E-Filing Goes Live In Los Angeles
By Wayne Nitti
For civil litigators and law firms in Los Angeles County, January 2nd marked the dawn of a new era. That’s the day the LA Superior Court—the nation’s biggest unified trial court system—went live with a mandatory electronic filing system for non-complex civil cases seeking greater than $25,000 in damages. The long-anticipated transition represents the latest, and most bold move yet to modernize California’s court system. But no one ever said it would be easy.
On the contrary, when LASC representatives outlined the new system in a public meeting last December, they predicted that a good number of initial e-filings would be rejected, and cautioned that both the Court and the legal community would confront a steep learning curve. “Be patient with us,” Presiding Judge Daniel Buckley said at the meeting’s conclusion. A similar sentiment was expressed in a January 9th Notice to Attorneys, when the Court postponed e-filing in complex cases until April 1st. “The Court appreciates your patience while we make these transitions to the new system,” the notice said.
Indeed, due to the sheer size of the Court, legacy data issues, and software glitches, e-filing providers and law firms throughout the county confronted error messages, improper fees, and processing delays once the system launched. For their part, both the Court and Journal Technologies, the company it contracted to develop and manage the underlying case management system, took quick remedial actions, including designating personnel to respond to problems encountered in particular venues. Due to these efforts, the initial case rejection rate of 28 percent since launch has decreased considerably. As Journal Technologies’ parent company, the Daily Journal Corporation, noted in its 2018 annual report: “There are many uncertainties in the process of courts and other justice agencies migrating to newer Internet-based systems.”
As a longstanding online case management and e-service provider in LASC, Case Anywhere has added e-filing capabilities to our offerings, and we’re optimistic that we’ll see continued improvements in how the new system performs. Because we host and manage a large number of complex proceedings, we’re also well-prepared for when mandatory e-filing goes into effect for those cases on April 1st.
In the meantime, we’ve been favorably impressed by the cooperative and composed responses we’ve heard from some of our attorney clients. “The rollout of LA County e-filing was guaranteed to have initial problems,” observed one civil litigator we’ve worked with for years. “But if court personnel and e-filing vendors cooperate, many of those problems are likely to be worked out.”
With Los Angeles now in the mix, e-filing in California courts has expanded to 20 counties, and Case Anywhere is poised to offer that service throughout the State in the coming months. Request a demonstration and see how we can simplify your Los Angeles Superior Court experience. We look forward to hearing from you.