Quote of the Day - If you file your waste-paper basket for fifty years, you have a public library.
Under orders from the United States District Court for the Central District of California, I clicked on the URL for the eight modules of training on the Court's CM/ECF (Case Management / Electronic Case Filing system), and promptly went brain-dead. Sure, I had to complete the training in order to get the Court to issue a user name and password in order to electronically file documents even though others in the firm already have them, but after the two-and-one-half-hour mind-numbing and overly repetitive online lecture and allegedly "interactive tutorial," I'm left with one question:
According to the General Order and the Judge's Standing Order, I must still (within three days of the e-filing) physically file with the Court a "courtesy" copy of the document I just e-filed with the Court, complete with the cover page showing that I properly e-filed the document.
Just reread that last paragraph again. That's right. Now I get to file the same thing twice; three times if you count the requirement to also e-file the [Proposed] Order directly with the judge's chambers.
My head hurts, and now that I think about it, I actually have two questions.
The system has a 4.5 megabyte top-end limitation on the size of any file submitted through the CM/ECF system.
No. They're not kidding. More than that and you have to figure out how to divide the file into smaller byte-sized files to upload below the 4.5 meg limitation.
That limitation is about the size of a scanned small coloring book, which probably isn't saying much for the briefs being submitted, but come on, this is the United States government we're talking about. 4.5 megs? Our small-firm e-mail server can handle 50 meg files coming and going, and we've only got six attorneys. Certainly the government can afford a computer system that can handle big files. There are probably 30,000 attorneys in the Central District, many of whom file those ten-pound Motions for Summary Judgment.
We do too, in fact. I looked at one of the last ones we filed before the CM/ECF system went into play and just one of the Declarations was over 48 megs. That's uploading 11 separate files for just one document out of something that's probably got another 10 paper documents before it's finally said and done, not counting the dividing that will have to go on to come under the 4.5 meg limitation.
Just so you have this straight once you get done with the training, the Court hasn't produced a manual, but they do have a Help desk that's open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Court holidays; heaven help you then.
Never fear, though. One of our own has come to our rescue. Santa Ana Attorney Martin Anderson created this manual after he banged his head into the wall for hours trying to figure out how the system doesn't work. Click on the link immediately above to download it and save your sanity.
One more thing: you can't e-file complaints or other "case-initiating" documents. You still have to bring those to the court the old-fashinoned way.
On paper. So much for technology.