Tuesday, September 13, 2022

It only takes seconds to have a Private Process Server handle civil process for your filing.

Doxpop wants to make your work easier, but more importantly, we want to help you do your best work.

Those goals come together nicely when we set out to automate methods that you may typically avoid because even though the method is better, it consumes too much time, forcing you to use a less effective but more expedient option.

Civil Process is one of the areas where some options are clearly more effective or appropriate, but may be cumbersome to manage. Over the last couple of years, we've been working to make all methods equally easy to use, so you can choose the best tool without hesitation.

Our most recent addition to the suite of civil process tools available to E-Filers is a Private Process Server. To accomplish this, we've partnered with Evolution Process Service. Evolution is based in Indiana and has a nationwide network for situations where your defendant lives outside the State. Here's a brief video showing how easy it is to have them serve your documents during the initial filing process. 

Saturday, September 10, 2022

The State System had some issues delivering service emails on Friday, September 9th.

 On Friday, September 9th, several filers notified us that they were receiving "Electronic Service Undeliverable" messages when E-Filing.

This is a message that you will normally receive when you try to use E-Service to notify a party of a filing, but that party's email account rejects the message. In that situation, the correct action is to contact the party and let them know something is wrong with the email associated with their service contact and then either do a "service only" filing after they've corrected the problem, or provide them with a hard copy.

Unfortunately, Friday wasn't a normal day. On Friday, dozens of people received these messages because of a failure in the State's EFM, which sends the emails with service notifications. If you received one of these messages on Friday, it is very likely that the intended recipient's email is fine, and you just need to do a "service only" filing to re-send the documents now that the problem with the EFM is fixed.

To do a service-only filing, just locate the the case as you normally would to do a subsequent filing, and then in the third section of the e-filing screen, click on the "Switch to Service Only" button before uploading the same documents you filed when you got the "Undeliverable" message.

Screen capture showing the service only button

When you are in service-only mode, the documents you upload are sent to all of the E-Service contacts attached to the case via verified delivery, but are *not* sent to the court, so this won't create a duplicate filing with the court.

Let us know if you have any questions about this! We're here to help.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Excellent progress on slowness/instability; Issues with unstamped documents.

Speed issues:

On Tuesday, 8/16 Tyler Technologies released an upgrade to their EFM that they hoped would provide them with better event logging that in turn would support better diagnostics. 

During the day on Tuesday, it didn't go well, leading to general concern that this might have been a step backward. However, after the rough start, Wednesday started to look better, and after three days of better performance, we're ready to call it a significant improvement.

Did we get all the way back to the performance levels prior to the cloud migration? No, not quite, but very close. Here's the path we've taken: 

On the day after the cloud migration upgrade & for several days following, response time was 22 times as long as it was before the "upgrade". In short, the system was practically unusable. 

The Tyler folks put in a long weekend doing performance tuning, and the following week, the response times were 3 times as long as before the upgrade. That was good enough that most filers were able to get their work done, but still slow enough that high-volume filers,  such as those representing creditors, were still unable to get all of their filing done without working evenings and weekends. This situation lasted for almost three weeks.

Last Tuesday, we had a Terrible, Horrible, No Good. Very Bad Day. However, the clouds parted on Wednesday, and we started to see speeds a little over twice the original response time.

Finally, On Thursday and Friday, we started to see response times that are consistently 1.5 times as long as prior to the original upgrade. Not perfect, but a substantial improvement. We'll continue to press for a return to full speed, but this should be a welcome relief for the high-volume filers.

File Stamps:

Note: On Wednesday/Thursday, several filers reported receiving accepted documents without file stamps. We inquired with the State about this and learned that from roughly 3:00PM on Wednesday, 8/17 until Noon on Thursday, 8/18, automated file stamping was disabled on the Court's review system. 

That has been fixed, and should not be a problem in the future. We haven't been told whether the Courts are going back to re-stamp the documents received during that time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Update on EFM slowness and instability issues. Tuesday, 8/16.

Early this morning, Tyler Technologies (the State's E-Filing vendor) released a new version of their EFM*. 

This release included new logging tools that they hope will allow them to diagnose the slowdown that occurred during the last EFM upgrade on July 22nd.

