The Florida Bar Association has prepared a slide show, E-Things version 5.2 on Florida’s new mandatory Service by E-mail and E-Filing rules.
The presentation contains a large amount of information regarding Florida's phasing-in approach for mandatory E-Filing and E-mail service as well as details on rules and processes.
Some of the important dates listed in the presentation are:
- Service by E-mail is mandatory as of September 1, 2012 for trial court divisions in civil, probate, small claims and family cases. Also appellate cases in the Supreme Court, District Courts of Appeal and Circuit Court when sitting as an appellate court.
- Service by E-mail is mandatory as of October 1, 2013 for trial court divisions in criminal, traffic, and juvenile as well as all pending matters filed before that date.
- E-Filing is mandatory as of April 1, 2013 for trial court divisions in civil, probate, small claims and family as well as appeals to Circuit Courts for these types of cases.
- E-Filing is mandatory as of October 1, 2013 for trial court divisions in criminal, traffic, and juvenile including juvenile delinquency proceedings and dependency/termination of parental rights proceedings.
- Electronic record transmittal to appellate courts becomes mandatory on January 1, 2013.
The presentation goes then discusses changes in court rules regarding the signature of attorneys and parties as well as service of pleadings and papers. Specifically the court rule now includes the requirement for a primary and if necessary a secondary E-mail address to be included as identifying information for an attorney signature. The secondary e-mail address may be for a legal assistant, paralegal or other designated contact. And the form of the signature allows for a scanned image and /s/ format such as used in the US Federal Courts.
Interestingly, the presentation then discusses E-mail service rules and requirements including the following as defined by Rule 2.516 (see slide #25):
For an attorney attempting to avoid the mandatory service by e‐mail rules, a motion will be required for each proceeding.
- The requirement is in the conjunctive – both parts must be met.
- An attorney with any e‐mail address, even a personal one, will not be permitted to avoid the new rules.
- An attorney with any access to Internet at the attorney’s office,
- An attorney with any access to Internet at the attorney’s office, even if only used sporadically, will not be permitted to avoid the new rules.
- The court is permitted but not required to excuse the attorney from
- The court is permitted, but not required, to excuse the attorney from service by e‐mail rules.
The presentation notes that of the more than 93,000 members of the Florida Bar very few are expected to qualify to seek this exception.
Further, service by E-mail is complete when the e-mail is sent and is treated as service by regular mail for purposes of computing time in a case.
They have standardized on PDF as the document format and scanned PDF are acceptable.
There is much more discussion and detail in the presentation as well as a guide for implementation using Microsoft Outlook 2010. We highly recommend downloading a copy of the presentation.
Thanks to Kendall Collins from Lexis-Nexis File and Serve for her posting in the e-Filing/e-Service of Court Documents LinkedIn Group for the lead to this presentation.