After its first month of operation, e-service through the Florida Court E-Filing Portal is being reviewed by the E-Service Workgroup to see if any tweaks are necessary. And the Florida Courts E-Filing Authority, which oversees the portal, has issued some suggestions to fix minor problems that have surfaced since e-service through the portal began at the end of September.
Those tips include that lawyers who get their e-mail through the AOL service provider may need to get another service, as AOL users have reported some inconsistencies in service through the portal. It is recommended that AOL users explore an alternative service, perhaps through a no-cost alternative such as Yahoo or Gmail (i.e., email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Other suggestions include:
* Check email addresses in the attorney profiles case for accuracy to ensure e-service is made properly. Only an attorney adding an email address to the service list can change or remove that email address. In one case, the wrong attorney was listed as opposing counsel and received volumes of service via email for a case in which he was not involved. The real opposing attorney, on the other hand, got no service. Likewise, spelling a name or address wrong will cause an emailed service document to bounce back and that attorney will not get service.
* If you’re getting service for a case in which you’re not involved, check the service list in the case file. You’ve probably been added in error by an attorney in the case and only that attorney can remove your name from the list. You can only change, add, or delete names and email addresses that you added to the service list.
* The portal automatically breaks up long documents into 5 megabyte attachments and sends each attachment in a separate email. Some attorneys report getting only part of what opposing counsel says they sent. It is possible, as all the emails looks alike, that your email provider may be marking the subsequent parts as spam. Check your email spam filter and set it to allow email@example.com.
* State attorneys and public defenders are expected to have a special challenge managing their electronic service because of their large caseloads. It is being suggested to those offices that they establish a single, organization-wide email address for service, and then make that address known to opposing counsel.
* Larger private firms may want to follow the example of state attorneys and public defenders and organize service in a single, general email for the firm, in order to cut down on the emails and images being sent to individual attorneys.
Lawyers can designate up to three email addresses to receive automatic service in a case; those can be lawyers in the firm or clients who have asked to be kept up to date on filings.
Training videos and a user guide for e-service are posted under the Help tab on the www.myflcourtaccess.com page.
Among the items the E-Service Workgroup will review are cleaning up e-service lists in cases; automatically sending a notice to an attorney when another party adds him or her to the service list in a case; and automatically adding the state attorney’s e-service address when a criminal case is initiated.
The Supreme Court has issued an administrative order clarifying that service through the portal meets the email service requirements of Rule of Judicial Administration 2.516 (see story in the November 1 Bar News).