E-filing is coming to the Franklin County Common Pleas Court. Here’s the DRAFT Administrative Order that the General Division Judges are likely to sign regarding e-filing. Some highlights:
- All filings must be in Arial or Times New Roman, 12 point or above, and double-spaced. The reason is that the Court’s scanners do not work well with other font types, and the clerk’s office wants some standardization. So if you’re a big fan of other fonts — sorry.
- If you are interested in the “workflow” of the electronic filing or the feel of how the platform will work, hereis a PowerPoint from the Clerk’s office with screenshots of what the e-filing system will look like.
- Immediately after filing a document, the filer only will get confirmation that the document has been submitted. The filing then goes to the clerk for quality assurance before it is “released” to the docket and accepted for filing.
- Once a document is accepted for filing, if you are registered for e-filing, you will get an email notification similar to those in federal court — but, as noted above, the email is only going to come after the clerk has “QA”d the filing for errors.
Thus, expect to receive notices only during business hours, even if the document was filed the night before. Yet, you will calculate the due date for responsive filings based on the date of submission to the e-filing system. You still will get 3 days for electronic service, and filers will not have to serve paper copies on registered e-filers.
In this manner, a brief submitted on Friday (before 11:59 pm) will likely not be seen by you until Monday when the clerk has accepted the document for filing. The response date for that filing, however, is calculated from the Friday submission date — not the Monday “notice” date.
- Note, that Rule VIII.F. of the Administrative Order deems a filing made after 11:59 pm on a Friday to be filed on Monday. Similarly, a filing made after 11:59 pm on a business day before a holiday is not “filed” until the next business day the Court is open. Thus, if you file a document on a Saturday or Sunday, that document is not “filed” until the next business day.
- The clerk’s office is piloting the program with many civil filings, including “H” civil filings (the catch-all civil category), personal injury cases and foreclosure cases, so this pilot will start within a few months for most attorneys filing civil matters.
- Sometime very soon (i.e., within a week or two of the Court opening in its new offices in the new courthouse), the clerk will make available a link for registering with the e-filing system. Because the civil pilot will require e-filing from Day 1 of the project on all new and existing civil cases in the pilot, and it will take 24 hours for the clerk’s office to accept your registration, the clerk is suggesting that people register before the system “goes live,” so that you can make “Day 1″ filings.
- For all filings that require payment, the system will only accept a credit card payment. Additionally, there will be a 3% administrative fee tacked onto any payments. Additionally, there will be an additional $1.00 charge for service of process on any new complaints, third-party complaints, etc. So, the cost of filing goes up with e-filing, but there should be significant savings in terms of less copying, and no courier charges, etc.
- A filed document will contain a legend at the top of the first page with the date stamp, which reflects the date of “filing” (i.e., after QA from the clerk). Again, be careful of this date — the date of submission is what governs the responsive due date.
From what I’ve seen, the system is similar to the federal court system, but, not surprisingly, there are a few other quirks to the system that are being worked out. The vendor is the same as Montgomery County’s e-filing system, but Franklin County is promising that the system is different than Montgomery County’s system.