Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Appendices for appellate briefs should be filed as separate lead documents.

This morning we learned something new about appellate E-Filing.

Per a phone conversation with a staff member at the Court of Appeals, appendices should *not* be attached to the brief when e-filed, but rather, filed as lead documents.

This solves the problem of what to do when your brief plus all appendices exceeds the 35MB limit for an envelope. You just start a new envelope. (But make sure you have not exceeded the 20MB/volume limit for any given document.)

This differs from the advice found on page 19 of the E-filing User Guide found on the State Judiciary web site, so we'll notify them of this discrepancy and may have further clarification to add, but while we wait for more information, it made sense to give all of our friends the heads-up on this.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Perry County Courts move to Odyssey - Your access to Perry Courts through Doxpop is unaffected.

Over the weekend of July 16/17, the Perry County Courts converted to the Odyssey case tracking system, thus moving their data storage and administration to Indianapolis. 

This move does not significantly affect Doxpop users because Doxpop buys access from the State Court Administration to a real-time feed of court data from the Odyssey system. Our customers' access to court information will not be interrupted during this transition.

A few of the services we provide will look odd during the transition because there will be a short period when both the old data and the new data are available. In particular:
  • If you use the personal calendar feature to keep track of hearings connected to your Bar ID, you will see two colors for each County on your calendar. Every event will be available, but the older cases will have a different color from the newer cases. When we complete the merge process, these will go back to being a single color.
  • When you look at our "County Details Page", you will find two entries for each court until the merge is complete.
  • When you are doing searches, you will find two entries for some cases. This is because while we are loading the information from Odyssey, we will also be maintaining the old data until the operation is complete to ensure you don't miss anything. When you see two case entries, please look at both to ensure you have the most current information.
  • If you use any of our "watch" services to keep an eye on cases or people of interest, we will be moving those watches over so they point to the cases and people that are a part of the Odyssey data feed. We run a process to convert these twice each day, but it is possible for notification of events to slip through the cracks between conversion runs so you may want to periodically do a manual check between now and the second week of August, after that, we'll be back to normal.
Finally, one deficiency in the Odyssey system is that financial information is not exported in their data feed, so that detail will not be available after the transition. We regularly ask that the Court Administration add this to the data feed, but so far, we are told that it is not allowed because the clerks using the Odyssey system have requested that they not make that information available to us. If this information is important to you, please encourage the clerks you work with to tell the State Court Administration differently so we can get the information back online.

As always, we are available to answer any questions in person, so don't hesitate to call support at 866-369-7671 if you have any questions.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

'Tis Tippecanoe Tuesday!

Who says Tuesdays aren't exciting?

Today, we announce the addition of Tippecanoe County Court Case information to Doxpop's Service!

Doxpop pays the State Court Administration for a real-time data feed from counties using the Odyssey case management system, so when Tippecanoe converted to Odyssey recently. they were added to Doxpop as well.

Court case information available for Tippecanoe dates back to January of 1988, and includes all public case types.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Why do clerks still collect the certified mail fee from e-filers? It's complicated...

After viewing our last post, Richard Mann pointed out via twitter that another oddity in e-filing fees:
Although e-filers are now handling all service for initial filings, the clerks still charge the amounts built into the filing fee for certified mail to defendants (or additional defendants, depending on the case type.)

The reason is that although the court rules have changed, these fees are set by the legislature, and the legislature can't change their statutes until they convene for the 2017 session in January.

The court has indicated that they plan to ask the legislature to amend the statutes as soon as possible. Until that occurs, the clerks are forced by the law to collect the fees, so please don't gripe to them- It's not their fault!

Also, please don't make the mistake of assuming that you don't have to take care of certified mail service when you e-file just because these fees are charged. If you e-file, you are responsible for making sure initial service occurs, not the clerk.

Richard Mann regularly tweets about many topics and recently published a nice summary of how the recent rule changes affect attorneys. His twitter feed is one of the resources we use to keep an eye on interesting developments in Indiana law. Follow him at https://twitter.com/RAMattorneys.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

E-Filing: Paying the Sheriff for Civil Process. It varies by county!

On July 1, Trial Rule 86 was changed, and among other things, now specifies that e-filers are responsible for delivering directly documents to sheriffs for service.

Doxpop recently learned that county clerks handle payment of sheriff's service fees for these documents differently depending on the county.

Some clerks have decided to have filers pay the sheriff directly by attaching payment to the document when you deliver it to the sheriff.

Some clerks have decided to have filers to pay sheriff's service fees electronically along with the case filing fee, and then deliver the document separately.

