South Carolina Governor Mark
Sanford Signs Tort Reform Bill
S.C. - March 21, 2005 -
House Speaker David Wilkins, State Sen. Larry
Martin, State Reps. Harry Cato and Herb Kirsh and
numerous other legislators and business advocates,
Sanford signed into law
a business tort reform bill that will substantially
upgrade South Carolina's civil justice system and
make South Carolina more competitive. View
H. 3008 (pdf) See
South Carolina’s Tort Reform
by Cam Crawford, Executive
South Carolinians for Tort
April 22, 2005
Three years ago, no
one believed that meaningful tort reform was possible in South
Carolina. Yet, on March 21, Governor Sanford signed
into law. What changed the environment to win reform in South
Carolinians for Tort Reform (SCTR) spent two and a half
years pushing the tort reform issue learning from our mistakes
and fine-tuning our message. We narrowed the tort reform issues
from 14 to 4 that focused on the issues that were giving South
Carolina a “black eye” on the national scene. For example,
Hampton County, South Carolina was rated the third worst
by the American Tort Reform Foundation; South Carolina was one
of only ten states not to have modified their joint and several
liability doctrine. Only two insurance companies were writing
general liability insurance for homebuilders in our state due in
part because of South Carolina’s 13 year statute of repose.
coordinating with the South Carolina Medical Association, we
made a strategic decision to separate the medical malpractice
issue from the general tort reform issue. This proved to be
sound strategy with both bills passing this year. SCTR elected
to use a strategy of “targeted media management” instead of the
shotgun blast approach in order to get our message across to the
Read Cam's Op-Ed
South Carolina Governor Mark
Sanford to Sign Tort Reform Bill
March 18 -
Gov. Mark Sanford
will be joined by Speaker of the House David Wilkins,
State Sen. Larry Martin and other members of the South
Carolina General Assembly in Greenville this Monday
(March 21, 2005) as he signs
which brings meaningful tort reform to South Carolina.
View H. 3008 (pdf)
What does this bill mean for South Carolina?
3008 as adopted:
1) Provided a 50% threshold on joint and several
liability. A defendant has to be 50% at fault to be required to
pay 100% of the damages. A defendant less than 50% at fault only
pays his percentage of liability.
2) Venue reform - lawsuits can only be brought where the
most substantial part of the action arose or the defendants
principal place of business, unless it's a foreign corporation
with no ties to SC or a non resident defendant which have an
additional option of the
Statute of Repose - reduced from 13 years to 8 years.
4) Post Judgment Interest Rates reduced from 12% to prime
5) Frivolous Lawsuits sanctions lawyers and parties
bringing frivolous claims including reporting lawyers to the
Commission on Lawyers Conduct and requires the Supreme Court to
keep a public record of frivolous sanctions.
6) Makes using a nickname in lawyer advertising a
violation of the Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Want to know more? Click
SC Supreme Court Decision
Should Reduce Forum Shopping in Third Worst "Judicial Hellhole"
February 2 —The Supreme Court
of South Carolina issued a decision that should reduce
forum shopping in the state and reign in the rapidly
increasing number of cases filed in Judicial Hellhole
Hampton County. In a unanimous decision, the Court
adopted the position urged by the
American Tort Reform
Association (ATRA) in its amicus
brief, ruling that a corporate defendant resides where
it has an office and agent for the transaction of
corporate business. The Supreme Court also reaffirmed a
trial court's traditional discretion to transfer a case
when it serves the convenience of witnesses and the
interests of justice. The case, originally filed in
Hampton County, was remanded to Greenwood County. ATRA
was joined by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce in
filing the brief.
Judicial Hellholes report ranked Hampton County the
third worst jurisdiction in the United States.
Litigation tourists, guided by their personal injury
lawyer travel agents, file their cases in Judicial
Hellholes because they know they will receive a
favorable award or precedent, or both.
The number of
lawsuits filed in Hampton County has nearly doubled in
the last five years. Sixty-seven percent of cases filed
in Hampton County in 2002 were filed by residents from
other counties and other states.
Download ATRA News Release