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19th Judicial Circuit > Resources > Local Court Rules: Part 18 - Electronic filing of Court Records
 

PART 18.00 - ELECTRONIC FILING OF COURT RECORDS

18.01  Authority
18.02  Effective Date
18.03  Electronic Filing Case Types
18.04  Definitions
18.05  Authorized Users
18.06  Method of Filing
18.07  Maintenance of Original Documents
18.08  Privacy Issues
18.09  Format of Documents
18.10  Signatures
18.11  Time of Filing, Acceptance by the Clerk and Electronic Filing Stamp
18.12  Electronic Service, Courtesy Copies and Filing Proof of Service
18.13  Collection of Fees/Requests for Information
18.14  System or User Errors


18.01 AUTHORITY

Electronic filing of court files is undertaken and conducted in the 19th Judicial Circuit Court, Lake County, in compliance with the Electronic Filing Standards and Principles established by the Supreme Court of Illinois, M.R. 18368, effective, January 1, 2013.

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18.02 EFFECTIVE DATE

These rules shall become effective upon filing with the Clerk of the Circuit Court and remain in effect until further order.

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18.03 ELECTRONIC FILING CASE TYPES

A. This Court hereby authorizes all civil cases except those noted at 18.03 D. as permissible electronic filing case types. From time to time, the Court may authorize, by written Administrative Order, additional case types to be processed via electronic filing. The Clerk of the Circuit Court shall direct the phasing in of additional case type implementation. Electronic filing in these case types is permissive. However, once an initial pleading and/or appearance utilize the E-Filing system, the case will proceed thereafter as an e-filed case. Documents filed previously in the conventional manner will be scanned and included in the electronic case file.

B. The following documents may be filed electronically pursuant to these rules:

    1. post judgment enforcement proceedings in cases previously e-filed;
    2. any notice of appeal documents authorized to be filed in the circuit court;
    3. documents required to be filed with the appellate or Supreme Court may only be filed and served in accordance with Supreme Court Rules.

C. The following documents, including exhibits, may not be electronically filed, and shall only be filed conventionally:

    1. Documents containing confidential information, as specified in Ill. S. Ct. R. 15;
    2. Documents containing personal identity information, as specified in III. S. Ct. R. 138;
    3. Documents containing the identity of individuals contained in reports made pursuant to the Communicable Disease Report Act, 745 ILCS 45/1;
    4. Reports relating to an individual's disability pursuant to the Illinois Income Tax Act, 35 ILCS 5/917(a)(11);
    5. Confession of Judgment;
    6. Documents required by law, rule, or order to be filed and maintained in their original form;
    7. Exhibits that do not conform to the size requirements herein;
    8. Petition for marriage license by an underage petitioner;
    9. Petition for an order of protection, no contact order, or stalking no contact order;
    10. Registration of Illinois court judgment;
    11. Registration of administrative judgment;
    12. Any document when the individual document or the entire case is impounded or sealed by law, rule, or order.

D. The following case types are excluded:

    1. Adoption;
    2. Emancipation of a Minor;
    3. Eminent Domain;
    4. Juvenile Court;
    5. Mental Health;
    6. Ordinance Violations;
    7. Fictitious Vital Records pursuant to the Vital Records Act, 410 ILCS 535/15.1;
    8. Proceedings pursuant to the Illinois Sexually Transmissible Disease Control Act, 410 ILCS 325/1, et seq.;
    9. Petition for judicial waiver of notice under the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995, 750 ILCS 325/1, et seq.;
    10. Any other type of case required to be impounded or sealed by law, rule or order.

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18.04 DEFINITIONS

The following terms in these rules are defined as follows:

A. Conventional manner of filing - The filing of paper documents with the Clerk of the Circuit Court as is done in cases that are not e-filed cases.

B. Electronic Document ("e-document") - An electronic file containing informational text.

C. Electronic Filing ("e-file") - An electronic transmission of information between the Clerk of the Circuit Court and a subscriber for the purposes of case processing.

