10 Year Paper Retention Requirement – Oregon eCourt Week

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.

All Rights Reserved [2014] Beverly Michaelis

 

Rejected Filings and Relation Back – Oregon eCourt Week

The rules for electronic filing deadlines in Oregon eCourt are set forth in UTCR 21.080, effective May 1, 2014. (See Chief Justice Order 14-012 dated March 31, 2014 adopting out-of-cycle amendments.) Among the most important are the provisions concerning rejected filings and relation back.

Accepted Filings Relate Back to the Date and Time Received

“If the court accepts the document for filing, the date and time of filing entered in the register relate back to the date and time the electronic filing system received the document. When the court accepts the document, the electronic filing system will affix the date and time of submission on the document, thereby indicating the date and time of filing of the document. When the court accepts a document for filing, the electronic filing system sends an email to the filer, unless the filer has elected through system settings not to receive the email.”
UTCR 21.080(4). [See the rule for other provisions.]

What Happens When a Document is Rejected

“If the court rejects a document submitted electronically for filing, the electronic filing system will send an email to the filer that explains why the court rejected the document, unless the filer has elected through system settings not to receive the email. The email will include a hyperlink to the document.” UTCR 21.080(5).
Practice Tip: Leave the default system settings alone to ensure you will receive rejection notices.Rejection notices are sent from Tyler Technologies, @tylerhost.net not from @ojd.state.or.us.

 

Can I Resubmit a Rejected Filing?

The short answer is “Yes.” But resubmitted documents will only receive relation-back if certain conditions are met.

Getting Relation Back When a Filing is Rejected or:
What if I’m Up Against the Statute of Limitations?

A filer who resubmits a document may request, as part of the resubmission, that the date of filing of the resubmitted document relate back to the date of submission of the original document to meet filing requirements. In the case of a last minute filing to beat the statute of limitations, this will be critical. However, relation back is ONLY available if the following conditions are met:

First, the filer must resubmit the document within 3 days of the date of rejection. “If the third day following rejection is not a judicial day, then the filer may resubmit the filing … the next judicial day.” Resubmission means “submission of the document through the electronic filing system … or physical delivery of the document to the court.” UTCR 21.080(5)(a).

Second, a filer who resubmits a document for purposes of relation back must include a cover letter that contains the following:

a)     the date of the original submission
b)     the date of the rejection
c)     an explanation of the reason the filer is requesting that the date of filing relate back to the original submission
d)     the words “RESUBMISSION OF REJECTED FILING, RELATION-BACK DATE OF FILING REQUESTED” must be in the subject line of the cover letter.” UTCR 21.080(5)(a)(i).

Third, if the resubmission is filed electronically the words “RESUBMISSION OF REJECTED FILING, RELATION-BACK DATE OF FILING REQUESTED” must be included in the Filing Comments Field. UTCR 21.080(5)(a)(ii).
Practice Tip: Use the specific language set forth in the rule and enter it in ALL CAPS.

Objecting to Relation Back

“A responding party may object to a request (for relation back) within the time limits as provided by law for the type of document being filed. For the purpose of calculating the time for objection provided by law under this subsection, if applicable, the date of filing is the date that the document was resubmitted to the court under subsection (a) of this section.” UTCR 21.080(5)(b).

Other Things to Know about UTCR 21.080

eFiling is Available 24/7

“A filer may use the electronic filing system at any time, except when the electronic filing system is temporarily unavailable.” UTCR 21.080(1).

Filing Deadlines – Generally

“The filing deadline for any document filed electronically is 11:59:59 p.m. in the time zone where the court is located on the day the document must be filed.”  UTCR 21.080(2).

When is a Document “Submitted?”

“The court considers a document submitted for an electronic filing when the electronic filing system receives the document. The electronic filing system will send an email to the filer that includes the date and time of receipt, unless the filer has elected through system settings not to receive the email.” UTCR 21.080(3).

Avoiding Rejected Filings

Give documents meaningful file names so they are easily identified and distinguished. Carefully review information entered into the eFiling system, including the document selected for uploading. When filing is complete, check the confirmation.

Be aware of applicable file size limitations (25 MB in Oregon). Jurisdictions vary, sometimes significantly. If you attempt to upload a document that is too large, your filing will be rejected and you may miss a deadline. Adobe Acrobat can help you properly split and label large files for uploading to eFiling systems.

Keep your credit card information current with the court. Required fees must be paid when documents are electronically filed. If your card has expired and the fees are not paid, your filing will be rejected even if the document was uploaded prior to the deadline.

