CM / ECF

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I get started?

In order to file electronically, an attorney must be admitted to practice before this Court or specially admitted pursuant to Local Rule 2.02(a)(1) and must have previously registered to file electronically. Attorney Admission and Electronic Filing Registration forms can be obtained from the Clerk's Office at any Court location or on our website at www.flmd.uscourts.gov.


Attorney Admission forms can be obtained from the Middle District of Florida’s Main Home Page under Attorney Resources.


E-filing registration forms may be found on the CM/ECF-Filing Home Page.


In addition, you will need a PACER account to do any retrievals of information from the system. Note that the PACER account does not have to be individual; one account shared by an entire firm could work fine. If you do not already have a PACER account, you may request one by calling the PACER Service Center in San Antonio, Texas at 1-800-676-6856, or by visiting http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov


In addition, you will need a PACER account to do any retrievals of information from the system. Note that the PACER account does not have to be individual; one account shared by an entire firm could work fine. If you do not already have a PACER account, you may request one by calling the PACER Service Center in San Antonio, Texas at 1-800-676-6856, or by visiting http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov


How do I learn to use the system?

The best way to learn to use the e-filing system is to take the tutorial located on our CM/ECF Website or sign up for one of our hands-on training classes. These are held throughout the Middle District of Florida at our courthouses and dates and times are also located at our CM/ECF Website. Training is not mandatory, but recommended.

In April 2002, the PACER Service Center made available computer-based- training modules and those can be found at:http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/ecfcbt/dc/


What is the cost of using CM / ECF?

There is no fee associated with the electronic filing aspect of the CM/ECF system, which requires an ECF account. Additionally, an ECF-registered attorney, will receive a Notice of Electronic Filing for each document filed in his/her ECF cases. If the document was filed electronically, the Notice of Electronic Filing will contain a hyperlink that will allow the recipient to obtain a free copy of the document.


Public users accessing the CM/ECF system through a PACER account are charged 10 cents per page for information obtained through the CM/ECF system. There is a cap of $3.00 charged for a single PDF document, docket sheets and reports. For example, a 50 page document costs $5.00 at 10 cents per page. This same document with the cap in place only costs $3.00. Each attachment in CM/ECF is considered a separate document, therefore the cap will apply to each attachment over 30 pages separately.


Does the free look from the hyperlink on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) expire?

Yes. The free look expires 15 days from transmission of the NEF or after the first use, whichever comes first. Any time that same hyperlink is accessed after it has expired, the NEF recipient will be asked for a PACER login and will be charged to view the document.


What if I receive an e-mail notification from the court that does not provide a hyperlink to the document?

This is not an error. It simply means that a PDF document was not electronically filed for that particular docket entry. Oftentimes, judges may do a “text only” entry with no document attached.


Why am I sometimes prompted for a login and password after clicking on a document hyperlink in an NEF?

Document hyperlinks embedded in NEFs expire after 15 days. If your free look has expired or you have already viewed the document, you will need to use your PACER login to view the document. Social Security cases are only available to case participants and, therefore, require both your ECF and PACER logins respectively.


Criminal cases filed prior to November 2004, are not available electronically.


Certain documents are restricted to case participants and, therefore, require the user to be logged into CM/ECF.


Will I be billed by PACER if I click on the docket sheet report hyperlink located on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF)?

Yes. Clicking on the docket sheet hyperlink found on the NEF will cause a PACER login screen to appear if you have not already logged into PACER. Once you have completed the login screen you will be presented with the current docket sheet for that case. Access to the docket sheet will result in PACER charges.


What are the benefits and features of using CM/ECF?

There are a number of significant benefits and features:


  • Registered attorneys can file documents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Reduction of paper, photocopy, postage and courier costs.

  • Full case information is available immediately to attorneys, parties, and the general public through the Internet. This includes the ability to view the full text of all filed documents.

  • Attorneys on the system will receive email notices electronically in CM/ECF cases. Since delivery of court documents is made electronically as soon as they are filed, costs associated with handling and mailing are eliminated for both the courts and attorneys.