D. Electronic Image ("e-image") - An electronic representation of a document that has been transformed to a graphical or image format.

E. Electronic Service ("e-service") - An electronic transmission of documents to a party, attorney or representative in a case.  However, e-service is not capable of conferring jurisdiction under circumstances where personal service is required as a matter of law.

F. Portable Document Format (PDF) - A file format that preserves all fonts, formatting colors and graphics of any source document regardless of the application platform used.

G. Subscriber - One contracting to use the E-Filing system.  A subscriber may be an attorney, pro se litigant, or any other user of the E-Filing system.

H. Vendor - A company or organization that has an executed Electronic Information Project Agreement with the Clerk of the Circuit Court to provide e-filing services for the 19th Judicial Circuit.

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18.05 AUTHORIZED USERS

A. Any person wishing to become a subscriber to use the E-Filing system must first register with the E-Filing system.  Attorneys shall register using their Illinois ARDC number.  Pro Se litigants and other users will be required to provide their name, mailing address, email address and telephone number to register with the E-Filing system. All other court partner agencies shall be registered upon confirmation of authorization by the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Filings from court partner agencies using integrated systems within a secure domain shall not require individual registrations. Court partner agency users and individual registrations will be used to identify the source of the e-filed document submitted to the court electronically.

B. As part of the registration process, each individual will be prompted to create a user name and password.  The user name and password created will be used to logon to the E-Filing system and to confirm the filing was approved by a subscriber.  No subscriber shall knowingly permit his or her logon to be used by anyone other than his or her authorized agents or employees.  Misuse of the E-Filing system may result in the loss of a subscriber’s registration.

C. It is the responsibility of a subscriber to keep all contact information, including the subscriber’s email address, current with the E-Filing system.

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18.06 METHOD OF FILING

A. Initial case filings will require all parties to be identified, the Plaintiff’s Attorney, case type, case subtype, ad damnum if required and the document being filed. These fields for all filings after the initial pleading will be automatically included and only new parties, attorneys or documents need be indicated.

B. Upon good cause shown, the Court may allow a non-registered user to file a document or pleading using the conventional manner of filing. In those circumstances, the Clerk of the Circuit Court shall scan conventionally filed documents into the electronic file as text-searchable PDF documents.

C. Physical items for which a photograph may be substituted may be electronically imaged and e-filed. Items not conducive to electronic filing, such as physical exhibits for which an image will not suffice shall be filed in their physical form at the Clerk of the Circuit Court's Office or in the Courtroom, as directed by order of Court. The Motion and Notice of Motion for permission to file any of these physical items may be done electronically in e-filed cases.

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18.07 MAINTENANCE OF ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS

A. Subscribers filing an electronic document that requires an original signature certifies by so filing that the original signed document exists in the subscriber’s possession. Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the subscriber shall maintain and preserve all documents containing original signatures that are filed electronically. The subscriber shall make those signed originals available for inspection by the Court, the Clerk of the Circuit Court or by other counsel in the case, upon five (5) days’ notice.

B. All documents that are required to be maintained and preserved must be kept for one year after the appellate process period has been completed, or for a longer period of time as directed by court order or statute.

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18.08 PRIVACY ISSUES

A. It is the responsibility of the subscriber or counsel to insure that documents filed electronically do not disclose previously or statutorily confidential, impounded or sealed information or personal identity information as defined in Supreme Court Rules 15 and 138.

