 MB.  See ARG-16.  Attorneys should use the Action choice that best represents the kind of document they are seeking to E-File.  In the case of a certificate of service, "Service/Certificate of Service" should be used.

11.  E-filing Tip of the Week: Uploading Pleadings to the E-Filing Systems

The E-Filing System is designed to upload documents individually using specific "Actions".  For example, a motion to compel generally includes the written motion to compel, a copy of the previously served discovery requests, and a certificate of service (assuming the opposing party is not an E-Filer).  To E-File in this example, you would upload: (1) the motion to compel using the action "Motion/Compel"; (2) the previously served discovery requests using the action "Exhibit/Filing of Exhibits"; and (3) the certificate of service under "Service/Certificate of Service".  All of these separate documents would be E-Filed simultaneously, but will appear as individual documents in the E-Filing System and on the Public Index.

12.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Do Not E-File Discovery

The E-Filing Policies and Guidelines state the E-Filing System should not be used for the electronic exchange of discovery materials and other communications between the parties that are not intended to be filed with the court.  See Section 11(a), SCEF.  Therefore, discovery requests, such as interrogatories, requests for production, or requests to admit, and any responses to discovery requests should not be E-Filed.  This is consistent with current circuit court practice.

13.  E-filing Tip of the Week: E-Filing Versus E-Mailing Proposed Orders

Proposed Orders which have been specifically requested by a Judge should be e-mailed directly to the requesting Judge and should not be E-Filed. However, unsolicited orders should always be E-Filed as a Proposed Order, which allows the Clerk of Court to properly direct them for signature. This includes all routine, Administrative Orders.  Before e-mailing an order directly to a judge, you should contact the judge’s clerk or assistant to find out the judge’s preferences.  Also, make sure your staff always CCs the other attorneys of record with all e-mails to a judge.

14.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Omit Signature Lines on Proposed Orders

Generally, proposed orders must be either E-Filed or emailed directly to a judge or master-in-equity in Microsoft Word .doc or .docx format.  The court official permitted to sign the proposed order—a judge, master-in-equity, or the clerk of court—will not sign the order with a Traditional Signature.  Rather, the electronic signature of the court official will be inserted on a separate signature page that will be attached to the proposed order when it is electronically signed and converted to .pdf for entry in the record.  Therefore, you do not need to include a signature and date line on proposed orders.

15.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Electronic Payments and Account Encumbrances

When you "make a payment" for an electronic filing with your credit card and receive a receipt from SCGov, it actually signifies only an encumbrance against your account. Your account will not actually be charged until your filing is accepted by the Clerk of Court. If your filing is rejected, the encumbrance will be released; however the timing of that release is at the discretion of your credit card company (much like when you reserve a hotel room in advance, and later cancel that reservation). Additionally, if your filing is partially approved, the payment will be reduced, if appropriate, to the amount actually owed to the court.

16.  E-filing Tip of the Week: Excluded Documents

Although E-Filing is mandatory, some documents are excluded from the requirement that they be E-Filed because they cannot, for technical reasons, be E-Filed.  These excluded documents are detailed in Section 2(d) of the E-Filing Policies and Guidelines and include a motion to quash a subpoena filed by or on behalf of a non-party, any document intended to be filed ex parte, and other pleadings that are filed by an individual or an entity that is not a party to the case.

NOTE: By Order dated October 12, 2017, the E-Filing Policies and Guidelines were amended based on a technical upgrade that allows lawyers to E-File documents on behalf of non-parties, including a motion to quash a subpoena.

 

17.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Motion for Protection from a Court Appearance

The E-Filing System has been modified to make it easier for attorneys to seek an order of protection from a court appearance.  While you may still E-File a motion and proposed order in each case, you may also:

1. Send a letter and proposed order via U.S. mail to the Chief Administrative Judge for that county listing the dates of protection and all cases on which the attorney is seeking protection.

