What is CM/ECF?
*NEW* Does the text searchable requirement apply to attachments and exhibits to filings?
Who developed CM/ECF?
Why Electronic Case Files?
What does CM/ECF offer?
How secure is CM/ECF?
What do I need to use CM/ECF?
I have a Macintosh computer. Is CM/ECF compatible with Macs?
Will the Clerk's Office still maintain a paper case file?
What is the cost for using CM/ECF? What am I charged for in CM/ECF?
Can the general public view CM/ECF cases and the documents in those cases?
How do I get help?
Are there any limits to CM/ECF filing privileges?
How do I, as an attorney, become an authorized CM/ECF user?
Are there separate logins and passwords for CM/ECF and PACER?
Can I have the same filing login for all courts I practice in?
Can any member of the public use CM/ECF to file documents with the Court?
Do I need to establish a new CM/ECF login and password if I am changing firms?
Can my staff use my CM/ECF User Name and Password?
Can I utilize CM/ECF to file an initial pleading?
Where can I get instructions for opening a New Civil Case?
How are documents prepared?
What if the document was not created on a computer within my office?
There is a size limitation of no more than 10 MB per document. What can I do to ensure I don't exceed the limit?
What if I have a lengthy document or documents stored in boxes?
What documents do I file conventionally?
How are electronic documents served?
Does a document that has been electronically filed require a Certificate of Service?
How will I sign documents?
How will I know if the electronic filing worked? How will I know it was accepted?
How do I start receiving email notices from CM/ECF?
How do I get my free copy of newly filed documents?
How will I get noticed of activity by the Court?
How do I access a Docket Sheet specific to a case?
If I am interested in receiving notification of docketing activities in certain cases, can I register to receive notification for cases of interest?
What does it mean when I receive the message "Refer to existing event(s)?"
When filing a Motion for Summary Judgment, the Statement of Facts (which is a separate document) is also filed. Where do I find "Statement of Facts" in the event list?
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 NEFís?
Q: What is CM/ECF?
A: CM/ECF is a comprehensive case management system that allows courts to maintain electronic case files and offer electronic filing over the internet.
Q: *NEW* Does the text searchable requirement apply to attachments and exhibits to filings?
A: 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)).
Q: Who developed CM/ECF?
A: All software for the project has been developed by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
Q: Why Electronic Case Files?
A: The federal courts can reduce reliance on paper records by establishing electronic case file systems. These systems enhance the accuracy, management and security of records, reduce delays in the flow of information, and achieve cost savings for the judiciary, the bar and litigants.
Q: What does CM/ECF offer?
A: CM/ECF will allow attorneys to file and view documents from their office, home or anywhere they have access to the internet, 24 hours a day. Some documents are automatically docketed as part of the filing process and are immediately available electronically. In addition, CM/ECF also provides the following:
* Automatic email notice of case activity
* The ability to download and print documents directly from the Court system
* Concurrent access to case files by multiple parties
* Secure storage of documents
* Reduction in courier fees
Q: How secure is CM/ECF?
A: CM/ECF has many security features and has passed an evaluation by the National Security Agency. Access to the system is through a court-issued login and password.
Q: What do I need to use CM/ECF?
A: * 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.
Q: I have a Macintosh computer. Is CM/ECF compatible with Macs?
A: 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.
Q: Will the Clerk's Office still maintain a paper case file?
A: 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.
Q: What is the cost for using CM/ECF? What am I charged for in CM/ECF?
A: 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 (please note that this does NOT include pro se litigants) receive one free electronic copy of all documents filed electronically. 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 $.08 per page.
Q: Can the general public view CM/ECF cases and the documents in those cases?
A: 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, both through PACER and the Clerk's Office, there is a charge for this service.
Q: How do I get help?
A: For assistance with the CM/ECF filing, please call the Help Desk at 1-888-318-2260. If it is after hours, there is information available on our website at www.flsd.uscourts.gov/cmecf.
For assistance with PACER, please call 1-800-676-6856 or access the PACER website at www.pacer.psc.uscourts.gov. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Are there any limits to CM/ECF filing privileges?
A: 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.
Q: How do I, as an attorney, become an authorized CM/ECF user?
A: In order for you to be authorized to file documents electronically and to receive email notices of documents that are filed, you must be admitted to practice in the Southern District of Florida and attend a live CM/ECF training session. Please note that completing the CBT (Computer Based Training) modules will NOT count for training purposes. In addition, in order to fully utilize the capabilities of the CM/ECF system, you must also have a PACER account.
Q: Are there separate logins and passwords for CM/ECF and PACER?
A: Yes, the systems require different logins/passwords.
Q: Can I have the same filing login for all courts I practice in?
A: 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.
Q: Can any member of the public use CM/ECF to file documents with the Court?
