Mandatory e-filing has come to the California Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District. The Fifth Appellate District has announced that use of the electronic filing system (EFS) is mandatory for all attorneys and voluntary for self-represented litigants, per amended Local Rule 8. The filings in electronic format shall be in lieu of any paper copies otherwise required under the California Rules of Court and shall constitute the official record of the Court. The e-filing requirement applies to civil appeals and original proceedings, effective February 17, 2015; planned effective date for criminal and juvenile appeals is March 16, 2015. The Court’s website contains Local Rule 8 and information, instructions and training on using the EFS system (http://www.courts.ca.gov/5dca.htm).
Attorneys filing appeals in the Fifth Appellate District will need to use the “TrueFiling” system
The Fifth Appellate District Court joins the First Appellate District Court of Appeal in designating the “TrueFiling” system as the appointed vendor for the EFS program. All attorneys must register with TrueFiling and register a valid credit card for processing payments. Anyone, who has not yet worked with the TrueFiling system, should note that the submission of a document to TrueFiling is not an immediate upload to the Court. The document is first marked submitted (to TrueFiling), and it is not transmitted to the Court of Appeal until the transaction fee payment is processed by credit card. If the attorney’s credit card has expired or, if otherwise, declined, the brief is not transmitted to the Court of Appeal. It is necessary to log back in to TrueFiling to confirm that the system has processed the payment and transmitted the brief to the Court of Appeal.
File requirements, limits and filing deadlines
Documents, which are filed electronically, must be in text-searchable, PDF format and must not exceed a total file size of 25 MB. Filing documents electronically does not change any filing deadlines. In order to be timely filed on the day they are due, all electronic transmissions of documents must be completed (i.e., received completely by the Clerk of the Court) prior to midnight. If a stipulation or Court order sets a specific time of day for filing, the electronic filing shall be completed by that time. Although EFS permits parties to submit documents electronically 24 hours a day, telephone or online assistance may not be available outside of normal Court business hours.
Depending on the appellate issues and the type of records included in your appendix, close attention and great care must be paid to any appendix documents that contain confidential or sensitive information. Social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, account numbers and financial information must be redacted from briefs, documents within appendices and transcripts.
Manual service of printed briefs is still required
The TrueFiling system does not yet provide for serving the brief on the trial court judge. Printed briefs need to be served on the trial court judge. In cases where service on the Attorney General’s office and District Attorney’s office is required by Court rule or statute, printed briefs may need to be served, as well.
How to get it done correctly the first time, every time?
Counsel Press regularly assists attorneys with the preparation of appellate briefs and records for filing. We can assist registered attorneys with their electronic file preparation and filing in any of the United States Circuit Courts of Appeal and California Courts of Appeal.
If you have any questions or need assistance with preparing and filing your appeal, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Counsel Press provides a full spectrum of appellate services. My colleagues and I at Counsel Press’ office in Los Angeles specialize in rule-compliant appellate filings in the California Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.