II. ELECTRONIC FILING AND SERVICE

2.1 Scope of Electronic Filing

(a) Applicability

Except as provided herein, all documents submitted for filing by an attorney admitted to practice in this district, including counsel admitted pro hac vice, shall be electronically filed in PDF format using ECF. An assigned judicial officer has the discretion to exempt a case, in whole or in part, from ECF.

(b) Attorney Exemption

An attorney may apply to the court for permission to file documents conventionally in a particular case. Should the court initially grant an attorney permission to file documents conventionally, the court may withdraw that permission at any time during the pendency of a case and require the attorney to re-file documents electronically using ECF. If one counsel of record is exempted from electronic filing, all electronically filed documents must be conventionally served on exempted counsel.

(c) One Time Exemption

An attorney who is not a Filing User may conventionally file the first document on behalf of a client in an ECF case without leave of the court. Within thirty (30) days thereafter, the attorney must register as a Filing User.

(d) Pro Se Litigants

A non-incarcerated pro se litigant in a pending case may apply to the court for permission to file documents electronically using ECF on a form prescribed by the clerk’s office. If the court initially grants a pro se litigant permission to file documents electronically, that permission is limited to the case specified and the court may withdraw that permission at any time during the pendency of a case.

In the absence of a court order authorizing electronic filing, all pro se litigants shall conventionally file and serve all documents in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil/Criminal Procedures and the local rules of this court. In that event, all electronically filed documents must be conventionally served on the pro se litigant.

History

(§ (e) omitted  5/1/05; § (c) amended 6/1/05; §§ (a), (b) and (d) amended 10/1/05; § (d) amended 10/1/06, 6/1/11)

2.2 Consequences of Electronic Filing

(a) Filing Defined

The electronic filing of a document through ECF consistent with the ECF Administrative Procedures and rules of court, together with the transmission of a Notice of Electronic Filing from the court’s ECF system, constitutes filing for all purposes of the Federal Rules of Civil/Criminal Procedure and local rules of this court.

(b) Confirmation of Court Filing

A document electronically filed through the court’s ECF transmission facilities shall be deemed filed on the date and time stated on the Notice of Electronic Filing received from the court.

(c) Official Record

Except as provided herein, the clerk’s office will not maintain a paper court file in any ECF case. The official court record shall be the electronic file maintained on the court's servers together with any paper documents filed in accordance with these procedures.

History

(§ (d) 12/1/09 omitted 12/1/09)

2.3 Format and Quality Control

(a) PDF Format Required

Documents electronically filed must be submitted in PDF format. Unless otherwise provided herein, main documents must be filed in an electronically converted PDF text searchable format. Attachments/Non-Trial Exhibits must also be filed in an electronically converted PDF text searchable format, unless the Filing User possesses only a paper copy of the document to be submitted, in which case a scanned PDF that is not text searchable may be submitted. All scanned documents shall conform with a standard of 300 pixels per square inch.

(b) PDF Documents Exceeding Ten Megabytes

No individual PDF document exceeding 10 megabytes will be accepted in ECF. Any individual PDF document exceeding 10 megabytes must be divided into separate PDF documents of less than 10 megabytes.

(c) Title of Docket Entries/Pleadings

All electronically filed documents shall be titled and docketed in accordance with the approved dictionary of civil/criminal events available on ECF. The clerk’s office may, when necessary and appropriate, modify the docket entry description to comply with quality control standards.

(d) Format of Electronic Filings

Except as provided herein, electronically filed documents must comply with the formatting and page limit requirements for paper documents as set forth in the Federal Rules of Civil/Criminal Procedure and the local rules of this court.

(e) Memorandum and Supporting Documents Required by LR 7.1(a)(2)

A memorandum of law or other attachment filed in support of a main document shall be filed as the first attachment to the main document and not as a separate docket entry. If the Filing User is contemporaneously filing an objection and cross motion, however, the memorandum of law shall be filed as the main document in a separate docket entry and linked to both the objection and cross motion.

(f) Verify Readability

The Filing User shall verify the readability of a converted or scanned PDF before electronically filing it in ECF.