B. Parties and their counsel shall refrain from including, or shall redact where inclusion is necessary, the following personal identifiers from all documents electronically filed with the Court, including exhibits thereto, unless otherwise ordered by the Court:

    1.  Social Security and Taxpayer-identification Numbers - If an individual's social security or taxpayer-identification number is required for a particular filing, only the last four digits of the number shall be used. Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 15, the filing must be accompanied by a “Notice of Confidential Information Within Court Filing” form.
    2. Names of Individuals known to be Minors - If the involvement of a minor child must be mentioned, then only the initials of that child's name shall be used. (Effective 1/1/14).
    3. Dates of Birth - If an individual's date of birth must be included in a document, only the year shall be used. (Effective 1/1/14).
    4. Financial Account Numbers - If financial account numbers are relevant, only the last four digits of these numbers shall be used.
    5. Debit and Credit Card Numbers- If such numbers are relevant, only the last four digits of these numbers shall be used.
    6. Driver’s License Numbers- If an individual’s driver’s license number must be included in the document, only the last four digits shall be used.
    7. Previously or statutorily impounded or sealed information.

C. In addition to the above, subscribers shall exercise caution when filing documents that contain the following:

    1. Personal identifying numbers.
    2. Medical records, such as treatment and diagnosis.
    3. Employment history information.
    4. Individual financial information.
    5. Proprietary or trade secret information.

D. Documents required to be maintained in original form pursuant to the Supreme Court’s General Administrative Order on Recordkeeping in the Circuit Courts or other rule or statute are excluded from electronic filing. All documents in confidential, impounded, or sealed cases must be submitted conventionally to the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office for filing.  A subscriber who has a legal basis for filing a document under seal without prior Court order must electronically file a motion for leave to file under seal. The motion must include the reasons the document meets the legal standards for filing sealed documents. The document in question may not be attached to the motion as an attachment.

E. When the filing of personal identity information in its entirety is required by law, ordered by the Court, or otherwise necessary to effect disposition of a matter, the filing must be accompanied by the “Notice of Personal Identity Information Within Court Filing” form which shall provide the required personal identity information without redaction. The notice and any attachments thereto, shall be filed under seal and remain confidential, except as provided in paragraph 18.08 F., or as the Court may order.

F. The information provided with the “Notice of Personal Identity Information Within Court Filing” shall be available to the parties, to the Court, and to the Clerk of the Circuit Court in performance of any requirement provided by law, including the transfer of such information to appropriate justice partners, such as the sheriff, guardian ad litem, and the State Disbursement Unit (SDU).

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18.09 FORMAT OF DOCUMENTS

A. All uploaded documents that are not exhibits or attachments, created by word processing programs must be formatted as follows: (a) the size of the type in the body of the text must be no less than 12 point font, and footnotes no less than 10 point font; (b) the size of the pages must be 8-1/2 by 11 inches; and (c) the margins on each side of the page must each be a minimum of 1 inch; and (d) the top right 2" x 2" corner of the first page of each pleading shall be left blank for the Clerk of the Circuit Court's stamp. Additionally, each electronically filed pleading and document shall include the case title, case number and the nature of the filing on each multipage document.

B. Each electronically filed document shall also include the typed name, e-mail address, address and telephone number of the subscriber filing such document. Attorneys shall include their Illinois ARDC Attorney Number or Clerk of the Circuit Court Pro Hace Vice designation on all documents.

C. Any electronically filed document must be unalterable (sealed PDF), be able to be printed with the same contents and formats as if printed from its authoring program and must allow the text to be searched. In the event that proposed orders are uploaded in a case, the PDF of the proposed order must be generated directly from the word processing program that created the document.

D. The maximum file size for the submission of electronically filed documents is 2 MB. Any electronically filed document which exceeds the maximum file size may be filed in multiple parts each under the maximum file size.  In such case, the subscriber will be responsible for dividing the document into appropriately-sized parts.

E. Bulk filings of multiple cases or multiple documents combined into one PDF document shall not be accepted.  Documents with different case numbers must be filed individually in separate transactions. Filings of individual documents within a case will be accepted in a single electronic filing transaction.

F. File exhibits not readily available in electronic form (e.g. blueprints, large maps) may be filed conventionally. If possible, however, a subscriber should scan a paper exhibit and file it electronically, in accordance with the size and scanning limitations set by local rule or order. A subscriber electronically filing evidentiary materials must attach an index listing each item of evidence and identifying the related paper.

