Frequently Asked Questions

And Other Useful Information

 

Carolyn Weber

7/28/2015

 

 

This document contains questions that are frequently asked by filers during training sessions and submitted to the service desk.

 


 

Table of Contents

Registration/Accounts. 3

Who can register on the Portal?. 3

How do I register as a Pro Hac Vice attorney?. 4

May I have more than one Portal Account [User Name and Password]?. 4

Do I need a separate user name and password for every county I file in?. 4

How much does it cost to register and file?. 4

Can a Florida Registered Paralegal register for an account to file for the attorney they work for?  4

E-Filing Training. 4

How can I receive online training for filing through the Portal?. 4

Do you provide “hands on” training at a law firm?. 4

Can we receive Continuing Legal Education [CLE] credit for this training?. 5

Payment of Filing Fees. 5

How do I pay the statutory filing fee?. 5

What payment methods are accepted on the Portal?. 5

What is the statutory convenience fee associated with the payment methods?. 5

When is my account charged for the payment?. 5

How will my filing fee charge appear on my bank statement?. 5

Can I establish a credit card for an organization to be used by everyone in the organization?. 5

How do I delete saved payment account information?. 6

How may I have filing fees waived if filing on behalf of an entity exempt pursuant to § 28.345, Florida Statutes or if Filing an Affidavit of Indigency?. 6

As an organization, how do we become exempt from the payment of fees on the Portal?. 6

Can the statutory convenience fee be billed to the client?. Error! Bookmark not defined.

Case Types. 7

Can you initiate a new criminal case electronically?. 7

Documents. 7

What document types does the Portal support?. 7

How does the attorney sign the document if it is computer generated and printed to PDF?. 7

What do we do with original documents required to be maintained by the Clerk pursuant to Supreme Court Administrative Order or Florida Statutes?. 7

If the client has physically signed and the signature has been notarized, is it preferable to scan the document, or can we sign electronically?. 8

What are the formatting requirements for documents?. 8

How do you date stamp the document you filed?. 8

I understand my documents must be ADA compliant.  What does that mean?. 8

What are the file size limitations for a filing?. 8

How do I file my document if it exceeds the 25MB file size?. 8

How do I file a document that contains confidential information?. 9

Do I have to attach the Notice of Filing Confidential Information within Court Document if I am filing to a case that is confidential by statute, Administrative Order or Court Order?. 9

How do I know my document is really filed?. 9

How do you file an ORIGINAL Return of Service or an ORIGINAL deposition transcript?. 10

I cannot find the document name in the list of documents we can file.  What do I do?. 10

Why do some case styles contain a party “Unavailable”?. 10

E-service Through the Portal 10

Is service provided through the Portal considered to be in compliance with Rule 2.516?. 10

Is E-service through the Portal mandatory?. 10

If opposing counsel is not listed under other attorneys, are we required to find their email address, and insert it for them to be properly served?. 10

Are the parties that are listed in the Clerk’s Case Maintenance System automatically added to the E-service Recipient List?. 11

If opposing counsel is not listed because they have not filed, can you simply send them notice through the US mail?. 11

Do we need to list in the certificate service that service was via e-filing, and list their e-mail address on file, or continue to list their street address, etc.?. 11

As a mediator is there any way you can file a document and not continue to be shown as a person to receive all subsequent filings that occur. 11

I filed to a case and I receive E-service to the wrong email address. 11

Will you still receive E-service on your cases marked “Inactive”?. 12

If you receive E-service on a document twice, how do you know which document is the correct document?  12

I have not filed to a case and I receive E-service on a case to the wrong email address?. 12

I am receiving E-service on a case I am not involved with in any way.  How do I get off the E-service list?  12

How do I include the State Attorney’s Office on the E-service List?. 13

Access to Cases. 13

Can we do a search for cases that are not ours?. 13

How do we access the official court file and the documents therein?. 13

Pending Queue. 14

The Portal is saying my document is not named right.  What should I do?. 14

How do I see the status of my filings?. 14

Can I save my filing so that I can access it at a later time or make corrections?. 15

What reasons will cause a filing go to the Pending Queue?. 15

How do we know which document has the error when more than one document is in the submission?  15

County-Specific Questions. 16

Will Brevard and Seminole County allow fee-related corrections to be made to submissions sent to the Pending Queue in the future?. Error! Bookmark not defined.