(g) Scanned Document Retention Requirement

Paper documents converted to PDF through a scanner and filed using ECF must be retained by the Filing User until three (3) years after the date of filing or until the conclusion of all appeals in the case, whichever date is later. Upon request of the court or any party, a Filing User must make the paper document available for inspection.

(h) Erroneous Submissions

(1) Erroneous Docket Entries

A Filing User may not correct a docket entry or document submission error after a document is electronically filed in ECF. If necessary to satisfy a filing deadline, a Filing User may electronically resubmit the entire document, including all attachments, in ECF. Otherwise, the Filing User shall not attempt to refile the document in ECF. The Filing User shall immediately contact the clerk’s office help desk to report the error and request necessary remedial action. The clerk’s office may make an entry indicating that the document was filed in error and may request that the document be refiled. The court may, upon motion of a party or upon its

(2) Documents Conventionally Filed in ECF Cases

Except as provided herein, documents may not be submitted conventionally in a case designated for ECF.

(3) Documents Electronically Filed in Non-ECF Cases

Except as provided herein, documents may not be submitted electronically through the ECF system in a case not designated for ECF.

(i) Hyperlinks

Electronically filed documents may contain the following types of hyperlinks:

(1) Hyperlinks to other portions of the same document;

(2) Hyperlinks to other documents filed within the CM/ECF system; and

(3) Hyperlinks to a location on the Internet that contains a source document for a citation.

Hyperlinks to cited authority may not replace standard citation format. Complete citations must be included in the text of the filed document. Neither a hyperlink, nor any site to which it refers, shall be considered part of the record, but are simply convenient mechanisms for accessing material cited in a filed document.

The court accepts no responsibility for, and does not endorse, any product, organization, or content at any hyperlinked site, or at any site to which that site may be linked. The court accepts no responsibility for the availability or functionality of any hyperlink.

(j) PDF Document Restrictions

The ECF system will not accept PDF documents containing tracking tags, embedded systems commands, password protections, access restrictions or other security features, special tags or dynamic features.

History

(§§ (a) and (b) amended; § (j) added 5/1/05; § (b) amended, § (k) added 10/1/05;  § (f) stricken, former § (i) amended and relettered to (h), §§ (g)-(k) relettered accordingly 10/1/06; §§ (b) and (i) amended 5/15/08; §§(a) and (b) amended 12/1/09; § (b) amended 6/1/11; § (b) amended 12/1/15)

2.4 Civil and Miscellaneous Case Opening Documents

(a) Filing

Civil and miscellaneous case opening documents and related attachments may be (i) electronically filed through the court’s ECF system if the attorney Filing User pays the filing fee using a credit card or ACH debit card through ECF’s payment system, simultaneously submits a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, or if no filing fee is required, or (ii) conventionally filed with the appropriate filing fee. If conventionally filed by an attorney, the case opening documents and attachments must also be downloaded onto a data storage device as separate documents in PDF format and received within 48 hours.

“Civil case opening documents” shall include, but are not limited to, complaints, petitions, or notices of removal. Related attachments that should be electronically filed shall include, but are not limited to, the civil cover sheet and summons/notice of lawsuit and waiver of summons. A Filing User requesting summonses must complete the top section of each summons form before filing electronically or conventionally.

(b) Service

If summonses are submitted with the case opening documents, the clerk’s office will return signed and sealed summonses either electronically through ECF or on paper by regular mail to counsel for the plaintiff(s) for service of process. Case opening complaints or petitions may not be served electronically and must be served in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 4.

(c) Return of Service

All returns of service or other returns in civil and miscellaneous cases shall be electronically filed in a scanned PDF format.

History

(§ (a) amended 5/1/05, 10/1/06, 6/1/11; § (b) amended 8/1/05; §§ (a) and (c) amended 12/1/13)

2.5 Attachments/Non-Trial Exhibits

(a) Submitted with Main Document as Separate Attachments

Each exhibit or attachment to a main document shall be electronically filed as a separate attachment to a motion or pleading (“main document”), shall be individually numbered/lettered, and shall be followed by a short description of the document in the “description” field, which shall not exceed five (5) words. If attachments include more than one exhibit, the Filing User need not submit a separate table of contents or index as otherwise required by LR 5.1(a)(2) as the documents will be separately hyperlinked and indexed in the ECF system.

