Rule 205.4 Authorizing a Pilot E-Filing Program for Civil Cases; No. 2013-J-59
[44 Pa.B. 247]
[Saturday, January 11, 2014]
And Now, this 9th day of December 2013, It Is Hereby Ordered That Leh.Co.R.C.P. 205.4, Electronic Filing and Service of Legal Papers, authorizing a pilot program for electronic filing of selected civil cases identified on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Civil Cover Sheet, be and is hereby rescinded effective upon publication on the Pennsylvania Judiciary Web Application Portal and that the following Lehigh County Rule authorizing a Pilot E-Filing Program for all Civil Cases be and the same is hereby Adopted, effective upon publication of this rule on the Pennsylvania Judiciary Web Application Portal (http://ujsportal.pacourts.us).
It Is Further Ordered That the Court Administrator of Lehigh County shall file: one (1) certified copy of this Order and the Lehigh County Rule authorizing the Pilot E-Filing Program for Civil Cases with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts; two (2) certified copies and a computer diskette or CD-ROM copy that complies with the requirement of 1 Pa. Code Section 13.11(b) with the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin; one (1) certified copy with the Civil Procedural Rules Committee, and publish a copy on the Pennsylvania Judiciary's Web Application Portal (http://ujsportal.pacourts.us)
By the Court
CAROL K. McGINLEY,
Rule 205.4. Pilot Program—Electronic Filing of Legal Documents Filed in the Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division.
(a)(1) Authorization for Electronic Filing of Civil Legal Papers—Pilot Program
(i) In accordance with Pa.R.C.P. No. 239.9, the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas shall implement on January 1, 2014, a pilot program for the efiling of legal papers as specifically defined within this rule. The applicable general rules of court and court policies that implement the rules shall continue to apply to all filings regardless of the method of filing. Electronic filing and service shall be governed by this rule.
(ii) In the context of this rule, ''legal papers'' which may be filed electronically shall be all civil cases identified in Section B of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Civil Cover Sheet, provided for in Pa.R.C.P. 205.5(e). Although not specifically identified on the Cover Sheet, Liens/Judgments and Petitions are also included.
(iii) All currently identified and registered participants of the e-filing pilot program are eligible to file the legal papers as indicated in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) above.
The primary intent of this rule is to facilitate the filing of all legal papers that are expressly permitted under this subsection.
(b)(1) Authorized Electronic Format of Legal Papers Electronically Filed. All legal papers that may be filed electronically as defined by this rule shall be filed in Portable Document Format (PDF). In the event any legal paper or exhibit is submitted to the Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division in hard copy format for a case already initiated electronically, the Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division shall convert and maintain such legal paper or exhibit to a Portable Document Format (PDF) and the Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division shall return the hard copy legal paper or exhibit to the filing party for retention as required by Pa.R.C.P. No. 205.4(b)(5).
(c)(2) Website—Access to the Website
(i) Website. All legal papers may be filed electronically through the Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division's Electronic Filing System ''Odyssey File and Serve'' (OFS) which shall be accessible through the Lehigh County Website, www.lehighcounty.org
(ii) Access to the Website. To obtain access to the Electronic Filing System, counsel and any unrepresented party must apply for and receive a User Name and Password.
(d)(1) Payment of Filing Fees
(i) The Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division will accept payment of all filing fees in cash, checks, and the following credit and debit cards: Discover, MasterCard, American Express and Visa.
(ii) The Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division will accept advance deposits on draw down accounts of future filing fees.
(iii) The credit or debit card will be charged with a convenience fee dictated by the credit card vendor.
(f) Local Procedures
As authorized by Pa.R.C.P. No. 205.4(f), the following local administrative procedures are adopted:
(i) As provided by Pa.R.C.P No. 1023.1, the required signature on an electronic filing of legal papers is established by submission of a filing and the application of a digitized signature or the name of the filer proceeded by /s/ accompanied by the attorney's printed name or a scanned document with an original signature. Verification will be achieved through the use of an email address and a password obtained from the OFS System. The OFS system will verify the user ID against the state ID number. Verification for parties other than attorneys will be verified through the user ID.
(ii) The legal paper must include a signature block, and the name of the filer under whose user name and password the legal filing is submitted.
(iii) The Electronic Filing Application (OFS) shall provide to the filer, using the email address registered by the filer, a Courtesy Email acknowledging that the filing was received. An Official Notification will be displayed in the Electronic Filing System, which includes the time and date, as a pending filing awaiting approval by the Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division. Within six (6) business hours of the receipt of the legal paper, the Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division shall provide the filer with notification through the Electronic Filing System that the legal paper has been either accepted or rejected.
(iv) If a legal paper is accepted, it shall be deemed to have been filed as of the date and time it was received by the Electronic Filing System; however, if a legal paper is submitted without the requisite filing fee, the legal paper shall be deemed to have been accepted for filing as of the date payment is received pursuant to 42 P.S Section 21073(b), ''The Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division shall not be required to enter on the docket any suit or action or order of court or to enter any judgment thereon and perform any services whatsoever for any person, political subdivision or the Commonwealth until the requisite fee is paid.''
Note: As required by Pa.R.C.P. No. 205.4(c)(1) access to the Electronic Filing System shall be available at all times, except for routine maintenance; however, legal documents can only be reviewed by the staff of the Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division during normal office hours. Therefore, filers are cautioned to file required legal papers well in advance of any filing deadlines to enable timely correction and re-submission in the event a legal paper is not acceptable for filing.
(v) Pa.R.C.P. No. 204.1(3) requires that the first sheet of all pleadings, motions and other legal filings shall contain a 3-inch space from the top of the paper. This space shall be reserved solely for the use of the Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division for the electronic date and time stamp, and other official use.
(vi) As required by Pa.R.C.P 205.5, the filer shall include the statewide cover sheet with the initial filing.
(vii) It shall be the responsibility of the filer to notify the Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division of any legal paper or exhibit submitted for filing in hard copy format/paper for a case initiated by electronic filing by indicating under the case number ''Electronic Case''. The Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division shall then convert the legal paper to a portable document format (pdf) and accept and maintain such legal paper or exhibit in the electronic form. The Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division shall return the hard copy legal paper or exhibit to the filing party for retention as required by Pa.R.C.P. No. 205.4(b)(4) and Pa.R.C.P. No. 205.4(b)(5).
(viii) If a legal document is refused for filing, the Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division shall specify a reason. Subject to the Rule 205.4(e)(3), a legal paper refused for filing shall be deemed as not having been filed.
(ix) When filing motions, petitions and other responsive pleadings electronically in accordance with the local rules, the filer may provide an electronic courtesy copy to the Office of Court Administration through the Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division's Electronic Filing System ''Odyssey File and Serve'' (OFS).
(g) Service of Legal Papers
(i) If a legal paper is accepted for electronic filing, it will be electronically served as authorized by Pa.R.C.P. No. 205.4(g)(1)(ii) and service shall be effectuated as provided in Pa.R.C.P. No. 205.4(g)(2), Electronic Filing and Service of Legal Papers.
(ii) Once an electronic filing has been accepted by the Clerk of Judicial Records—Civil Division, it shall be the responsibility of the filing party to provide to the Sheriff of Lehigh County, the proper service fee and the documents for Original Service and Writs.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 14-79. Filed for public inspection January 10, 2014, 9:00 a.m.]
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