A new rule set forth by the Florida Supreme Court last year altered the manner in which attorneys have been serving court papers by requiring service by electronic mail, or “e-mail." Although the rule is fairly straight forward, this attorney has noticed that the majority of e-served documents received do not fully comply with the rule’s stringent requirements. So, let us review this new rule and see if we cannot clear up some of the most common mistakes in e-mail service.
On June 21, 2012, the Florida Supreme Court issued an opinion which announced the new requirement for service by e-mail to be implemented in the coming months. Multiple later opinions revised the requirements for e-mail service to allow additional time for some parties to come into compliance without excessive expense or difficulty. The most current opinion, dated October 18, 2012, lays out the who and when aspects of compliance with the new rule as well as the current language.
All attorneys practicing in the civil, probate, small claims and family law divisions of the trial courts, and all appellate cases, must begin e-serving all court papers required to be served beginning on September 1, 2012. In re: Amendments to the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Florida Probate Rules, the Florida Rules of Traffic Court, the Florida Small Claims Rules, the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure, the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, and the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure – E-mail Service Rule, 2012 WL 4936305, 3 (Fla.). The most recent change to the rule is that attorneys practicing in the criminal, traffic and juvenile divisions of the trial courts may elect to begin e-service on September 1, 2012, but are not required to do so until October 1, 2013 when electronic filing becomes mandatory. Id. So, for any civil litigation attorneys out there, you are absolutely required to e-mail serve all court papers that require service, with a few exceptions of course. Failure to comply with this rule could result in the opposing party contesting proper service or moving to strike filings that were not properly served by e-mail.
To read more visit my blawg posting at http://www.jimersoncobb.com/blawg/2013/01/compliance-with-new-florida-rule-of-judicial-administration-2-516-e-mail-service/ .