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All FAQs

Are there any limits to CM/ECF filing privileges?

Passwords are issued to permit electronic filing and entry of data. Extracting data from CM/ECF through any program, script or mechanism other than those provided by the Court, is strictly prohibited and may result in criminal prosecution or civil action.

Are there separate logins and passwords for CM/ECF and PACER?

Yes, the systems require different logins/passwords. A CM/ECF login/password from the Florida Southern District Court is required for attorneys to electronically file documents. (Your CM/ECF login for the Florida Southern District Court cannot be used to access the Bankruptcy Court’s CM/ECF system. Contact the Bankruptcy Court at 305-714-1800 for assistance with a Bankruptcy login/password.) A PACER login ID is required for querying cases. You cannot use your PACER login/password to electronically file documents. Contact PACER at 1-800-676-6856 or http://www.pacer.psc.uscourts.gov for assistance with your PACER login/password.

Can any member of the public use CM/ECF to file documents with the Court?

No, access to the filing portion of CM/ECF is available to authorized attorneys admitted to the Southern District of Florida bar.

Can I have the same filing login for all courts I practice in?

Because each District Court assigns each attorney their own unique User Name and Password into the CM/ECF system, it is not possible to obtain a universal filing login.

Can I just show up for a class without registering?

No, you cannot show up for a class without registering. If your name is not on the class roster, a CM/ECF User Name and Password will not be generated.

Can I remove cases that I do not want my secondary email recipient(s) to receive NEF’s for?

Yes, access your email information located within Utilities/Maintain Your Account section. Click on either 'Add New Email Address' or select a secondary email address to modify. In the Configuration Options section select “no” on the question that reads “Should this e-mail address receive notice for all cases in which this individual is a participant?” Hold the CRTL key and click on the case(s) you want to remove from the noticing list, and then click 'Remove selected cases.' Once you are finished, click on ‘Return to Person Information Screen’ and then ‘Submit.’ On the following screen, click ‘Submit’ a second time.

Can I utilize CM/ECF to file an initial pleading?

Yes, as of 4/5/2010 it is mandatory for all authorized CM/ECF users to file their initial pleadings electronically. A copy of the Administrative Order is available on our CM/ECF Resources page.

Can my staff use my CM/ECF User Name and Password?

Yes, your staff can utilize your User Name and Password. However, as the registered attorney, your name will appear as the signatory of the electronically filed document and all certification responsibilities remain with you, the attorney of record.

Can the general public view CM/ECF cases and the documents in those cases?

Yes, the public can access case data in CM/ECF unless it has been sealed by the Court. The public access component of CM/ECF will require a user to enter a PACER login and password. The general public can also go to the Court and use the systems available in the Clerk’s Office to access any un-sealed cases. Please note that, through PACER, there is a charge for this service.

Do I need to establish a new CM/ECF login and password if I am changing firms?

No, you do not need to re-register for a new CM/ECF login and password if you are changing firms. However, you will need to update your mailing address and phone number as well as your email address.

Does a document that has been electronically filed require a Certificate of Service?

Yes, a Certificate of Service must be included with each document filed electronically indicating how service was accomplished on each party. The filer must serve a paper copy of any electronically-filed document on a party not registered to file electronically. To determine if someone is a registered user, the filer can click on the ‘Utilities’ feature from the blue menu bar. Select the ‘Mailings’ hyperlink and then the ‘Mailing Info for a Case.’ Once you type in the case number, a screen will display a list of the parties who receive email notices and the parties who require manual noticing.

Does the text searchable requirement apply to attachments and exhibits to filings?

Attachments and exhibits which are filed electronically in CM/ECF should be in text searchable PDF format whenever possible (the Court realizes documents such as maps, diagrams, and pictures will not be text searchable). However, pleadings/main documents filed electronically in CM/ECF must be in text searchable PDF format (See Administrative Procedure Section 3G(5)).

For some reason CM/ECF is not loading. What can I do?

CM/ECF is continually being updated and, as such, your web browser needs to be set to automatically check for new versions of stored pages every time you launch the browser. Specifically for Internet Explorer, go to the ‘Tools’ option on your pull-down menu and select ‘Internet Options.’ Click on the ‘General’ tab and then click the ‘Settings’ button found in the Temporary Internet Files section. Select the radial button next to ‘Every time I start Internet Explorer.’ Click the ‘OK’ button and then ‘OK’ again. Close all your programs and reboot your PC. This should fix the problem!

How are electronic documents served?

In most filings, the CM/ECF system generates a Notice of Electronic Filing. This email message contains a hyperlink to the document being filed. Those attorneys that have electronic filing capabilities will receive notices instantaneously through the email address they have provided.

How are the cases to be transferred brought before the Panel?

Proceedings for the transfer of an action under this section may be initiated by
(i) the judicial panel on multidistrict litigation upon its own initiative, or
(ii) motion filed with the panel by a party in any action in which transfer for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings under this section may be appropriate. Before cases are designated multidistrict litigation and transferred to one federal court, the Panel convenes a hearing and notifies all parties of the place and time of the hearing. The Panel’s order of transfer is based on a record of such hearing at which material evidence may be offered by any party to an action in any federal court that would be affected by the transfer.

How can I access the docket sheet if I don't have a CM/ECF account?

You may access the docket sheet in two ways. First, you may purchase a docket sheet from the Clerk’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. Second, you may access the docket sheet online by purchasing a PACER account through the PACER Service Center’s website at http://www.pacer.psc.uscourts.gov.

How can I search for a word or a phrase within a document?

If the PDF document is text-searchable (imbedded with Optical Character Recognition (OCR)), in Adobe select ‘Edit’, then ‘Find’ and enter the word(s) you wish to locate in the document. CTRL-F is a short cut to this same feature within Adobe and many other programs used to search for text. Please note, if the PDF document is not text-searchable, searching within the document is not possible. However, there are ways to convert a PDF image document to be text-searchable with Adobe Pro software. Currently, PDF documents cannot be converted to OCR using Adobe Reader.