How do I know which counties will allow my summonses to be submitted and paid for when filing the complaint?. 16

Will the counties take proposed orders through the Portal?. 16

I need to add a non-party filer or an intervenor to a case but that selection is not available as a party in the drop-down.  What do I do?. 16

What is the best way to file exhibits?. 16

Sometimes the E-filing Portal has not charged us for some of our summons (but charges filing fees, etc.), then we get a letter from the Clerk demanding payment of the summons fees.  What should we do differently to ensure the E-filing Portal charges for the summons fee?. 16

Are there any plans to force Clerk’s to be consistent?. 17

I cannot find my case number on the Portal to file to some Broward County cases?. 17

 

Registration/Accounts

Who can register on the Portal?

 

·         Florida Bar Attorneys

·         Pro Hac Vice Attorneys

 

The Florida Bar member database is used to validate who you are when registering for a user account.  The system recognized your Florida Bar Identification Number and the name that you have registered with The Bar.  Please be sure to use the name registered with The Florida Bar as the name registered with the E-Filing Portal or the Portal will reject your registration.

How do I register as a Pro Hac Vice attorney?

 

Click here for the procedures on how to make a Limited Appearance in the State of Florida.

 

Once you have obtained a Portal registration number from The Florida Bar, use that number as your Bar ID on the registration page.  Florida has to be selected as the State.

May I have more than one Portal Account [User Name and Password]?

 

Yes.  As a filer, you may be a part of an organization in which filing fees are exempt while at the same time accepting clients for which you will be subject to payment of fees.  Your first account, if it matches The Florida Bar information, will be systematically approved.  Subsequent accounts will be processed by the Service Desk.

Do I need a separate user name and password for every county I file in?

 

No. 

How much does it cost to register and file?

 

No.  There is no cost to register for an E-Filing account and there is no fee to file documents electronically.  However, the statutory filing fees still apply so if you are submitting a new case, or a document that requires a fee, there will be a filing fee required in order to submit your document for filing and a statutory convenience fee based on the payment method.

Can a Florida Registered Paralegal register for an account to file for the attorney they work for?

 

No.  The attorney may have more than one account and assign one of them to the Paralegal to use when filing documents on the attorney’s behalf.  Both accounts will carry the name and the Florida Bar Number of the attorney on whose behalf the Paralegal is filing.

E-Filing Training

How can I receive online training for filing through the Portal?

 

·         https://www.myflcourtaccess.com/authority/trainingvideos.html

·         https://www.myflcourtaccess.com/authority/trainingmanuals.html

 

Contact your local Clerk’s Office to request training sessions or contact support@myflcourtaccess.com to request training.

Do you provide “hands on” training at a law firm?

 

Yes.  Contact your local Clerk’s Office to request training sessions or support@myflcourtaccess.com .

Can we receive Continuing Legal Education [CLE] credit for this training?

 

Yes.  Attorneys and Paralegals may earn up to 2.5 hours of CLE General credit for attending a live presentation.

Payment of Filing Fees

How do I pay the statutory filing fee?

 

During the process of submitting the filing, fees are calculated systematically and displayed.  Enter your payment method and save for later use if desired. 

What payment methods are accepted on the Portal?

 

Credit Card/Debit Card

·         Discover

·         MasterCard

·         American Express

 

Electronic Check

·         Checking

·         Saving

What is the statutory convenience fee associated with the payment methods?

 

·         Credit Cards = 3% of Filing Fee

·         Electronic Check = $3 flat rate

When is my account charged for the payment?

 

The payment method is validated at the time the filing is submitted however, the money is not charged to the account until the Clerk accepts the filing.

How will my filing fee charge appear on my bank statement?

 

“ePortal”+{filing ID}

Can I establish a credit card for an organization to be used by everyone in the organization?

 

No.  Payment information is not stored in the Portal.  The Portal interfaces with the payment engine to obtain a hint to the filer of the stored payment methods for recognition by the filer.  This prohibits organization accounts at the Portal level.

How do I delete saved payment account information?

