New eFiling rules in California: customer questions

On January 1, 2017, a number of new eFiling rules will come into effect in the California state courts, further delineating how documents should be formatted and prepared when they will be electronically filed with the court.

To help you to prepare for the changes our training team is running a number of MCLE-accredited webinars (sign up here to confirm your place). The first of these webinars took place last week and after the presentation, several customers asked some great questions.

We wanted to share these questions (plus our answers) with you, just in case you were having the same thoughts. If you’ve got additional questions you can either ask via the comments below or contact the training team directly.

Here are the questions that were asked. Click on a question to be taken directly to the answer.

 


 

Will we be using e-signatures on all documents now?

No. Rule 2.257 of the California Rules of Court deals with signatures on electronically filed documents and does not require the use of electronic signatures.

The rules, which were updated in July 2016, describe two scenarios:

Documents signed under penalty of perjury

When a document to be filed electronically provides for a signature under penalty of perjury, the declarant must sign, in ink, a printed form of the document.

You may eFile a scan of the signed copy, but you are not required to. You can eFile an unsigned version so long as you have a signed version and that the signed version is available for inspection and copying at the request of the court or any other party.

You must honor such requests within five days or, if the request has been made by the court, by the date, time, and place specified in the court order.

Documents not signed under penalty of perjury

If the document does not require a signature under penalty of perjury, then the document is deemed signed by the party if the document is electronically filed. You may, if you wish, add a note to the signature area such as “/s/” followed by a name. This is not required, however.

How do you number pages after a new PDF has been created?

To number pages after you have created a PDF will require professional PDF editing software, such as Adobe Acrobat (the paid version, not the free reader). There’s information on the best PDF editing software here.

If you’re combining multiple documents into a single PDF, then you will want to apply page numbering to the PDF document. To number the pages of a PDF in Adobe Acrobat follow these steps:

Step one

Open your PDF document in Adobe Acrobat. Ensure that there is no page numbering already present (e.g. if some of your PDF’s component parts were created in Word and already had page numbers).

Step two

Choose Tools followed by Edit PDF. The Edit PDF toolset will display in the secondary toolbar at the top of the window. In this toolbar choose Header & Footer followed by Add.

page-numbering-1

Step three

The Header & Footer dialog box will open. First, specify the font values (we suggest using the same font as your document and at least size 12). To have page numbers automatically applied, select your preferred location by clicking in the appropriate box. Finally, click Insert Page Number.

By default, page numbers will be in Arabic Numerals, start with “1,” and apply to all pages consecutively. You can change these settings, if you wish, by clicking on Page Number and Date Format.

page-numbering-2

Do caption pages, tables of contents and authorities, and exhibits also need to be numbered consecutively?

Yes. The reasoning behind the rule is that judicial officers desire for the page number in the footer to match the page number of the electronic document. This requires that all pages present be numbered consecutively, including exhibits, starting with “1”.

The explanatory report clarifies that:

  • “The pages of tables of contents in memoranda will no longer be paginated using lowercase Roman numerals”
  • “To ensure that the amendment to rule 3.1113(h) would not alter the number of pages allowed for memoranda, this proposal would also amend rule 3.1113(d) by providing that the caption page and the notice of motion and motion are not counted in determining whether a memorandum exceeds the page limit.”
  • “Subdivision (d) already provides that exhibits, declarations, attachments, the table of contents, the table of authorities, and the proof of service are not counted.”

 

Do we have to notify one legal if our document needs to be OCR’d or does it happen automatically?

This process is automatic. When you upload your document on the Documents screen, our system will scan your document to see if it is already text searchable. If it is not, OCR will automatically be applied at this stage. You will not notice any change to your normal filing process as the OCR application occurs in the back-end.

Can the font size in the footer still be a smaller font than 12?

Rule 2.104 simply specifies that, in order to be legible, the font must not be smaller than 12 points. Given that the objective is legibility, we recommend that type in the footnotes is also at least 12 points.

What is the cost of the Email to File service?

