Starting a New Civil Case
If you wish to start or are involved in a civil action in federal court but do not have an attorney to represent you, you may represent yourself as a pro se party. For information on filing a civil action in this court, please see the Pro Se Litigation/Habeas Corpus Guide and the local and federal rules. Filliable forms, including a civil complaint form, can be found here.
Fees Associated With Filing a New Case
For a list of current filing fees, see the court's fee schedule. The court accepts payment in the form of cash, certified bank check, debit or credit card. If you are unable to pay, you may ask the court to waive the fees. To do this, you must complete a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (IFP) and Financial Declaration (also available in Spanish), and provide it to the court with your complaint. Pro se parties who are incarcerated must also include a Certificate of Custodial Institution.
For guidance on how to use a form-fillable PDF, please click here.
Pursuant to the court’s Supplemental Rules for Electronic Case Filing, all documents submitted for filing by an attorney admitted to practice in this district shall be electronically filed in PDF using the court’s Case Management/Electronic Case Filing system (CM/ECF). Pro se parties, however, must continue to file and serve all documents in paper format in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the local rules of this court.
A non-prisoner who is a party to a civil action, and who is not represented by an attorney, may file a motion for permission to file documents electronically. For instructions on how to obtain permission to file documents electronically, and for information regarding system requirements, please click here. Pro se parties who file a motion requesting permissiong to file electronically must also obtain a PACER account (allows parties to view certain documents). For more information on PACER, please review the next section.
To view the court’s Supplemental Rules for Electronic Case Filing, click here.
Individuals may contact the clerk's office to determine whether a case file is located at the court or if it has been archived. If a file is located at the court, copies may be obtained by sending a written request along with prepayment of $0.50 per page, or by coming to the clerk's office and making copies at the public coin-operated copier for $0.20 per page. For cases filed in 2005 or later, documents can be accessed electronically via PACER (for more information on PACER, click here), or view documents at the public terminals in the clerk's office at no charge. If a file is not located at the court and has been archived, information on how to review or obtain copies (certified and non-certified) of entire case files or individual pleadings from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) may be found here.
Individuals who would like to request a quote for the production of a transcript from a court reporter in this court should contact the court reporter. For more information click here.