The Supreme Court of South Carolina
RE: Extensions in Cases Seeking a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to
Review a Decision of the South Carolina Court of Appeals
Under Rule 242 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules (SCACR), a party may seek review of a decision of the South Carolina Court of Appeals by filing a petition for a writ of certiorari and appendix with this Court. In response, the respondent may file a return to the petition for a writ of certiorari, and the petitioner may file a reply to the return. Under the rule, this entire process is to be completed not later than seventy (70) days after the Court of Appeals denied the petition for rehearing or reinstatement in the appeal. When the petition and any return or reply have been filed, the matter is then ready for this Court to determine if the petition for a writ of certiorari will be granted or denied.
Under Rule 242(d)(2), SCACR, "[o]nly those questions raised in the Court of Appeals and in the petition for rehearing shall be included in the petition for writ of certiorari as a question presented to the Supreme Court." Therefore, in most cases, the preparation of the petition and return will involve no more than taking the arguments already made in the briefs before the Court of Appeals, putting in the additional case history information, and updating and checking the citations. Additionally, the preparation of the appendix should take little time or effort since it is composed of documents that have already been filed with the Court of Appeals. Rule 242(e), SCACR (content of appendix).
In the event this Court grants the petition for a writ of certiorari, the parties will proceed to serve and file briefs in the manner specified by Rule 242(i), SCACR. Once again, the preparation of these briefs in most cases will merely involve a further refinement of the arguments already made in the petition, return, or reply.
In short, there should be very little reason for a party to need an extension of time to complete any of the steps required by Rule 242, SCACR. Unfortunately, in practice, this has not been the case, and parties have been routinely seeking multiple extensions. As a result, the final resolution of a case that has already gone through a lengthy appeal process at the Court of Appeals is further delayed.
Accordingly, this Court establishes the following policy regarding extensions in cases filed under Rule 242, SCACR:
(1) Upon a showing of good cause, a party (or multiple parties if represented by the same counsel) may be granted extensions totaling no more than twenty (20) days during the proceedings before this Court. If multiple extensions are taken within the twenty (20) day cumulative limit, the minimum period that can be requested is five (5) days.
(2) Any extension beyond the twenty (20) days specified in (1) above will be granted only if extraordinary circumstances such as illness or other circumstances beyond the control of the movant warrant the granting of the extension. The parties are warned that the press of other business is not an extraordinary circumstance which will warrant the granting of an extension.
These extensions will generally be granted for no more than ten (10) days.
The order shall be effective immediately. For a party (or multiple parties if represented by the same counsel) who has been granted an extension or extensions totaling twenty (20) days or more prior to the date of this order, one additional extension of ten (10) days may be granted upon a showing of good cause, but any further extensions will be granted only upon a showing of extraordinary circumstances as provided in (2) above.
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
July 16, 2014