Unfortunately, this current upgrade has, so far, proved to be both slower and less stable than previous verions. That is disappointing. For now, we are urging patience while Tyler works to solve the problems with this latest upgrade. They are fully aware that it's a mess and are actively working to resolve the new instability issues.

As I'm writing this post, the EFM is down, with no ETA for a fix. We hope they'll get it fixed up before the end of the day, but if you miss a filing deadline due to this instability, please refer to our previous post on how Indiana's trial rules protect you in that situation.

This is frustrating. We are now approaching one month with the EFM running at roughly 1/3 of its previous speed, and know the situation is hard on you as well. We continue to cooperate with the State and Tyler to provide the information they need for diagnosis. We also remain committed to pursuing this until it gets fixed. 

* EFM = E-Filing Manager, the system through which all filings are routed to destination courts.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Friday update on the E-Filing slowness issue.

Yesterday, (8/4) we participated in a discussion of this problem with the State's EFM* vendor (Tyler Technologies.) A few important notes from that meeting:

1) The network routing and latency issues that we had hoped might provide an explanation have been eliminated as a cause.

2) The slow response time is affecting all Indiana filers, regardless of their EFSP**.

3) More diagnostic information is needed, so early next week, Tyler will be deploying a version of the EFM that logs more information in support of the diagnostic effort.

4) The result of #3 is that we know this won't be fixed in a matter of days. It will be at least a week while the new logging software is deployed. (*sigh*)

We came away from this meeting frustrated, but with the understanding that Tyler is working diligently on this problem. They are fully aware of the pain it is causing filers, particularly those of you who submit high volumes of filings where response time is critical. We will continue to support them in their efforts by providing regular feedback from our own logging system.

* EFM = E-Filing Manager, the system through which all filings are routed to destination courts.

** EFSPs = E-Filing Service Providers, The web sites used by filers to compose and submit filing envelopes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Tuesday update on slowness issues. Still making small incremental gains. Current hypothesis: Network routing may play a role.

 Over the weekend, Tyler Technologies shut down their system briefly to do some performance tuning on the EFM API. Now that we've got a full day of logs to examine since the most recent change, we can report that there has been a 16% decrease in the average response time compared to last Monday.😊

That's good news, and worth celebrating, but that's still over 3 times the average response time prior to their cloud migration, so this is still a top priority for us.

We've been a bit frustrated by the fact that it was a change to someone else's system that caused this. That means we're in the awkward position of just measuring slow response times and complaining instead of being able to contribute to a solution. However, one of our operations folks pointed out that network latency is something we can assess from our side of the connection, so we've been doing that and are finding some definite problems that we can use to start some diagnosis from our side of the connection. We're working that angle now, and have passed along our findings to Tyler in the hope that it will help.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Weekend update on the slowness issue- Marginal gains on Friday.

We are still not seeing anything like a return to the original performance for the E-Filing Manager API.

Some changes were made by the State's vendor early Friday afternoon that appeared to result in a small improvement, but it's hard to tell for sure because Friday afternoon is a time when our load is usually lighter than the rest of the week.

We're hoping the small gain is still discernable on Monday. However, even if this gain is solid, we acknowledge that it was small and we are not even close to calling the issue resolved. There's still far to go.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Thursday Morning update on performance issues. Bottom line: No noticeable improvements.

Early this morning (Thursday, 7/28) Tyler Technologies took the State's E-Filing Manager (EFM) off-line to do some performance tuning. We have been watching closely this morning, and as of 9AM, it looks like no improvement resulted from this work. (sigh.)

We'll be reporting these results to Tyler Technologies shortly so they can get to work on next steps.

Note that at 9AM, our sample size is fairly small, so our conclusions may be adjusted as the day unfolds, but so far, we're calling this round of tuning ineffective.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

E-filing will be offline at Midnight while Tyler Technologies works on performance tuning.

We have been notified that Indiana's E-Filing Manager (EFM) will be offline for roughly one hour starting at midnight tonight (7/27/22).

That's good to hear, because as you doubtless know, the recent migration of the EFM's servers to the cloud went very poorly, and we've all been struggling with an extremely slow system this week.

