South Carolina recently became the latest jurisdiction to prohibit the assignment of legal malpractice claims between adversaries in litigation, joining the majority of jurisdictions that have considered the issue. In response to a certified question from a South Carolina District Court, the Supreme Court of South Carolina expressly held that such assignments are void as against public policy. Skipper v. ACE Property & Casualty Ins. Co., Opinion No. 27547 (S.C. Sup. Ct. July 15, 2015). This outcome affords the best protection to defense attorneys practicing law in South Carolina, ensuring they will not become the targets of their clients who may attempt to collude with their adversaries in the resolution of cases. More importantly, it preserves the sanctity of the attorney-client relationship and the civil justice system in general, ensuring that attorneys’ duties of loyalty and confidentiality to clients will remain uncompromised by the threat of assignment of legal malpractice claims.
The full opinion of the Supreme Court can be found here.