(b) Excerpted Format

A Filing User may submit as attachments and non-trial exhibits only those excerpts of the referenced documents that are directly germane to the matter under consideration by the court. Excerpted material must be clearly and prominently identified as such. Filing Users must promptly provide excerpted documents in full to any party making such a request. Responding parties may timely file additional excerpts, or the complete document, if they believe these additional submissions are directly germane. The court may require the parties to file additional excerpts or the complete document.

(c) Bulky Attachments, Physical Exhibits and Demonstrative Evidence

Attachments and non-trial exhibits that cannot reasonably be filed in an electronically converted or scanned PDF format, such as bulky attachments, physical exhibits, demonstrative evidence, and video or audio tapes, may be conventionally filed.

(d) Attachments/Non-Trial Exhibits Conventionally Filed in ECF Case

(1) Notice of Conventional Filing

If an attachment or exhibit is submitted conventionally in an ECF case, the Filing User shall electronically file a Notice of Conventional Filing on a form prescribed by the clerk’s office in the place where the attachment or exhibit would have been submitted electronically as an attachment to the main document.

(2) Filing Date

If an attachment or exhibit is conventionally filed, the main document shall be deemed filed upon the issuance of the Notice of Electronic Filing, provided that the conventionally submitted matters are filed and served within 72 hours. A paper copy of the Notice of Electronic Filing shall be attached to the conventionally submitted matter.

(3) Maintained in the Clerk’s Office

If an attachment or exhibit is conventionally filed, it will be maintained and available for inspection in the clerk’s office and will not be added to the court’s electronic docket.

History

(§ (a) amended 5/1/05; § (d) lapsed, § (e) relettered to § (d) 6/1/05; § (d) amended 10/1/05; § (d)  amended 10/1/06)

2.6 Certified Documents/Records and Social Security Administrative Records

Except as provided herein, the following shall be electronically filed consistent with AP 2.3: (a) certified documents and records, including the state court record filed in removal proceedings, and (b) to the extent available in electronic format, the administrative record filed in social security cases.  In social security cases, (1) the record must be submitted in segments of less than 10 megabytes, and (2) the government shall provide the court with a conventionally filed courtesy copy of the record.

(Amended 6/1/11; 12/1/15)

2.7 Signatures on Electronically Filed Documents

(a) Attorneys

(1) Log-In/Password Constitute Signature

The Filing User’s log-in and password required to submit documents through ECF shall serve as the Filing User’s signature on all electronically filed documents. They also serve as the signature for purposes of the Federal Rules of Civil/Criminal Procedure, local rules of this court, and any other purpose for which a signature is required in connection with proceedings before this court.

(2) Form of Signature

All electronically filed documents must include a signature block and must set forth the Filing User's name, bar registration number, address, primary telephone number, and e-mail address. The name of the Filing User under whose log-in and password the document is submitted must be preceded by a "/s/ [Insert Signatory’s Name]” and typed in the space where the signature would otherwise appear.

(b) Multiple Party Documents

The following applies when a pleading, stipulation, or other document requires multiple signatures.

(1) Form of Signatures

All electronically filed documents that contain more than one signature must list thereon all the names of other signatories by means of a "/s/ [Insert Signatory’s Name]” block for each.

(2) Certification and Proof of Consent

By electronically filing a document pursuant to subparagraph (b)(1), the Filing User certifies that each of the other signatories has expressly agreed to the form and substance of the document and that the filing attorney has their actual authority to submit the document electronically.

(c) Affidavits/Verified Pleadings/Other Non-Attorney Signatures

Preexisting affidavits and other preexisting non-Filing User signature documents shall be filed in a scanned PDF format. All other affidavits and non-Filing User signature documents, including the signature of a notary or other jurat, shall be filed in an electronically converted PDF format and shall contain a "/s/ [Insert Signatory’s Name]” block indicating that the paper document bears an original signature.

(d) Objection to Authenticity

A non-Filing User signatory or party who disputes the authenticity of an electronically filed document must file an objection to the document within fourteen (14) days of service of the Notice of Electronic Filing or other service made pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil/Criminal Procedure.