  • Multiple parties can view the same case files simultaneously.

  • Since CM/ECF uses Internet standard software, the out-of-pocket cost of participation for attorneys is typically very low.

How do I file a new Complaint, Notice of Removal, or other Initial Documents in a Civil case?

  • The Clerk will accept a complaint, notice of removal or other initial documents and the accompanying civil cover sheet submitted on a disk or CD mailed or delivered to the Clerk.

  • The Clerk will also accept the initial documents on paper.

  • The Clerk will scan and electronically file an initial filing submitted in paper format. Be sure to submit your filing fee.

  • In filing a Notice of Removal, a copy of the state court record in a removal case must also be filed electronically. (Please refer to the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures Section II A. 2. c.)

Are Certificates of Service needed on electronically filed documents?

Pursuant to the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures, a certificate of service must be included with each document filed electronically indicating how service was accomplished on each party. The filer must serve in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedures a paper copy of any electronically filed document on a party not registered to file electronically. Sample language for a certificate of service is available from the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures, Form B.


To determine whether another party is a registered user, the filer can select the “Utility” category located on the blue menu bar of CM/ECF , and click on “Mailing Info for a Case”, located under the “Miscellaneous” heading.


How do I register for a CM/ECF login and password?

On the court’s CM/ECF website, there is a link "Register for a CM/ECF Login". When you click on this link it will take you to a form to fill out and submit. Once all the information on the form is verified, a login and password will be e-mailed back to you.


How do I recover my password if I have forgotten it?

On the CM/ECF login page, there is a link above the login and password fields to receive a new password. If you are a member in good standing, when you click on this link it will send you an email that will allow you to change your password.


Why am I having problems with my login and password?

First, make sure you are using the correct login and password. PACER and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court have separate logins and passwords for their systems, and frequently we find that this is the problem. Also, make sure you are accessing CM/ECF through the Court’s website. If you continue to have problems, please contact the Clerk’s Office nearest you or use the lost or forgotten password link on the CM/ECF login page.


I am changing firms. Do I need to establish a new e-filing login and password?

No. You do not need to re-register for a new CM/ECF login and password. Even if you change firms, your login and password remain valid. However, you need to update your address, including any changes to your e-mail address, with the court.


Can I update my own contact information, including my address and e-mail address?

You may update your e-mail address, password, phone number and fax numbers. However, you need to submit your physical change of address to the Clerk’s Office in writing. You may also use the “Change Of Address” link located on our CM/ECF website.


What should be done when an attorney leaves the firm?

When an attorney leaves a firm, both the attorney and the firm need to consider the implications to the CM/ECF noticing system. If cases will move with the attorney, all the attorney needs to do is to change his/her e-mail notification set up and submit a change of address to the Clerk’s Office. If cases will remain with the firm, the firm will need to ensure that the Court docket accurately reflects the proper attorney of record and that the new attorney of record is properly set up to receive e-mail notifications.When an attorney leaves a firm, both the attorney and the firm need to consider the implications to the CM/ECF noticing system. If cases will move with the attorney, all the attorney needs to do is to change his/her e-mail notification set up and submit a change of address to the Clerk’s Office. If cases will remain with the firm, the firm will need to ensure that the Court docket accurately reflects the proper attorney of record and that the new attorney of record is properly set up to receive e-mail notifications.


How do I get listed as counsel of record on a case so I can receive e-mails?

If the attorney wishes to participate on a case, receive e-mails AND be listed on the docket, simply e-filing any pleading using the attorney’s login and password will get that attorney added to that case and she/he will receive e-mails from that point forward. The attorney will be prompted to make the association between the party and the attorney during the filing process and this will ensure that the attorney is listed properly on the docket as counsel of record for that party.


A second way to add counsel in a case, is to e-file a Notice of Appearance. Filing a Notice of Appearance will ensure that counsel will be added to the case.


What if I DON’T want to be listed as counsel of record, but I would like to receive e-mails for a particular case?

