You are here

Attorney Best Practices

Modifications to Local Civil and Criminal Rules

The Court approved the following amendments to the local rules:

  1. Appendix D Local Criminal Rules and Appendix G to the Local Civil Rules - Non-Appeal Transcript Order
    Modification to reflect the new 3-day transcript delivery category.
  2. Local Civil Rule 83.5(h) / Local Criminal Rule 57.5(h)
    Provides clarification that an affidavit or declaration can be submitted for pro hac vice counsel.
  3. Appendix B - Local Criminal Rules Standard Conditions of Supervision
    Modified language to condition # 12.
  4. Local Criminal Rule 58.2 - Fine (Forfeiture of Collateral) in Lieu of Appearance Before a United States Magistrate Judge
    Revised terminology in the interest of using plain English that members of the public can readily understand.
  5. Local Civil Rules Appendix C / Local Criminal Rules Appendix A - Juror Questionnaire
    Modified terminology to allow a more accurate and complete definition of family and the broader living arrangements in our district and community. Added “civic” and “charitable” to questions focused only on membership of a trade union, professional association or work-related organization. Also added two new questions: (1) Do you have a relative, family member/household member that is a member of law enforcement, and (2) How do you get your news?
  6. Local Civil Rule 7.2 and 16.1(b)(5)
    Addition of subparagraph (c) to Local Rule 7.2 referring to Local Rule 16.1(b)(5) expanding the definition of dispositive motions to include the language "motions to remand pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447."
  7. Local Civil Rule 10.1 / Local Criminal Rule 49.1
    Revision of language from "papers" to "documents," addition of more specifications for submission of documents presented for filing, and minor revision of language regarding signatures submitted to the Court.

Manual Filings

Occasionally it is necessary to file documents such as large exhibits manually.  Paragraphs 15 and 16 of the Electronic Filing Policies and Procedures Manual address manual filings.  It is important to note that while it is appropriate to upload a notice of manual filing in place of an exhibit, if the entire filing is done manually, a notice of manual filing should not be filed, either electronically or manually.  Instructions for manual filings can be found on the court's website.


Documents Containing Personal Identifiers

Local Rule 8.1 and Local Cr Rule 49.1 address the filing of documents containing personal identifiers.  The rules give options for filing.  One is a reference list under seal, and the other is an unredacted version of the document, also under seal.  There are specific events to be used for these filings, and they can be found in the category Other Filings > Other Documents.

Reference List/Redaction Index – Sealed
Unredacted/Sealed Document with Personal Identifiers


Filing a PDF Fillable Form

When filing a PDF fillable form, please be sure to lock or “flatten” the form prior to filing to ensure the document can be viewed on all devices, and to prevent other users from manipulating or editing the information.   A document filed and stored in CM/ECF cannot be altered once it has been filed, however, flattening the form will prevent anyone from saving the document and editing the form fields.  Follow the steps below to "flatten" a completed PDF fillable form:

  1. Open fillable form.
  2. Add appropriate data.
  3. Select File.
  4. Select Print.
  5. Select the PDF printer. (The Adobe PDF printer is installed automatically with Adobe Acrobat. Numerous free PDF printer drivers are available for download from the Internet.)
  6. Select OK.
  7. Specify location to save the printed, "flattened" version of the form.
  8. Select Save.
  9. File the "flattened" form in CM/ECF.

Updated Fee Schedule

Effective September 1, 2018, the District Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedule will include a new fee for providing copies of records in electronic form when those records are not available on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system or stored in the Case Management/ Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system.  A flat fee of $31 will be charged for a copy of a record provided in electronic format.


Civil Cover Sheet

When filing a new case, remember to always submit the completed Civil Cover Sheet (JS44) . Both pages should be completed. Section 3 on page 2 is very important and is often overlooked.



Duplicate Text - Party Role/Name

When filing a document, it is not necessary to enter the filing party's name or party role in the free text box. CM/ECF sill automatically prompt you to select the party/parties on whose behalf you are filing. This information will automatically be placed at the end of the docket entry. When one enters the filing party's name/role this would duplicate text in the docket entry, requiring removal by one of our data quality clerks.



Increased PDF Size Limit

The size limitation for PDF documents has been increased from 15MB to 35MB. The CM/ECF Policies and Procedures Manual (Appendix B - Local Civil Rules) has been updated to reflect this change.



Problems Viewing Restricted Documents (documents that are not available to the public and are restricted for viewing by the attorney(s) on the case)

In order to view a restricted document, you must be logged into your CM/ECF account. Restricted documents cannot be viewed using a PACER login. Examples of restricted documents include: most entries in Social Security or ERISA cases; Presentence Reports.



Update Your PACER Account in Preparation for CM/ECF NextGen

In August of 2014 changes were implemented by PACER and included the ability to upgrade PACER accounts. An upgraded PACER account will be mandatory when the court migrates to CM/ECF NextGen. If you have not already done so, please upgrade your PACER account.

Visit the court's website for instructions on upgrading a PACER account and more information on CM/ECF NextGen. Additional NextGen information can be found on PACER's website.



