Last week I spoke at the South Carolina Defense Trial Lawyers' conference on Rule 59(e). As we all know, Rule 59(e) presents great dangers to lawyers in seeking to preserve error in South Carolina. Here is a short summary on how to avoid Rule 59(e) pitfalls:
1. Raise all issues you want preserved in the initial post trial motion. If the judge rules on all issues, do not file a Rule 59(e) motion.
2. If the judge does not rule on all issues raised in the initial motion, you must file a Rule 59(e) motion. But only list the issues not originally ruled on.
3. If the trial judge raises a new issue when ruling on the first post-trial motion, you must file a Rule 59(e) motion to address the alteration of the original judgment.
4. When filing a successive motion, ask the judge to rule on it as quickly as possible because of tolling concerns.