Once you click Create Case, the system will display the Docket Lead Event link. Click the link and the system will send you to the Complaints and Other Initiating Documents screen. Select the appropriate Complaint or Notice of Removal event, then click Next.
1. Select the Case
The system will display the case number screen. Verify the case number. If it is correct, click Next. If this is not the correct case number, enter the correct case number and click Find this Case. Click Next once you have selected the correct case number.
2. Select the Parties
The system will now display the Select the filer screen.
a) Select the Filer
Select the appropriate party that is filing the document. You may either:
- Select an existing party
- Add a new filing party now if you forgot to add them earlier. If you are adding a new party now, follow the instructions under “Adding Parties.”
b) Select the Party This Filing is Against
Select the party that this filing is against. Similar to Step a), you may either:
- Select an existing party
- Add a new party now if you forgot to add them earlier. If you are adding a new party now, follow the instructions under “Adding Parties.”
Important - Do not use the options under “Select a Group.” For example, if this filing is being filed against all the defendants, select the individual defendants in the Select the Party area.
3. Add PDF Documents
You cannot proceed any further until you have attached a main document. All documents must be in separate PDF files. For example, you should have a separate PDF file for each of the following:
- Complaint/Petition/Notice of Removal
- Civil Cover Sheet
- All Exhibits/Attachments to the Complaint/Petition/Notice of Removal
- Judicial Summons for the Clerk’s Office to issue (if applicable)
To select a PDF document you can either enter the path and filename of the document using the .pdf extension in the Filename field, or you can click on the Browse... button to view documents on your computer or network.
Any other documents you are filing in this case must be filed separately, under the appropriate event.
a) Add Main Document
- Click the Browse... button under Main Document and the system will display the Choose file window.
- Change the Files of type field at the bottom of the window to “All Files (*.*)” or “Acrobat (*.pdf)” so you can view PDF documents.
- Navigate through your directories and folders by clicking on either the down arrow at the right of the Look in box or the up one level icon to the right of the box.
- Once you have located the PDF document you wish to file, click on it to select it.
- You should view the document to verify it is the correct one by right clicking on the file name. A menu will open. Click either Open or Open with Acrobat.
- This will cause the system to launch Adobe Acrobat Reader and display the contents of the document. Close Acrobat Reader by clicking the X in the upper right corner. This will return you to the Choose file window.
- 7) Once you have located the correct document, click Open in the Choose file window. The system will then insert the path and file name in the filename box next to the Browse… button.
b) Add Attachments
- To attach a Civil Cover Sheet, Exhibits, and/or Summonses, click the Browse… button under Attachments and follow the instructions above. Please refer to Removals for instructions on filing a notice of removal.
- After adding the attachment, you must choose a Category from the drop-down list and/or enter a description of the attachment. This can be useful, especially where there are multiple attachments.
- If you make a mistake and add the wrong attachment, click the Remove button to remove it.
- Continue doing this until you have added all attachments. Then click Next.
4. Answer Potential Questions
Depending on the Cause of Action and the Nature of Suit, you MAY be asked one or more questions. Simply select Yes or No as appropriate for each question and click Next
The system will ask three questions regarding payment. If you are paying by credit card or check, or can answer no to any of the questions, select No. If you can answer yes to any of the questions, select Yes. Click Next.
If you answer Yes, the system will automatically direct you to the docket text screen. Go to step 6, “Complete the Filing.”
However, if you answer No, the system will display the filing fee. Click Next and you will be automatically directed to the Pay.gov website.
5. Pay.gov Website
Please refer to the Pay.gov Instructions page for information on this section.
6. Complete the Filing
The system will display the final version of your docket text. It will also display all of the attachments and documents you added. If everything is accurate, click Next. If there are any discrepancies, hitting your Back browser button will only allow you to modify your docket entry; you will not be able to attach or remove any other documents to this Complaint/Petition/Notice of Removal.
By clicking Next, you are committing to this transaction and there will be no other opportunities to modify. If, after filing the case, you realize a mistake was made, contact the Clerk's Office to notify them of the error so that immediate action may be taken to rectify the problem. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO OPEN ANOTHER CASE!
The system will display a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF). This is confirmation 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 File and then Save As on your browser’s menu bar.
Please keep in mind that once a document is filed, CM/ECF will only allow one opportunity to view and or print the document free of charge once for each login account.
If case assignment fails, contact the Clerk’s Office immediately at 410-962-2600 or 301-344-0660.