Within Adobe Pro, select ‘View’ from the drop-down menu, select ‘Tools’, then ‘Recognize Text.' Choose the desired pages to convert to OCR text searchable format. Once the PDF document has been made text-searchable, you will have the ability to search for a word or phrase within a PDF document.

How do I access a Docket Sheet specific to a case?

First, log in to CM/ECF and select the ‘Reports’ link from the blue menu bar. A sub-menu appears with a link for ‘Docket Sheet.’ Once you click on this link, then you will need to log in to PACER. After you have successfully logged into PACER, you will have numerous search options to preview a specific Docket Sheet.

How do I add a secondary email address to my CM/ECF account for noticing?

Log into CM/ECF with your Court-issued login and password, and then click on the 'Utilities' menu. On the next screen, click on 'Maintain Your Account,' and then click on the 'Email Information' button found on the bottom, left-hand side of the screen. Click on the 'Add new e-mail address' link under Secondary e-mail addresses, and type in the email address in the text field under Configuration Options. When the system recognizes a valid email address, the configuration options will be displayed. You can now modify your Options accordingly. When finished, click on 'Return to Person Information Screen,' and then click 'Submit' on the proceeding screens. When you see 'User Edit Complete,' your account has been updated.

How do I add my legal staff to receive NEF’s?

It is possible to add up to eleven additional email addresses to your account. Once you log in to the CM/ECF system with your court-issued User Name and Password, click on ‘Utilities’ and then ‘Maintain Your Account.’ Click on the ‘Email information’ button found at the bottom of the screen. On the following screen, click on ‘Add new e-mail address’ and then type the email address in the appropriate field under the 'Configuration Options.' Once you are finished, click on ‘Return to Person Information Screen’ and then ‘Submit.’ On the following screen, click ‘Submit’ a second time.

How do I apply a payment I have been previously charged from another case?

If your case was INCOMPLETE/ERRONEOUSLY filed, and you have paid the filing fee, you DO NOT have to pay again upon refiling the case. You can apply your previous payment to a new transaction. First you must start over with the case opening process. Have your Pay.gov Agency Tracking Receipt ID/# from the previous case available to process this transaction. Once you get to the payment/filing fee option screen, you will select the 'Incomplete/Erroneous Filing' option and follow the prompts.

How do I change my address with the Court?

The first step to changing your mailing address is to file a Notice of Change of Address in all pending cases you have with the Court. Additionally, within CM/ECF, you may have the ability to change your address. From the ‘Utilities’ menu, select the ‘Maintain Your Account’ link. If the fields are available for you to edit, then you can update your mailing address. Once you update your mailing address, the system will then prompt you to select the cases (both closed and pending) that you would like to be associated with. Please note that, even if you edit your mailing address directly within CM/ECF, you still need to file a Notice of Change of Address in all of your pending cases. If your mailing address is ghosted then the Clerk’s Office will associate you with only those specific cases that you have filed a Notice of Change of Address. This is relevant for those attorneys that are leaving a firm as some cases may be staying with the firm whereas other cases may be moving with the attorney.

If you have no pending cases with the Court, then you may have the ability to change your address within CM/ECF. From the ‘Utilities’ menu, select the ‘Maintain Your Account’ link. If the fields are available for you to edit, then you can update your mailing address. Once you update your mailing address, the system will then prompt you to select the closed cases that you would like to be associated with. If the mailing address is ghosted, then you cannot change your address within CM/ECF. You will then need to email the Clerk's Office at FLSD_AtyAdm@flsd.uscourts.gov stating your name, bar number, old mailing address and new mailing address. It is also important to state in your email that you have no pending cases with the Court. If you would like to be associated with any specific closed cases, please indicate those exact case numbers in your letter as well.

How do I change my CM/ECF password?

To do this, log in to CM/ECF and click on the ‘Utilities’ feature from the blue menu bar. Click on ‘Maintain Your Login/Password’ link. The screen displays user login information and provides the means to change your CM/ECF password. There will be asterisks in the Password field. Delete the asterisks and then type in your new password. CM/ECF will display the actual characters of your new password as you type. When you are done, click on the ‘Submit’ button at the bottom of the screen.

How do I change my email address that's associated with my CM/ECF account?

Log into CM/ECF with your Court-issued login and password, and then click on the 'Utilities' menu. On the next screen, click on 'Maintain Your Account,' and then click on the 'Email Information' button found on the bottom, left-hand side of the screen. Click on the e-mail address you wish to update or change located on the left side of the screen. This will display the configuration options on the right side of the screen where the text field will show the email address for you to modify. Highlight the email address within the text field and type in the email address that you wish to set for your account. When finished, click on 'Return to Person Information Screen,' and then click 'Submit' on the proceeding screens. When you see 'User Edit Complete,' your account has been updated.

How do I clean my cache and cookies?

  1. Open Internet Explorer. (If you are not using Internet Explorer, please locate “Internet options” on the browser you are using and adapt the basic instructions below.)
  2. Click on “Tools – Internet Options.” Under Browsing History, click the Delete button.
  3. On the screen Delete Browsing Options, you can delete Temporary Internet Files, Cookies, History, Form Data, and Passwords individually or you can delete everything listed by choosing the “Delete All” button on the bottom of the screen.
  4. Restart your web browser by closing the browser window. (Click the x in the upper right corner of your web browser, i.e. Internet Explorer).

How do I copy a PDF text file to my word processor?

If the PDF document is text-searchable (imbedded with Optical Character Recognition (OCR)), in Adobe select ‘Edit,’ then ‘Copy’ (or CTRL-C) and ‘Paste’ (or CTRL-V) within your desired program. Please note, if the PDF document is not text-searchable, copying text within the document is not possible. However, there are ways to convert a PDF image document to be text searchable with Adobe Pro software. Currently, PDF documents cannot be converted to OCR using Adobe Reader.

Within Adobe Pro, select ‘View’ from the drop-down menu, select ‘Tools’, then ‘Recognize Text.' Choose the desired pages to convert to OCR text-searchable format. Once the PDF document has been made text-searchable, you will have the ability to copy and paste from Adobe to your word processing software.

How do I delete an email address associated with my CM/ECF account?

