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Answers

In a civil case subject to electronic filing, answers must be filed electronically.

To electronically file an answer, follow the steps below:

a) Log in, Select Event, Select Case

Log into the CM/ECF system and click Civil on the top menu bar. The system will display the Civil Events screen. Click Answers to Complaints.

You will be prompted to enter the case number of the case in which the answer is to be filed. After entering the number, click Next.

b) Select the Filer

The system will display the Select Filer screen.

Click on the name of the party on whose behalf you are filing the answer. If you are filing on behalf of more than one party, you may select multiple parties by holding down the control (Ctrl) key while clicking on the parties. Once the party or parties have been selected, click Next.

If this is the first document you have filed in the case, a screen will display to allow you to be added and associated as an attorney for the answering party.  

If you are representing the party, make sure the party/attorney and Notice boxes are checked. By doing so, there is no need to file a separate Notice of Appearance. Check the Lead attorney box if appropriate.

You cannot enter the appearance of an attorney other than the one whose login and password is being used. If a party is represented by more than one attorney who is a registered ECF user, the appearance of the additional attorney should be entered separately by the second attorney, using the second attorney’s login and password. The second and any subsequent attorneys must separately electronically enter their appearances after the answer has been filed.  See Entering an Appearance.

c) Seal the Documents?

The system will ask if the document you attached should be sealed. Select Sealed or Unsealed and click Next.

Unless there is already a Protective Order or an Order to Seal which allows this specific document to be sealed, you must also file a Motion to Seal this specific document.

d) Select the Complaint and Attach your Answer

The system will display the complaint selection screen. This screen lists the docket entries for all complaints, counterclaims, cross-claims, and third party complaints for which an answer is still due. Click the check box next to the filing to which you are answering, then click Next.

The system will display the select document screen. Attach your PDF answer document and click Next.

e) Counterclaim, Cross-Claim, or Third-Party Complaint?

The system will prompt you to indicate whether the answer includes a counterclaim, cross-claim, or third party complaint.

If your answer includes a counterclaim, cross-claim, or third party complaint, click the appropriate check box(es). If the answer does not include any of these, leave the check boxes blank. Then click Next.

If you checked that you are filing a counterclaim, cross-claim, or third party complaint, you will be prompted to select the party against whom you are filing. If you are filing against a party already in the case, select the party from the list, click Next, and go to Step f).

If the party you are filing against is not on the list, click the New Party button.

1) When creating a new party, you will first be prompted to search the system for the party. (A party not already in your case may be in the system because they were a party to a different case.) You do not need to enter the entire name of the party. Simply input the first two letters and the system will show all names beginning with the letters you entered.
2) If the party is a person, type in his or her last name. If it is a business or other entity, type in the name. For a business or other entity, enter the business name in the Last/Business Name field.
3) Click Search. If the name of the party you wish to add is on the list, click on their name to highlight it and then click Select Party.
4) If, after searching for a party the system finds no matches or no one on the list matches the party you wish to add, click Create New Party. This will bring up the party information screen.

  • The system will automatically enter the last name field with the name for which you searched. If the party is a person, enter his or her first name, middle name, and generation (if applicable). If the party is a business, agency or other entity, do not fill in a first or middle name. Enter the full name of the business or other entity in the last name field.
  • Do not fill in an address, phone number or email address for any party.
  • As a default setting, the system lists the role of a new party as defendant. If this is not correct, click on the drop-down arrow for the role field. Scroll through the list until you find the correct party type and click on it.
  • Click Add Party.

5) You will be returned to the select party screen. Select the party against whom you are filing by clicking on their name. Click Next.

f) Jury Demand

You have the opportunity to update the jury demand information. If your answer includes a jury demand select Yes. If not, select No, then click Next.

g) Disclosure Statement Filed?

The system will ask if you have filed a disclosure statement pursuant to Local Rule 103.3.

When filing an initial pleading or promptly after learning of the information to be
disclosed, counsel must file a statement (separate from any pleading) containing the corporate affiliation and financial interests in the outcome of the litigation (see Local Rule 103.3 for more information). If a disclosure statement is not filed with the answer, a deficiency notice will be issued when the Clerk’s Office performs its quality control review.

Select either Yes or No and click Next.  Refer to Disclosure of Corporate Interest for instructions on how to file a Disclosure of Corporate Interest.

h) Docket Text

The system will display the text of the docket entry that will be made. You may modify the text only in the first two blank fields. If you need to modify the third field, you must select items from the drop-down menu. When the docket entry is in final form, click Next.

i) Final Docket Text

The system now displays the final text of the docket entry along with a warning that clicking Next will file the document. This page will also provide the name of your attachment and the number of pages.

This is the “point of no return!” If you are sure you want to file the document with the docket entry text displayed, click Next.

j) Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF)

The system will now display a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF). This is proof the document has been filed. You should save a copy of this notice and can print a copy by clicking on your browser’s print button. You can save an electronic copy by clicking on File and then Save As on your browser’s menu bar.

k) New Party Summons Needed

If you added a party for whom a summons must be issued, you must prepare the summons and electronically file it using the event Notice (Other).

You will have the opportunity to add language after you attach your summons. In the free text box you should add: “For the clerk to issue summons.”

You may also hand deliver your summons to the Clerk’s Office for issuance. The Clerk’s Office will issue the summons, scan it, file an electronic copy, and return the paper copy to you for service.