Your litigation support staff is top-notch. They not only never miss a beat, but are always several beats ahead… So imagine the confusion that would arise if your case manager learns that your post-trial motions had been disposed of and ordered on by the judge well over a month ago, unbeknownst to you and your team.
How could this have happened?
Over-reliance on ECF Emails
Electronic Case Filing (ECF) systems, while the standard in law practice today, are not perfect. The above scenario actually occurred when counsel and staff depended entirely on the ECF’s notices of docket activity emails; and those email summaries were incomplete.
In the Court’s opinion, the attorneys had ample time and access to read the orders issued, had they logged-in to the system and read them in their entirety. As a result, the court denied the motion to request an extension of time to file notice of appeal.
That the Court’s ECF system left off an important case modification in the notice of electronic filings email was of little consequence here, as the federal judge found the system-generated emails were not substitutes for the full orders.
The Court finds that Rule 77(d) imposes on attorneys the responsibility to check on the status of their case. The Court notes it is every attorney’s responsibility to read the substance of each order issued by the Court, and to read the order in its entirety. -J. Garcia
Best practices for working with ECF systems is to always monitor and log in to the live docket, and to view/read the full documents therein.