If the attorney is not officially listed on the docket, but simply wants to get emails on the case, they can be a “watcher” on that case. To do this, log into CM/ECF and on the blue menu bar, click on “Utilities” and then “Maintain Your Account”. At the bottom of the main screen, click on the “Email Information” button. When the next screen comes up, on the right is an option called “Additional Options”. From the drop-down list, choose “Additional Cases”. A new screen will present itself, and on this screen, under “Show”, choose “Add” from the drop-down list. Enter the case number in the appropriate field, and click “Add to List”. When finished entering all the case numbers, click on “Return to Person Information Screen” and click on “Submit”, then “Submit” again.


NOTE: The system will show “watchers” as receiving the emails for the notices. They will show up on the NEF under the section: “Notice will be electronically mailed to” and also on the Report: E-mail Info for a Case, but they are not actually participants on the case.


How do I add additional e-mail addresses so someone besides the attorney will receive the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF)?

Once the attorney is logged on, here are the steps to follow:


  • Click on "Utilities" located on the blue menu bar, then choose "Maintain Your E-mail".

  • Click on the hyperlink "add new e-mail address".

  • Type in the email address in the blank field on the right side of the screen. It is recommended that the user keep the default answers to the questions below the email address field.

  • Click on "Submit all changes" when done.

NOTE: Counsel may only add two additional e-mail addresses per account.


What is considered an attachment?

Attachments are documents “attached” to the main document as one complete package. If the document is a separate, stand alone document, it is to be filed as a separate document, NOT as an attachment, This would include such pleadings as motions, responses, notices, etc. If there is an attachment to the main document, such as an exhibit or appendix, the system will allow you to attach as many documents as necessary, not to exceed 5 MB each.


How do I attach a document to an entry?

Once you have added the main document you are filing to the entry, click on the radio button next to “Yes” for the question, ‘Attachments to Documents’, located at the bottom of the screen.


Select the next button, and a new screen will appear, allowing you to select one or more documents to attach to your initial document. Select the “Browse” button to search for the file name of the document to be attached, in the same manner as you did for the main document.


In the field for attachment type, select the drop down list under category to select what type of attachment it is, and the Description box to further describe it. One or both have to be used in order to attach the document. After this is done, click on the button “Add to List”. The system adds the selected document as an attachment to the document. Once all attachments have been added, select the next button to proceed to the next screen.


How do I e-file documents bearing multiple attorney signatures?

The following procedure applies when a stipulation or other document (e.g., joint motion) requires the signature of two or more attorneys of record. Also, please refer to the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures, Section II C. 2. a. b.


The filing attorney shall initially confirm that the content of the document is acceptable to all attorneys required to sign the document and shall obtain the signatures of all attorneys on the document. For purposes of this procedure, physical, facsimile, or electronic signatures are permitted.


The filing attorney then shall file the document electronically or submit it to the Clerk’s office on disk, indicating the signatories, (e.g., “s/Jane Doe,” “s/John Smith”, etc.) for each attorney’s signature.


How do I file a proposed order?

If authorized, a proposed order shall be submitted as follows:


An electronically submitted proposed order shall not be combined with the motion into one document. The proposed order must be submitted by e-mail and refer to the document number of the motion. The Judge’s email address can be found once the user logs into CM/ECF. Any proposed order must be submitted in a format compatible with WordPerfect. The judge will not accept a proposed order in PDF format.


How do I select more than one person from the list of parties?

Hold down the CONTROL (Ctrl) key as you click on each of the parties you wish to select from the list. That will let you pick as many individual items from a list as you need to. The parties chosen will be highlighted in blue.


How do I remove or substitute an attorney on a given case?

Per Local Rule 2.03(b) which governs withdrawal from cases, a document explaining who is being removed or substituted, and why, must be created and turned into a PDF document. Since all changes in representation must be approved by the court, a Motion to Withdraw as Attorney or Motion to Substitute Attorney (if there is a new attorney taking over) needs to be submitted. Then, log into the CM/ECF system and select:


Civil -> Motions and Related Filings -> Motions


Then chose either Withdraw as Attorney or Substitute Attorney (whichever is appropriate) and click [SUBMIT]. You will be prompted through the rest of the ECF process to upload the PDF document.

