Changes Coming to Oregon eCourt

Two important changes are coming to Oregon eCourt beginning Monday, November 16:

Documents Submitted for Signature by the Court

Beginning November 16, 2015 all circuit courts using the eCourt system will electronically affix the name and title of the individual signing a document below the signature line.

All documents submitted to the court for signature must comply with UTCR 21.040(3):

  • Leave a blank space of not less than 1.5 inches.
  • Create a blank signature line following the last line of text.
  • Do not include a title or name underneath the line.  Specifically, do not add “Circuit Court Judge.”
  • Update your pleading templates to conform to the rule.
  • Follow this example:

10-23-2015 8-39-29 AM

Direct questions to: Daniel Parr, OJD Communication and Outreach Manager at daniel.parr@ojd.state.or.us.

Expansion of Electronic Notifications – Case Management System to Generate Notices of Orders Entered

Beginning Monday, November 16, 2015 all circuit courts using the eCourt system will notify attorneys by email when orders are entered on their cases.

This is a long-awaited improvement to the Oregon Judicial Department (OJD) case management system.  Here are the details shared by OJD:

How does it work?

When the court enters an order in the register of actions, the case management system will generate and email a notice to all attorneys on the case. The email will be sent to the email address where the attorney already receives notices of hearings and trials.

What do I need to do?

No action is required. If you are receiving notifications when hearings and trials are set then beginning November 16, 2015 you will start receiving notices regarding entry of orders. The system will send the email from Court_Notification@ojd.state.or.us. Make sure this email address is whitelisted in your email settings. If you need notifications to be directed to others within your office look into the option of auto-forwarding through your email provider.

Does the email include the signed order?

No, the email will only include a basic court notice form telling you the case number and what order was signed, based on how the order is entered in the register of actions (such as Order – Show Cause). To access the signed order, you will need to either access the case through the Oregon eCourt Case Information (OECI) system over the internet through an online subscription or otherwise go to the courthouse and access the case through a court terminal. More information about subscription services to OECI can be found here.

Will I be notified when other documents are entered into the system?

Not at this time. On November 16 attorneys will only be notified when orders are entered. OJD is evaluating expanding the capacity for similar notifications in the future.

Provided courtesy of Daniel Parr, OJD Communication and Outreach Manager

 

Oregon Civil Procedure – Amendments Coming to UTCR 5.100

Out-of-cycle amendments are coming to UTCR 5.100, which governs submission of proposed orders and judgments.  The amendments will affect conventional filers and eFilers, but are designed to address the following concerns raised by judges who sign proposed orders and judgments using the new eCourt system:

  • It is difficult, if not impossible, to know whether proposed orders or judgments are ready for judicial signature;
  • A sufficient and uniform time period to object to proposed orders or judgments is presently lacking;
  • Opposing parties need clear instructions on how to object to proposed orders or judgments; and
  • Protocols are necessary to ensure that parties work to resolve objections before submitting disputed orders and judgments.

For clarity, the proposal to amend UTCR 5.100 breaks the rule up into three parts:

Service

“As amended, the service component … requires service on the opposing party, and an opportunity for objection, as to any proposed order or judgment unless an exception applies. The rule is no longer limited to only those proposed orders and judgments submitted “in response to a ruling of the court.” The purpose of the updated wording is to ensure that the opposing party has a reasonable opportunity to object. The service component also sets out specific notice requirements and lengthens the time between service and submission.”  Read more here.

Objection

The objection component is new and requires service of a written, dated, and signed objection within 7 days of the date that the proposed order or judgment was sent to the opposing party.  If an objection is served by the opposing party, the drafting party must make a reasonable effort to resolve the objection before submitting the proposed order or judgment to the court. However, opposing parties are also permitted to file objections directly with the court.

Practice Tip:  Opposing parties who file an objection directly with the court are required to include in the caption “Objection to Proposed [Order/Judgment]” and must describe the nature of the proposed order or judgment.  If the opposing party requests oral argument, the request must be stated in the caption.