(e) Retention of Documents

Documents that are electronically filed and contain original signatures other than that of the Filing User, as well as consents to file under subsection (b)(2) to the extent memorialized, shall be maintained in paper form by the Filing User until three (3) years after the date of filing or until the conclusion of all appeals in the case, whichever date is later. Upon request of the court or any party, a Filing User must make the original documents available for inspection.

History

(§§ (a)(2), (b)(1) and (c) amended 10/1/05; § (d) amended 12/1/09; § (a)(2) amended 12/1/17)

2.8 Service of Electronically Filed Documents

(a) Consent to Electronic Service

Registration as a participant in the court’s ECF system constitutes consent to electronic service of all electronically filed documents in ECF cases as provided in these procedures.

(b) Electronic Service Defined

Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(d) and Fed. R. Crim. P. 49(b), receipt of the Notice of Electronic Filing generated by the court’s ECF system shall constitute the equivalent of service of the pleading or other paper on Filing Users and shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(b)(2)(E) and 77(d)(1) and Fed. R. Crim. P. 49(b).

(c) Proof of Electronic Service

The ECF system generated Notice of Electronic Filing constitutes proof of service upon a Filing User in accordance with the Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(d).

(d) Conventional Service of Electronically Filed Documents

Attorneys and pro se litigants who are not Filing Users must be conventionally served with any electronically filed pleading or other document in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil/Criminal Procedure.

History

(§ (b) amended 5/15/08; §§ (b) and (c) amended 12/1/13)

2.9 [reserved]

(§§ (a) and (b) amended 5/1/05; stricken 5/15/08)

2.10 Technical Failure

(a) Definition

A technical failure is deemed to have occurred when the court’s ECF system cannot accept filings continuously or intermittently over the course of any period of time greater than one hour after 12:00 pm (noon) on a given day, excepting such periods resulting from scheduled court maintenance for which public notice was provided.

(b) Filing Options

A Filing User experiencing a technical failure may conventionally file the document if accompanied by a declaration attesting to the Filing User’s attempts to timely file the document using ECF.

(c) Service Options

A Filing User experiencing a technical failure may serve the document in any alternative manner permitted by the Federal Rules of Civil/Criminal Procedure.

(d) Clerk Notification

A Filing User shall immediately report a technical failure to the clerk’s office help desk.

(e) Extension of Filing Deadline for Technical Failure

If a Filing User misses a filing deadline due to an inability to file electronically as a result of a technical failure, such a failure shall constitute a condition rendering the office of the clerk of court inaccessible within the meaning of Fed. R. Civ. P. 6 and Fed. R. Crim. P. 45. In such circumstances, the Filing User may electronically or conventionally file the document, accompanied by a declaration stating the reasons for missing the deadline, no later than 12:00 noon of the first day on which the court is open for business following the original filing deadline. Jurisdictional deadlines, however, cannot be extended by the court for any reason and counsel is responsible to ensure that a document is timely filed to comply with a jurisdictional deadline.

(f) Filing User Systems Failure

A problem with the Filing User’s systems or equipment shall not constitute a technical failure nor excuse an untimely filing. In such circumstances, however, a Filing User may file the document conventionally with a declaration explaining how the systems failure precluded filing in ECF.

History

(§ (a) amended 10/1/05; § (e) amended 12/1/13)

2.11 Refund of Fees Paid Electronically

(a) Applicability

Consistent with the Judicial Conference "guidance" on the refund of fees that are paid electronically, the clerk's office may refund electronic payments made when no payment was required, when duplicative of previous payments made, or when the amount submitted exceeds the actual amount owed for the transaction.

(b) Delegation of Authority

Although the authority to approve or deny a refund is a judicial determination, the initial determination is delegated to the clerk and all such requests shall be conventionally filed in letter format addressed to the clerk. Persons denied a refund by the clerk may seek judicial review by electronically filing a motion for refund. If a motion for refund is filed in an unassigned case, it will be reviewed by the chief judge.

(c) Refund Processing

Refunds shall be processed through the electronic credit or debit card system or by check depending on the form by which the payment was initially made.

History

(Added 12/1/11; § (c) amended 12/1/13)