While some states make the plunge into electronic court filing all together and all at once, the state of California has opted to let each county decide if and how and when its courts will make the transition. As of now only 19 of California’s 58 counties permit eFiling in some or all case types, but new eFiling courts are coming.
In February, Santa Clara County mandated Civil eFiling. In March, San Mateo started accepting eFiled Case Initiations (in Probate case types only). In April, Kern County will mandate eFiling for Limited Civil case types, and over the next few months, several more counties will begin opening up more case types and courthouses to accept eFiled documents.
As we’ve conducted trainings and informed filers on the best way to eFile documents, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about the process. Here are some of the top questions we’ve been asked recently while training new eFiling courts. Whether you’re new to eFiling or need a quick refresher, these answers hopefully will help make eFiling a smoother process for you, too.
What is the eFiling deadline?
Up until this year, each county chose its own deadline before which a document must be submitted to be considered filed that same day. These ranged from 4 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. As of January 1, 2018, amended California Statute C.C.P. 1010.6(b)(3) determined that documents eFiled between 12:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. would be considered filed on that business day.
Although many courts have not yet had the chance to update their local rules or make changes to their website that reflect this change, One Legal has spoken with each court to discuss how they plan to handle the update in filing deadline. With a few exceptions, most courts have confirmed that they will be honoring the new statute.
How do I add an attorney on the Case Participants screen?
In most counties, you don’t have to. In eFileCA courts, the court itself will enter the attorney of record. Filers can only enter the role of attorney themselves in San Diego and Orange County courts.
Do I need to submit a Proof of Service when eServing?
While some Federal courts do not require this, in California State courts you do still have to submit a Proof of Service with eService.
How do I make an electronic Proof of Pervice when eServing?
There is no set language that is required to be put on a Proof of Service for an eServe. You are permitted to use the Judicial Council Proof of Electronic Service form but it is not necessary.
What are the file size limitations?
Each county has different file size limitations depending on the electronic filing manager (EFM) used internally. Many courts in California cannot accept documents that are more than 25MB but check with your county to see what the specific size limits are.
Try to reduce the size of your PDF before filing. If the document is still too large, break it up into multiple filings, including the cover sheet with each section, and note the split filing in the message to the clerk.
How do I keep track of formatting rules? Pagination, redaction, etc.?
You can find most of the formatting rules listed on the eFiling document preparation checklist for California. Most requirements should be included in the state standards but check your local court rules for additional items of note.
How do I make an eService list?
Making an eService list is easy: Just click Add New and enter the name and email address of the recipient to add them to an eService list.
It is also up to you, the filer, to ensure that this eService list stays up to date. Neither the court nor One Legal will be updating this list.
Do I have to provide a credit card prior to eFiling?
When you first create an account, you will be asked to provide a credit card, yes. This will not be charged at all until you choose to place a filing. You will be billed weekly with an itemized list of charges by customer ID number or case type. To customize your billing preferences further, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I add recipients of email communication? So these are received by support staff in addition to attorneys?
Unfortunately, any courts that are using eFileCA as their EFM do not offer the functionality to add recipients. Only San Diego, Orange County, and San Francisco allow filers to eCopy multiple recipients on returned documents and filing updates.
What if I can’t find my exact document type in the drop-down selection?
Given the sheer number of document types and subtypes, there’s a chance your exact document won’t be listed in the drop down. Do the best you can to select the document that is as close as possible and be as specific as possible. For instance, if you have a Notice of Motion for X, but you can’t find that specific type, simply select the “Notice” or “Notice of Motion” option.
Have more questions about eFiling in California? Drop a note in the comments, or stop by our bi-weekly open office hours to speak with a member of our training team directly.