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Electronic Filing in Civil Cases

Civil Cases Subject to Electronic Filing

Pursuant to Local Rule 102.1.d, all new civil and miscellaneous cases filed on or after March 3, 2003, are subject to the electronic filing requirements and procedures set out in these procedures. All civil cases pending as of March 3, 2003, which are not exempted by the presiding judge also are subject to the electronic filing requirements and procedures set forth in this manual from that date forward. Documents filed in paper format prior to March 3, 2003, do not need to be resubmitted in electronic format unless specifically directed by this Court in a particular case

Complaints and Other Case Initiating Documents

New cases may either be filed electronically or submitted in paper format to the Clerk’s Office for filing. To file a new case electronically, please refer to the Civil Case Opening Procedures.

Civil Cases Exempt From Electronic Case Opening

The only cases exempt from electronic case opening by counsel are sealed cases, Notices of Removals, Bankruptcy Appeals, cases transferred from another district, and all miscellaneous cases. With the exception of sealed cases, once the case is opened by court staff in CM/ECF, all subsequent filings should be filed electronically.

Paper Filing of New Cases

To file a new case with the Clerk’s Office in paper format, you should submit:

  • One paper copy of the complaint or other initiating document, along with any attachments, motions, or other documents being filed at the same time.
  • The paper copy of the complaint or other initiating document should be signed by counsel. It is not necessary to scan counsel’s signature for the PDF version.
  • One paper copy of the civil cover sheet.  Definitions of the Civil Nature of Suit codes are available here.
  • A CD containing PDF versions of the complaint or other initiating document(s), civil cover sheet, attachments (subject to the procedures governing lengthy documents), motions, or other documents being filed at the same time. Each attachment, motion, or other document MUST be a separate PDF. It is not necessary to submit a separate CD for each document.
  • If you are filing more than one case, each case must be on a separate CD.
  • If summonses are needed, original paper summonses must be provided (PDF versions of the summonses are not required).
  • If service is to be made by private process, there is no need to submit service copies to the Clerk’s Office.
  • If service is to be made by the U.S. Marshal, you must submit the appropriate number of service copies of the complaint and related documents to the Clerk’s Office.

WARNING: Failure to submit PDF versions of the complaint and other documents will cause delays in the opening of the case. The Clerk’s Office may decline to issue summonses until PDF versions of the documents are provided.

The Clerk’s Office will open the case and electronically file the complaint or other initiating document and any other documents submitted. You will be electronically notified of the filing of the complaint and the notification will include your case number. We will issue the summonses, scan them, and docket the PDF versions. The paper summonses will be returned to you for service or, if appropriate, sent to the U.S. Marshal for service. The paper copies of the complaint and other documents will be sent to the assigned judge for his or her chamber’s file. The official court documents will be the PDF versions electronically filed

When filing a new case with a motion for a temporary restraining order, you should submit two paper copies of the complaint, motion and any other documents along with the PDF versions.

Detailed instructions for opening Social Security cases in CM/ECF are available here

Documents Subject to Electronic Filing

All documents filed by counsel in a case subject to electronic filing (except length documents as explained here) are to be filed electronically.

If the Clerk’s Office receives a paper document that should have been filed electronically, it may be returned without being docketed. If the document is accepted and scanned by the Clerk’s Office, the paper version may be sent to the presiding judge as a courtesy copy and a warning letter will be sent to the filing party.

Requesting an Exemption from Electronic Filing

Counsel in a case subject to electronic filing may request the case be exempted from the electronic filing requirements and procedures by filing a motion setting forth the grounds for the request. Requests for exemptions will be granted only for good cause.

When filing documents in a case which is exempt from electronic filing, make a parenthetical notation in the caption under the case number “Exempt from ECF.”