2. The Chief Administrative Judge will hand-sign the order and return it to the attorney, who can scan the order and E-File the order in each case on which protection was granted.  The attorney should use the Action Type "Filing" and the Action "Order/Signed Order/Protection from Court Appearance."

18.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Proposed Orders and Combination Motion/Proposed Orders.

There are two ways to E-File a motion and proposed order granting that motion.  First, you can E-File a written motion in PDF together with a proposed order in Word.  The E-Filing System automatically connects any motion filing fee with the type of motion you choose.

 Second, you may combine a motion and proposed order in one document.  To do this, you will need to E-File the Motion Cover Sheet in PDF, and the combined motion/proposed order in Word.  You should sign this motion using an electronic signature, and you may insert the electronic signature of other Authorized E-Filers in consent motions if you obtain their written permission.  See Section 5(b), SCEF.

NOTE: Since this Tip was issued, the process to E-File the Cover Sheet has been changed.  The Cover Sheet is now entirely electronic, and no PDF version of the Cover Sheet is required.  To E-File the Cover Sheet, choose Order/Order Cover Sheet $25 and fill in the required information.  The Cover Sheet will add the motion fee and route the document to a judge or clerk for a signature.

19.  E-filing Tip of the Week: E-Filing on behalf of an insurance company in an uninsured (UM) or underinsured (UIM) motorist case.

If you represent an insurance company in a UM or UIM situation, you may file your answer, response, or other pleading together with an electronic action (no document upload is required) called Add Party to Case, and select the "Other Party" tab when the Add Party to Case form is displayed. This will allow you to file on behalf of the insurance carrier. For detailed instructions, please refer to attorney reference guide ARG-25, Adding Additional Parties.

20.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Accessing Electronically Served Documents

When you receive an NEF serving you with notice that a pleading or proposed order has been E-Filed in a case, you can access the E-Filed document immediately—before the Clerk of Court has reviewed the document and entered it in the record.  From the E-Filing Home Page, click on "Notifications" and find the Notification specified in the NEF you received via email.  Simply click on the blue hyperlink that contains the title of the document(s), which is contained below the description of the filing that was contained in your NEF.  You can then print or save a copy of the document(s) to your file. 

21.  South Carolina Judicial Department E-Filing Announcement

Effective July 20, 2016, an enhancement will be made to the E-Filing System concerning the E-Filing of Form 4 (Judgment in a Civil Case) orders that are required to be E-Filed together with proposed orders. At the request of circuit court judges, masters-in-equity, and the clerks of court, E-Filers should combine their proposed order and Form 4 order into a single Word document for E-Filing, rather than E-Filing them as two separate Word documents.

 Specifically, E-Filers are asked to incorporate the Form 4 at the end of any proposed order, save the document as a single Word document, and upload the combined proposed order and Form 4 order as a single document under a number of new "Actions" that have been created for this purpose. Judges will use a single signature page to electronically sign the proposed order and the Form 4 order. Note that a Form 4 may still be E-Filed individually, if necessary, by using the action "Proposed Order/Form 4."

The new actions are:

 •  Proposed Master/Order for Partition and Form 4

•  Proposed Master/Order for Supplemental Foreclosure & Sale and Form 4

•  Proposed Master/Order for Quiet Title and Form 4

•  Proposed Master/Order for Deficiency Judgment and Form 4

•  Proposed Master/Order of Foreclosure & Sale and Form 4

•  Proposed Order/Judgment and Form 4

•  Proposed Order/Judgment Amended and Form 4

•  Proposed Order/Judgment by Default and Form 4

•  Special Referee/Order for Deficiency Judgment and Form 4

•  Special Referee/Order of Foreclosure and Sale and Form 4

 

22.  Amendments to the Electronic Filing Policies and Guidelines

By Order dated August 10, 2016, the Supreme Court has amended Section 2(d) of the E-Filing Policies and Guidelines to provide for an E-Filing exemption in cases where a settlement is initiated as a new case by the defendant, rather than the plaintiff. For technical reasons, a defendant cannot initiate a new case. Therefore, an attorney representing a defendant and attempting to file a new case as a minor settlement or a death settlement should Traditionally file the settlement documents with the Clerk of Court (via paper).