Given the results of previous tries at performance tuning, we're not going to do the happy-dance yet, but we're hopeful and will wait to see what the morning brings.

If you'd like more background on this saga, take a look at our previous three posts on this topic.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Update on slowness isues with the EFM as of 1PM Tuesday, 7/26

For what has transpired up to this point, take a look at our post from last night about what caused this issue.

Here's the new information from today:

Yesterday, the State's EFM was running so slowly that it was effectively unusable. We estimate that the EFM was taking 17 times as long as usual to respond to the EFSPs such as Doxpop.

Today, it started off looking good, but a little slow. However, as of Noon today, our estimate is that the EFM is still taking 7 times as log to respond as prior to the cloud upgrade.

We have passed this information along to Tyler Technologies along with an urgent request to essentially double whatever change they made last night. That change got them halfway to the goal, so we expect it should not be hard to travel the rest of the way.

We share your frustration with this extended problem. Please know that we're doing everything we can, and at this point we're waiting on the folks at Tyler to respond.

Monday, July 25, 2022

The E-Filing outage on Friday and Monday- What happened?

 To understand this explanation, you need to know that there are two distinct sections of the E-Filing system in Indiana:

1) The section you interact with as a filer is called an E-Filing Service Provider (EFSP). The largest EFSPs in Indiana are the Tyler system, the Indiana Prosecutors' CMS, The Public Defenders' CMS and Doxpop. We provide the part of the system you interact with to get your work done.

2) Behind the scenes, all of the EFSPs connect to a single E-Filing Manager (EFM). The EFM takes the filing information that the EFSPs assemble into envelopes and write that information to the Odyssey system used by the courts. Tyler Technologies operates Indiana's EFM.

So in our case, the primary flow of data is Doxpop > EFM > Courts.

On Thursday evening, Tyler migrated Indiana's EFM to a cloud-based server. It didn't go smoothly. The result was a nearly complete outage lasting from Thursday night through the close of business on Monday. During this time, the EFM was extremely slow- Slow enough that it was essentially unusable. 

On Friday, all EFSPs were affected. Over the weekend, Tyler managed to get the connection to their EFSP working well. However, the interface used by the Prosecutors, Public Defenders, Doxpop, and other smaller EFSPs was still unusable on Monday. Doxpop reported this early Monday morning, and provided Tyler with all of the information we had available.

At 9:50 PM on Monday, Tyler reported that they completely fixed the interface used by the EFSPs, including Doxpop, that were affected on Monday. We'll be monitoring the system closely on Tuesday morning to confirm this, and ask that our users quickly report any issues they run into so we can let Tyler know if the fix applied Monday evening did the job.

Thanks to all of our users for your extraordinary patience and kindness during Friday and Monday. We were having two very bad days, but you made it a lot better by being so understanding!

Similarly, although it's tempting to point fingers, we really can't complain about the team at Tyler. Upgrades of this magnitude are no fun for anyone. They were having a very bad day too, but Tyler stuck with it until all of the issues were resolved. We appreciate that their technicians were hard at work well into the evening tonight.

Did this outage cause you to miss any filing deadlines?  If so, please read our previous blog post, which explains how the trial rules address this situation.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Did the e-file outage on Friday through Monday cause you to miss a deadline?

On Friday, July 22nd, we noticed an increasing issue with slow or completely unresponsive response times being returned by the State's E-Filing Manager, which is the central system that routes E-Filing submissions to each court. 

Doxpop promptly reported the issue to the State's vendor for this system, and received confirmation they were "aware of an issue which is affecting filings in IN Prod and are currently investigating".

As of 5PM, this problem was still not resolved, and the State's vendor indicated that they would continue working on the problem into the weekend.

If these issues caused you to miss a deadline, please note that Trial Rule 87(J)(1)(c), essentially provides for a one-day extension when a lengthy e-filing system outage or issue prevents filers from meeting a deadline.

We expect that the Trial Courts will all be aware of the scope and timing of this outage via direct communication from Trial Court Technology. However, if the court you are working with requires an affidavit from Doxpop to attach as an exhibit to the motion described in TR 86(J)(1)(c), please let us know and we'll be happy to supply documentation in support of your motion. (Simply attaching a screen print of this blog post may be sufficient.)

