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April 1, 2013

April 1 is here- Mandatory E-filing of all Florida Court Documents is No Joke

by John Phillips

efile lawyerAs of today, April 1, all attorneys and all clerks in the State of Florida will be required to use Florida’s e-filing portal for the filing of civil trial cases pursuant to Florida law via Supreme Court mandate.  That includes every piece of paper with few exceptions.  Gone are they days of checking out a court file to take it to the judge.  We have already been e-serving documents for months. However, the flow chart disseminated by some Clerk’s offices is- well -daunting.

But the planet is smiling.  Trees are expressing sighs of oxygen.  Even the Bonsai in my office is a little extra spry today.  But some lawyers still do it the old fashioned way and they are about to be left in the ecological dust.  I know of lawyers who fear computers and some who do not email.  I can only imagine the young “whipper snapper” they are going to have to bring aboard to bring them up to… 2001.

As of last count, there were more than 20,100 registered users and an average of almost 43,000 documents per month being filed electronically in the trial courts. Today should bring about a spike in both those numbers as attorneys adapt to the electronic world and clerks begin to process electronic filings “as quickly as possible.”  Some clerks’ offices weren’t exactly known for speed to begin with.  Maybe the time saved from opening envelopes will help with that.

So far, we applaud the move.  However, we have had some attorneys claim lack of receipt of something e-served or hide behind a “spam filter” defense already.  We hope Courts can figure out these issues as dates of service for prompt, aggressive lawyers, like us, are important.  Those that delay shouldn’t be allowed extra time because of their own system glitches.

For more information, please see this handy guide.

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