 Section 2(d) has been further amended to provide that, if an attorney is Traditionally filing a document under Section 2(d) of the Policies and Guidelines, that an attorney should also submit a Certificate of Technical Difficulty with the documents to ensure they are accepted by the clerk of court. The form has been amended to reflect this change.

23.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Multiple Browser Windows

Recently, several E-Filers have experienced problems when they have E-Filed pleadings with required fees in one county, and also on another case in another county nearly simultaneously. The end result is that the credit card order number attaches to the wrong filing submission.

IT Staff has determined that this issue is likely caused by the E-Filer working in multiple browser windows and E-Filing to different cases/counties nearly simultaneously within the different windows. To avoid this problem, it is recommend that filers do not use multiple browser window sessions when E-Filing.

24.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Updating AIS

The IT Help Desk is currently receiving a high volume of calls seeking assistance with password and login information for E-Filing.  It appears attorneys are verifying their information in the Attorney Information System (AIS), as required to pay license fees, but failing to inform employees who E-File on their behalf that a change has been made.  If you are an attorney, it is recommended that you inform those who assist you with E-Filing whenever you change your password.  If you are a paralegal or other legal assistant who assists an attorney in E-Filing documents, it is recommended that you check with any attorney you assist to ensure you have current and correct information to login and E-File.

25.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Non-Attorney User Accounts

SCJD recognizes there has been a great deal of confusion with regard to persons requesting "Non-Attorney User Accounts" via the E-Filing system. At the present time and until further notice, the only type of non-attorney user account available in E-Filing is that of Firm Financial Manager ("FFM"). This type of account is appropriate for office managers, billing clerks, accounts receivable clerks, or other law firm personnel who may need to review credit card transactions processed via the E-Filing System. Please be advised that this is the only functionality available to an FFM user -- FFM users may not E-File documents.

Information concerning E-Filing eligibility and registration, as well as supervised E-Filing by non-attorneys, is contained in Section 3(a) and (c) of the the South Carolina Electronic Filing Policies and Guidelines.

26.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Using My Filings and Notifications to Track Filings and View NEFs

The best way to track the progress of a document you submitted via E-Filing is to use the My Filings tab on the home page. Each entry in My Filings will identify the case, the date submitted, the type of filing, the county, and the status of your filing. The status will indicate whether the filing is awaiting approval, has been filed or rejected, and includes a hyperlink to view more information and view a filed copy of the document.

Notices of Electronic Filing (NEFs) for documents or orders in a case are emailed to all counsel of record, and they are also stored in Notifications for ninety days. Each Notification ID will identify the filer, the case, and the type of filing, and includes a link to the document and the NEF. In the event a document is rejected by the clerk at a later time, a Retraction NEF will be issued.

Filers should also be aware that while you have no option regarding the receipt of NEFs, you may elect to NOT receive emails regarding received, approved, or rejected filings. You can change these settings by clicking My Profile under the My Profile tab, and then clicking the Modify User Profile button. By default, attorneys are set to receive all status update emails when they register for E-Filing through AIS.

27.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Orders Hand-Signed by Judges

In the E-Filing System, there is only one situation where an attorney may E-File an order that has been hand-signed by a judge—a Signed Order for Protection from a Court Appearance. See E-Filing Tip of the Week No. 17. In all other cases, the judge or a clerk of court must upload the hand-signed order to the E-Filing System.

The Clerks of Court have been instructed that, if an order has been hand-signed in court, a clerk who is present in the courtroom should intervene and accept the order and E-File it. However, a judge may also provide you with a hand-signed order when a clerk is not present. Again, attorneys cannot E-File the order (unless it is a signed order of protection from a court appearance). The clerks of court have been instructed that they must develop alternative procedures to handle accepting orders from attorneys that have been hand-signed by judges, such as hand-delivery, U.S. Mail, or Email submission so that the signed order may be properly uploaded to the E-Filing System.