 

Access the Portal, Accounts tab, My Profile menu, Payment Accounts

How may I have filing fees waived if filing on behalf of an entity exempt pursuant to § 28.345, Florida Statutes or if Filing an Affidavit of Indigency?

 

On the Fees and Payments page:

·         Request Fee Waiver

·         Select Waiver Reason

·         Attach Waiver Form

As an organization, how do we become exempt from the payment of fees on the Portal?

 

An authorized organizational representative should contact their local Clerk’s office and request to have a Law Firm account established for their organization.  This account can be set up to waive filing fees for all users affiliated with the account.  This type account is not exclusive to private firms, and may be utilized by state agencies, state attorneys, public defenders, and other public entity organizations that are eligible according to § 28.345, Florida Statutes.

 

Case Types

Can you initiate a new criminal case electronically?

 

No.  You must have a case number to file to a criminal case.  However, in some counties they are accepting criminal case initiation documents electronically to generate a new case.  Check with the individual county to see their preference.

Documents

What document types does the Portal support?

 

·         Word Document

·         Word Perfect [not preferred]

·         PDF

How does the attorney sign the document if it is computer generated and printed to PDF?

 

The ePortal supports electronic signatures as defined in AO 09-30:

 

A pleading or other document is not required to bear the electronic image of the handwritten signature or an encrypted signature of the filer, but may be signed in the following manner when electronically filed through a registered user’s login and password.

 

s/ JOHN DOE

JohnDoe@gmail.com

Florida Bar Number 12345

Attorney for (Plaintiff/Defendant)

ABC Law Firm

123 South Street Orlando, FL 32800

Telephone: (407) 123-4567

What do we do with original documents required to be maintained by the Clerk pursuant to Supreme Court Administrative Order or Florida Statutes?

 

Documents that must be maintained in original form may be electronically filed through the Portal but must also be deposited with the Clerk and maintained for safekeeping as defined in SC11-399.  Examples include wills, codicils, deeds, verified and sworn documents, original paper judgments and sentences, etc.  Direct your questions regarding original documents to your local Clerk’s Office.

If the client has physically signed and the signature has been notarized, is it preferable to scan the document, or can we sign electronically?

 

You may scan the document and then file it electronically.  An alternative would be to scan only the signature page, which has the client’s wet ink signature as well as the notary’s, and then append that scanned page to the PDF document that was computer generated.

What are the formatting requirements for documents?

 

As defined in RJA 2.520:

·         8 ½ x 11 inches

·         Portrait orientation

·         300 DPI [for a scanned document]

·         Black and white not color [for a scanned document]

·         3 x 3 inch space at the top right-hand corner on the first page

·         1 x 3 inch space at the top right-hand corner on each subsequent page

·         1 inch margin

·         Do not password protect your documents

How do you date stamp the document you filed?

 

The Portal will affix in the upper left hand corner of the document the official file stamp date and time of when that submission reached the Portal.  That is the official file stamp date and time of when the documents are filed.

I understand my documents must be ADA compliant.  What does that mean?

 

The Supreme Court requires that documents submitted electronically to the Florida State Courts System must be ADA compliant.  Click here to access that page.

What are the file size limitations for a filing?

 

The aggregate size cannot exceed 25 megabytes for one submission.

How do I file my document if it exceeds the 25MB file size?

 

Separate the large document into multiple documents each under 25MB.  Submit one Part 1 of 3 with the first filing, Part 2 of 3 with the second filing, and Part 3 of 3 with the third filing which results in the complete document being filed.

How do I file a document that contains confidential information?

 

Review the documents that are being filed to see if they contain confidential or sensitive information.  If they contain confidential or sensitive information, attach a ‘Notice of Confidential Information within the Court Filing’ as a separate document per Rule 2.420, RJA.  The form is available on the Documents page of the Portal.

Do I have to attach the Notice of Filing Confidential Information within Court Document if I am filing to a case that is confidential by statute, Administrative Order or Court Order?

 

No, there is an option available that will cover cases confidential by statute, Administrative Order or Court Order.

How do I know my document is really filed?

 

You will receive a Processing Completed for Filing #Filing ID email.

The filing status is ‘Filed’ on My Filings page.