Log into CM/ECF with your Court-issued login and password, and then click on the 'Utilities' Menu. On the next screen, click on 'Maintain Your Account,' and then click on the 'Email Information' button found on the bottom, left-hand side of the screen. Click on the e-mail address that you wish to remove from your account. When the configuration options appear on the right hand side of the screen, highlight and delete the email address from the text field. You will notice that the email address simultaneously disappears from the left-hand side of the screen. Please note that if you delete your primary email address, you will not receive ANY notices! When finished, click on 'Return to Person Information Screen,' and then click 'Submit' on the proceeding screens. When you see 'User Edit Complete,' your account has been updated.

How do I determine which version of Acrobat Reader is installed on my computer?

Launch Acrobat Reader, select the ‘Help’ menu option and then select ‘About Acrobat Reader.’

How do I file a Proposed Order or I forgot to attach the Proposed Order?

Unless otherwise directed by a judge, proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, jury instructions, and proposed orders shall be filed initially as an attachment to a motion, notice, or other filing. However, the final version of the proposed document in Word format must be emailed to the appropriate judge at the email address listed in the Administrative Procedures. The email subject line and the name of the attachment should include the case number, followed by a short description of the attachment.

If you forgot to attach the proposed order, draft a ‘Notice of Filing Proposed Order.' File the Notice within the Notices category and select Notice (Other). Upload your notice as the Main Document and your proposed order as the Attachment. Be sure to link your Notice to the document it relates to (i.e. Motion, Stipulation, etc.). Please note that the Administrative Procedures on the CM/ECF Resources page has instructions for Proposed Documents. Please visit http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/CMECF and refer to these instructions for all future filings.

How do I file pro hac vice?

Any attorney who is a member in good standing of the bar of any United States Court, or of the highest Court of any State or Territory or Insular Possession of the United States, but is not admitted to practice in the Southern District of Florida may, upon written application filed by counsel admitted to practice in this District, be permitted to appear and participate in a particular case. A certification that the applicant has studied the Local Rules shall accompany the application together with such appearance fee as may be required by administrative order. If permission to appear pro hac vice is granted, such appearance shall not constitute formal admission or authorize the attorney to file documents via CM/ECF.

Lawyers who are not members of the bar of this Court shall not be permitted to engage in general practice in this District. For purposes of this rule, more than three appearances within a 365-day period in separate representations before the Courts of this District shall be presumed to be a “general practice.” Upon written motion and for good cause shown the Court may waive or modify this prohibition.

The application shall designate a member of the bar of this Court, who maintains an office in this State for the practice of law and who is authorized to file through the Court’s electronic filing system, with whom the Court and opposing counsel may readily communicate regarding the conduct of the case, upon whom filings shall be served, and who shall be required to electronically file all documents and things that may be filed electronically, and who shall be responsible for filing documents in compliance with the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures. See Section 2B of the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures. The application must be accompanied by a written statement consenting to the designation, and the address and telephone number of the named designee. Upon written motion and for good cause shown the Court may waive or modify the requirements of such designation.

How do I get help?

For assistance with CM/ECF filing in the Southern District of Florida, please call the Help Desk at 1-888-318-2260. If it is after hours, there is information available on our website at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/CMECF. For assistance with PACER, please call 1-800-676-6856 or access the PACER website at http://www.pacer.psc.uscourts.gov. You can also send an email to pacer@psc.uscourts.gov.

How do I get listed as counsel of record on a case so I can receive emails?

If the attorney wishes to participate on a case, receive emails and be listed on the docket, simply filing the initial pleading to open the case will ensure that the attorney is added to the case and will receive emails from that point forward. A second way to add counsel on a case is to file a Notice of Appearance within CM/ECF if the attorney is not listed on the case or if the attorney is appointed after the case has already been active. A third way is to log in to CM/ECF with the attorney’s User Name and Password and file an answer or a motion. The attorney will be prompted within CM/ECF to make the association between the party and the attorney during the filing process. Correctly making this association will ensure that the attorney is listed properly on the docket as counsel of record for that party. This will then ensure that the attorney will receive emails on the case.

How do I get my free copy of newly filed documents?

Each attorney of record in a case will receive an email message containing a hyperlink to a document that has been filed. Please note that this does NOT include a pro se litigant who has not consented to receive Notices of Electronic Filing. One free copy is available to each attorney of record and any secondary address listed under the email information screen. The hyperlink to access the document will expire after the earlier of these two events: the first use or 15 days. Any time that same hyperlink is accessed after it has expired; the user will be asked for a PACER login and will be charged to view the document. All users are advised to print or save the document during the initial viewing period in order to avoid future charges.

How do I log into CM/ECF to view PSI reports and avoid unnecessary PACER fees?

Attention: Do not click on the link in the NEF, until AFTER you are logged into CM/ECF.

First, use your court issued login and password to login to CM/ECF. Any attempt to view the PSI report before logging into CM/ECF may result in the loss of your "one free look." Please note that all attorneys do NOT have access to view PSI reports in CM/ECF. PSI reports are restricted documents, only accessible to select attorneys as determined by Probation.

Second, click on the link sent to the attorney’s PRIMARY email address (not a secondary email address). You must access the link in the NEF sent to the attorney’s primary email address and not a secondary email address used by others to monitor NEFs. The link in the NEF will NOT open if accessed from a secondary email address.

Third, when you click on the PDF document link, the system may ask for your PACER log-in and password, if you have not previously set a default PACER account to bridge the CM/ECF & PACER Systems. Only authorized users can view PSI Reports. The system must first verify that you are an authorized user which is done when you first log into CM/ECF. Because PACER is the service that actually allows you to view the document, when you click on the document link, it will ask for your PACER log-in and password.

How do I make a PDF document?

There are several ways in which you can convert a word processing document to a PDF document. Most word-processing programs have a built-in ability to publish a document to PDF format. Others programs have the ability to create PDF documents by “printing” to a file and selecting the “printer” called Adobe PDFWriter or Adobe PDF.

How do I obtain a Certificate of Good Standing Electronically?