CM/ECF Compatible Browser

Be sure to use an approved browser for CM/ECF. Google Chrome is not compatible, and is the cause of numerous calls to our Help Desk to report problems. Refer to the CM/ECF User's Manual for more information.



CM/ECF Search Feature

The search feature is a useful tool for finding the correct event for your filing. It is located on the right side of the blue menu bar at the top of the screen. To use, click on the search button, enter a key word from the title of the document being filed, and click Search. A list of possible events will be displayed. Click on one of the events to start filing.

Please note, the search menu option in CM/ECF will not work properly in Internet Explorer 11 unless the browser is added to Compatibility View.

To turn on Compatibility View you should first be in CM/ECF. Under Tools, select Compatibility View Settings. The necessary URL information will automatically fill in the "Add this website" box. Press Add, and then press Close to save and finish.



Unable to Log Into CJA eVoucher

CJA eVoucher will not work properly in Internet Explorer 11 unless the browser is added to Compatibility View.

To turn on Compatibility View you should first be on the page for CJA eVoucher. Under Tools, select Compatibility View Settings. The necessary URL information will automatically fill in the "Add this website" box. Press Add, and then press Close to save and finish.



Filing of Proposed Consent to Magistrate Judge

The form Consent to Exercise of Jurisdiction by a United States Magistrate Judgeshould not be filed until all parties have consented and entered their signatures on the form. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 73(b)(1) which states "a district judge or magistrate judge may be informed of a party's response to the clerk's notice only if all parties have consented to the referral."



Service of Sealed Documents

Sealed documents are not served upon opposing counsel through CM/ECF. Notice is given, via the Notice of Electronic Filing, but in most cases attorneys are not able to view the sealed document through CM/ECF. Please remember to modify your certificate of service so that it accurately explains how service was perfected. Many times sealed documents are filed with a certificate of service that incorrectly states that service was perfected through the electronic filing system.



Abbreviations and All Caps Text in Docket Text

Please do not use abbreviations or all capital letters in docket text.



Search Feature

Not sure where to find the event for the document you are filing? CM/ECF contains a search feature.

Enter a key word in the name of your filing and click the Search button.  CM/ECF will return a list of events. You can begin the filing by clicking on one of the items listed.



Secondary Emails




s/ Signature on Documents

The s/signature on the document should be the same as the attorney whose login and password is being used to file the document. See Paragraph 18 of the pursuant to paragraph 18 of the Electronic Filing Policies and Procedures Manual.



Revised Civil Cover Sheet

The civil cover sheet has been updated, adding a new Nature of Suit 376 Qui Tam (31 USC 3729(a)). Please be sure to use the most current form, which is dated 11/15.

Also, please be sure to answer every question on the form. Section 1(b) on the front page, and Section III on the back page are often skipped. Both address jurisdiction, and are very important.



Reminder to Notify the Court of Change of Address

Please remember to advise the court if your address or email changes.

Local rule 83.5(i) Change of Address
All attorneys admitted to practice in this Court are required to submit a written notice of a change of business address and/or email address to the Clerk upon the change in address.

For your convenience, address changes can be submitted electronically on the attorney page of the court's website. Click Here: Attorney Registration Change of Name/Address



Reminder to Describe Attachments and Upload Each Separately

When filing a document with attachments, be sure to upload each attachment separately, and describe it. Exhibit A does not provide enough descriptive information. Use the free text box to explain what Exhibit A is.

Also, please avoid duplicate wording. If you pick Exhibit in the drop down list under Category, it is not necessary to type Exhibit in the Description box. It should be entered as shown in the example below. Re-typing a word that is selected from the drop down list will result in duplicate wording, i.e., Exhibit Exhibit A.



Modifications to Local Civil Rules Appendix L - Stipulated Protective Order

On December 8, 2017 the Court approved amendments to our Local Civil Rules Appendix L (Stipulated Protective Order) , which include:

1. Language in paragraph 2, which provides a procedure for how to mark electronically stored information as confidential; and

2. Language in paragraph 6, which makes it clear that documents may not be filed under seal absent statutory authority or order by the Court. Furthermore, it deletes the section requiring the filing party to first consult with the party that originally designated the documents as confidential before filing the documents with the Court not under seal.


Secondary Emails

If you have secondary email recipients added to your CM/ECF account, please review them periodically to make sure they are current. When staff leaves a firm, and their email is in a user's account for notification, the message is bounced back to the court. The court receives a large volume of bounced emails on secondary notices of electronic filing, requiring follow up by court staff. Your assistance in reducing the volume of bounced email would be greatly appreciated. Instructions for setting up or deleting secondary email can be found on the court's website.


Current Forms

When submitting forms, please be sure to use the most current version. The civil cover sheet is one of the most frequently updated forms. The current version is dated 06/17.


Adobe Exhibit Sticker Stamp

On the forms page of the court's website, you will find instructions for creating an Adobe "Exhibit Sticker" stamp. The stamp is interactive and allows the user to enter a unique exhibit number while adding the stamp to a document. The stamp has the appearance of the various colored exhibit stickers that are provided at intake counters throughout the district.