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South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure

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South Carolina Process Serving Requirements

Service of summons may be made by the sheriff, his deputy, or by any other person not less than eighteen (18) years of age, not an attorney in or a party to the action. Service of all other process shall be made by the sheriff or his deputy or any other duly constituted law enforcement officer or by any person designated by the court who is not less than eighteen (18) years of age and not an attorney in or a party to the action, except that a subpoena may be served as provided in Rule 45. (Amended effective May 1, 1986)

South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure

Please note that lobbyists are active in the state of South Carolina and laws concerning civil procedure and process serving can change. Therefore the information listed below may have been amended. For updated process serving legislation, please visit the South Carolina Courts web site.

Rule 4. Process

Rule 45 Subpoena

Rule 4. Process

Summons: Issuance.

The summons shall be issued by plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney. Copies of the original summons shall be served upon each defendant.

Same: Form.

The summons shall be signed by the plaintiff or his attorney, contain the name of the State and county, the name of the court, the file number of the action, and the names of the parties, be directed to the defendant, state the name and address of the plaintiff’s attorney, if any, otherwise the plaintiff’s address, and the time within which these rules require the defendant to appear and defend, and shall notify him that in case of his failure to do so judgment by default will be rendered against him for the relief demanded in the complaint.

By whom served.

Service of summons may be made by the sheriff, his deputy, or by any other person not less than eighteen (18) years of age, not an attorney in or a party to the action. Service of all other process shall be made by the sheriff or his deputy or any other duly constituted law enforcement officer or by any person designated by the court who is not less than eighteen (18) years of age and not an attorney in or a party to the action, except that a subpoena may be served as provided in Rule 45. (Amended effective May 1, 1986)

Summons: Personal service.

The summons and complaint must be served together. The plaintiff shall furnish the person making service with such copies as are necessary. Voluntary appearance by defendant is equivalent to personal service; and written notice of appearance by a party or his attorney shall be effective upon mailing, or may be served as provided in this rule. Service shall be made as follows

Same: Other Service.

Whenever a statute or an order of court provides for service of a summons and complaint or of a notice, or an order upon a party not an inhabitant of or found within the State, service shall be made under the circumstances and in the manner prescribed by the statute, rule, or order.

Territorial Limits of Effective Service.

All process other than a subpoena may be served anywhere within the territorial limits of the State, and when a statute so provides, beyond the territorial limits of the State. A subpoena may be served within the territorial limits provided in Rule 45.

Proof and Return.

The person serving the process shall make proof of service thereof promptly and deliver it to the officer or person who issued same. If served by the sheriff or his deputy, he shall make proof of service by his certificate. If served by any other person, he shall make affidavit thereof. If served by publication, the printer or publisher shall make an affidavit thereof, and an affidavit of mailing shall be made by the party or his attorney if mailing of process is permitted or required by law. Failure to make proof of service does not affect the validity of the service. The proof of service shall state the date, time and place of such service and, if known, the name and address of the person actually served at the address of such person, and if not known, then the date, time and place of service and a description of the person actually served. If service was by mail, the person serving process shall show in his proof of service the date and place of mailing, and attach a copy of the return receipt or returned envelope when received by him showing whether the mailing was accepted, refused or otherwise returned. If the mailing was refused, the return shall also make proof of any further service on the defendant pursuant to paragraph (8) of subdivision (d) of this rule. The return along with the receipt or envelope and any other proof shall be promptly filed by the clerk with the pleadings and become a part of the record.

Proof of service without the State.

When the service is made out of the State the proof of such service may be made, if within the United States, by affidavit before:

Amendment.

At any time in its discretion and upon terms as it deems just, the court may, by written order, allow any process or proof of service thereof to be amended, unless it clearly appears that material prejudice would result to the substantial rights of the party against whom the process issued.

Acceptance of Service.

No other proof of service shall be required when acceptance of service is acknowledged in writing and signed by the person served or his attorney, and delivered to the person making service. The acknowledgement shall state the place and date service is accepted.


Rule 45 Subpoena

Form; Issuance.

Service.

Protection of Persons Subject to Subpoenas.

(B) Subject to paragraph (d)(2) of this rule, a person commanded to produce and permit inspection and copying may, within 14 days after service of the subpoena or before the time specified for compliance if such time is less than 14 days after service, serve upon the party or attorney designated in the subpoena written objection to inspection or copying of any or all of the designated materials or of the premises. If objection is made, the party serving the subpoena shall not be entitled to inspect and copy the materials or inspect the premises except pursuant to an order of the court by which the subpoena was issued. If objection has been made, the party serving the subpoena may, upon notice to the person commanded to produce, move at any time in the court that issued the subpoena for an order to compel the production. Such an order to compel production shall protect any person who is not a party or an officer of a party from significant expense resulting from the inspection and copying commanded.

Duties in Responding to Subpoena.

Contempt.

Failure by any person without adequate excuse to obey a subpoena served upon that person may be deemed a contempt of the court from which the subpoena issued. An adequate cause for failure to obey exists when a subpoena purports to require a non-party to attend a deposition, permit an inspection, or produce at a place not within the limits provided by clause (ii) of subparagraph (c) (3)(A).

You should contact an South Carolina Process Server if you have specific questions about Process Serving in South Carolina.