A: No, access to the filing portion of CM/ECF is available to authorized attorneys admitted to the Southern District of Florida bar.
Q: Do I need to establish a new CM/ECF login and password if I am changing firms?
A: 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.
Q: Can my staff use my CM/ECF User Name and Password?
A: 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.
Q: Can I utilize CM/ECF to file an initial pleading?
A: 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.
Q: Where can I get instructions for opening a New Civil Case?
A: You can obtain detailed instructions on Opening a New Civil Case from our CM/ECF Resources page. Please visit http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/CMECF/ to view or download our New Civil Case Opening Guide. Also refer to the CM/ECF Format for Adding Parties for Attorneys manual prior to opening your new civil case.
Q: How are documents prepared?
A: You create documents on your own computer as routine. However, instead of printing the documents out on paper and delivering them to the Court, the documents are saved in a portable document format (PDF). This allows other system users to view the documents in their original format regardless of the type of computer or word processing program originally used to create the documents.
Q: What if the document was not created on a computer within my office?
A: 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.
Q: There is a size limitation of no more than 10 MB per document. What can I do to ensure I don't exceed the limit?
A: 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 WordPerfect or 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.
Q: What if I have a lengthy document or documents stored in boxes?
A: 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.
Q: What documents do I file conventionally?
A: * Sealed and Exparte documents
* Emergency motions
* Filings with a fee
* Initial pleadings
* Consent to jurisdiction by a magistrate judge
Q: How are electronic documents served?
A: 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 their email address they had provided.
Q: Does a document that has been electronically filed require a Certificate of Service?
A: 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.
Q: How will I sign documents?
A: 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.
Q: How will I know if the electronic filing worked? How will I know it was accepted?
A: 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.
Q: How do I start receiving email notices from CM/ECF?
A: 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.' On the screen titled 'Maintain Your Account,' click on 'Email Information' at the bottom of the page. Enter your email address in the box for 'Primary email address.' You can send additional notices to other email addresses by selecting the 'Add Additional Email Address' button. You can receive notices in other cases by adding the case numbers in the 'Add Additional Cases to Receive NEFs' text box area. You can choose to receive an individual notice for each filing or a daily summary notice 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 completing the information requested on the screen, click on 'Return to Person Information Screen' 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?"
Q: How do I get my free copy of newly filed documents?
A: Each attorney of record in a case (please note that this does NOT include pro se litigants) will receive an email message containing a hyperlink to a document that has been filed. 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.
Q: How will I get noticed of activity by the Court?
A: When a document is filed electronically, CM/ECF will generate a Notification 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.
Q: How do I access a Docket Sheet specific to a case?
A: 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 specfic Docket Sheet.
Q: If I am interested in receiving notification of docketing activities in certain cases, can I register to receive notification for cases of interest?
A: Once you log in to the CM/ECF system with your court-issued User Name and Password, click on 'Utilities' and select 'Notices for Cases of Interest' in the Utility drop-down list. Enter the email address to which notices are to be sent and then specify if the notices are individual or summary. Enter the case number and click on the 'Search and Add' button. If the case is found, the case number and case title will populate the list box. Repeat this process until all cases of interest are selected. Click the 'Update' button to confirm the case(s) selected and the case(s) is saved in the list. Once the list of interested cases is defined, you will receive email notification for any public docket entry made to the case. When you receive the email notification and click the 'Document(s)' link, you must be logged into PACER and will be charged for viewing the document(s) according to existing PACER rules.
Q: What does it mean when I receive the message "Refer to existing event(s)?"
A: This screen allows you to link a document you are filing to a previously filed, related document. By clicking the box next to "Refer to existing event(s)" the system will provide a list of all the documents already filed in the case. You can narrow that search by entering a date or document number range. You would then click the box next to the document you wish to link to. You may bypass this screen if there are no previously filed documents to which your filing relates.
Q: When filing a Motion for Summary Judgment, the Statement of Facts (which is a separate document) is also filed. Where do I find "Statement of Facts" in the event list?
A: You will find 'Statement' under 'Other Documents'. This event allows you to enter a description of the type of statement you are filing and you can also link it to the Motion for Summary Judgment.
Q: 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 NEFís?
A: 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 you ISP, e-mail provider of you IT department has listed the following IP addresses for e-mail delivery.
Gateway Name Address 1 Address 2
icmecf101.gtwy.uscourts.gov 22.214.171.124 126.96.36.199
icmecf102.gtwy.uscourts.gov 188.8.131.52 184.108.40.206
icmecf201.gtwy.uscourts.gov 220.127.116.11 18.104.22.168
icmecf202.gtwy.uscourts.gov 22.214.171.124 126.96.36.199
Domain Name: *.uscourts.gov
Please pass this information along to the department or organization that handles your e-mail so that 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.