We understand that it is frustrating to have different policies in different counties, but please be patient with the clerks and use the method they specify. Like you, they are having to scramble to make e-filing work within the framework of long-standing business processes, and this particular issue is challenging because it involves several county offices and statutes that don't match existing procedures. In the long run, we expect a statewide policy will emerge. Until then, here's how to work smoothly with each county's systems:

Counties where you pay the sheriff directly:
  • Elkhart (Won't be on e-filing until 7/25, but the decision has been made in advance.)
  • Hamilton
  • Wells
Counties where you pay the sheriff via the e-filing system:
  • Clark
  • Floyd
  • Harrison
  • Hendricks
  • Henry
  • Shelby
Madison county is unusual. In Madison, no  sheriff's service fee is assessed for cases filed in a Madison County courts, but out-of county filers seeking service in Madison will need to pay the Sheriff directly.

Friday, June 10, 2016

New E-Filing rules effective July 1 - Some Highlights.

On July 1, A new version of Trial Rule 86 will become effective and e-filling for all filings on existing cases will become mandatory in the Hamilton County and Appellate Courts  (You aren't required to initiate cases via e-filing yet.)

The significant changes to Trial Rule 86 focus on the process of service during electronic case initiation.

Currently (until June 30) you must provide a set of paper documents to the clerk within 3 days of initiating a case by filing the dame documents electronically. This allows the clerk to file stamp them and service then occurs in the traditional manner using those paper documents.

Beginning on July 1, when you initiate a case electronically, the clerk will accept the filing documents, create the case, and return a file-stamped copy of the summons(es) to you electronically. You are then responsible for printing those documents, completing service and certifying to the court that service has occurred.

When you create the summons(es), you must specify the intended method of service in each document. [86(G)(2)(a)], You may then use the file-stamped copy to provide service to all required parties using any appropriate method that complies with the rules found in Trial Rule 4.

Following service, the filer must provide the clerk with a Certificate of Issuance of Summons that includes the details of how each document was served:
  • For documents served via mail, provide the date of mailing, address of each party, and tracking number if using a return receipt service. [86(G)(2)(c)]
  • For documents served in person or via first class mail, If the respondent is cooperative, have her/him sign an Acknowledgement of Service. If the respondent refuses to sign, file an Affidavit of Service. [86(G)(2)(d)(ii)]
  • For documents served by leaving a copy at a residence, file an Affidavit of Service. [86(G)(2)(d)(iii)]
  • For documents served via sheriff or other government process server, file the Return of Service. [86(G)(2)(d)(iv)]
  • For documents served by publication, in addition to noting on the original summons that the method of service is publication, you must also attach an Affidavit for Service by Publication. Instruct the publisher to send the return to the clerk after the publication period has ended.
Of course, all of these certification documents should be filed electronically.

In addition to the changes related to initiating a new case and serving process, there are three pages that clarify minor issues and fill in a few blanks. These are the sort of changes that are more incremental than fundamental, but needed to be in writing.

A few less important clarifications are:

  • If you file a document with the wrong fees or for a nonexistent case number on a subsequent filing, it will be rejected and you have 72 working hours to correct the problem in order to have the filing considered submitted on the initial submission date. (Those two issues should never be a problem if you are using a reliable EFSP, because we fill in both values for you. This rule needs to exist, but in practice should never come into play.)
  • It is possible to make other mistakes that don't result in rejection, but need to be fixed. For instance, you might accidentally file the document on the wrong case. In that situation, the court will issue an order striking the document or allowing you to fix the problem and may (not will) give you 72 hours to cure the defect. (Subtext: unintentional errors can be fixed, but don't make a habit of being sloppy and don't try to game the system.)
  • If you decide to exclude a document or portion of a document from public access on an otherwise public case, you've got to point to the reason. You may do this by filing a notice of exclusion from public access as the lead document or, if the lead document is a redacted version, by clearly marking the areas where information is omitted and specifying the reason.
  • In situations where both a redacted (public) version and a confidential version are submitted, use a placeholder of equivalent length to replace the confidential information so the page numbering and other formatting is consistent on both versions.
  • Obviously, green paper is not an option for electronically filed documents. Less obviously, the replacement is to apply a header, stamp or label clearly stating "Confidential per AR9(G)" or "Excluded from Public Access per AR9(G)". Make sure the addition of that header doesn't make your page numbering inconsistent with the public version. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Tippecanoe County Court Information will become available on Doxpop in early July

Tippecanoe County has completed a conversion from the CourtView case management system to the Odyssey system.

This means their public court information will become available on Doxpop in early July.

Currently, we are receiving new and updated cases from Tippecanoe, so you may see some cases begin to appear in your search results, but please be aware that dormant or "historical" cases will not become available until July. Folks doing checks for prior cases should not depend on Doxpop to have complete data from Tippecanoe until we announce the complete data load on this blog.

Stay tuned!