On the appellate side, take a look at Rule 68(M)(1)(d), which appears to be nearly identical to the Trial Court rule on this topic.

Friday, July 8, 2022

USPS Postal Rate set to increase, how will this effect Delivery by Doxpop rates?


As announced by the USPS earlier this year, USPS postal rates are set to increase on July 10th, 2022. We've reviewed those changes and will be updating the pricing to our Delivery by Doxpop services in line with that pricing at the end of the day on July 8th due to the update happening over the weekend.

The rate updates are detailed but in short, the only increase you will see is the actual postage increase for services that utilize the USPS. The only exception is with First Class Mail and Certified Mail flat packages. With those, you will see the per-page printing fee slightly increase as that is how we account for additional per-ounce charges. 

You can review our full Delivery by Doxpop fees on our fee schedule here. 

If you have any questions or would like more details on these updates please don't hesitate to contact Doxpop Support at 866-369-7671 or support@doxpop.com.

Monday, March 7, 2022

The Judgment Search is known to be incomplete, but still useful.

The Judgment Search is Incomplete. 

Here's an explanation of why, and what we're doing to fix it.

In August, we released our new judgment search with high hopes of providing a simple and comprehensive tool for finding judgments. It turns out we got ahead of ourselves. Here's an outline of the two significant issues we have identified, and how we're addressing them.

The context:

The data for the judgment search comes directly from the Indiana Courts. Doxpop pays the Indiana Office of Judicial Administration to send us a real-time data feed of public court information. One of the elements included in this data feed is a judgment record, which creates the Record of Judgments and Orders (RJO) book for county clerks. It is this judgment record that we search for when you do a judgment search.

What we got wrong:

(1) The data feed from the State Courts is incorrectly formatted. The issue is that when multiple judgment records exist on a case, the Court is sending us just one of the records. The Court IT folks quickly agreed that this is wrong and they are working helpfully with us to resolve that problem. Fixing this is a big project that will take more than a month.

(2) Because the judgment records drive the process to create the RJO book automatically, we expected that every court would make judgment entries. We were wrong. Some courts aren't using this tool to report judgments, so we can't do a complete judgment search in their counties.

How we'll resolve the problem:

The data feed issue described above is in the process of being resolved. There's a lot of work involved, but the solution is clear. When the judgment records are coming in correctly via the State Court data feed, we'll be able to tell you that the judgment search is complete for the counties that enter judgment records.

The second issue is a more complex one because we can't control the court's choices about internal business processes. Every court in Indiana that hears civil cases has a tool that will make their work easier... but we can't force them to use it. What we can do is survey the courts and give you a verified list of the courts that are entering the judgment records, and the date they started. We're in the process of doing that survey now, and will be releasing information about the participating counties shortly.

What you should do until both problems are fixed:

A regular case search on Doxpop will reliably return cases that a person is involved in statewide, and by visually scanning the minute entries, you can locate the entries noting when a judgment has been rendered. This is the way it's been done for years, so stick to the old reliable methods until we have a better solution. To make sure you search for every variation on a name, we suggest that you use our "super search" tool or do wildcard searching.

Why is the judgment search still useful?

We suggest still doing a judgment search in addition to a regular case search because although the judgment search is incomplete, every record it returns is definitely a judgment against the name you searched for. Doing a judgment search only takes a few seconds and may locate a judgment you missed with your visual scan of minute entries. Redundancy is useful when doing a thorough job is important.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Doxpop's Fine Payment has been retired

Doxpop is no longer contracted to take traffic or citation payments for any counties in Indiana and the service has been retired as of January 1st, 2022.

If you found this post looking to pay a traffic ticket issued in an Indiana county here are some suggestions:
  • Most counties are payable on the Indiana State Court payment site at public.courts.in.gov so start there. We suggest allowing 7-14 days to pass for the ticket to be payable. 
  • If you are unable to find or pay your ticket at that site please call the clerk of courts in the county the ticket was issued. 
  • If you are unsure of the county, look at which court the ticket was assigned to and the first part of that court name will be the county or municipality the ticket was assigned to.