May 2014 Dicta
by Jennifer Larson

In case you missed it, DAYL’s CLE Committee recently sponsored a panel discussion regarding the new e-filing procedures. The panel included John Burkhead, The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson, P.C.; Sandra Sifford, Dallas County District Civil/Family Court Operations Manager; and Hector Faulk, Dallas County Civil/Family File Desk Supervisor. Here are a few tips from the panel:

  1. All attorneys are required to e-file all pleadings. If you have an extenuating circumstance and you are not able to e-file, you must seek that remedy from the court. Neither the file desk nor the court clerk can accommodate this request.
  2. When you are filing a lawsuit, you must make both the petition and the civil cover sheet lead documents. This means that there will be two lead documents.
  3. Many attorneys are worried about missing a deadline because a filing is returned by the clerks. Fear not. If you file by the deadline and your pleading is returned for correction for some reason, the clerk will let you know in the comments how many days you have to correct your filing (usually 2 days). If you correct your filing and re-file within that time frame, your pleading will not be considered late.
  4. If you have difficulty filing a pleading because it exceeds the 35MB size limit, call the file desk. You will need to break the pleading apart into separate attachments that do not exceed the 35MB size limit and file them in separate envelopes. If you do not call the file desk before you do this so that they can be looking for your filings, it is likely that the filings will be rejected. 
  5. When your filing is returned for correction, review the comments section for detailed instructions on what needs to be corrected.
  6. Many judges still request a courtesy copy of certain filings. Make sure you check with each court to determine whether you need to send a courtesy copy.
  7. If you have a question, ask. If your question relates to a filing that requires a fee, then you should direct your question to the filing desk. If your question relates to a filing that does not require a fee, you should direct your question to the court’s clerk.
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