Email to File costs $39.95 for legal professionals and $49.95 for self-represented litigants. You can read more about the service here.

By removing metadata from a PDF before filing how do you suggest the non-removal of OCR?

It’s correct to say that if you completely removed all hidden information after applying OCR then the OCR layer would be removed. To prevent this occurring you have two options:

  1. Clear the metadata before you apply the OCR.
  2. If you’re using Adobe Acrobat you are able to select the types of metadata that you’d like to remove. Follow these steps:

Step one

Open your OCR’d PDF in Adobe Acrobat. In the Tools menu choose Redact. The Redact menu will open in the secondary tools area at the top of the window. To begin removing metadata, click Remove Hidden Information.

metadata

Step two

Acrobat will search your PDF for hidden information and present its findings in a Results section in the redaction menu on the left side of the screen. If your document has had OCR applied you’ll see Hidden Text here. Uncheck the box beside the words Hidden Text before clicking Remove.

metadata-2

What time is considered next day filing?

Electronic filing deadlines vary by court. In some cases, such as Orange County, the deadline is 11:59 p.m. In other counties, the deadline is 5:00 p.m. eFiling deadlines are displayed in the Information Information tab on the right-hand side of the screen when you file with One Legal. If in any doubt, please consult local rules.

efiling-deadlines

Will the requirements on redaction of personal identifiers apply to minor children’s names included on exhibits like contracts for medical services provided?

The rules are unchanged. Rule 8.401 specifies how the names of juveniles are to be dealt with in filings.

Do these new eFiling rules also apply in the Bankruptcy Court?

No, these rules apply only to the California state courts and the California court of appeal. Different rules apply to the federal courts, including the bankruptcy court.

The precise requirements in the bankruptcy court may vary depending on the district your case is being heard in. We recommend that you consult your district’s court manual (for example, the manual for California’s Central district may be read here).

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Have other questions about new eFiling rules in California courts? Let us know!

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8 Comments

  1. Pamela Gann Reply

    Regarding bookmarking exhibits: If you add exhibit tab pages, do you bookmark the exhibit tab or the actual first page of the exibit?

    1. Richard Heinrich Reply

      Hi Pamela, the rule doesn’t specify and only states “electronic exhibits must include electronic bookmarks with links to the first page of each exhibit.” The objective of the rule is to make it easy to quickly navigate directly to the exhibit when reading on-screen. So long as you’re linking to either the tab page or the first page there ought to be no problems.

  2. Leann Reply

    Regarding numbering of exhibits … We have a brief that is 50 pages. Exhibits are large, so are separate attachments to the brief. Exhibits were sent to us by the client as a PDF. The exhibits are agreements that already have page numbers on them, as they are signed documents. Do we need to edit each exhibit page and add another, different page number that corresponds to our brief (giving us double page numbers on our exhibits)?

  3. Deborah Retes Reply

    If my page number are on the bottom center on my pleading. Do they need to follow on the bottom center on my exhibits? The number could be covered with text from that specific page.

    1. Richard Heinrich Reply

      Hi Deborah and Leann,

      It’s a very good question. The rule change implies that all pages in a document, including exhibits, need to be numbered consecutively. This seems especially so given that the goal is that the electronic and physical page number match. However, because it is vague we’re reaching out the judicial council for some clarification. We’ll write a short blog post soon summarizing how to handle page numbers. Sorry, I can’t be specific right now.

      Richard

  4. Adela Reply

    Rule 2.109. Page Numbering. Each page must be numbered consecutively at the bottom unless a rule provides otherwise for a particular type of document. The page numbering must begin with the first page and use only Arabic numerals (e.g., 1, 2, 3). The page number may be suppressed and need not appear on the first page.
    Rule 2.109 amended effective January 1, 2017; adopted effective January 1, 2007.

    Do they just want us to replace the footer roman # on TOC and TOA for Arabic #? We did the consecutively numbering already in the body of the pleading and on a lot of occasions we suppressed the page # on the caption page. Can someone let me know if I misunderstood the revised Rule 2.109? Thank you all.

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