More details are available here.

Submission

The submission component:

  • Retains the Certificate of Service requirement
  • Adds a “Certificate of Readiness” requirement
  • Clarifies that a proposed order or judgment may be submitted sooner than the 7-day period for objection, if:
    • the opposing party has stipulated to or approved the order or judgment, or
    • the opposing party has objected and the objections are resolved or ready for resolution.

The “Certificate of Readiness” certifies that the proposed order or judgment is ready for judicial signature or that objections are ready for resolution, and provides the “readiness” reason.  It will eliminate the need for judges to access multiple documents in the eCourt system to ensure that a proposed order or judgment is ready for signature.

Practice Tip:  UTCR 5.100(3)(c) sets out the language to be used in a “Certificate of Readiness.”  Filers are required to use substantially the same form.  When the rule is adopted, maximize efficiency by copying and pasting the “Certificate of Readiness” language into a template that you can re-use each time you submit a proposed Order or Judgment.

Read more here.

This is the second go-around in the proposed amendment process for UTCR 5.100.  Public comment on proposed revisions will be accepted until August 17.  Since the intention is to amend the rule out-of-cycle, expect an effective date around or before September 1.

[All Rights Reserved Beverly Michaelis 2015]

Oregon eCourt – Where are we now?

Judging by the numbers, Oregon eCourt is a success.  In February, March, and April of this year an average of 65,666 documents were filed electronically using the Odyssey eFile and Serve system:  efilings 2015Easy-Peasy or a Bumpy Ride?

The transition from paper-based filing to eFiling hasn’t been easy.

A record number of Oregon lawyers went inactive or resigned from the bar in December 2014/January 2015, leading some to speculate that mandatory eFiling drove veteran members to retire sooner than originally planned.

Why might that be?  eFiling requires an investment of time and money. To succeed, eFilers need to know the rules, understand the technology, subscribe to OJIN/OJCIN, and buy a decent scanner and PDF conversion software.

Rejection Rates

For those who persevered, kudos to you!   Of the 197,000 filings in February, March, and April of this year, less than 10% were rejected.  Bottom line: Oregon lawyers [or their staff] are getting it right.

New Policy and Standards for Acceptance of Electronic Filings

Effective July 1, 2015 Chief Justice Balmer signed Chief Justice Order 15–026, which adopts the OJD Policy and Standards for Acceptance of Electronic Filings in the Oregon Circuit Courts [dated May 22, 2015]:

Statewide standards for the acceptance of electronic filings are intended to provide clear consistent guidance to practitioners and courts on the proper use of the OJD eFiling system (File and Serve). The standards are grouped into two broad categories: (1) how to properly use the system from a technical perspective to ensure acceptance of eFiled documents, and (2) compliance with Uniform Trial Court Rules (UTCR) Chapter 21 or ORCP 9E.

These standards will help educate eFilers on the correct usage of File and Serve to provide them with a high quality experience, support consistent statewide messages to accompany returned electronic filings with instructions on how to cure the error, and allow the Oregon Judicial Department (OJD) and eFilers to achieve the full benefits of an electronic filing system.

The policy and standards are available here.

New Supplemental User Guide for eCourt

OJD has also released a new Supplemental User Guide.  This document provides descriptions of the most common mistakes made by eFilers and step-by-step directions for fixing them.  It is a must-read for all lawyers and staff who use the Odyssey eFile and Serve system.

Free Training for Odyssey eFile and Serve

You can still sign up for free training Webinars with Odyssey eFile and Serve. Tyler Technologies, the vendor for Odyssey eFile and Serve, offers both recorded and live sessions here.

UTCR Amendments Coming

Next week, I will review the proposed amendments to UTCR 5.100, which affect orders and judgments.

[All Rights Reserved Beverly Michaelis 2015]