28.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Error Message on Proposed Orders

E-Filers attempting to E-File proposed orders without accompanying motions often receive an error message indicating "Error: Document - is invalid. At least one document is required per filing. Please choose a value from the list of documents." If you receive this error message, simply E-File an Electronic Order Coversheet so that any motion fee can be paid and the proposed order can be routed to a judge for a signature. The electronic version of the Order Coversheet is available under the Action titled "Order/Order Cover Sheet $25.00."

29.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: E-Filing Transcripts of Judgment

Transcripts of Judgments from other county circuit courts, federal courts, and magistrates courts are required to be E-Filed.  When E-Filing a Transcript of Judgment, you will need to initiate a new case.  Choose Case Subtype 720 "Magistrate Judgment" for a magistrate judgment, and Case Subtype 740 "Transcript Judgment" for a judgment from another circuit court or the federal court. When E-Filing the actual Transcript of Judgment PDF document for a circuit court or federal court judgment, choose the Action Type "Filing" and the Action "Transcript of Judgment."  If filing a Magistrate Judgment, use the Action "Magistrate Judgment." Please note that, while there is a filing fee for a magistrate court judgment or a federal court judgment, there is no filing fee owed for a judgment from another county.  You may request a waiver of the filing fee when you file a judgment from a circuit court in another county.  

30.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: E-Filing Mechanics’ Liens

This tip serves to distinguish between the filing of the actual lien and the filing of a Common Pleas case for the purpose of enforcing or defending against said lien.

The lien itself is filed with the Register of Deeds together with a $10.00 fee. These may not be E-Filed, even in counties in which the Clerk of Court and Register of Deeds offices are occupied by the same individual. The Common Pleas case, together with the $150.00 filing fee, must be E-Filed in all counties active in the E-Filing program. A bond deposited in order to release a lien against property is also a function of the Register of Deeds, and may not be E-Filed.

31.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Exhibits to Proposed Orders and Other Pleadings

Ordinarily, exhibits should not be attached to proposed orders submitted via E-Filing. However, in the event it is necessary to attach a document as an exhibit to a proposed order, the exhibit should not be a document that already has been E-Filed and has an electronic file stamp. If the attached exhibit already has an electronic file stamp, the order and attachments will fail after being signed by the judge or other court personnel, resulting in delays in entering the order.

Exhibits attached to other pleadings, such as motions, memoranda, or affidavits, may not have more than one electronic file stamp. Attached exhibits with more than one electronic file stamp will be rejected by the clerk.

32.  E-Filing Tip of the Week—Filings Made in Error

Some filers have attempted to use the E-Filing System to delete or retract submitted filings by deleting information about the filing from the "My Filings" tab in the E-Filing System.  E-Filers should be aware that, once the filing has been submitted and is shown as "Awaiting Approval," deleting information about the filing in "My Filings" will not remove or retract the filing from the Clerk of Court's system, and it may prevent the E-Filer from accessing information about the filing at a later date.  If you believe you have submitted a filing in error, and it has not yet been accepted or rejected by the Clerk of Court, you should immediately contact the Clerk of Court's office. 

33.  E-Filing Tip of the Week: Important E-Filing Announcement Regarding Filings and Exhibits

1. All documents, including Exhibits, should be inspected prior to E-Filing to ensure the documents are not password protected. Password protected documents cannot be file-stamped by the E-Filing System. The Clerk of Court will ordinarily have to reject a filing that contains password protected documents.

2. You should avoid attaching file-stamped exhibit copies to filings whenever possible because documents may only be electronically file-stamped a maximum of two times. This is particularly important in the case of proposed orders, which are processed differently. Exhibits attached to Proposed Orders may not contain any electronic file-stamps.