Log into your CM/ECF account and select 'Utilities.' Select 'Certificate of Good Standing – Electronic PDF.' To pay for your certificate, you will be automatically redirected to pay.gov where you will pay the $19.00 fee (via check or credit card). Your certificate will be e-mailed within 2 business days to your primary e-mail address on file in CM/ECF. Click here to go to CM/ECF.

Note: If you need certificates for multiple attorneys, you will need to log in to each attorney’s CM/ECF account to order their certificate of good standing.

How do I receive a User Name and Password?

User Names and Passwords are automatically generated via email once the attorney has successfully completed the CM/ECF training. As long as the training has been successfully completed by 5:00 p.m., an email will be sent within three business days.

How do I receive notices on cases where I am not counsel of record?

Log into CM/ECF with your Court-issued login and password, and then click on the 'Utilities' menu. On the next screen, click on 'Maintain Your Account,' and then click on the 'Email Information' button found on the bottom, left-hand side of the screen. Click on the primary email address. On the right hand side of the screen you will find the 'Case-specific options.' Enter the case number in the text field under the caption 'Add additional cases for noticing' and click 'Find This Case.' Once the case number is located by CM/ECF, select the case and click 'Add Case.' Future filings on this case will be sent to your email address. You may add in as many additional cases as you wish. Be aware that the “free look” does not apply to these cases and that PACER will charge their standard rates for viewing these documents. When finished, click on 'Return to Person Information Screen,' and then click 'Submit' on the proceeding screens. When you see 'User Edit Complete,' your account has been updated.

How do I receive the three CLE credits for attending the CM/ECF attorney training?

The Continuing Legal Education credit is approved by the Florida Bar if you attend a hands-on training session. At the conclusion of the live session, the facilitator will guide you through the process for posting your CLE course credits. If you take the Computer Based Training (CBT) module, you will not receive the CLE credits.

How do I register for class?

You can register as long as you are a member in good standing of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida Bar and a member in good standing of The Florida Bar. Go to our website at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov then select the link titled “Training Registration” found under the CM/ECF header. On the following screen, select option 1 for Computer Based Training or option 2 for Hands-on Training and follow the screens to complete your registration.

How do I remove or substitute an attorney on a given case?

A document explaining who is being removed or substituted and why must be created and converted into a PDF format. Since all changes in representation must be approved by the Court, a Motion to Withdraw as Attorney or Motion to Substitute Attorney needs to be submitted. Once you log in to CM/ECF, you can select the appropriate event under ‘Motions and Related Filings.' When the Clerk’s Office sees that this motion has been approved by the Court, they will remove the attorney from the case. Until this is completed, the Court will still consider the attorney as a participant in the case and the system will continue to send him/her the notifications.

How do I start receiving email notices from CM/ECF?

To receive notices by email instead of receiving them by US mail you must add an email to your ECF account.

To do this, log in to CM/ECF and click the 'Utilities' feature from the blue menu bar, then click the 'Maintain Your Account' link; click the 'Email information' button at the bottom of the page. Under 'Primary e-mail address' click the link labeled 'add new email address.' Enter your Primary email address in the appropriate field under the 'Configuration options' area. You can also send additional notices to other email addresses by selecting the 'add new e-mail address' link, under 'secondary e-mail address.' You can choose how to receive an individual notice for each filing or a daily summary report of all filings for that day. Both the individual and summary notice contain hyperlinks back to the documents. You can choose to receive the email notices in HTML or text format. After you have configured your email options on the screen, click on ‘Return to Person Information Screen’ button and click on ‘Submit’ and then ‘Submit’ again. You should receive a confirmation message on the screen that your email preferences were successfully updated.

Make sure you keep your email address current, so you don’t miss notices. For additional information, please refer to the FAQ “How do I get listed as counsel of record on a case so I can receive emails?”

How do I update my personal information within the CM/ECF system?

You can easily update your email address in CM/ECF by selecting the ‘Utilities’ feature from the blue menu bar and then select the ‘Maintain Your Account’ link. Once you select the ‘Email Information’ button, you can edit your email address. When you are done, click on the ‘Return to Person Information Screen’ then click ‘Submit’ and then ‘Submit’ a second time.

To change your mailing address, please refer to the FAQ “How do I change my address with the Court?”

To make any changes to your name, you must first submit the name change request with the Florida Bar. When you receive an Order from the Supreme Court of Florida documenting your name change, submit a copy to the Attorney Admissions Office. With this order, the Attorney Admissions Office will update your name.

How do I, as an attorney, become an authorized CM/ECF user?

In order to receive a log-in to file electronically in CM/ECF, you must be admitted to the Southern District of Florida Bar and you must complete the remote computer based training or attend the hands-on training. Please visit Case Info, CM/ECF Information, Training-Registration for more information.

How do you start the Adobe Acrobat Reader program in order to view a PDF document on a website?

Adobe Acrobat Reader is a plugin that Firefox or Internet Explorer will automatically launch when you try to access a document stored in PDF format. If you do not have the Adobe Reader, your computer will show you a set of applications from which to choose a program that will read the file. None of them will work, which is why you must download the Adobe Reader from Adobe Systems’ website. To download a free copy of Acrobat Reader, click here.

How to I save a PDF document in the browser window?

To save a PDF file opened in the browser window, click on the browser file menu at the top of the screen and then on “Save As…”. Another way is to utilize the Adobe toolbars within the browser by clicking on the picture of the disk, “Save As Copy."

How will I get noticed of activity by the Court?

When a document is filed electronically, CM/ECF will generate a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) to the filing party, any party who is a user, parties otherwise authorized to receive NEF’s (pro hac vice attorneys) and the assigned judge. If you are not a registered user, it is the responsibility of the filing party to provide the party with a paper copy of the electronically-filed document. The filing party must also include a copy of the NEF to provide the recipient with proof of filing.

How will I know if the electronic filing worked? How will I know it was accepted?

The Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) will show at the end of the filing process. This page states what was done, what time it occurred and who was notified. This NEF will be sent to all parties associated with the case and, once you receive the email, if you click on the associated links, the information should appear.

