The South Carolina Tort Claims Act

Shield or Sword for the State of South Carolina?

By John D. Harrell

John Harrell SCTCA Article for CLEIf you are thinking about bringing a claim against the State or one of its political subdivisions, proceed carefully. The South Carolina Tort Claims Act1 (SCTCA) governs the procedure, and arguably the outcome, of all situations in which an individual is injured due to the action or inaction of the State, its political subdivisions, and employees acting within the scope of their official duty.2 While the claims process may appear straightforward, the necessary procedure to follow the SCTCA can be exceedingly complex to those lawyers who are unfamiliar with it and even the long-time practitioner who has not yet been stung by its application. While the claims process may appear straightforward, the necessary procedure to follow the SCTCA can be exceedingly complex to those lawyers who are unfamiliar with it and even the long-time practitioner who has not yet been stung by its application. Although the Act itself purports to waive sovereign immunity in order to allow citizens to sue the State in tort, it is designed to include potentially fatal exceptions to that waiver of immunity.3 The liability exceptions are well-known features of the SCTCA, but without proper study of the statute, lawyers face hidden land mines unknowingly overlooked in either properly pleading a complaint or in answering a complaint. The SCTCA applies to the State of South Carolina and every agency, political subdivision and governmental entity within the state, including everything from the Governor’s Office, to the Department of Transportation, to every county and town throughout the state.4

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Click Here to read the full article in
SC Lawyer Magazine, November 2017