EFILING IS FAILING
A message from a civil practitioner ...
Efiling is Failing
by Robert Buschel
Computers are meant to accomplish two goals: reduce paper, and make things go faster. The new State computer system implemented in Broward fails on both counts.
It is now clear that the new system creates more paper and slows the process down to a stop. How infuriating if you are a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit and want to get the legal process started. A plaintiff's lawyer eFiles a lawsuit, and then waits for it to be actually "filed." It should just be "filed," shouldn't it? Someone designed a computer system where a person is at the end of it, and we have to rely on that person to do something the computer is meant to circumvent -- people filing paper. Why was this done? We've created a process that only adds computers.
Once the clerk has physically filed it, he tells you it is filed via email, which means you can then submit an eSummons, the coversheet for the lawsuit to be served upon the defendants. This process that used to take less than a minute when it was a face to face transaction now takes weeks.
This is insanity!
There is no reason the filing and the eSummons cannot happen in seconds. The information for the summons can be created from the data that is logged into the Efiling system when the lawsuit is filed-- specifically the parties, the case number, and where the lawsuit will be litigated.
And what about Motions? When a Motion is "eFiled," where does it go and who gets to see it? Apparently, the judge and the parties are not served with the eFiled document. It is just for the clerk to deem "filed." Hand service of papers is still required. No pleadings docket is created.
If the judge gives you her email address, you can send a courtesy copy of a filed motion. Miami-Dade requires this, through a separate system. Their eCourtesy program is a little more advanced. The judge can retrieve the document filed. In Broward, not quite yet, where the lawyer needs to get paper to the judge and opposing counsel, unless both provide their email addresses. And let's not even discuss the time when a judicial assistant prompted me to call the clerk to have them send the paper file to the judge's chambers, so the judge could consider what I eFiled.
Lastly, in the Broward system, you get a reference number and not the case number to track down what stage of "filing" your document is in. I was told to bring that reference number to the clerk, window #4, and maybe someone will speed up my Efiling. I guess I'll have to talk to that human tomorrow after waiting in line, if I can get there before 4:30 PM.
Go to the clerk's office and ask who designed the Efiling process. The answer is probably not a lawyer. People have the misconception that a guy who knows how to program computers understands the context and purpose of a computer design. In this case, someone had to assume that a computer architect/programmer knows what lawyers do and what litigation is, and why the antiquated paper system is no longer useful. Obviously, that wasn't the case here.
We're not asking Captain Caveman to invent a new design for paperless litigation. Look at the CM/ECF system in federal courts. It's not perfect, but you know when the judge has issued an order and when the parties have filed documents, which everyone can view. It instantly tells you when the response is due to the motion because the computer can add +10 or +15 days to the filing date. Isn't that great?
The end game of going paperless is to have more court time to discuss justice on the merits, rather than disputes over what was filed, when, and am I looking at the right thing. Amazingly, it's already taken years to get to this point, and still that hasn't been achieved. A backlog is growing, and it's time to introduce practicing lawyers to the Clerk's programmers to fix the design and the process.
The Florida Bar: "Protecting Rights, Pursuing Justice":
President Obama spoke out on the Trayvon Martin verdict ...
what does the President of the Florida Bar have to say?
SS: Eugene Pettis "circumspect" on Martin case (July 9th/pre-verdict)
"(Pettis) said blogs are "part of our society. As we move into new frontiers, we have to find ways to balance free speech with our ethical obligations."
Pettis is similarly circumspect about Florida's racially explosive Trayvon Martin case, where neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman is on trial for second-degree murder of the teenager. There's no outcome yet; the court process has to unfold, he said.
"I think it will define itself," Pettis said.
Coming Soon - Lawyers' ethical obligations to expose judges that need exposing;
Lawyers' ethical obligations to expose racism in the criminal justice system, ETC.;
An open email to Eugene Pettis; UNIONIZE!
Bob Norman and Rafael Olmeda
SS: Rest In Peace Ramon Grau
OR, CT, and IA only three states mandating "racial impact studies"
Incarcerating the young is often counterproductive, MIT professor shows
BrowardBulldog: Satz tentatively signs on for MM Diversion for all cannabis cases
“Our office is in favor of the idea,” said state attorney’s spokesman Ron Ishoy ...
*FOURTH DCA: TALABISCO BACK IN HOT WATER*
*CORRECTION* - Regarding "THAT'S HIS DEFENSE?" (See below), there is misdemeanor diversion for some domestic violence cases in Broward, even if the State Attorney's website says the following, with no information on the DVU page regarding a diversion program:
Ineligible - The following will not be approved for M.D.P.:
2. Domestic Violence offenses (to be handled by the Domestic Violence Unit).
There is, of course, no diversion for felony domestic violence cases in Broward County.
Sorry for the confusion!