You can also view the history of the transactions you’ve made in CM/ECF by using the View Your Transactions Log utility. To do this, log in to CM/ECF and click on 'Utilities' feature from the blue menu bar, and then click on the 'View Transaction Log.' On the following screen, enter the date when your document was filed and click on “run report.” You can also view a filing by logging in to PACER using your Pacer login and password and query the case docket.

How will I sign documents?

If the document is signed in ink, you will need to scan the document into PDF format before filing it electronically. You can also sign the document using /s/. Please refer to the Administrative Procedures for the exact format of the electronic signature.

I am completing the CM/ECF Computer-Based Training Modules. My screen is frozen and I can’t move forward. What should I do?

On the top of the modules screen, there are a series of buttons. Click on the “Play” button to continue. This will allow you to resume your lesson.

I am listed as the attorney of record but am not receiving the NEF’s. Why not?

If you are not receiving the email notices, check the docket sheet and click the silver bullet next to the document number. The information displayed will indicate everyone that was sent an email. If it shows an email was sent, verify that your email address is correct. If it’s wrong, select the ‘Maintain User Account’ link from the ‘Utilities’ menu to enter the correction. If the email address is correct, please check your email account to ensure that the NEF is not in a Bulk mail folder. Also review Blocked Mail, Spam Mail and Quarantined Mail. To ensure that the NEF’s are received in your in-box, you need to list the Court’s email address as “safe.” All NEF’s are sent from cmecfautosender@flsd.uscourts.gov. If you are unsure of how to indicate the email as “safe,” you can contact your internal IT/Help Desk area. Keep in mind that another individual utilizing the same Internet Service Provider (ISP) as yourself may have already designated the Court’s email address as Spam. Therefore, please let the powers-that-be know that the Court’s email address will ALWAYS be “safe.”

I can’t access a document in a Social Security or Immigration case. Is there a problem?

Electronic access to documents in Social Security cases and Immigration matters is limited to the attorneys or parties in the case in order to protect the privacy of the individuals involved in those cases. If you are a party or attorney in the case, please note that you can access documents in these cases by logging in to CM/ECF first and then log in to PACER if your free look has expired or has been used.

I have a Macintosh computer. Is CM/ECF compatible with Macs?

CM/ECF has never been tested with Macintosh computers since the judiciary is PC based. It is recommended for Mac users to install and use the Firefox browser for Macs. All the features and functionality of CM/ECF will work with the Firefox browser.

I have checked all my e-mail configuration options within CM/ECF and I am still not receiving my NEF’s (Notices of Electronic Filing). Why am I not receiving my NEF’s?

The Internet IP address for e-mail notifications has changed. If you experience any difficulty in receiving e-mail (Notices of Electronic Filing) from the CM/ECF system, please make sure your ISP, e-mail provider or your IT department has listed the following IP addresses for e-mail delivery. The ISP must configure with your firewall or mail filtering applications to allow the following IP addresses to deliver the notices:

  • 63.241.40.200
  • 199.107.16.200
  • 206.18.112.200
  • 63.241.40.202
  • 199.107.16.202
  • 206.18.112.202
  • 63.241.40.204
  • 199.107.16.204
  • 206.18.112.204
  • 63.241.40.205
  • 199.107.16.205
  • 206.18.112.205

Domain Name: *.uscourts.gov

Please pass this information along to the department or organization that handles your e-mail so the access list and spam filters can be updated. This information applies to all United States Courts CM/ECF systems in all districts. Larger e-mail providers (such as Yahoo, AOL and Gmail) have already been notified. If you use one of their services, e-mail delivery should not be affected.

I have my User Name and Password but it’s not working. What now?

Your User Name and Password are case sensitive in CM/ECF. Be sure you are entering the information exactly as it was issued to you via email by the Court. Also, please make sure that you are entering your CM/ECF User Name and Password and not your PACER User Name and Password. If the problem continues, please call the Helpdesk at 1-888-318-2260.

I made a mistake, such as filing in the wrong case or submitting the wrong document. What should I do?

Once a document is submitted and becomes part of the case docket, the CM/ECF system will not permit the filing party to make changes to the document or docket entry filed in error since the transaction has been accepted. If an error is discovered by the Clerk’s Office during the quality control process, the Clerk’s Office will docket a ‘Notice of Instructions to Filer’ informing the filer of the error and how to proceed. The Clerk’s Office will not modify, strike or delete attorney entries unless directed by the Court. To fix your mistake, you must first file a ‘Notice of Striking.’ The Notice of Striking must be linked and refer to the “wrong” document. After you file the Notice of Striking, then immediately re-file the correct document. You can also contact the Help Desk at 1-888-318-2260 for further assistance.

I received the error message “Warning: The transaction you submitted has already been accepted and posted by this system.” What does this mean?

Often this error occurs when the user utilizes the Back button on the browser. The easiest way to avoid receiving this error is to never use the Back button while filing your documents. In CM/ECF click on the blue menu bar and start the filing process over again and avoid using the back button. If your original submission contained an error, you must contact the Help Desk for further instructions on how to correct it.

You may find details about your original submission by viewing your transaction log. In CM/ECF click on the 'Utilities' feature from the blue menu bar, and then click on the 'View Transaction Log.' On the following screen, enter the date when your document was filed and click on “run report.” Or you can view the PDF document by logging in to PACER using your Pacer login and password and query the case docket.

I received the following message. Error: ProcessPeople failed. An Internal Error has occurred the error code is 47. What should I do?

  1. CM/ECF click on the ‘Utilities’ feature from the blue menu bar.
  2. Click the “Maintain Your Account” link.
  3. Click the “Email information” button.
  4. Click on the “Primary e-mail address” and delete the primary e-mail address from the Configuration Options area.
  5. Click the “Return to Person Information Screen” button.
  6. Click Submit.
  7. Click Submit again.
  8. Return to 'Utilities' > 'Maintain Your Account' > 'Email information' to add the primary e-mail address back to your account.
  9. Click the “Return to Person Information Screen” button.
  10. Click Submit.
  11. Click Submit again.

This will reset the email accounts on file and resolve the error.

If I am interested in receiving notification of docketing activities in certain cases, can I register to receive notification for cases of interest?