Avoid the most common e-filing mistakes:

  • Entering incorrect party, event, or filing codes
  • Selecting the wrong case or location
  • Failing to associate the attorney with the filing party
  • Improperly filing exhibits – see the limitations in UTCR 21.070
  • Including sensitive or confidential information
  • Failing to separate documents – file motions and orders separately. Do not combine multiple documents of any kind into a single PDF unless allowed by UTCR Chapter 21.
  • Missing information – signatures missing or no party information entered
  • Submitting illegible documents – PDFs that are not text-searchable or PDFs scanned upside down
  • eFiling documents that must be filed conventionally, such as documents needing a judge’s signature or amended complaints that result in an increased filing fee. See UTCR 21.070 for a complete list of documents that are not eligible for eFiling.
  • Failing to pay fees or paying incorrect fees

Leave default system settings alone to ensure you will receive rejection notices. See the discussion above, “What Happens When a Document is Rejected” under
UTCR 21.080(5).

The Most Important Advice

Don’t eFile documents at the last minute. E-filing is a somewhat tedious process: you must log in, enter the appropriate field codes, pay applicable fees, select and possibly split your documents for filing, and so on. If you lose your Internet connection, your computer crashes or you encounter other technical difficulties, there is no time for recovery. Upload documents during regular business hours when technical support staff are available and you have sufficient time to remedy any technical glitches.

Train Now to Avoid Problems Later

Above all, get trained. User guides, reference guides, and rules can be found here. Free Web training sessions and self-study online training are available here.

Schedule a presentation on Oregon eCourt for your organization or agency. Call or e-mail:

Oregon Judicial Department
Office of Education, Training and Outreach
503-986-5911
oeto@ojd.state.or.us

Technical Support

Oregon Judicial Department Help Desk – Monday through Friday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm (Pacific)
503-986-5582 or 1-800-922-7391
ETSDHelp@ojd.state.or.us

OJIN Online Subscriber/Business Support – Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (Pacific)
1-800-858-9658
OJIN.Online@ojd.state.or.us

File & Service/eFiling User Support – Monday through Friday 7:00 am to 7:00 pm (Mountain)
Tyler Technologies
1-800-297-5377
Efiling.support@tylertech.com

All Rights Reserved [2014] Beverly Michaelis

eCourt Notices: Forwarding is Up to You – Oregon eCourt Week

Transitioning to Oregon eCourt requires many adjustments – as evidenced by this week’s posts. Among the most significant: how law offices will process court notices for various events, including hearing dates, trial dates, or entry of judgments.

eCourt Notices are Delivered Only to the Filing Attorney

Unlike PACER, where filers can specify multiple e-mail addresses to receive electronic court notices, the Oregon system restricts delivery to the filing attorney. Notices are sent to the filing attorney’s official e-mail address on file with the Oregon State Bar. Alternate e-mail addresses, including generic docketing accounts like docketing@abclawfirm.com are not permitted. Because notices are delivered to the filing attorney only, staff members or other attorneys in the office are not included in the Oregon eCourt notice system.

eService Accommodates as Many Parties as Needed

Unlike the notice system, there is no limit to the number of parties or lawyers that can be included in eService. Consent to eService is on a case by case basis. When you e-file into a case you are consenting to eService on that case. Parties and attorneys are responsible for adding themselves as a service contact in the eService system and updating their information as necessary. The system does not pull contact information from the Oregon State Bar database as it does for delivery of eNotices.

Registering Multiple Users Permitted

Law firms may register as many individual Oregon eCourt users as they desire. If a firm has 10 litigators and 5 staff who file in Oregon eCourt, all 15 may be added to the system. A firm account must be created first. Individual users may self-register only if permitted by the Firm Administrator. See the user guides available here.

How to Share eCourt Notices with Staff or Other Attorneys

If you want to share eCourt notices with staff or other attorneys in the firm, you will need to create auto-forward rules. This is easily done if you are using a desktop e-mail program like Outlook, Windows Live Mail, Apple Mail, or Thunderbird.

If you are using Web-based mail, it may or may not be possible. Auto-forwarding of eCourt notices requires the ability to selectively filter messages by sender. In this case, the goal is to forward messages sent from the court @ojd.state.or.us and from the Tyler Technologies File and Serve system @tylerhost.net.

Gmail permits forwarding of messages using filters (as do all the e-mail programs listed above). Yahoo! mail users can elect to forward all Yahoo! mail to another address, but they cannot selectively filter messages from specific senders. Filtering in Yahoo! is limited to moving messages from one folder to another.

Click on any of the following links to set up filtered auto-forwarding:

As an example, here are step-by-step instructions for creating a rule in Outlook 2010 to mark all messages from @ojd.state.or.us as important and auto forward copies to specific people (staff or other lawyers).  Repeat the steps described in this document to create a second rule for messages received from @tylerhost.net. eCourt notices are sent from both domains.

How to Create a Safety Net if you are a Solo Practitioner

If you are solo practitioner with no support staff, you may want to auto-forward eCourt notices to a secondary e-mail address as a backup. (Gmail can filter e-mail and send alerts to your phone.) Remember, you can also login to Oregon eCourt and look at court dates and case information online. eFiling data can be exported to Microsoft Excel.

