Beginning March 17, 2014, all civil appellate filings by parties represented by counsel in the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District must be made electronically using the Electronic Filing System (EFS) designated by the court. The EFS program and filing requirements are included in Local Rule 16. Registration with the EFS system began on March 10, 2014. Attorneys and law firms must register, designate a firm administrator to authorize attorney access to pending appeals and set up a method of payment for charges. The Court’s website contains Local Rule 16 and information, instructions and training on using the EFS system (http://www.courts.ca.gov/1dca.htm).
The EFS system mirrors the ECF system in the federal courts in many respects. By registering, attorneys are agreeing to be served electronically with any item filed in the appeal instead of receiving printed paper service copies. The user’s ID and password are deemed the electronic signature for a registered attorney and any document displaying the symbol “/s/” with the attorney’s or party’s printed name shall be deemed signed by that person.
Records on Appeal:
Local Rule 16 requires all Reporter’s Transcripts, Appendices, Agreed Statements or Settled Statements to be electronically-filed by appellate counsel that are covered by this rule. If the file size exceeds the 25 megabyte limit, it should be filed in multiple parts or on disc. Any appendix, larger than 10 volumes, may be physically transmitted to the Court on disc, "machine readable optical media,” in lieu of e-filing.
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. California Rules of Court, Rule 1.20(b)(3) has required this information to be redacted from publically-filed documents since 2007, but it was often not followed by counsel when preparing a printed appendix for a physical paper filing. Local Rule 16 mandates redaction of any sensitive or confidential information. This adds to the work required to prepare appendices and transcripts prior to filing. If the account number or sensitive information is necessary to the appeal, the publicly-filed document shall only include the last four digits of the number in question.
Any filing containing medical records, trade secrets or confidential proprietary information must be filed under seal as a manual filing. Similar to the ECF system requirements in the federal courts, a “Notice of Manual Filing” shall be e-filed in addition to the manual submission. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may also need to file a motion for leave of court to file under seal and provide the court with printed briefs and records in both redacted and non-redacted versions. (See C.R.C. Rules 8.45, 8.46 and 8.47).
Are there any exclusions?
The Court will allow for an excuse from the e-filing requirements and allow for manual filing in certain circumstances, but the party must e-file a manual filing notification setting forth the reason why the document cannot be filed electronically.
How to get it done correctly the first time, every time?
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 (including electronic filings and electronic submissions) in the California Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.