eFileFAST, Author at eFileFAST

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June 6, 2018
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eFileFAST companion software lowers rejection rates, allows law offices to e-file up to 90% faster

New York, NY—June 5, 2018—In response to law firms clamoring for a solution that streamlines the electronic filing process mandated by the New York state courts, eFileFAST will debut its new e-filing companion software at a launch event from 2-5 p.m. on Thursday, June 14, at the Microsoft Technology Center in Times Square.

Created by U.S. Document Retrieval Service (USDRS) and the software development experts at Exigent Technologies, New York-based eFileFAST answers the call for help from law firms that have been seeking to add efficiency around their e-filing process, while also mitigating some of its inherent risks.

The principals at USDRS came to me and explained that an increasing number of their customers were asking for help navigating the e-filing mandates, processes and deadlines, while others had asked about outsourcing the entire process,” explained eFileFAST cofounder Daniel Haurey.

Built using the litigation support experience of USDRS specialists, veteran staff from prominent New York-based law firms and software development experts from Exigent Technologies, eFileFAST provides legal professionals with software that is fast, eliminates redundant data entry, and creates compliant and indexed documents that meet the exacting specifications of the New York courts. 

Similar to popular income tax e-filing solutions, such as TurboTax®, which work with government e-filing systems to simplify the process, eFileFAST works as a companion to the NYSCEF system rather than replacing it. As an on-demand, cloud-based solution, eFileFAST has no subscription costs and no software to install; users simply pay a small fee for each filing. It supports e-filing by those approved to file through NYSCEF, including filings to the New York State Civil, Appellate and Supreme courts, as well as the state’s Court of Claims.

The NYSCEF system is a testament to New York State’s leadership around electronic filing. We’re proud to be the first company to enhance the New York e-filing process for end users by reducing the potential for errors, creating time savings and facilitating the court’s mission of efficiency for its partners in the justice system,” says Paul Bender, Chief Software Architect at Exigent Technologies. “We knew we had the right solution when our testing benchmarks revealed up to a 90% improvement in the time to e-file.”

To help law firms get acclimated with the inaugural edition of eFileFAST, new users can use the solution in “Training Mode” to file practice submissions in the NYSCEF training system. While a NYSCEF training login is not required to use eFileFAST in Training mode, valid NYSCEF credentials are required for Live mode. Switching from Training to Live mode happens with a simple click of a button.

Legal professionals and press are encouraged to attend the launch on June 14, but limited space and strict security requirements require an RSVP. Click here to RSVP by June 8 for the event.

Learn more about eFileFAST at www.efilefast.com, where you can sign up for a free trial. Follow eFileFAST on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/efilefast/ and Twitter @eFileFAST.

Press Inquiries: Gennifer Biggs, Generate Communications, 814-449-2676, gennifer.biggs@gmail.com

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April 24, 2018
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Proceed with caution sign

It is essential that you review and confirm that service was effectuated on attorneys/parties upon the completion of your filing on NYSCEF.  Sometimes, not all parties will receive the papers via Notice of Electronic Filing or better known as the “NYSCEF receipt” and they must be served by other service methods. When this happens, the filing needs to be backed up with an Affidavit/Affirmation of Service.

Commencement papers must be served in hard copy pursuant to the CPLR (Civil Practice Law and Rule).  At this stage, the parties have not yet recorded their consent in a consensual e-filing action, nor have any parties recorded their representation in a mandatory action. In this instance, an Affidavit of Service should be filed. Service in a NYSCEF case for parties that have already been served with the commencement action is made through NYSCEF by a participating e–filer upon other participating e–filers who have already recorded their consent or noted their representation for a party. When a document is filed through NYSCEF, the transmission of the document automatically causes service to occur on the other participating attorneys/parties.  They will receive a Notice of Electronic Filing and in this instance, an Affidavit/Affirmation of Service is not needed.

