CM/ECF

CM/ECF

Q. What is CM/ECF?

Case Management/Electronic Case Files is an electronic filing system that streamlines the process of creating, filing and noticing legal documents by permitting attorneys to file documents electronically with the Court using the Internet. It has the potential to provide substantial savings to attorneys, their clients and the Court while improving access to Court records. Benefits include:

  • 24 hour access to file or view documents
  • immediate creation of docket entries
  • immediate access to updated docket sheets and to the documents themselves
  • potential elimination of paper files that can be misplaced or lost
  • potential savings in copying, courier and noticing costs
  • ability to store and search documents electronically
  • multiple users can view the same file simultaneously

Q. What do I need to file electronically?

  • A personal computer running a standard platform such as Windows or Macintosh.
  • Word processor like Macintosh or Windows-based versions of WordPerfect or Word.
  • Internet service.
  • An account with PACER www.pacer.gov
  • A compatible internet browser (current versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox have been tested with CM/ECF).
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free, is needed for viewing pdf documents.
  • Software to convert documents from a word processor format to portable document format (pdf).
  • A scanner may be necessary to create electronic images of documents that are not in your word processing system, such as exhibits.

Q. How does electronic filing work?

To file electronically, attorneys create their documents on their computers just as they normally do. Instead of printing the document on paper, it is saved in a portable document format (pdf). Attorneys then access the electronic filing system through their Internet provider over the World Wide Web. After logging in, attorneys select the appropriate case, party, and pleading. The document is then sent over the Internet to the Court’s computer which immediately sends a receipt back to the attorney verifying that the document has been received. The receipt can be printed or saved to disk for future reference. This process creates a docket entry and makes both the updated docket sheet as well as the document itself instantly electronically available. The system also sends email notification of the filing to the attorneys in the case.

Q. What is PACER?

The PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system enables users to obtain, view and print case records from Federal Appellate, District and Bankruptcy courts via the Internet. Registration for ECF is separate from and in addition to registering for PACER. To register for PACER, visit their website at www.pacer.gov.

Q. I am having problems with PACER, what do I do?

If you are having trouble with PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), call the PACER center at 1-800-676-6856 or visit their website at www.pacer.gov.

Q. Who can file pleadings electronically?

Attorneys admitted to practice before the Court and others authorized to file electronically can register for CM/ECF. Pro se litigants must file their documents conventionally (in paper form) at the Court Clerk’s Office.

Q. How do I file a proposed order?

See Policies and Procedures Manual regarding submitting orders and other proposals. After an Order has been signed, Court staff will file the Order.

Q. Where do I get Adobe Acrobat?

Several companies offer pdf readers and writers. This Court uses Adobe Acrobat. The website is www.adobe.com.

Q. My document is more than 20 MB. Should I just file it conventionally?

If your document is larger than 20 MB, you need to break it into parts. Be careful to properly label each part (i.e., Exhibit 3, Part 1 Depo of John Smith, Pages 1-20; Exhibit 3, Part 2 Depo of John Smith, Pages 21-40.)

Q. How can I determine the size of my document before I begin?

Open the pdf document you are filing. If you are using Adobe Acrobat, use “Ctrl + D” for a document summary. Other programs may allow you to view the document properties through the drop-down menus at the top of the screen.

Q. What documents must be filed conventionally?

Refer to the Policies and Procedures Manual section that addresses conventional filing of documents. A list of exceptions is included in the Manual. If your document meets one of the exceptions, you will file a “notice of conventional filing” electronically and then submit the paper document to the Court clerk.

Q. What should I do if I can’t find the type of motion on the drop down list?

An example of this kind of motion might be “Motion to be Allowed to Participate in a Settlement Conference by Telephone.” This type of motion cannot be found in the drop down menu. Use “Order” because this is really a motion for an order to be allowed to do something. At the text screen, include the title of your motion.

Q. Can I file a motion and brief in the same document?

Yes. File your document as a motion. When you get to the docket text screen, text in “and brief.” You many also file these documents separately and link them together.

Q. How do I select only certain parties from the pick list?

If you represent certain parties or are filing a document on behalf of certain parties, use the “Ctrl” key to select multiple parties. Hold the “Ctrl” key down and use your mouse to make your selections.

Q. I have received an NEF but cannot view the document.

Each time you visit a web site information is stored on your computer. This stored information will interfere with the sending and viewing documents. To correct this problem, clean out your temporary files (or cache).

Q. I can’t view a document in certain cases – why not?

Remote access to Social Security and Immigration cases is limited to attorneys of record in the case. If you are an attorney in the case, please note that you can access documents in these cases only through use of your ECF filer ID and password. When you receive an NEF you may receive a message that states you do not have rights to view the document. Use your ECF login and password if prompted and you will be able to view the document.

Q. What do I do if I forgot my password?

The ECF login has a link for you to reset your ECF password. After selecting the link and requesting that your password reset you will receive an email at the primary email address. Follow the prompt in the email to reset the password.

If the primary email address is not correct, you will need to call the Helpdesk at 609-5555 or toll free at 1-888-609-6593.