The Supreme Court of South Carolina
Amendments to the Rules of the Resolution of Fee Disputes Board
Appellate Case No. 2015-001258
The South Carolina Bar has petitioned this Court to amend Rules 5, 10 and 19 of the rules governing the Resolution of Fee Disputes Board contained in Rule 416 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules (SCACR). While it is appropriate to amend the rules, we do so using slightly different language from that proposed by the South Carolina Bar.
Accordingly, pursuant to Article V, § 4 of the South Carolina Constitution, and Rule 22 of Rule 416, Rules 5, 10 and 19 contained in Rule 416, SCACR, are amended to read as shown in the attachment to this order. These amendments are effective immediately.
|s/Jean H. Toal C.J.
s/Costa M. Pleicones J.
s/Donald W. Beatty J.
s/John W. Kittredge J.
s/Kaye G. Hearn J.
Columbia, South Carolina
August 7, 2015
RULE 5. APPOINTMENT OF EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
From among the appointed Board members, the President shall appoint an Executive Council comprised of the following: One Executive Council member from each of the four Judicial Regions of the state and one at large member. The President shall designate the chair of the Executive Council.
The Executive Council shall have the authority to interpret these Rules. The duties of the Executive Council will be to oversee and assist the functioning of the Board in the respective circuits of the state and to make recommendations to the Board of Governors as to procedures to be followed and rules to be amended.
Executive Council members should be experienced in the practice of law with no fewer than seven (7) years active practice.
The terms of the Executive Council shall be for three (3) years. The expiration of a term will coincide with the date of expiration of the term of the incumbent President in the same year. Should the term of an Executive Council member on the Board expire and the member not be reappointed to the Board, the member's term on the Executive Council shall expire at the same time the member's term on the Board expires. In that event, the President shall appoint a replacement member to the Executive Council for the unexpired term. A member of the Executive Council may be reappointed.
The Executive Council shall meet at such times and places as may be called by the chair or by any four members thereof.
RULE 10. COMMENCEMENT OF PROCEEDINGS
All proceedings hereunder shall be commenced by filing an application in the Office of the Bar, on forms provided by the Bar. The application shall include a written statement of the facts and circumstances surrounding the dispute, furnishing complete names and addresses. If the materials submitted exceed twenty-five (25) pages, the client-applicant shall submit three additional sets of the materials.
If the applicant is a client, but is not the person who paid for the lawyer's services, the third party payer, with the written consent of the client-applicant, may jointly file with the client-applicant, with both signatures affixed to the application.
If the responding party is an attorney, the Bar shall forward the completed application, as filed, to the attorney by electronic mail, with confirmation of delivery. If the responding party is not an attorney, the Bar shall forward the completed application, as filed, to the responding party by certified mail, return receipt requested. A copy shall be sent by regular mail or email to the circuit chair in the circuit where the principal place of practice of the attorney is located. If the application involves attorneys in more than one circuit, a copy of the completed application shall be sent to the chair of the Executive Council, who shall designate which of these circuit chairs shall have jurisdiction and shall proceed with the matter.
If the amount in dispute exceeds $7,500, the circuit chair may appoint a hearing panel without assignment of the matter to an assigned member.
After the initial correspondence, all other correspondence will be sent by regular mail or, with the written consent of the client and lawyer, by email. Such written consent may be withdrawn by written notice served on all other parties or attorneys. If served by regular mail, correspondence will be deemed served upon deposit in the U.S. Mail with proper postage affixed. If served by email, service is complete upon transmission, unless the party making service learns that the attempted service did not reach the person to be served. All parties have the duty to inform the circuit chair of any change of address.
RULE 19. COMPLIANCE
The decision of the Board shall be final and binding upon the parties and shall be enforceable in any court of competent jurisdiction. The parties shall comply with the terms of the final decision within thirty (30) days after mailing. In case of non-compliance by either party, the circuit chair shall issue a Certificate of Non-Compliance which may be entered as a judgment pursuant to Rule 58(a), SCRCP. If the certificate is issued against a lawyer, it shall be forwarded by the circuit chair to the Bar and then forwarded to the Commission on Lawyer Conduct under Rule 8.3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 407, SCACR.