Tuesday, February 5, 2019

E-filing: E-service 101- Learn the basics of how e-service in Indiana works.


This week in our e-filing administration series we are going to dive into the murky world of e-service and try to help clear up the waters a little bit. This will be a two-part post with us focusing on the basics this week and then going through all the more complicated areas next week. In each topic section, you will find links to the various help pages that can walk you through technically making these settings.

If you’ve missed our previous articles here are links to them:


Let’s cover the first confusion that arises, the two types of service contacts, Firm or Public?

Firm Service Contact:
  • Contact created within your firm’s e-filing account for anyone wishing to receive e-service in a case.
  • Does not have to be an attorney.
  • Only accessible to e-file users within your firm’s e-file account.  
  • May have administrative copies for assistants or paralegals to receive a copy of any service sent to this service contact. 

Public Service List Contact:
  • Only Indiana attorneys registered in the e-file system.
  • Only Indiana attorneys will appear on the Public Service Contact.
  • Anyone e-filing has access to this list.
  • Contact information is based on settings in the roll of attornys.
  • This contact does NOT have the ability for administrative copies.  
A good way to think of it is that the Firm Service Contact list is like your personal address book and the Public Service List is like the yellow pages (does anyone remember those)?.

One very important note regarding the private list: You are only permitted to add yourself or your firm's attorneys to the firm’s service contact list. You may NOT add an attorney from another firm or a case party as a firm service contact in your e-file account.

Now let’s cover some important things to remember about e-service:
  • You should have yourself attached to all your cases in e-file as soon as make your appearance in a case, active or not. We have tools to help with this! This way you have control over which service contact you use. This includes making sure you use the auto-attach feature for new case filings. 
  • E-service is completed through the e-filing system. It is not handled by Doxpop or the court case management system. Keep in mind when you have questions about e-service that we are not able to see what was sent and neither can the clerk offices but Doxpop will always help you find what you need.   
  • Sending a filing to another party by e-mail outside of the e-service system is not a valid form of e-service. 
  • Only those attached as service contacts are served via e-service. Case parties are not automatically served without being attached as a service contact. 
  • If a party you need to serve is not already attached to a case and their contact can’t be located in the public service list, you will need to serve them conventionally. 
When filing into a case it's very important you review the list of attached service contacts every time! This becomes even more important if your filing should include confidential information.

Here are the things you want to look for when filing into an existing case:
  1. Review the list to ensure the proper service contact for your attorney is attached. To tell a public list contact from a firm contact look to see if the attorney’s bar ID is listed after their name. That would indicate that is the public list contact, which would not include any administrative copies. Doing this each time ensures you will get service in the way you want.  
  2. Now ensure that opposing counsel(s) service contacts are attached. If they are not attached already search the public service list and attach their public service contact. If you can not locate them in the public list you will need to serve them conventionally until they attach themselves to the case. If they are attached already with a firm service contact (no bar ID after the name) do not attach the public service contact for them. They have chosen to be served using their firm service contact and likely will not appreciate getting twice the emails.  
  3.  Lastly, ensure there is no one attached that shouldn't be served. Anyone can create and attach service contacts in the e-file system so when e-filing documents its important that you ensure that copies are only sent to those that should have them. This becomes crucial when filing confidential documents. Anyone e-served a confidential document can still see the contents of the document. Think of that confidential setting as putting the document on green paper (which is no longer required) and still mailing it to an unknown party. Just because it's on green paper doesn’t mean they can’t read the content. If you find someone attached that you do not need to serve you can uncheck them in the contacts to serve section for that specific filing. 

E-notice vs. E-service
  • E-notices are sent from the court to a single email address for each attorney maintained through the court's case management system(CMS). 
  • E-service is a sent from the litigant through an e-filing service provider and is delivered to the service contact attached to the case. 

  • E-notice is sent from the CMS, not through e-file. Changing contact information in one does not affect the other.
  • The CMS is limited to one email address per party and all e-notices go to only that email address. There is no ability for the court to add administrative copies.
  • E-notice from the Appellate Court is a separate procedure from the trial courts. If you practice in both you will need to update your information with both. 

Now let's take a moment and talk about serving government agencies. 

For many of you, it may be necessary to serve specific government agencies rather than a specific person. Departments such as the prosecutor's office, probation, community corrections, and other agencies involved in the legal process may need to be served but may not have an attorney or a public list service contact.

In many of these cases, the basic rule still applies: You must service them conventionally if they are not already attached the case and they are not listed in the public list. 

That said, here are some finer details that are good to know. 
  • The State Court Administration maintains the public service contact list and does attempt to remove those attorneys that are serving in government roles from the public list. Judges and prosecutors for example typically will not be found in the public contact list since it's almost certain their office needs the service rather than them directly.
  • For this reason, it's the responsibility of those offices to ensure they have attached a 'firm service contact' to all the cases they are part of to ensure that e-service is directed to the person that needs to actually act on it. 
  • When you go to file into a case and you don’t find a service contact attached for one of these agencies and you need to serve them you may want to take a moment to contact the agency and see if they can attach a service contact before submitting your filing. If not you must serve them conventionally. 
  • Even if you do find an attorney in the public list for that agency (say the county prosecutor) it may be better to notify the agency and let them attach the contact they want to use. This will help ensure they can process that service quickly and help your case to keep moving along efficiently. 


So this covers the basics of how e-service works. Our next post will focus on tips for larger firms and the complicated situations that can arise such as managing multiple service contacts for the same person and other complicating sceneries.

If you have any questions or feedback give our support team a call at 866-396-7671 or email us at support@doxpop.com

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1 comment:

Nick Fankhauser said...

Someone posted a comment on this article asking when someone would be released from prison.

This isn't the right forum to ask questions naming particular people, so we have deleted that comment. However, if you come back looking for an answer, we suggest that following website for the Indiana Department of Corrections. It probably has the information you need:

https://indianasavin.in.gov/Offender/OffenderSearch.aspx

(Since we can't put live links in a comment, you'll need to cut and paste this into your browser.)