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November 1, 2013
Court says portal e-service meets rules requirements

It’s official.

Using the Florida courts electronic portal to serve documents filed with the courts through the portal counts as fulfilling the requirement of procedural rules for email service.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricky Polston issued an administrative order on October 9 on the subject.

It provides: “Effective immediately, any registered participant who uses the portal for electronic filing (hereinafter ‘e-filing’) in any court for any type of case and in conjunction with that e-filing uses the portal as a means of service is deemed to have complied with service requirements, in accordance with rule 2.516, Florida Rules of Judicial Administration.”

Software for e-service was installed on the portal on September 28 and became generally available on September 30. But some lawyers questioned whether service through the portal was legally sufficient under Rule 2.516.

The Rules of Judicial Administration Committee examined the issue and took the position that since e-service through the portal was accomplished via email, that it was covered under the email provisions of the rule. But it also proposed a slight amendment to the rule that clarified that e-service through the portal did comply with the rule.

That change was considered by the Bar Board of Governors at its October 4 meeting, and the board recommended approval of that rule by a 32-1 vote and forwarded it to the Supreme Court. The board also recommended, 34-1, approval of amendments to Rule 2.515 clarifying issues relating to electronic signatures on electronically filed documents.

At its October 12 meeting, the Florida Courts E-Filing Authority, which manages the portal, heard that the e-service was implemented with few problems.

“People seem to like what they are using,” Carolyn Weber, portal project business manager, told the authority governing board.

She said that five online training courses on e-filing and e-service have been successfully conducted with each attracting 200 attorneys and staff. Four more courses were scheduled before October 22, and a copy of one of the seminars will be posted on the authority’s website at myflcourtaccess.com, under the Help tab.

Additionally, under the Videos section of the Help tab are two WebEx videos that can be used to learn the e-service option (www.myflcourtaccess.com/authority/trainingvideos.html). Under the Manuals section is the E-Service User Guide, which provides more instruction (www.myflcourtaccess.com/authority/trainingmanuals.html).

[Revised: 10-30-2014]