If the attorney is not officially listed on the docket but wants to receive emails on the case, they can be listed as a “watcher.” To do this, log in to CM/ECF and click on the ‘Utilities’ feature from the blue menu bar. Select the link 'Maintain Your Account' and then click on the 'Email Information' button. On the following screen, click on the Primary e-mail address, enter the case number in the appropriate field under 'Case-specific options' – Add additional cases for noticing, click the 'Find This Case' button. When the case list displays, select the case and click the 'Add case(s)' button. When you are finished entering all the case numbers, click on ‘Return to Person Information Screen.’ Click on ‘Submit’ then ‘Submit’ again. Please note that the system will show “watchers = non case participants” as receiving email notices. All “watchers = non case participants” will show up on the NEF under the section ‘Notice will be electronically mailed to’ and also on the report ‘Email Info for a Case.’ The free look does not apply to any cases that you are “watching.”

If I received the NEF, shouldn't I be able to view the PSI report?

All attorneys do not have access to view PSI reports in CM/ECF. PSI reports are restricted documents, only accessible to select attorneys as determined by Probation. If you are authorized to view PSI reports, see the instructions for logging into CM/ECF prior to viewing PSI reports.

If my case is subject to a transfer order, but the case has not yet been transferred to the Southern District of Florida, where should I file documents?

Transfers under 28 U.S.C. §1407 become effective with the filing of the Panel’s transfer order in the clerk’s office of the designated transferee court. You must make all future filings in the Southern District of Florida once the Transfer of the Case becomes effective.

Is it possible to open a PDF document in CM/ECF in a separate tab or a separate window within my internet browser, while maintaining the docket sheet in my original tab or window?

Yes! You can right click on any hyperlinked docket entry number on a docket sheet, having options to ‘Open in new tab’ or ‘Open in a new window’ the PDF document.

My document seems to change when I make it into PDF. What’s happening?

This is called “flowing.” Depending on the font, the printer selected, and other characteristics of the content, a document may undergo some changes when it’s rendered into PDF. Adobe has a set of technical documents posted on their site http://www.adobe.com that refer directly to ways in which you may attempt to address flowing problems.

There is a size limitation of no more than 50MB per document. What can I do to ensure I don’t exceed the limit?

When creating PDF documents for the purpose of filing in CM/ECF, it is recommended they be converted directly from the word processing program. Usually only very large Word documents converted to PDF will have size limitation problems. You will more frequently run into size issues when scanning documents. Keep in mind that you can separate large files into multiple smaller files. To check the size of the file, right-click on the file and select properties.

What are my Adobe document viewing options and how can I change my viewing preferences?

Most internet browsers support 2 ways to view Adobe documents. One option is to view the PDF document within the browser, using the back button to go back to the docket sheet. The other option is to view the PDF document within the Adobe software, which will open the PDF document in a separate window outside of the browser in use.

If you wish to view the documents within the internet browser, in Adobe, select ‘Edit’ from the drop-down menu, click on ‘Preferences,’ then ‘Internet’. Please make sure that both the first box (‘Display PDF in Browser’) and the third box (‘Allow FastWeb View’) is checked.

If you wish to view the documents within Adobe, outside of the internet browser, uncheck the first box (‘Display PDF in Browser’) and the third box (‘Allow FastWeb View’).

Some browsers may not support these preferences. If this is the case, in Adobe, select ‘Edit’ from the drop-down menu, click on ‘Preferences,’ then ‘Internet’. Please make sure that both the first box (‘Display PDF in Browser’) and the third box (‘Allow FastWeb View’) are both unchecked.

What are the recommended Adobe versions and supported internet browsers to use with CMECF?

The Federal Courts recommend using Adobe 10 or higher for best results in viewing or accessing PDF documents in the most recent versions of CMECF. All earlier versions of Adobe are not recommended and users may experience errors or other technicalities that could prevent the ability to view or print PDF documents from CMECF.

For best results, the Federal Courts have approved the following browsers with latest versions of CMECF - Internet Explorer 9.x, Firefox/Mozilla 15.x and Safari 5.1.

What constitutes a page in CM/ECF for billing purposes?

For report data retrieved from the CM/ECF system, billable pages are calculated in two ways. A formula is used to determine the number of pages for a HTML formatted report. The information extracted from the CM/ECF database, such as the data used to create a docket sheet, is billed using a formula based on the number of bytes extracted. For a PDF document, the actual number of pages is counted to determine the number of billable pages. For report data retrieved from the CM/ECF system that is printed, the print job will not always match the number of pages billed. All users are charged equally for the same information regardless of the browser settings or printer configurations.

What do I need to use CM/ECF?

Here is some pre-content text

  • A personal computer
  • Word-processing software
  • Internet access and a browser
  • An email address
  • Scanning equipment may be useful
  • High speed internet connection via DSL or cable modem
  • Software to convert documents into a PDF format (it is recommended to avoid “freeware” PDF creation utilities)

Please refer to the User’s Manual for additional information.

What documents do I file conventionally?

  • Criminal Sealed Filing and Ex Parte Filings
  • If the entire new civil action/case is sealed
  • Surety Bonds
  • Filing submitted pursuant to a Court order on Audio/Video Recording, CD, DVD, Cassette or VHS Tape

What if I don’t want to be listed as counsel of record but I would like to receive emails for a particular case?

If the attorney is not officially listed on the docket but wants to receive emails on the case, they can be listed as a “watcher.” To do this, log in to CM/ECF and click on the ‘Utilities’ feature from the blue menu bar. Select the link 'Maintain Your Account' and then click on the 'Email Information' button. On the following screen, click on the Primary e-mail address, enter the case number in the appropriate field under 'Case-specific options' – Add additional cases for noticing, click the 'Find This Case' button, when the case list displays, select the case and click the 'Add case(s)' button. When you are finished entering all the case numbers, click on ‘Return to Person Information Screen.’ Click on ‘Submit’ then ‘Submit’ again. Please note that the system will show “watchers = non case participants” as receiving email notices. All “watchers = non case participants” will show up on the NEF under the section ‘Notice will be electronically mailed to’ and also on the report ‘Email Info for a Case.’ The free look does not apply to any cases that you are “watching.”

