(a) Offer of Judgment. Any party in a civil action, except a domestic relations action, may file, no later than twenty days before the trial date, a written offer of judgment signed by the offeror or his attorney, directed to the opposing party, offering to take judgment in the offeror’s favor, or to allow judgment to be taken against the offeror for a sum stated therein, or to the effect specified in the offer. Service of the offer of judgment shall be made as provided in these rules. Within twenty days after service of the offer of judgment or at least ten days prior to the trial date, whichever date is earlier, the offeree or his attorney may file a written acceptance of the offer of judgment. Upon the filing, the court shall immediately issue the judgment and the clerk shall enter the judgment as provided in the offer of judgment. If the offer of judgment is not accepted within twenty days after notification, or prior to or on the tenth day before the actual trial date, whichever date occurs first, the offer shall be considered rejected and evidence thereof is not admissible except in a proceeding after trial to fix costs, interest, attorney’s fees, and other recoverable monies. Any offeror may withdraw an offer of judgment prior to its acceptance or prior to the date on which it would be considered rejected by giving notice to the offeree or his attorney as provided in these rules. Any offeror may file a subsequent offer of judgment in any amount which supersedes any earlier offer that was rejected by the offeree or withdrawn by the offeror, and, on filing and service, terminates any rights to interest or costs under the superseded offer. An offer is not considered rejected by a counter offer and shall remain effective until accepted, rejected, or withdrawn as provided in this subsection. All offers of judgment and any acceptance of offers of judgment must be included by the clerk in the record of the case.
(b) Consequences of Non-Acceptance. If an offer of judgment is not accepted and the offeror obtains a verdict or determination at least as favorable as the rejected offer, the offeror shall recover from the offeree: (1) any administrative, filing, or other court costs from the date of the offer until the entry of the judgment; (2) if the offeror is a plaintiff, eight percent interest computed on the amount of the verdict or award from the date of the offer to the entry of judgment; or (3) if the offeror is a defendant, reduction from the judgment or award of eight percent interest computed on the amount of the verdict or award from the date of the offer to the entry of the judgment.
(c) This rule shall not abrogate the contractual rights of any party concerning the recovery of attorney’s fees or other monies in accordance with the provision of any written contract between the parties to the action.
This Rule 68 is essentially Code §§ 15-21-40, 15-21-50, and 15-65-130 and is not identical to the Federal Rule.Note to 1986 Amendment:
This material was formerly found in S.C. Code §§ 15-21-10, 30 and 40, and is added to make the procedure under the rule consistent with prior practice.Note to 1994 Amendment:
Rule 68(a) and (b) are amended to permit a defending party to recover costs when the plaintiff fails to recover any judgment in his favor as well as when the plaintiff's recovery is less than the offer of judgment.Note to 2006 Amendment:
This amendment makes this provision consistent with S.C. Code Ann. Section 15-35-400, which became effective July 1, 2005.