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FAQs CM/ECF

General (27) | For Debtor (9) | Before You File (8) | After You File (2) | For Creditor (24) | For Attorney (10) | CM/ECF (35)
  • Case docket - how do I access a case docket to search for an item?

    Log in to CM/ECF and select the “Reports” link from the blue menu bar. A sub-menu will appear with a link to “Docket Report.” Selecting the “Docket Report” menu option will prompt the user to enter a PACER login and password. After successfully logging into PACER, numerous search option filters will be available to help streamline your search results.

  • Certificate of Service - do I have to submit one for a document that has been electronically filed?

    Yes. A Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) is not a substitute for the filing of a separate certificate of service but may be incorporated by reference in the certificate of service for the purpose of identifying those parties who were served electronically, even if, by such incorporation, the result is inclusion in the certificate of service of some case participants who received electronic service but were not required to be served [see Local Rule 2002-1(F)].

    Parties that are not registered CM/ECF users will receive notice by U.S. Mail unless they have opted into electronic service options offered by the BNC.

    For information on items that require service under FRBP 7004, please review the following:

     

  • CM/ECF - What are the benefits?
    • Registered users can file documents, access and/or print case dockets and documents 24 hours a day from anywhere Internet access is available.
    • Reduction in paper usage and amount of secured storage space required.
    • Reduction in travel time and costs required to file or access case information from the courthouse or archives at federal records centers since the public, including creditors can access case files from public terminals or through a PACER account.
    • Easy to use and out-of-pocket cost of participation by the public is relatively low because the system uses standard software for accessing the internet.
    • Reduction in the costs of handling and mailing paper notices, and increase in noticing delivery speed for registered users since CM/ECF provides automatic email notice of case activity.
    • Reduction in the need for public inquiries to the clerk’s office and U.S. Trustee’s office for case information.
    • Additional research features, such as report generation, are easily accessible.
    • Case files and documents can be accessed by multiple users at the same time.

  • CM/ECF - What is it?

    CM/ECF (Case Management/Electronic Case Files) is a comprehensive Windows based case management system that permits courts to maintain electronic case files and allows electronic filing over the Internet. CM/ECF is used to maintain all pending and closed main cases, adversary proceedings and miscellaneous proceedings pending, filed or reopened. [Note: Documents filed prior to October 17, 2005 were not filed electronically and will not be converted to electronic imaged format unless ordered by the court. See Local Rule 5005-4(B) for rules regarding access to electronic filing.]

  • CM/ECF credentials - can my staff use my user name and password?

    Yes, but as the registered attorney, your name will appear as the signatory of the electronically filed document and all certification responsibilities remain with you, the attorney of record [see Local Rule 9011-4(A)(2)]. However, in accordance with Local Rule 9011-4(A)(2)(b), an attorney shall not share an assigned CM/ECF login and password with another attorney for the purpose of having documents filed. The typewritten name of the filing registered user must appear on the document and match the login name of that registered user’s ECF account.

  • Documents - how are electronic documents served?

    Registered users (1) waive the right to receive notice by first class mail and consent to receive notice electronically via the CM/ECF generated NEF; and (2) waive the right to service by personal service or first class mail and consent to electronic service via the NEF, except with regard to service of a summons and complaint under Bankruptcy Rule 7004. Waiver of service and notice by first class mail applies to notice of the entry of an order or judgment under Bankruptcy Rule 9022.

    If a petition is being filed electronically, it must be accompanied by the Local Form “Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury to Accompany Petitions, Schedules, Filing Fee Applications and Statements Filed Electronically,” and must contain the imaged signature of the debtor. See Local Rule 1002-1(4); See also Local Rule 1007-1(D) and 9011-4(C). The registered user must type or print the signer’s name either above or below the signature line on the electronic document. The typed or printed names are the registered user’s representation that the document was signed in original by that party, regardless of whether or not /s/, /s, or s/ is added near the typed name. If the document contains a scanned image of a signature, the typed name must appear under the signature.

  • Documents - how do I prepare them for electronic filing?