What if I forgot my password?

In the event you have forgotten your password, simply click on the “Forgot Password?” link on the login screen. This will prompt a reset request.

You can also call the Helpdesk at 1-888-318-2260 and they can re-send your User Name and Password. For security reasons, your User Name and Password can only be re-sent to the email address that you had specified when you initially registered to be a CM/ECF user. If you need your User Name and Password to be re-sent to a different email address, please go to the Courthouse in your vicinity and present your photo ID to an individual in the Intake Section. The Court employee will then contact the Helpdesk to have your User Name and Password forwarded to a different email address. Or you can call the Helpdesk to have your User Name and Password re-sent to the current email you have on file with the Florida Bar website. Please remember to update your email address the first time you log in. This can be completed through the 'Maintain Your Account' link from the Utilities menu.

What if I have a document that I need to scan?

Users should make certain their scanners are configured for 300 dpi. The color setting should be configured for black and white rather than color scanning; however, if the document being filed contains color images (JPEG, GIF, PNG), the color setting may be configured for color scanning. The page size MUST be set to 8 1/2 X 11 inches. The scanner should be set to convert scanned documents to PDF.

What if I have a lengthy document or documents stored in boxes?

For sizable attachments, consider dividing them into smaller attachments and filing the series of attachments electronically. For documents that have not been created in a word processing software, the attachments will need to be scanned and then divided into several smaller attachments for filing electronically. Please refer to the Administrative Procedures for further information regarding attachments and exhibits that cannot be created and filed electronically. In addition, you can contact the Help Desk at 1-888-318-2260 for further assistance.

What if the document was not created on a computer within my office?

The Court seeks to have as many documents as reasonably possible filed electronically. The Court recognizes, however, that some documents may not be available in electronic format (i.e., medical records). Nevertheless, many of these documents can be easily scanned for electronic filing. Documents or objects that cannot reasonably be scanned, such as certain exhibits, will be filed and served in the traditional manner. Advance planning will help avoid the need to make last minute decisions on such matters.

What is a PDF document?

Portable Document File (PDF) format is a file format used to present documents in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems. Each PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a fixed-layout flat document, including the text, fonts, graphics and other information needed to display it. It can be viewed with a PDF viewer, such as Acrobat Reader. In addition to its cross platform advantage, a PDF document matches very closely the format of the original document in which the PDF document was created.

What is a “link” or a “hyperlink?”

A ‘link’ or a ‘hyperlink’ is a shortcut to another website or web page. It can be represented by a word, phrase or a number underlined in blue.

What is CM/ECF?

The Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system allows courts to maintain electronic case files and offer electronic filing online, making all case information immediately available. CM/ECF is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (except for routine or emergency maintenance that should be posted on the court's website).

What is Multidistrict Litigation?

Multidistrict litigation (MDL) cases are civil actions involving one or more common questions of fact. The purpose of this transfer or "centralization" process is to avoid duplication of discovery, to prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, and to conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary. Transferred actions not terminated in the transferee district are remanded to their originating transferor districts by the Panel at or before the conclusion of centralized pretrial proceedings.

What is the cost for using CM/ECF? What am I charged for in CM/ECF?

CM/ECF users are not charged for filing documents using CM/ECF or for viewing calendar information and written opinions. In addition, attorneys of record and parties in a case receive one free electronic copy of all documents filed electronically. Please note that this does NOT include a pro se litigant who has not consented to receive Notices of Electronic Filing. The cost is limited to those individuals that are utilizing the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) to obtain case and docket information. The results of any search for case specific information such as docket sheets, the PDF copies of filed documents and the cases report, are charged $0.10 per page.

What is the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation?

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, known informally as the MDL Panel, or the JPML was created by an Act of Congress in 1968 – 28 U.S.C. §1407. The job of the Panel is to 1) determine whether civil actions pending in different federal districts involve one or more common questions of fact such that the actions should be transferred to one federal district for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings; and 2) select the judge or judges and court assigned to conduct such proceedings.

What is the process when filing within a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case?

MDL Case Proceedings for the Southern District of Florida (SDFL):

  1. An important objective with MDL cases is to have a complete record of the proceedings. To achieve this, most SDFL transferee judges will generally mandate that all filings be entered ONLY in the master case.
  2. The transferee judge will usually enter an order consolidating all associated (“consolidated” or “member”) cases into the master case.
  3. Attorneys should review the Order of Consolidation and may also want to inquire as to the judge’s preferences concerning case management.
  4. MDL counsel of record from the transferor district courts can call the MDL Clerk to inquire about receiving a User Name and Password to file via CM/ECF but, each judge determines whether User Names and Passwords are given to MDL attorneys.
  5. Attorneys rarely file documents with the SDFL in SDFL cases that have been transferred to another court where an MDL is proceeding.
  6. If directed by the Court to file in an associated case, your filings will ONLY be in that particular case and will not have a docket entry in the master case.

** Remember: If counsel from a transferor district wishes to have his/her case transferred to a litigation in SDFL, they must request this from the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPML) first unless they are requesting that the judge transfer the case via another statute. Upon notification of the request, the JPML will review the case and probably issue a Conditional Transfer Order in that particular case or group of cases. They should not initially file a case in SDFL unless there is appropriate jurisdiction to file there.

What should be done when an attorney leaves the firm?

When an attorney leaves the firm, both the attorney and the firm need to consider the implications to the CM/ECF noticing system. For those cases that will remain with the attorney, the attorney needs to electronically file a Notice of Change of Address in all pending cases they have with the Court.

For those cases that will remain with the firm, the firm needs to electronically file a Notice of Substitution of Counsel or a Notice of Change of Counsel to ensure that the Court docket accurately reflects the proper attorney of record and that the new attorney of record is properly set up to receive email notifications.

What type of training is available?