Don’t Miss a Court Notice – Achieve Inbox Zero

If you achieve “Inbox Zero” you are far less likely to miss a court notice. Use Dee Crocker’s DAFT approach to keep your Inbox empty [Defer, Act, File, or Toss]:

Defer
If you don’t have time to reply or act on an e-mail, create a task from the message and schedule it for a later time.

Act
If you can respond to an e-mail in less than five minutes, do so.

File
File messages that don’t require a response when they arrive. Move messages to appropriate folders in your Inbox or better yet save them directly to the client’s folder on your computer or network. You can download electronic filing assistants to make this process easier.

Toss
Toss (trash) unneeded messages immediately.

Keep Other Best Practices in Mind

For complete guidelines on how to handle client e-mail see these articles:

Be particularly careful about junk mail or spam filters that may catch eCourt notices and learn about common eCourt mistakes. See Zero Tolerance for e-Filing Error: Avoid Committing Malpractice, with a Few Clicks of Your Mouse. Consider ordering the free PLF CLE, “Survival Tips for Organizing Your E-Mail and Practicing in eCourt,” available on the PLF Web site.

All Rights Reserved [2014] Beverly Michaelis

 

 

Calculating Deadlines Using the REGISTER OF ACTIONS – Oregon eCourt Week

If you are new to Oregon eCourt, one of your first challenges will be reading and interpreting the online REGISTER OF ACTIONS. Mastering the register is the key to understanding eCourt events, accessing hyperlinked documents, and calculating deadlines.

You will find an explanation of register entries on the main login page for the Oregon eCourt Case Information system (OECI). Refer to the text in pink. This is the only place where the explanation of entries appears, so take note. Once you move off the main login to search case records, the court calendar, or judgments with money awards the explanation disappears.

Explaining the REGISTER OF ACTIONS

The main login page for the (OECI) system provides the following explanation for entries appearing in the REGISTER OF ACTIONS:

Date Column: The nature of an event listed in this register determines the corresponding date that appears in the date column, for example, the date that a document was filed by a party or issued by the court, or the date that the court generated a notice, scheduled a hearing, or took an action in the case.

Signed Date: The Signed Date of an event in this register is the date that the court signed the order or judgment described in the entry.

Created Date: The Created Date of an event in this register is the date that court staff added the event to the register, also known as the entry date for purposes of ORS 7.020(2).

Dispositions and Other Events: In case categories other than Criminal, an event that appears in the Dispositions section of this register denotes entry of a judgment in the case. In the Criminal case category, events that denote entry of judgment appear in the Other Events section of this register, listed in chronological order together with other case events.

Criminal Case Category: For purposes of this system, the Criminal case category includes juvenile delinquency, contempt, and extradition cases, and appeals from justice or municipal court judgments under ORS 138.057 or ORS 157.020(1), justice court orders under ORS 157.020(2), or municipal court convictions under ORS 221.359.

Practice Tip – Use the “Created Date” when Calculating Deadlines

In the OECI system, the “Created Date” is the entry date in the official court register. Don’t be fooled by the date appearing in the “Date Column.” Look for the Created Date and time stamp in the description of the specific court event. Calculate deadlines from this date. Here is a redacted example:

created date example

In this instance, the date in the “Date Column” is March 6, 2014. The “Created Date” for the entry is March 7, 2014 at 8:16 AM. Calculate the deadline to file of a Notice of Appeal from the “Created Date” of March 7, 2014, not from March 6, 2014.

REGISTER OF ACTIONS – Main Page View

At the main page view of the REGISTER OF ACTIONS case data is organized into the following categories:

  • PARTY INFORMATION – Parties and attorneys in the case
  • EVENTS AND ORDERS OF THE COURT – DISPOSITIONS followed by OTHER EVENTS AND HEARINGS
  • FINANCIAL INFORMATION – Court fees paid by parties and judgment debtor/creditor information if applicable

The main page view also contains event detail, including the date the court signed an Order or Judgment, the creation date discussed above, and comments entered by court staff. Here is a redacted example of the Main Page view:

Sample register of actions

 

Selecting a Hyperlinked Document in the REGISTER OF ACTIONS

Clicking on a hyperlinked document under “Other Events and Hearings” will direct you to a different view of court events. This view does not contain the creation date or comments entered by court staff, but it does show a page count for each document listed. Here is a redacted example:

hyperlinked doc

In this view, the Complaint is sorted to the top because it was the hyperlinked document selected from the main page view. “Other Events on This Case” appears next, with events in ascending order (first to last). Hearing Notices are at the bottom of the page.

If you do not have permission to see a document in the REGISTER OF ACTIONS, the following message will appear:

no permission to view

The Most Important Takeaway

At the risk of repeating myself, don’t be fooled by the “Date Column” in the REGISTER OF ACTIONS. Look for the “Created Date” and time stamp in the description of the specific court event. Calculate deadlines from this date. The “Created Date” of an event is the date court staff added the event to the register, also known as the entry date for purposes of ORS 7.020(2).

All Rights Reserved [2014] Beverly Michaelis