    Except for uploading a creditor mailing matrix, ALL other documents filed in CM/ECF must first be converted to PDF format. PDF is a standard format that will allow other system users to view the documents in their original format regardless of the type of computer or word processing program that was used to originally create document. At this time self represented parties cannot file electronically except that a self represented creditor may file a proof of claim electronically.

  • Documents filed electronically - how do I sign them?

    The clerk will assign a unique login and password to each registered user which is that registered user’s signature on electronic documents for all purposes, including those under Bankruptcy Rule 9011, 28 USC § 1746, and this court’s local rules. A registered user’s electronic signature will have the same force and effect as if the user signed a paper copy of the document being filed. If the user’s login and password is used without authorization, the registered user will be responsible for such use and, in the event of unauthorized use, must notify the clerk and immediately take the necessary steps to deactivate access. Docket entries will reflect the name of the registered user who submitted the document via the Internet. See Local Rule 5005-4(D).

  • Email Notification - how can I update the email address associated to my CM/ECF login?

    A new registrant or an existing CM/ECF efiler can update their email address once logged in by selecting Utilities> Maintain Your ECF Account> Email Information> update the primary and/or secondary email address.

  • Email Notification - how do I opt out of receiving email notification on the lead Bankruptcy case when I represent a plaintiff on an Adversary proceeding?

    A new registrant or an existing CM/ECF efiler may select to opt out of receiving electronic notification on the lead bankruptcy case, once logged in, by selecting Utilities> Maintain Your ECF Account> Email Information> select the radio button for "Send notices for adversary proceedings in which I am directly involved but not for their related bankruptcy cases." You may receive notices for some bankruptcy cases if it is required by the Clerk of Court.

  • Errors - how are filing errors and technical issues addressed?

    Deletions of electronic docket entries and/or restrictions of PDF images are permitted ONLY with leave of the court. The clerk will review documents filed electronically and, when appropriate, will issue a notice of electronic filing deficiency under Local Rule 5005-1(C), which will notify the e-filer what corrective action, if any, is required.

    Parties are strongly encouraged to file documents electronically during normal business hours, in case a technical problem occurs. If a party is unable to file electronically as a result of a technical difficulty with the court’s system, the party must contact the clerk’s office CM/ECF Help Desk at the telephone number posted on the court’s website during normal business hours. If required to meet a filing deadline, a registered user is permitted to conventionally file a paper documents only when the CM/ECF system is inaccessible or the registered user’s computer system is inoperable. A registered user whose filing is made untimely as the result of a technical failure may seek, or the court on its own motion may grant, appropriate relief. No filing deadline shall be deemed to be extended due to technical problems except by court order. See Local Rule 5005-4(G). For information regarding electronic overpayment of fees and credit card payment errors, see Local Rule 5081-1(D).

  • Exhibit - if my pleading references as an exhibit a previously filed document in the case, should I attach that document?

    No. Pursuant to Local Rule 9004-1(D), do not attach to the document being filed, any document that has already been filed with the court. Instead, simply reference the previously filed document by the title of the document, docket entry number, and/or claim register number.

  • Federal courts - can I have the same CM/ECF user name and password for all federal courts?

    Because each bankruptcy court assigns each attorney their own unique user name and password into the CM/ECF system, it is not possible to obtain a universal filing login. However, in Florida, the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida have collaborated to develop a new, easy to remember login structure that will allow users to have the same login and password for all three courts. This is a voluntary option for attorneys registered to practice in two or more of the Florida Bankruptcy Courts. To facilitate this new option, each Florida Bankruptcy Court has posted a link to a Universal Login Request Form. Since this is a collaborative effort, we ask that you submit your request to the court where you file the most frequently. (Note: A bankruptcy court CM/ECF login cannot be used to access the district court’s CM/ECF system).

  • Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure - which apply to electronic filing and service?

