Court filings edge up in June, July; still below pre-pandemic levels
Maybe Floridians, lawyers, and the courts are getting better at working remotely and dealing with COVID-19, but whatever the reason, court activity as measured by the filing of court documents rose noticeably in June and July, although not to pre-pandemic levels.
According to figures from the court system’s statewide e-filing portal, between 2 and 2.1 million documents were submitted in each of June and July, up from the 1.8 million filed each in April and May.
That’s still below the 2.2 to 2.3 million filed each in January, February, and March, and the 2.1 million filed in June 2019 and almost 2.3 million for July 2019.
The number of new cases filed also inched up about 10%, from 69,397 in April and 69,910 in May to 75,545 in June and 77,236 in July. However, that’s almost 22% less than the record number of 98,412 new cases filed in January.
Those recent rises in filings reflect trial court activity; appellate filings have actually fallen slightly.
Filings at the five district courts of appeal were 10,394 in June and 10,217 in July, compared to 11,915 in April and 10,984 in May. In March, the number was 12,973. In July 2019, the DCAs had 13,621 filings.
The Supreme Court had between 927 and 1,033 filings a month for February through May. It had 455 filings in June and 431 in July. In July 2019, the court had 1,176 filings.
The Florida Courts E-Filing Authority, which manages the portal, also has released its annual figures for fiscal year 2019-20, which showed that despite the pandemic suppressing filings for the final three months, overall activity remained nearly level from the previous year.
For 2018-19, the portal received 25.5 million documents totaling almost 119.5 million pages. In 2019-20, just under 25.5 million documents were filed totaling 126.9 million pages.
The authority also estimated that since the portal’s e-service function began in 2014, it has saved filers about $38.8 million in postage.