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January 2014 TBF Practice Tip: The New Age of E-Filing

| Jan 23, 2014 | Firm News

Last year, the Texas Supreme Court issued an order which requires counties to switch to a mandatory electronic filing system. The deadline to switch to the new system is determined by the size of the county. For 2014, counties with a population of 500,000 or more were required to be compliant by January 1st and counties with a population of 200,000 to 499,999 are required to comply by July 1st. By July 1, 2016, all counties will have a mandatory e-filing system. The rule changes for e-filing are:

Revisions to Rule 21:

  • The Rule now requires that documents be e-filed when possible. The only exceptions are:
    • Documents submitted for in-camera inspection;
    • Documents submitted under seal; or
    • Documents otherwise restricted by law or court order.
  • Include your e-mail address in the signature block on all filings.
  • Documents can be e-filed until midnight on the day they are due.

Revisions to Rule 21a:

  • This Rule now provides for service through e-filing.
  • When you sign up for e-filing through a court, you will be required to consent to service through the e-filing system.
  • If the attorney or person you are attempting to serve is not set up to receive service through the e-filing system, you can serve them through the normal channels of mail, fax, delivery, or e-mail.
  • Service is complete for e-filing on transmission of the document to the serving party’s e-filing service provider.
  • Very Important: Only when you are served by mail are you allowed three extra days to respond.

The New Rule 21c:

  • Filing of documents containing “sensitive data” is prohibited.
  • The rule defined sensitive data as:
    • A driver’s license number, passport number, social security number, tax identification number, or similar government-issued personal identification number;
    • A bank account number, credit card number, or other financial number; and
    • A birth date, a home address, and the name of any person who was a minor when the underlying suit was filed.
  • You must retain an un-redacted copy of the document you file during the pendency of the case.
  • You must notify the Clerk of the court that you are filing a document with sensitive data.

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