SC Justice Act and Its Implications for the Business Community

south carolina state house aerial view

March 25, 2024

In February 2023, the South Carolina Senate took a decisive step towards recalibrating the scales of justice within the state’s civil liability landscape. The introduction of S.533, known as The South Carolina Justice Act, marks a pivotal moment for the business community and the broader economic health of the Palmetto State. Palmetto State Insurance (PSI), alongside a coalition of industry associations, business owners and grass roots organizations, stands at the forefront of this legislative evolution, advocating for a balanced approach to liability that promises to redefine the state’s competitive edge.

A Glimpse into S.533

At its core, The South Carolina Justice Act aims to modernize the state’s civil liability laws, ensuring that businesses are held accountable solely for their proportion of fault in civil lawsuits. This reform is not just a legislative update; it’s a transformation of the legal framework that underpins the state’s business environment. The bill emerges as a response to the longstanding call from South Carolina’s business sector for a fairer, more equitable system that aligns liability with actual fault.

The Driving Forces Behind the Bill

The push for S.533 is driven by a collective realization of the detrimental impact that the current joint and several liability clauses have on businesses. Under the existing statutes, a business could find itself shouldering the financial burden of damages far exceeding its actual share of responsibility in a lawsuit. This disproportionate liability not only poses a significant risk to the financial stability of businesses but also casts a long shadow over the state’s attractiveness to current and prospective job creators.

The Coalition of Support

The outpour of support and those advocating for S.533 is diverse and influential. Organizations such as the SC Coalition for Lawsuit Reform, Carolinas AGC, South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, SC Trucking Association, SC Restaurant and Lodging Association, SC Society of Professional Engineers, SC Forestry Association, SC VFW Auxiliary, SC Agribusinesses, and the NAWIC have all rallied in support of the bill. This broad-based backing underscores the universal benefit that S.533 promises across various sectors, from manufacturing and logistics to hospitality and agriculture.

Beyond Liability: A Vision for Economic Competitiveness

The implications of S.533 extend far beyond the courtroom. By ensuring that businesses are only responsible for their fair share of damages, The South Carolina Justice Act lays the groundwork for a more competitive business climate. It sends a clear signal to job creators across the nation and beyond that South Carolina is committed to a just, predictable, and fair legal environment. This legislative move is not just about protecting businesses; it’s about securing the state’s economic future and continuing to safeguard the rights and well-being of injured South Carolinians.

Contact Your Legislator to Vote Yes on Bill s.533

As PSI continues to champion the passage of S.533, we extend an invitation to the entire South Carolina community to join us in support of local business owners and businesses. Engage with your legislators, participate in the dialogue, and lend your support to a bill that stands to redefine the economic and legal landscape of our state. Together, we have an opportunity to foster a more just, equitable, and prosperous South Carolina.

You can find your legislator and how to contact them here: https://www.scstatehouse.gov/legislatorssearch.php