So, what is the harm in including an Affidavit/Affirmation of Service even though it is not needed? You are beholden to the rules and the requirement of the service method that you choose and this effects the amount of notice given to your adversary. NYSCEF was never meant to replace service methods already in the CPLR.  Rather, it was meant as an additional option when requirements are met. Service by mail within New York State adds 5 days to the service requirement. Service outside of New York State by mail add 6 days to the service requirement. Whereas Service via NYSCEF is viewed as personal service and no extra time is added to the notice requirement. So, if you served a Notice of Motion with supporting documents via NYSCEF and included a standard Affidavit or Affirmation of Service attesting to service by mail and did not include the 5 or 6 extra days, then you have just short served your adversary. Therefore, either change the language on the Affidavit/Affirmation of Service to attest to service via NYSCEF or remove it altogether. Watch those service requirements!

Kristen Gutierrez is a Managing Clerk in New York City.  The information contained herein is not legal advice.   

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April 16, 2018
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“NYSCEF”, the New York State Courts Electronic Filing System. A program (portal) that allows filing by electronic means as well as electronic service of most e-filed documents.  It is a system which most of us are quite intimate with. Depending on the complexity of the case, you may find yourself with a filing that consists of well over 100 documents or commencing an action with 20 parties that all contain party text, or even better the parties are named multiple times within the caption. This is when we, as filers, make that silent prayer to the NYSCEF gods that the documents are both handed over timely, meet the format and criteria of the NYSCEF system, the Electronic Filing Rules, CPLR, Court’s Local Rules, the Judge’s Individual Rules (That is, if you have a Judge) and let’s not forget the Division Rules. Filing with the NYSCEF system is not just conversions and uploads.

As a Docketing and Filing Professional, we are the last step in quality control. When we receive a document for filing, we are adding value by also reviewing it for procedural accuracy. Are you in the Commercial Division?  Do the exhibits have to be uploaded separately or as a combined document? If as a combined document, are bookmarks necessary? Signatures; Does the document require physically scanned signatures, or is an “s/” sufficient? If an “s/” are you filing under the correct filer? Does the filing require an Affidavit/Affirmation of Service? If you filed a Proposed Order, does the judge need a working copy to be so-ordered? Have you redacted?

Let’s talk about PDF/A, which is a subset of the PDF specification which removes much of the complexity and issues of archiving files. This format supports archiving of files for future use and allows these files to be opened by any software or operating system without losing its original format, color, hyperlinks, and fonts. This is also the required format for filing with NYSCEF. This can be the bane of your existence depending on the amount of metadata the document contains and the source of your document. An Ill-formatted PDF will cause a rejection upon attempting to complete your filing.

As advanced as it is, NYSCEF is not always completely logical and the rejection will wipe all your uploaded files forcing you to start anew.  The key here is employing best practices and this is where much of our as legal professionals should be focused.

Developing a method or system to help identify potential issues at the forefront of e-filing is essential to a successful e-filing. Not to mention staying up to date with amendments in the CPLR, Local Rules, Division Rules, Electronic Filing Rules and your Judge’s rules. Using tools that can properly convert and detect issues timely and efficiently is indispensable because, let’s be honest, we are more than likely going to be hit with an Order to Show Cause at 4:45 p.m. that “MUST be filed today before the Court closes”, or does that just happen to me?

Kristen Gutierrez is a Managing Clerk in New York City,  The information contained herein is not legal advice.   

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April 4, 2018
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This copyrighted content is published with the explicit permission of Yaniv Schiller of CourtAlert. 

Introduction: 

On March 1st, 2018 the Appellate Divisions will march into the world of electronic filing and NYSCEF will be utilized in all four departments. Below is a summary of the procedures as a result of numerous discussions with court personnel, the court training and reviewing of the rules.

Please use this article as a general guide only as it is subject to error, the actual rules should always be consulted. CourtAlert does not provide legal guidance.

CourtAlert customers are welcome to distribute this document within their organization, but please ask permission before distributing it elsewhere.

Court resources: NYSCEF home page and the NYSCEF Help Desk: Efile@nycourts.gov, 646-386-3033

Which cases must be filed electronically? 

  1. AD1 – All appeals on Commercial matters, not just commercial divisions cases. All commercial matters New York and Bronx counties. Not just Commercial Division.
  2. AD2 – All appeals on Supreme and Surrogate’s cases in Westchester County only
  3. AD3 – All appeals on civil cases commenced by a summons and complaint in the Third Judicial District
  4. AD4 – All appeals on cases in the Commercial Division in the Fourth Judicial Department

The case types that required to be filed electronically is likely to grow, please check with the court websites links on CourtAlert.

