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October 15, 2013
Electronic service is now up and running

Electronic service of documents is now up and running through the statewide portal that handles electronic case filings for Florida courts.

E-service through the portal allows attorneys to select up to three email addresses to receive documents filed in a case, and allows them to select from among the parties in a case who have supplied email addresses on who will receive a filed document. (See story in the October 1 Bar News.)

One last-minute question puzzling some lawyers: Does using the new e-service through the portal count as legally sufficient service or must lawyers continue to email documents to other parties?

The Rules of Judicial Administration Committee proposed amendments to Rule 2.516 to allow the portal’s e-service and those were pending before the Bar Board of Governors for its review as this News went to press.

Keith Park, a member of the committee who headed the subcommittee that drafted the amendments, said the committee concluded that e-service is covered by the current email rule since service through the portal does occur by email. The committee’s changes on that part of the rule are intended as clarification and advisory.

He added, “The portal will only serve those email addresses that are contained in the portal service list. An attorney using the portal to obtain service needs to be certain that the list maintained by the portal is the proper service list for that case. This is probably only an issue for the first attorney who uses the portal for service in a pending case because after that attorney accurately amends the portal’s service list little should need to done thereafter absent attorney or party changes.”

E-service through the portal became available September 30, after a software upgrade to the portal.

The Florida Courts E-Filing Authority, which oversees the portal, made e-service training materials available on its website.

Among the resources under the help tab on the authority’s homepage are two training videos and the text e-service user guide. There is also a PowerPoint presentation on e-filing and e-service on the Bar’s E-Filing Resources page.

[Revised: 12-13-2014]