Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Federal Court filings to be suspended

Ahhh, how technology continues to help us....

Julie Kay reports today that because of the new e-filing system that will be going into effect, the court has to suspend *all* filings (unless it's an emergency or indictment or some other exception) starting tomorrow thru October 12. Here's the Review's summary:

Lawyers who practice in the Southern District of Florida will get a one-week vacation, courtesy of U.S. District Court as it prepares to implement a new, long-awaited electronic case-filing system. No motions or pleadings will be accepted between the close of business Thursday and 9 a.m. on Oct. 12 as the court adopts its new CM/ECF case filing system. Exceptions will be granted for emergencies, such as jurisdictional deadlines for filing an appeal or a statute of limitations deadline. In those cases, motions must be brought by hard copy to the appropriate clerk of the court’s office in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Pierce and Key West. The court will automatically add five business days to filing and service deadlines that occur during the shutdown period, so no lawyer will be penalized for a delay. Chief Judge William Zloch ordered the shutdown and exceptions in an administrative order posted on the court’s Web site, stating that “a failure to take action may result in a miscarriage of justice.” “The hiatus is necessary,” said Thomas Meeks, chairman of the local rules committee for the Southern District of Florida. “They have to switch everything over.” On Oct. 12, the district will officially switch to the new, nationwide paperless filing system, becoming one of the last federal court districts in the country to do so. At that time, e-filing and hard copy filing will no longer be permitted and attorneys will have to file all motions and pleadings via computer to the Southern District of Florida’s Web site. They’ll be able to do so 24 hours a day, from any location. The only exceptions to electronic filing will be for: • Documents filed under seal • Documents related to habeas cases and Social Security cases • Civil complaints • Civil documents not requiring a filing fee, such as recovery of student loan, bankruptcy appeal, bankruptcy withdrawal, recovery of veteran’s benefits and appointment of a receiver • Criminal complaints, indictments, criminal information and plea agreements • Emergency motions and requests for emergency hearings • Summons • Surety bonds • Proposed trial exhibits The office of clerk of the court Clarence Maddox has been training the estimated 4,000 South Florida lawyers who practice before the court, as well as judges. David Markus, president of the Miami chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, welcomed the court-imposed vacation. “You’ll never find a lawyer who will complain about getting a few extra days to file something,” he said. Julie Kay can be reached at jkay@alm.com or at (954) 468-2622.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is it that only the Southern District of Florida district court needs to suspend filings for a week to implement electronic filing? Every other district court managed to effect the transition without a weeklong interruption. Whose incompetence is responsible for this hiatus? The clerk, the judges or the rules committee? Or is this simply another example of south Florida doing everything the hard and sloppy way?

Anonymous said...

I think this idea came from the Marshals, who clear everyone out of the courthouse when they bring defendants in because, because......

They probably suggested to protect the system from the lawyers, just stop all filings for a week.

Like many other policies in federal court, there's no reason for it, it's just the policy.

Horace Greeley said...

Perhaps Julie Kay should have asked why, instead of just reporting this like it was normal and acceptable.