When the docket clerks see that this motion has been approved by the court, they will remove the attorney from the case. Until this is completed, the court will still consider the attorney as a participant in the case and the system will still send e-mails to the attorney's last known email address.


Whose responsibility is it to keep an attorney’s contact information current?

It is the attorney's responsibility to keep their e-mail information current, including e-mail information for additional recipients on their account. All attorney information needs to be kept up to date, in order for the ECF system, which relies entirely on e-mail notifications, to function effectively. One primary and two additional e-mail addresses may be added/removed.


Attorneys can also add/remove civil cases in which they are not counsel of record, but would like to receive e-mails on when documents are filed.


When an attorney leaves a firm, the attorney must update his/her new address in writing to the court or use the “Change Of Address” link on the CM/ECF site to notify us. Otherwise, e-mail notices start bouncing back and the CM/ECF support staff are required to hunt down each bounced e-mail to determine the reason and resolve the situation. Keeping the information up to date will ensure proper notification.


NOTE: To access/update this information go to “Utilities”, located in the blue menu bar of CM/ECF, then “Maintain Your Account”.


How do I know if my e-filing worked? Was my e-filing accepted?

There are 3 ways to tell if your filing was complete:


  • The “Notice of Electronic Filing" (NEF) will show at the end of your e-filing. This page states what was done, what time it occurred and who was notified. The page will present itself AFTER the page which states:

Attention!! Pressing the NEXT button on this screen commits this transaction. You will have no further opportunity to modify this transaction if you continue.


The next page you should see after pressing [Submit] is the "Notice of Electronic Filing Page", which clearly states at the top:


The U.S. District Court
Middle District of Florida
Notice of Electronic Filing


  • The Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) e-mail will be sent to all the e-filers on the case.

  • ECF will show the new docket entry immediately after completion of the filing. Simply login to ECF using your PACER login and you can click on the top blue-bar: Reports -> Docket Sheet and bring up the whole docket. You should see your filing listed toward the bottom of the page.

If you don't get a Notice of Electronic Filing and cannot view your entry through PACER, the filing did NOT take place.


What if I make an e-filing mistake?

Once a document has been e-filed - and electronically served on the other parties in the case - it cannot be removed or replaced in the court files without an order from the judge. However, if you make a mistake after an e-filing has completed, don't worry too much. Please simply e-file the entire entry again (this will also make sure the corrected version is served on everyone), then notify us by placing a call to the Clerk’s Office in the Division where your case is filed.
STEPS TO FOLLOW:

  • Make a note of the incorrect document number you just filed.

  • E-file the correct document again, making any necessary corrections.

  • In the text box of the entry, please add the text below:


Correction of Docket #[x].

Replace the "x" with the docket number of the previous incorrect filing. If you need to correct more than one all at the same time, enter it like this:

CORRECTION OF DOCKET #[x], [y] and [z].

Using the brackets [ ] around the numbers will automatically hyperlink the new docket number to the old one for easy reference on the docket sheet.

NOTE: If your only error is that you left something out of the filing, like an Exhibit, then DO NOT file the whole pleading again. Simply just e-file whatever you left out, under its own category, and refer back to the previously filed document.


  • Lastly, when complete, please call the Clerk’s Office with the following information:

Case Number
A very brief description of what went wrong
Old and new document number


We will then insert the following text into the incorrect document entry.
*** FILED IN ERROR. PLEASE SEE DOCKET #35 ***


How do I file a Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice?

First, check with the division in which you plan to file this motion. In general, if the filing attorney is not a member of the Florida Bar, the motion will have to filed in paper format, along with the “Special Attorney Admission Certification” form and the required $10.00 fee. You may also refer to Local Rule 2.02 for further information.


How do I file a Notice of Appeal?

A Notice of Appeal may be filed electronically, with the required filing fee mailed in.


Are there special procedures if an Emergency motion is filed?

Pursuant to Administrative Procedure II(A)(1)(h), a document considered to be an emergency must be brought to the attention of the clerk's office when filed. The filer must personally contact the appropriate divisional clerk's office.


