New Year's Resolution: Courts are Going Green

by Jeremy Thakurdin on Jan. 16, 2013

Environmental Law Natural Resources 

Summary: This article goes into the new court e file systems that are in place in many Florida Courts.

How's this for going green? The Florida court system has been moving progressively towards using electronic copies of documents instead of the paper filing systems of old. Now, most of the things your attorney will file on your behalf will be submitted to opposing counsel, and the court itself, via email or file transfer protocols.

Initially, a lawsuit still starts with a paper complaint that must be served on defendant(s) via a sheriff or process server. This helps ensure that persons named in a lawsuit have actual notice that suit was filed against them. After that, however, attorneys are responsible for keeping an email address on file where they may receive future notices related to the case (such as interrogatories and demands for documents, as well as hearing schedules). Attorneys must send documents to one another via these e-mail channels.

As noted previously, local courts are requiring that documents be uploaded via FTP also. Orange County, Florida already uses a comprehensive system that dispatches electronic messages AND keeps electronic copies of all documents on hand for ready viewing, anytime and anywhere, by the attorneys registered on a given case. The federal courts, including the United States Court for the Middle District of Florida and the Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District use similar systems.

What's good for the environment---less trees killed for paper, less trash in landfills, less fuel used to deliver "snail mail"---is also helping the legal system to run more efficiently. However, it does make having a qualified attorney well equipped with using technology more important than ever. A person can no longer be content to just "watch for letters in the mailbox." Such letters may never come, but a party to a case will still be bound by decisions made and materials filed electronically that they should have known about. Predictably, the effects of having a virus wipe out email and hard drives presents a whole new level of potential consequences.

At the Law Offices of Jeremy Thakurdin & Associates, we have full-time staff that help us keep systems up and running, protected by anti-virus systems, and in communication with clients. We embrace the changes in technology that will make our planet a better place to live and the legal system better too.

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