    Electronic Filing

    The federal rules provide that “[a] court may by local rule permit papers to be filed, signed or verified by electronic means . . . .” Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(e), Fed. R. Crim. P. 49(d), Fed. R. App. P. 25(a)(2)(D), Fed. R. Bankr.P.5005, 7005, 8008. Local Rule 5005-4(A) provides authority for electronic filing in this court.

    Electronic Service

    The federal rules also authorize parties to serve documents (other than certain case-initiating documents) electronically upon written consent of the party to be served [Fed.R. Civ. P. 5(b), Fed. R. Crim. P. 49(b), Fed. R. App. P. 25(c)(1)(D), Fed. R. Bankr.P. 7005, 9014]. Courts may also serve court notices electronically upon written consent [Fed.R. Civ .P. 77, Fed. R. Crim. P. 49(c), Fed. R. App. P.45, Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9022]. Local Rules 9036-1 and 9076-1 address electronic service in this court. Local Rule 9076-1(A) does not waive the right to service by personal service or first class mail of a summons and complaint under Bankruptcy Rule 7004, thus service of process by electronic means is not authorized.

  • File size - is there a size limitation in CM/ECF for PDF documents?

    Yes. The current size limitation that CM/ECF allows for electronically filed documents, including exhibits or attachments, is 50 megabytes. While this limit will not likely affect electronically created documents, in the case of imaged documents, it would be the equivalent of approximately 750 pages. Larger documents must be divided into smaller PDF files. For example, a 60 megabyte PDF file could be divided into one 40 megabyte and one 20 megabyte file. The CM/ECF software will display a message if any PDF exceeds the maximum size of 50 MB.

  • Filing document - what should I do if the document I am filing is not listed in the Available Events pick list?

    You can click on the Available Events text and start typing a key word describing the intent of the pleading. For example, as you start typing “Cert” various events will populate relating to Certificate or Certification. Additionally, you can use the Search feature from the CM/ECF menu bar to find the category(s) in which the event you need is located. A list of event codes will display as a hyperlink under various Category> Menu selections. As a last resort, use the generic docket code if you cannot find an exact match and then modify the docket text in the text box provided to describe the intent of the pleading to match the uploaded document.

  • Filing fees - how are filing fees paid for documents that are filed electronically?

    The registered user is required to pay bankruptcy filing fees for cases, proceedings and other documents using the CM/ECF online credit card payment module. Upon the successful processing of any payment, the filer will automatically receive an electronic confirmation receipt and the payment will also be recorded into the case record [See Local Rule 5081-1(B)]. Filing fees paid in error will ONLY be refunded upon motion and order of the court except when a filing fee is an unintended duplicate payment caused by an error in the court’s CM/ECF system or Internet credit card program [See Local Rule 5081-1(D)].

  • Filing fees - what will happen to my CM/ECF account if I fail to pay required fees in a timely manner?

    The registered user must pay ALL filing fees for CM/ECF transactions on the date the document(s) is filed. Failure to pay outstanding filing fees will cause the registered user’s electronic filing privileges to be suspended and the matter being brought to the attention of the assigned judge who, without further notice or hearing, may impose sanctions as provided by Local Rule 1001-1(D), including dismissal of the case(s) or, if applicable, striking of the document(s). See Local Rule 5081-1(B).

  • Hearing - can I schedule a hearing myself using CM/ECF?

    The court permits the trustees and attorneys to utilize a self-calendaring procedure for non-emergency matters. This procedure will allow attorneys to select available dates and times from the assigned judge’s calendar. This filing functionality will also generate a Notice of Hearing form that will be populated with the selected hearing information. The movant will be required to serve the motion and notice of hearing on affected parties, and file with the court within two business days after service, a certificate of service substantially conforming to the Local Form “Certificate of Service.” See Local Rules 9073-1(B) and 2002-1(F).

  • Imaged original signatures - are there any documents that must be filed with an imaged original signature?

    Yes. The Local Form “Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury to Accompany Petitions, Schedules, Filing Fee Applications and Statements Filed Electronically” [Declaration] and Chapter 13 Wage Deduction Orders must contain imaged original signatures. See Local Rules 1002-1(4), 1007-1(D),(E)(F),1009-1, 3070-1(D) and 9011-4 (C).