How do you file an ORIGINAL Return of Service or an ORIGINAL deposition transcript?

 

You would scan the original return of service and then file it electronically through the Portal.  The original deposition transcript is also electronically filed.  Request the file from the Court Reporter in PDF format in small file size increments if it’s a large transcript.  Then upload the individual files until the complete transcript is uploaded.  You can also request the transcript in the abbreviated [four pages to one] version and again in the small file size increments.

I cannot find the document name in the list of documents we can file.  What do I do?

 

If the name of your document does not appear in the Document Type drop down, select the document name that is most appropriate.  Counties have the ability to change the name of the document when reviewed.  You may want to contact the County to see if they can add Document Types to their dropdown.

Why do some case styles contain a party “Unavailable”?

 

If the case is a confidential case type, the style of the case will display Not Available.

E-service Through the Portal

Is service provided through the Portal considered to be in compliance with Rule 2.516?

 

Yes. 

Is E-service through the Portal mandatory?

 

No.

If opposing counsel is not listed under other attorneys, are we required to find their email address, and insert it for them to be properly served?

 

Yes.  When an attorney files electronically to a case they are automatically added to the E-service Recipient List with the emails they designate as E-service email addresses for this case.  If the attorney has not yet filed electronically to the case, to provide proper service through the Portal you, the filer, will have to add them to the Other Attorney/Interested Party section of the E-service Page so that they may be served.  Once they file electronically to the case and are automatically added, you should then remove them from the Other Attorney/Interested Party section of the E-service page.

Are the parties that are listed in the Clerk’s Case Maintenance System automatically added to the E-service Recipient List?

 

No.

If opposing counsel is not listed because they have not filed, can you simply send them notice through the US mail?

 

Yes.  E-service through the Portal is not mandatory.  You may still provide service by personal e-mail as long as you comply with Rule 2.516.

Do we need to list in the certificate service that service was via e-filing, and list their e-mail address on file, or continue to list their street address, etc.?

 

Yes.  You should attach to every document a “traditional” service list containing all parties’ names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses so that the list of required parties to be served can be easily ascertained.  The certificate of service should also state that service was performed through the Portal

As a mediator is there any way you can file a document and not continue to be shown as a person to receive all subsequent filings that occur.

 

Yes.  You may remove yourself from any case to which you have filed.  Click here for instructions.

I filed to a case and I receive E-service to the wrong email address.

 

Access your E-service list of the case on the My Cases page, verify the email addresses you have specified to receive E-service is where you actually want to receive the emails. 

You are either using your Profile email addresses or you have designated up to three other email addresses to be used for E-service for this case.  You may change this at any time.  For more information, click here.

Will you still receive E-service on your cases marked “Inactive”?

 

Yes.  As long as you have not removed yourself from the E-service list for a case, you will continue to receive E-service on documents filed.

If you receive E-service on a document twice, how do you know which document is the correct document?

 

The document you received last would be the correct document.  Documents are served when filings are submitted.  Some filings have to be corrected and are sent to the Pending Queue.  When the filer corrects and resubmits the filing, the documents are served again.

I have not filed to a case and I receive E-service on a case to the wrong email address?

 

Contact the filers in this case and ask them to update your email address with the correct one.

I am receiving E-service on a case I am not involved with in any way.  How do I get off the E-service list?

 

Anyone added to the E-service List will receive an email notifying them that they have been added to the case and give them the contact information for the person that added them.  They will also have a link in the email they receive to “Request Removal” from the E-service List for that case.  If they continue to receive the NEF’s they should contact the filer that added them to the List and ask to be removed.

How do I include the State Attorney’s Office on the E-service List?

The list of known E-service email addresses for the State Attorney’s Offices is found on the Portal in the News & Information section.  You can also contact the local State Attorney’s Office to ascertain the email address at which they wish to receive E-service.

Access to Cases

Can we do a search for cases that are not ours?

 

No.  Remote electronic access to the official court file is allowed only to counsel of record on a case.

How do we access the official court file and the documents therein?

 

The Portal provides a link to the counties CMS in the following locations:  

·         My Cases page

·         My Filings page

On the My Cases page, select the Case #.

