You’ve painstakingly prepared your documents—double checking for all-too-common mistakes—and have carefully filed with the court using a certified EFSP. You sigh with relief, another filing = done.
But wait. You open your inbox the next day to find a notification that your document has been rejected. What does this mean? And how do you proceed when the document is rejected after having been electronically filed?
The first thing to note is that rejected eFilings are handled much the same as rejected physical filings. Correct the errors and resubmit. So when you have questions about the process, it’s best to start there.
If the electronic court filing process is still a little mystifying—especially when it comes to what happens after you hit ‘Submit,’ we’re here to uncover the best practices and next steps after a rejected document.
eFiling and rejections
One Legal and other electronic filing service providers (EFSPs) sit in between your firm and the court you are filing into, facilitating the immediate and secure submission of your documents into the court’s system. One Legal is the secure portal through which you file, but once you click submit, the file gets delivered to the court. From there, it’s all up to them, we have no further control over the document’s fate.
As soon as the clerk accepts or rejects or otherwise changes the status of a document, that message is automatically sent to you and displayed in your portfolio. We aren’t given any more information than is sent to you. But what does this information mean?
There is still a person behind the scenes in every courthouse, reviewing and assessing documents as they are filed. So, before your filing can move forward, a clerk will be personally checking your document for:
- Electronic bookmarks
- Text searchability
- Correct case number
- Correct county and court
- Correct fees
- Available hearing date
- And more
#1 Check the order status page
Since One Legal is fully integrated with the courts you’re filing into, every message that they send immediately shows up within our platform as well as in your inbox. You can see a list of each filing and its current status in the Recent Activity section of the filing platform.
Within each order, you can read notes from the clerk, reasons for rejection, or other details.
Carefully review what needs to be changed or updated in your document. Some of the rejections may note one cause for rejection while others may indicate several things that need to be changed:
Rejection Reason: This is not a Complex Civil Case.
Rejection Reason: Unable to file as it is linked to the incorrect case.
Rejection Reason: Need first appearance fees.
Rejection Reason: Missing $30 Court Reporter Fee and Per CRC 3.1111(f) all exhibits must be bookmarked.
Rejection Reason: This is not a New Filing. Please use the search function on the subsequent filing page to locate the case you wish to file this document into.
#2 Make the edits
Whether you accidentally chose the wrong option when eFiling or your document was missing a key item, be sure to read the rejection reason carefully and be meticulous about addressing each edit. There’s no point in resubmitting the document without including all edits, as it could just get rejected again.
#3 Resubmit the document
You will have to resubmit your filing after making the changes requested by the court. If the rejection was due to something aside from the document, however, such as incorrect court fees or a hearing date modification, then you may not have to actually edit the document itself. Instead, double check your details and confirm each step during the filing process.
When resubmitting an edited version of your document, you’ll need to start a new order and add a message to the eFiling clerk at the end that it had been previously rejected. You will be charged the same fee as usual to eFile your document.
Do I have to re-serve my document?
If the document that you resubmit to the court had substantive changes made to it and opposing counsel needs to be re-noticed, then you should re-serve and attach a new Proof of Service. If you did not make any changes to the document itself, then the first service and proof should suffice.
What else can I do?
Rejections can cause delays in your case and frustration throughout the office. When carefully crafted documents are returned for uncertain reasons, you may not know what to do next.
Call the eFiling clerk
Many court websites list a telephone number for the eFiling clerks, where you can call for clarification or to ask questions about your rejection reason. In some cases, a clerk will even ask you to call so they can give you more information about the rejection.
Try to figure out the issue for yourself if you can. Give the court a call if you’re still not sure what was wrong with your submission.
What would you do in the paper world?
What would you do/did you do when you were physically handing in documents to the court? It’s true that eFiling carries with it more specifications. But the essential process of submission remains the same.
It’s important to note that it takes longer for a clerk to reject a document (plus the time it takes to review when it gets resubmitted) than for she or he to accept it the first time. As detailed in the session: What court clerks wish filers knew about eFiling, from our recent virtual conference, “Clerks don’t sit around all day looking for reasons to reject—that makes more work for us too!”
So, post a copy of the eFiling checklist for your state close to your desk.
Download the How to avoid a rejected court filing guide.
Review the eBook on How to create court-friendly PDFs.
And learn all you can about your own court’s preferences for hearing dates, courtesy copies, and more. Check the local rules, review general orders, and become familiar with the eFiling pages on the court’s site. The more prepared you are to eFile, the less likely your document will get rejected.