Electronic Filing

Non-prisoner pro se litigants may file documents electronically on the court’s cm/ecf docketing system, but they are not required to do so. Prisoner and non-prisoner pro se litigants may file documents in paper only. When a pro se litigant files a document that should appear on the docket in paper form only, the clerk’s office will scan the document and attach it to the court’s electronic docket. See the court’s website for rules and instructions on electronic filing. The clerk may order that overlength or repetitive filings will not be available electronically. L.A.R. Misc. Rule 113.2(d). If filing electronically, pro se litigants, like attorneys, must also file paper copies of briefs and appendices with the clerk along with electronic copies. The clerk may direct a party to provide the court with paper copies of other documents filed electronically. The clerk may terminate without notice the filing privileges of any litigant who abuses the system by excessive filings, either in terms of quantity or length. L.A.R. Misc. Rule 113.2(d).

Ordinarily, prisoners and institutionalized persons will not be approved to file documents electronically. Prisoners and institutionalized persons must file documents with the clerk in paper form only. There are unique IT obstacles to electronic filings by prisoners and institutionalized persons. Programs in prisons and institutions that permit prisoners to receive e-mail often do not provide Internet access or permit attachments to e-mail. Because registration as a Filing User constitutes consent to electronic service of all documents by opposing counsel, 3d Cir. L.A.R. 113.2(c), and because the clerk’s office transmits all orders, opinions, etc. to Filing Users by electronic means, 3d Cir. L.A.R. 113.10, Filing Users must be able to receive attachments. Moreover, the clerk’s office can not mark notices of docket activity with attached documents as legal mail. Non-lawyers may not file documents electronically for prisoners. 28 U.S.C. § 1654.

Litigants must follow Judicial Conference policy regarding privacy.  Only the last four digits of social security numbers or financial account numbers may be used.  Only initials of minor children may be used.  Dates of birth may only reference the year.  In criminal cases only the city and state of home addresses may be used.  It is the litigant’s responsibility, not that of the Clerk’s Office staff, to ensure compliance with the privacy policy even if the clerk’s office staff is scanning documents.