E-filings down 20% from pre-pandemic levels
Electronic filings for Florida courts remained steady from April to May, but are still down more than 20% from their pre-pandemic levels.
According to figures from the Florida Courts E-Filing Authority, 1.8 million documents were filed in May, just 10 less than were filed in April. That’s about 22% less than the 2.3 million documents filed in March, the 2.2 million filed in February, and the 2.3 million filed in January.
It’s also down from the 2.3 million filed in May 2019.
New cases were also level with April, but almost 30 percent less than previous months. May saw 69,910 new cases, compared to 69,397 in April. Both are much less than the 97,648 in March and the record 98,412 new cases filed in January.
The average number of filings per weekday slightly increased in May, going to 58,857 from 54,111 in April.
While overall filings, which primarily reflect trial court activity, have dropped, appellate filings have had a slower decline. The five district courts of appeal had 12,094 filings in February and 12,973 in March. That compared to 11,915 in April and 10,984 in May. Those May numbers are a 15% decline from March.
The Supreme Court has had a steady number of filings, going from 988 in February and 1,027 in March to 1,033 in April and 926 in May.
The reduced case filings are causing economic concerns for clerks of courts and the court system, both of which rely on filings fees for some of their operating funds. That is expected to be addressed during an anticipated special legislative session to deal with lower sales taxes and other declining state revenues stemming from the pandemic’s economic slowdown.
While the drop in filings is significant, the figures show that despite the pandemic most court work is continuing, including the filing of new cases.