Filing Agent allowed:

A filing agent may do all the filing on behalf of the parties. CourtAlert is not a filing agent and cannot recommend or endorse any filing agent.

Summary of the rules:

Appellant:

  1. File Notice of Appeal in the trial court – Supreme or Surrogate
  2. Within 14 days of NOA filing –
  3. Register as an e-filing user, unless you already have NYSCEF username and password
  4. Enter in NYSCEF the parties and other documents, as may be required by the individual department.
  5. NYSCEF will prompt you of which documents are required by each department.
  6. Appellate Division will assign a case or docket number and will email it to the filing appellant
  7. Appellant must serve on hard copy the notification of case number on all responses. Within 7 days, the case number is assigned
  8. Appellate will then e-file the proof of service notification of case number on NYSCEF

Respondent:

  1. Register to NYSCEF, again only if s(he) does not already have NYSCEF username and password
  2. Within 20 days enter contact information on the case

Wavered from electronic filing is any unrepresented party and they will file and serve manually. An attorney can claim attorney exemption, stating lack of knowledge or equipment. Such attorney need bring the papers to the court to file manually.

Perfection of the Appeal: 

Appellant can perfect the appeal at any time (within the Appellate Division specific time limits), but if it is done prior to the 20 days allotted for the respondent to put his contact information, it must be served by hand. After the twenty days, the respondent is considered served.

Hard copies as specified in the applicable department rules are still required, within 2 days of the court email advising that the electronic file was accepted.

Formatting: 

There are requirements in addition to the Appellate Departments requirements. The NYSCEF home page has a PDF Checker to verify that the file format is PDF/A as required.  Each step of the electronic filing includes a review page at the end affording the user another chance to edit the data before submission.

Further details of the actual entry screens: 

Starting tomorrow the actual screen will be on NYSCEF, and they are already available on the NYSCEF training site.

For recording initial case information, you will need four dates:

  1. a) “Order Appealing From Date” – Order Date of the Order you are appealing
  2. b) “Date Order Entered” – The date that order was entered in the lower date
  3. c) “Notice of Appeal Date” – Notice of Appeal Date
  4. d) “Date Notice of Appeal Filed” – Date the notice of appeal at the lower court was filed

If the lower court case was electronically filed, entering the index number the system will pull in the parties, and there is room to add more parties (should the lower court data be incomplete).

The user can now enter the document type to file: In AD1 Notice of Appeal with proof of the filing and attach the PDF.

Next: The filer will receive a confirmation email from the court and the filer will wait for the appellate division to assign a case number (AD1 may call this a calendar number). The court will then separately email the number that was assigned to the case, that email will contain a link to the form that is to serve (manually) on all the parties advising them of the case number that was assigned to the case.

The appellant then files the proof of service on NYSCEF.

The respondent:

Within 20 days respondent is required to file his contact information. Regardless, pass the twenty days deadline, the respondent is considered served when an electronic filing is made. Use the “Enter contact information” screen.

Perfecting the Appeal;

The appeal can then be perfected: You can serve by filing electronically after the “20 days”. If prior to the “20 days”, hard copy service is required. Use “Perfect the appeal” on the NYSCEF site to file and pay the fee.

Hard copies as specified in the applicable department rules are still required. First file the documents electronically, then, within 2 days of the court email advising that the electronic file was accepted, produce the paper copies.

Filing into an existing appeal:

Use the same site, the system will prompt for the allowed document types.

Filing approval:

The court can reject any electronically filed documents and resubmitting (electronically) is then required. When bringing documents to court please include a copy of the confirmation (not required by the rules but the court says it is best practice).

The NYSCEF Resource Center is available for questions and training.

Proposed Statewide Practice Rules of the Appellate Division:

The OCA has Proposed Statewide Practice Rules of the Appellate Division on May 25, 2017. Among other changes, it recommends that an appellant shall file with the clerk within six (6) months of the date of the notice of appeal. You can read the Description of proposal and the Public Comment.