 

From the My Filings page, select the Case Style/Docket link.

 

 

These links display the case maintenance system’s case information page with a link to the docket sheet.  Some counties provide images to the docket sheet which is evident by a hyperlink to the document when selecting the name of the document.

Pending Queue

The Portal is saying my document is not named right.  What should I do?

 

The Appellate Court Technology Committee has approved and the Florida Court Technology Commission has been informed of the attached Document Binary File Name Standards for e-filing and e-recording.  Linked here, please be aware that certain naming conventions do not transmit through the portal without error.

How do I see the status of my filings?

 

My Filings:

 

Can I save my filing so that I can access it at a later time or make corrections?

 

On the Trial Court filing path you must complete the filing.  There is no way to save a filing.  However, on the Appellate Court filing path you can pick up the filing from the Work Bench.

What reasons will cause a filing go to the Pending Queue?

 

·         Unsigned document

·         Incorrect case number

·         Filed to the wrong county

·         Document is corrupt

 

These would be the most common reasons why a filing would be sent to the Pending Queue however the Clerk will annotate the deficiency in the Completion Date/Remarks column of the My Filings page.

How do we know which document has the error when more than one document is in the submission?

 

The Clerk will name the document that has the deficiency and annotate that deficiency in the Completion Date/Remarks column of the My Filings page.

County-Specific Questions

How do I know which counties will allow my summonses to be submitted and paid for when filing the complaint?

 

Counties that allow a summons to be filed and paid for with a filing will have the option available in the drop down menus and the screens will ask you how many defendants will need to be served.  The payment screen will show that amount calculated along with the filing fee.  A county that does not allow for sending the summons electronically will need it delivered in paper with a check.

Will the counties take proposed orders through the Portal?

 

Some counties have assigned a docket code so that you can submit the proposed order through the Portal and that document type will be listed in the drop down. Other counties require them to be sent directly to the judge.  Some counties have put this information in the News & Information section of the Portal.   Once you begin the process of submitting a filing, and have selected a county, take a look at the News & Information section of the page to see if the county has information listed to answer your question.

 

If the document is not listed in the drop down, and there is no information in the News & Information section, then check the County’s web site for information.

I need to add a non-party filer or an intervenor to a case but that selection is not available as a party in the drop-down.  What do I do?

 

The Clerk’s Office has the ability to add parties to the drop-down menus.  You will need to call the Clerk’s Office in the county in which you are fling so they can add that option in the party drop-down.  Until that party is available for you to select, the Clerk will add the party when they review the document before accepting for filing.

What is the best way to file exhibits?

 

The best way to file exhibits is to create them as separate documents.  Name them the same, but append the words:  “Part 1 of 4,” “Part 2 of 4,” and the like, so the Clerk can tell the documents go together.  Currently, several counties require the exhibits to be part of the main document; i.e., all in one document however the Florida Courts Technology Committee [FCTC] is working on standards for filing documents that would apply to all counties.

Sometimes the E-filing Portal has not charged us for some of our summons (but charges filing fees, etc.), then we get a letter from the Clerk demanding payment of the summons fees.  What should we do differently to ensure the E-Filing Portal charges for the summons fee?

 

On case initiation, after you select the Case type and the Sub Type, if the county allows you to submit your summons electronically you will see an Additional Fee section to enter the number of summons to be issued.

 

When filing to an existing case, on the Case Information page, you may see an Additional Fees section if the county allows you to select additional fees to be included in your submission.  The item that says “Number of Defendants” is where you would type in the number of defendants for which you wish to have summonses issued.  The Portal will then calculate that summons fee and include it in the fees section.

 

Summonses are handled in the Additional Fees section on the Case Information screen instead of being attached to a document type.   Some counties process summons manually.

Are there any plans to force Clerk’s to be consistent?

 

It is a goal of the Supreme Court Chief Justice to standardize the E-Filing in Florida among all jurisdictions.  Best Practices have been created and distributed.  Ultimately, Clerks are elected officials who are working for their constituents and working within their unique set of business practices and systems.

I cannot find my case number on the Portal to file to some Broward County cases?

 

Go to the Broward County web site for E-Filing instructions to obtain the Uniform Case Number.