If you are a paperless practitioner who has embraced Oregon eCourt with open arms, beware. eCourt filers are required by rule to retain certain documents in their original paper form. UTCR 21.120, effective May 1, 2014, provides:
“(1) Unless the court orders otherwise, if a filer electronically files an image of a document that contains the original signature of a person other than the filer, the filer must retain the document in its original paper form for 10 years.
(2) On reasonable notice, the filer must provide a paper copy of the original for inspection by another party, the clerk, or the court.”
See Chief Justice Order 14-012 dated March 31, 2014 adopting out-of-cycle amendments to the Uniform Trial Court Rules.
“Filer” means a person registered with the electronic filing system who submits a document for filing with the court.” UTCR 21.010(6).
Other Statutes and Rules May Require Retention of Original Paper Documents
Paperless practitioners should take note of other statutes or rules that require retention of original paper documents. Examples include the Affidavit of Custodian executed when a settlement agreement is reached on behalf of a minor (ORS 126.725(2)) and certain documents filed in US Bankruptcy Court (see Oregon Local Bankruptcy Court Rule 5005-4(e)). For more information, consult the PLF practice aids, File Retention and Destruction and Checklist for Scanning Client Files, available on the PLF Web site.
This is not an exhaustive list. Conduct your own appropriate legal research to identify other instances where original paper documents must (or should) be retained.
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