CM/ECF attorney training is offered either online or in a hands-on classroom setting. The CM/ECF Computer Based Training (CBT) module is available for attorneys who prefer to complete the CM/ECF training requirements online. To access the online training, go to http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/CMECF, and select the “Training Registration” link. In order to properly view the modules, the pop-up blockers must be turned off. The locations and times for the hands-on sessions are also detailed on our website within the “Training-Registration” link. Select the “Hands-on Training” option and the system will guide you through the registration process. Attorneys who attend the live class will be eligible to receive three CLE course credits. At the end of the training session, the facilitator will guide you through the process for posting your credits. Training at law firms is offered, upon request, to firms with 20 or more participants. Attorneys and/or support staff may participate. Multiple firms may join to meet the minimum participant requirement. For additional training information contact the CM/ECF Training Specialist at (305) 523-5233.

When filing documents electronically, why do I get the message, “ERROR: This document has security measures in effect?”

The system will not accept documents that have security measures turned on (i.e., password protection). Remove the security features from the document and submit your document again.

When I print my PDF document, it is showing as a mirror image. How do I fix this?

In Adobe, select the ‘Print’ command and then select the ‘Advanced’ button within the print status window. Lastly, select the option ‘Print as Image.’

When I try to view PDF documents in CM/ECF, I see a blank screen or have other issues viewing documents. What can I try to fix this?

Some browsers may not support certain preferences with Adobe. If this is the case, in Adobe, select ‘Edit’ from the drop-down menu, click on ‘Preferences,’ then ‘Internet.' Please make sure that both the first box (‘Display PDF in Browser’) and the third box (‘Allow FastWeb View’) are both unchecked.

Where can I get instructions for opening a New Civil Case?

You can obtain detailed instructions on Opening a New Civil Case from our CM/ECF Resources page. Please visit our site and click on the User Information link to view or download our Electronic Civil Case Opening Guide. Also refer to the CM/ECF Format for Adding Parties for Attorneys manual prior to opening your new civil case.

Who do I contact if I am having difficulty logging into CM/ECF to view a PSI Report?

Contact the Clerk's Office CM/ECF Help Desk at 1-888-318-2260.

Who do I contact to request access to view a PSI Report?

Contact Probation at 305-523-5373 or 305-523-5378.

Whose responsibility is it to keep an attorney’s contact information current?

It is the attorney’s responsibility to keep their information current. Keeping email information current, including email information for additional recipients on their account, needs to be kept up-to-date in order for the CM/ECF system, which relies on email notifications, to function effectively. The CM/ECF Administrative Procedures indicate that if the attorney’s email address, mailing address, telephone or fax number changes, he/she will have five business days to update their information.

Why am I getting an invalid login message?

First, make sure you are using the correct User Name and Password. PACER and CM/ECF have separate login IDs and passwords and can, potentially, be confused. Also, make sure you are accessing CM/ECF through the Court’s website.

Why am I receiving the message, “Format not recognized?"

All documents must be submitted in Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format). If the file you are trying to upload has any other extension on it except “.pdf,” the file is not in the proper format. Another reason why you may be receiving this message is because the user is failing to indicate the full path name for the PDF file that they want to upload. You need to provide the full path name (i.e., c:\My Docs\Documents\Motions.pdf) during the upload process.

Why am I receiving the message, “You do not have permission to view this document?"

Electronic access to Social Security Administration, Immigration case, and PSI Report documents are limited to parties in the case. In addition, sensitive documents from criminal cases (like arrest warrants) are not available for public viewing until they are returned executed.

PSI reports are restricted documents and only select attorneys designated by Probation may view PSI reports. For instructions to view the PSI Report, click on the tab label 'CM/ECF,' click the 'CM/ECF Help Desk' link, and Click the 'Accessing PSI Reports in CM/ECF – FAQs' link.

Why can't my assistant view the PSI Report even though I am an authorized user?

The link in the NEF will only open if accessed from the attorney’s PRIMARY email address. The link will not open if accessed from a secondary email address used to monitor NEFs.

Why can’t I view a document online?

There may be several reasons why a document cannot be viewed online. The first step when troubleshooting this problem is to ascertain if there is a blue hyperlink under the docket number.

  • If there is a hyperlink but the document cannot be viewed, it may be an indication that the case is sealed. Additionally, some plea agreements, for example, will not be available to the public and can only be viewed by those parties specifically associated to the case.
  • If there is no hyperlink under the docket number, it is possible that there is no document attached. It is possible that a full description has been created within the docket text. In addition, Endorsed Orders do not have documents attached. Judges may also do a “Text Only” or “Paperless” entry with no document attached.
  • Lastly, it is possible that your notices are formatted for text instead of HTML. To confirm the HTML format, first select the ‘Utilities’ feature from the blue menu bar. Then select the ‘Maintain User Information’ button and, lastly, the ‘Email Information’ button. Review the ‘Format Notices’ selection to ensure that it’s set for HTML.

Why didn't I get my one free look when I was trying to view a PSI Report?

PSI reports are restricted documents and only select attorneys designated by Probation may view PSI reports. If you are an authorized user, you must log into CM/ECF before you click on the link contained in the NEF. Your CM/ECF log-in will verify whether you have been granted permission to view the document. See instructions for logging into CM/ECF prior to accessing PSI reports.

Why do I have to first log into my CM/ECF account to view the PSI reports?

Before clicking on the link in the NEF, you must log into CM/ECF using your CM/ECF log-in and password (the login/password used to electronically file documents in FLSD).

Your CM/ECF login will verify whether you have access to view the PSI report. Any attempt to view the PSI report before logging into CM/ECF may result in the loss of your “one free look.” For more information on PACER fees, refer to http://www.pacer.psc.uscourts.gov.

All attorneys do NOT have access to view PSI reports in CM/ECF. PSI reports are restricted documents only accessible to select attorneys as determined by Probation.

Will the Clerk’s Office still maintain a paper case file?

No, the Clerk’s Office will not maintain a paper case file as the electronic record will be the official record of the Court. Documents that require original signatures or that require either verification or a sworn declaration under any rule or statute, shall be filed electronically with the originally-executed documents maintained by the filer. The filer shall retain the paper document containing the original signature(s) for a period of one year after resolution of the action, including final disposition of all appeals. Please refer to the Administrative Procedures for further information.