Amicus Curiae

Amicus Request Procedures
 
The Amicus Committee of the South Carolina Association for Justice (SCAJ) exists to determine which, if any, cases in which the SCAJ will seek leave to file an Amicus Brief. Although there are rare exceptions, the Amicus Committee does not write the brief. The request is made as outlined below, and the Committee, should it determine the case raises a substantive issue that should be addressed, provides oversight and guidance to the brief and then reviews and signs the approved final version of the brief.                                                                           
 
Submitting a Request
 
Requests for SCAJ Amicus Curiae briefs should be submitted to the Amicus Committee according to the guidelines below.  Please comply with the guidelines as much as practicable in light of the time constraints involved in filing an Amicus Brief, as well as the scarce resources available to review and assist in its preparations.
 
1.)   Requests should be submitted, if at all possible by email, to the Chair(s) of the SCAJ Amicus and copied to the Chief Operating Officer of SCAJ. The 2013-2014 Chair is: Frank L. Eppes, Eppes & Plumblee, PA., P.O. Box 10066, Greenville, South Carolina, 864-235-2600, feppes@eppesandplumblee.com. If email is unavailable requests can be faxed, sent by mail or made by phone.
 
2.)   No Amicus brief shall be submitted to any court on behalf of SCAJ without prior approval of the Chairman of the Amicus Committee or, in said Chairman's absence, a member of the Committee and the President or President -Elect of the SCAJ.
 
3.)   It is very difficult to approve of briefing at the last minute. Litigants  are encouraged to identify and advise the Amicus Committee of developing issues at the pre-trial, trial or early appellate level (i.e. WHEN THE NOTICE OF APPEAL IS FILED BEFORE THE TRANSCRIPTS ARE FILED) when issues are likely to have a substantial impact on the law so that the Amicus Committee can assist if possible at an earlier stage.   
 
4.)   The requesting party initiates the amicus request by letter, accompanied by
(a.)    A short and concise memorandum setting forth the specific legal issue or issues sought to be addressed;
(b.)    A brief survey of the significant cases touching upon the issue(s), and copies thereof; 
(c.)     A brief statement explaining why SCAJ should grant the amicus request, with specific reference to the criteria set forth in these Guidelines; and
(d.)    The requesting party shall also include the following: copies of all briefs filed to date in the appellate court, the briefing schedule of the appellate  court and below minimally necessary for a full understanding of the proceeding.
 
5.)   The requesting party shall furnish any additional material or information requested.
 
6.)   The requesting party shall have a continuing responsibility to apprise the Amicus Committee of developments in the case from the time the initial request is submitted until it is resolved.
 
***SPECIAL NOTE: Which Court is the case before? Over the years the Amicus Committee has focused more of its attention to filing amicus briefs with the Supreme Court. This is because the Supreme Court does not take that many cases and many of the issues before it directly affect the development of tort law and criminal law. The Court of Appeals is an error correcting court first and foremost, but if the issue is one of first impression or is consistently being raised at the circuit court level, participation may be warranted. If the amicus request is made at an intermediate court of appeals level or trial court level, the brief statement should address what exceptional circumstances exist that requires consideration at such level. ***
 
Case Selection Criteria
 
In reviewing requests for appearance as Amicus Curiae, the Amicus Committee shall consider whether the following criteria apply:
 
1.)   The legal issue involved is of substantial interest to the Plaintiff's civil trial bar or criminal defense bar and consistent with SCAJ's principles and philosophy.
 
2.)   The legal issue involves a novel or previously unresolved question, the disposition of which is likely to have broad-range effects beyond the particular case.
 
3.)   The legal issue involved affects fundamental rights of individuals or a constitutional dimension.
 
4.)   The case presents an opportunity to further advance the interests of consumers, injured people, or the rights of the criminally accused.
 
5.)   The case presents an opportunity to ameliorate or reverse prior judicial decisions or legislative enactments which adversely impact on the rights of consumers, injured people or the criminally accused.
 
6.)    There exists sufficient time to request amicus status and properly review a brief.
 
7.)   Sufficient resources are available, given SCAJ's amicus caseload, to grant the particular request.
 
8.)   In passing upon an "amicus request," the Amicus Committee shall not take into consideration whether or not the applicant seeking amicus curiae intervention, or the applicant's lawyer/law firm, has made a financial contribution to the SCAJ or the SCAJ PAC.

9.)   Requests from the court itself for an amicus brief will be honored absent "exceptional circumstances".
 
The foregoing criteria shall not preclude SCAJ's consideration of cases presenting other issues not enumerated, nor shall a case purporting to present one (or more) of the issues listed necessarily merit involvement by SCAJ as Amicus Curiae.

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The South Carolina Association for Justice (SCAJ) was founded over 50 years ago by a small group of trial lawyers. Since then, our mission has been to serve our members and those we are sworn to protect.  We work to uphold and defend the constitutions of our state and nation. We fight tirelessly to protect the rights of the individual; to seek justice through open and fair courtrooms; to resist unjust laws; to support policies that hold wrongdoers accountable; to strengthen the civil justice system through education; and to uphold the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity in the legal profession.


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