The filer is to contact a docket clerk notifying them that an emergency motion has been filed.


If the filer receives a voice mail message, the filer must contact the supervisor in that division to ensure that the appropriate action is taken.


Ft. Myers Division Phone Number:  239-461-2000
Jacksonville Division Phone Number:  904-549-1900
Ocala Division Phone Number:  352-369-4860
Orlando Division Phone Number:  407-835-4200
Tampa Division Phone Number:  813-301-5400


Are there common errors that are made when e-filing?

Below are the top ten most common errors made when e-filing.


#1- The proper signature format is not used when signing your pleadings. Make sure to include the s/(attorney’s name) and the e-mail address.

s/John Doe
Bar Number 123456
Attorney for (Plaintiff/Defendant) XYZ Company
ABC Law Firm
123 South Street
Orlando, FL 32801
Telephone (407) 555-5555
Fax (407) 333-3333
E-Mail: j_doe@law.com

#2- Secondary e-mail addresses are not kept current. This causes numerous bounce-back e-mails with the court.

When your information changes, you also need to insure that your secondary e-mail address gets changed if necessary. To do this, log on to CM/ECF and click on Utilities located on the blue menu bar. Select “Maintain Your Account”, and then select the Email Information button. On this screen you may add or modify email addresses on your account. Once this information is correct, click on the Return to Person Information Screen button, then click on Submit, then Submit again.

#3- All parties are not chosen when filing a document on behalf of more than one party.

When selecting more than one party, hold down the “Ctrl” key located on your keyboard and click on each of the parties filing the document. Each party you select should be highlighted in blue.

#4-Incorrect event is used when e-filing documents.

Civil and Criminal Event Lists showing available events are located on our CM/ECF website. If you are still unsure about how to file your document, please call the Division in which your case is located.

#5- A Certificate of Service IS NOT being included when a document is e-filed.

A certificate of service must be included with each document filed electronically indicating how service was accomplished on each party. The filer must serve in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure a paper copy of any electronically filed document on a party not registered to file electronically.

Sample language for a certificate of service is attached as Form B to the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures.  To determine who is a registered user, the filer can select the “Utility” category, then under Miscellaneous, select “Mailings”, then “Mailing Info for a Case”. Enter the case number, and the registered users will then be listed.

#6- The attorney does not get associated with the filing party.

When entering an appearance, or filing for the first time on behalf of a party, a screen will appear that allows an attorney to associate with the particular party or parties. The attorney entering an appearance should select all parties he is filing on behalf of, and on the next screen, the user will be presented with the following information:

error message

If the attorney will be the lead attorney, then this box should remain checked. In order to receive electronic notices, the “Notice” box should also remain checked.


#7- You are listed as an attorney of record but are not getting e-mail notifications for any of your cases. Why?

A reason for this issue relates to "spam" filtering. Check to see if “spam” filtering is turned on in the e-mail program. When e-mail notifications are sent out, the attorney’s e-mail address is in the bcc field and is therefore mistaken for “spam” by some junkmail filters. You will need to add: “flmd.uscourts.gov” as an accepted domain in your
“spam" filtering software.

#8- Your login and password is not working or you have lost your password.

Oftentimes when this happens, the user is trying to use either their PACER login and password, or their U.S. Bankruptcy Court login and password. Each entity has their own login and password and the one we issue is ONLY for the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida.  Also, once we send you your login and password, please do not misplace it. Also, if you change your password, please remember what it is because we do not have access to it at that point. If you have lost your password, please use the “Lost Your Password?” link on our CM/ECF website.

#9- Attachments to documents are not named.

Descriptions of attachments should be specific, accurate and simply stated. For example, “Exhibit 1, Affidavit of John Doe.”

#10- The event is not properly linked to a previous document in the case. Previously filed documents are filed again.

Many events prompt the filer to link back to previous documents, which assists the court with tracking related documents. For example, a response or reply to a motion should always be linked to the appropriate motion.

Pursuant to the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures a filer shall not attach as an exhibit any pleading or other document already on file with the court in the case but shall merely refer to the document. [Section IV.A.4.]