  • Minimum requirements - what do I need to use CM/ECF?
    • A personal computer.
    • Word-processing software.
    • Internet access and a browser.
    • An email address.
    • Scanning equipment.
    • High speed Internet connection via DSL or cable modem.
    • Software to convert documents into a PDF format (it is recommended to avoid “freeware” PDF creation utilities).
    • Credit card or checking account to pay statutory filing fees.

  • Notice of Appearance - can I monitor activity in a case in which I do not wish to file a formal notice of appearance?

    CM/ECF contains functionality that will allow a registered user to monitor case activity without filing a formal appearance in the case. Once you log in to CM/ECF, select “Utilities,” then select “Maintain Your ECF Account.” Select “Email Information…,” then place a checkmark in the box “Send notices in these additional cases” and enter the desired case number(s).

  • Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) - for what period of time is my CM/ECF "free look" available after a document has been filed?

    For each CM/ECF registered case participant and any secondary email recipients listed under the registered user’s efiling account, one “free look” of the electronically filed document is available. The “free look” will be available until such time as the document has already been viewed via the active hyperlink contained in the NEF, or 15 days after receipt of the NEF, whichever is earlier. Thereafter, the user will be prompted to enter a PACER login and will be charged to view the document. All users are encouraged to print and/or save the document during the initial viewing period in order to avoid future charges.

  • Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) - how will I know if the electronic filing was accepted?

    Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) will display at the end of the filing process and will be sent via email to all CM/ECF registered case participants. This page will reflect: party filer, date and time document was filed, active hyperlink to the filed document along with the associated docket text, and list of CM/ECF registered case participants who received the document electronically.

  • Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) - when will I begin receiving NEFs from CM/ECF?

    Immediately upon becoming a CM/ECF registered user with this court, the user will begin receiving NEFs, provided the user has filed a notice of appearance or other document (except a proof of claim or ballot) in the case.

  • Original signatures - how will it be handled on documents filed electronically?

    Documents that are electronically filed and require original signatures other than that of the registered user must be maintained in paper form at least five years from the date of discharge of the debtor, dismissal of the case or final resolution of all appeals pending in the case, whichever is later. See Local Rules 5005-4(C) and 9011-4(C).

    If a petition is being filed electronically, it must be accompanied by the Local Form “Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury to Accompany Petitions, Schedules, Filing Fee Applications and Statements Filed Electronically,” and must contain the imaged signature of the debtor. See Local Rule 1002-1(4); See also Local Rule 1007-1(D) and 9011-4(C). The registered user must type or print the signer’s name either above or below the signature line on the electronic document. The typed or printed names are the registered user’s representation that the document was signed in original by that party, regardless of whether or not /s/, /s, or s/ is added near the typed name. If the document contains a scanned image of a signature, the typed name must appear under the signature.

  • PACER - can I use my CM/ECF user name and password to log into PACER?

    The systems require different logins/passwords. A CM/ECF login and password issued by this court is required for attorneys to electronically file documents. To obtain access to the district court’s CM/ECF system, visit: http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov.  A PACER login ID is required for querying cases. You cannot use your PACER login to file documents in CM/ECF. Contact the PACER Center at 1-800-676-6856 or http://www.pacer.psc.uscourts.gov for assistance or to request a PACER login and password.

  • Password - can I change the password assigned to me by the court?

    As a new registered user of CM/ECF, the court will assign a unique login and an initial password. Change your password upon accessing your account by navigating to Utilities> Change Your Password.

  • PDF/A - what is it?

    The Judiciary is planning to change the technical standard for filing documents in the Case Management and Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF) system from PDF to PDF/A. PDF/A is an International Standards Organization (ISO) standard document format that will improve the archiving and preservation of case-related documents. Courts currently accept PDF/A documents. However, a target date for requiring that all new documents be filed in PDF/A has not been set. For additional information visit PACER’s website: CM/ECF to Transition to PDF/A.

