E-filing Rejections: How to Avoid ECF Blunders

ECF efiling errorElectronic case filing systems (ECF) now standard in many courts, as well as those being implemented across the country, are viewed by most as a technological godsend. ECF systems offer convenience and efficiencies not available to a paper environment.

Yet, a court’s ECF system can only be as good as its users afford it to be. When practitioners and legal staff utilize an ECF, they need to do so with the level of care and attention normally devoted to all manner of legal process and matter. Understanding the ECF system is essential, and this knowledge can often be gained through system training modules.

Consequenses vary from time lost to correct a mistake, to those errors that result in what can only be classified as an ECF blunder. In many instances, a notice of deficiency will be entered on the docket for all to see; a situation no attorney desires.

Whether you are e-filing to the federal CM/ECF, or a local/state-wide system such as New York’s NYSCEF, there are some common areas of caution to be watchful for in ensuring your efiling does not get rejected.

  • Select the proper efiling category, and document type/code.

  • Note per-file size (megabyte) limits for the system; do not exceed.

  • Ensure your login credentials and all associated emails are current.

  • Ensure the credit card on file with the court ECF system is current.

  • Check that the pdf file is text-searchable before uploading.

  • Document formatting:

    • Is redaction complete?

    • Are captions proper and in accordance?

    • Does the document match the paper copy?

    • Is the document file in PDF/A if required?

    • Is an electronic signature needed and properly inserted?

  • Do not combine documents into one pdf that should be uploaded individually.

  • Include all necessary and required attachments.

  • Ensure your document file is the correct (intended) one before uploading.

While by no means comprehensive, the above points can serve as a basic, thoughtful reminder for ECF practitioners.

A recent ECF blunder occurred when plaintiff’s counsel made the simple mistake of uploading the wrong file to initiate a complaint. The Court ultimately allowed for correction of the e-filing error, but not before defense counsel moved to dismiss based on the mistake.

It is good practice to have a check-off list for efiling to a specific system, but note also that rules and procedures change frequently. If you are filing an appeal and need guidance on current procedure and rules for your court of appeal, you can contact me here.

Plus One this post.

Apellate filing efiling and assemblyAbout the Author: Natasha R. Monell, Esq, is Vice President of Appellate Management & Staff Counsel, and heads up our team of appellate advocates at Record Press, Inc., where her appellate filing expertise has been a highly sought after commodity for well over 15 years. Ms. Monell specializes in New York State Appellate Courts, all Federal Circuit Courts and United States Supreme Court filings and strategies that advance any litigation teams’ appeal to perfection.
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