  • Personal Identifiers - how do I correct a filed document that mistakenly contained personal identifiers so that the information will be redacted?

    Bankruptcy Rule 9037(a) establishes privacy protection for filings made with the court. If a party files a document containing information that should be restricted from public access (e.g., social security number, financial account number, date of birth, minor’s name), the party may file an ex parte motion, accompanied by the required filing fee,  requesting an order directing the clerk to restrict the unredacted document from public view. The party shall also submit a proposed order granting the motion and the amended redacted document. The clerk may restrict public access to the originally filed document pending entry of an order granting the ex parte motion. If the case has been closed, a motion to reopen is not required if the sole purpose of the reopening is to file a motion to redact personal information. [See Local Rule 5005-1(A)]

    Note: Local Rule 5005-1(A)(2) sets forth the types of information that should not be included in order to comply with the Federal Judicial Privacy Policy. Local Rule 5005-1(A)(3) sets forth the procedure for filing an ex parte motion to redact personal information.

  • Proof of Claim - how do I file a proof of claim?

    Proofs of claim may be filed, transferred, assigned and withdrawn electronically by registered users. Non registered CM/ECF users may use the electronic claim form on the court website to file a claim. Claims that are filed on paper will be imaged by clerk’s office staff. [See Local Rule 3001-1]. Although the filing of a proof of claim electronically will generate a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF), this filing shall not constitute an electronic appearance by the claims filer for purposes of being added to the case to receive NEFs for subsequently filed documents. A separate notice of appearance must be filed by that creditor if desired [see Local Rule 9036-1(A)]. Under Local Rule 3001-1(A)(1), 5005-4(B)(3) and (D), a claimaint or claimant’s agent, including an attorney who is not a registered CM/ECF user, may utilize the electronic claims filing feature available on the court website without becoming a registered user. No user id or password is required.

  • Proposed orders - how are they submitted in CM/ECF?

    Unless otherwise directed by the court or by the local Rules, requests for relief which may be considered immediately by the court without opportunity for objection or hearing must be accompanied by proposed order submitted in accordance with the “Guidelines for Preparing, Submitting, and Serving Orders”. The proponent and any opponent of any requested relief set for hearing on an emergency basis shall bring to the hearing a proposed order granting or denying the relief requested. Otherwise, the proposed order shall be uploaded in electronic format using the E-orders program in CM/ECF. See Local Rule 5005-1(G).

  • Registered user - what is required to become a CM/ECF user? How do I register?

    There are two types of registered CM/ECF users – those with full filing privileges and those with limited filing privileges. For both types, there is a free online course you can register for. Additionally, you can review the Category of Filing to determine which type of registered user (full or limited) best fits your needs.

    An attorney appearing in a case in this district must complete court approved CM/ECF training to become a registered user and begin efiling in this court (see Attorney Admissions). This training course has been approved for 5 CLE credits by The Florida Bar, which can be applied to the CLE credit hour requirements set forth in Local Rule 2090-1(A)(3). You must also have a PACER account. Registration with full filing privileges is required for all trustees and for all attorneys appearing in cases in this district under Local Rules 2090-1(A) and (B)(3), except for government attorneys appearing for those limited purposes under Local Rule 2090-1(B)(1) and those attorneys except under Local Rules 5005-4(B)(5) or (B)(6). [See Local Rule 2090-1 and 5005-4.]

    Additional questions regarding training requirements should be submitted via email to: CMECF_Support@flsb.uscourts.gov.

  • Security - How secure is CM/ECF?

    CM/ECF has many security features and has passed an evaluation by the National Security Agency. Access to the system is through a court-issued login and password.

  • Transcript - how do I access a transcript that has been restricted from public viewing?

    For a period of 90 days from the filing of the transcript electronic access via PACER will not be permitted. However, a copy of the transcript may be obtained from the court reporter at the rate established by the Judicial Conference of the United States. After 90 days, the transcript will always be available for viewing only, free of charge, at any public terminal located in any of the three divisional clerk’s offices.