G. Documents not complying with the format specified by the applicable statute or this rule may be rejected.

H. Electronic documents containing links to material either within the filed document or external to the filed document are for convenience purposes only. The external material behind the link is not considered part of the filing of the basic record.

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18.10 SIGNATURES

A. Each electronically filed document that requires an original signature when conventionally filed, shall bear a facsimile or typographical signature of the attorney or pro se party authorizing such filing, (e.g. "/s/ Adam Attorney"), and shall be deemed to have been signed in person by the individual identified.

B. In the absence of a facsimile or typographical signature, any document electronically filed with subscriber identification and password is deemed to have been personally signed by the holder of the user identification and password.

C. Documents containing signatures of third parties may be filed electronically and shall bear a facsimile or typographical signature. If a document requires the signature[s] of one or more persons not a party to the case or not registered for electronic filing (e.g. settlement agreement with a pro se party, or a witness’ affidavit), the subscriber must confirm all persons required to sign the document approve it. Original signatures of all non-registered persons must be obtained before filing the document.  The document must indicate the identity of each non-registered signatory. The subscriber must retain the original document for one year after the date that the judgment has become final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review.

D. Signatures as defined in subparagraphs A., B., C., F. and G. of this Rule 18.10, satisfy Supreme Court Rules and statutes regarding original signatures on court documents, and give rise to the application of available sanctions when appropriate.

E. The original signed document that has been electronically filed pursuant to subparagraphs A., B. and C. above, shall be maintained and preserved as required by Rule 18.07.

F. Where a Clerk of the Circuit Court is required to endorse a document, the typed name of the clerk shall be deemed to be the clerk's signature on an electronic document.

G. Documents filed in the E-Filing system under a judicial officer’s logon id and password shall be deemed entered by that judicial officer.  All Judges’ and other necessary electronic signatures shall be captured and maintained by the Circuit Court Clerk of the Circuit Court.  Each signature shall be protected by internal system security measures and encrypted passwords to authenticate the use of the e-signature.

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18.11 TIME OF FILING, ACCEPTANCE BY THE CLERK AND ELECTRONIC FILING STAMP

A. Any electronic document or record submitted to the Clerk of the Circuit Court for filing shall be deemed filed if not rejected by the Clerk. The transmission date and time of transfer shall govern the electronic file mark.

B. A subscriber who files a document electronically shall have the same responsibility as a person filing a document in the conventional manner for ensuring that the document is complete, readable and properly filed.

C. Pleadings received by the Clerk of the Circuit Court before midnight on a day the courthouse is open shall be deemed filed that day if accepted by the Clerk. If filed on a day the courthouse is not open for business, the document will be deemed filed the next business day of the Court.

D. The Clerk of the Circuit Court shall issue a confirmation to the subscriber of an electronically submitted document.  This confirmation shall serve as proof of such submission, but not of acceptance of the submission by the Clerk.  A subscriber will receive e-mail notification from the Clerk indicating the reason for the rejection if a document is not accepted by the Clerk of the Circuit Court's office. In that event, the subscriber may be required to re-file the document to meet necessary filing requirements.

E. Each document reviewed and accepted for filing by the Clerk of the Circuit Court shall receive an electronic file stamp. The stamp shall be endorsed with the identification of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court, Lake County, Illinois, in the name of the Clerk of the Circuit Court by the deputy clerk accepting the filing, and shall include the official time and date of filing and contain the word "FILED". This file stamp shall be merged with the electronic document and shall be visible when the document is printed and viewed on-line. Electronic documents are not officially filed without the electronic filing stamp. Filings so endorsed shall have the same force and effect as documents time stamped in the conventional manner.

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18.12 ELECTRONIC SERVICE, COURTESY COPIES AND FILING PROOF OF SERVICE

A. Electronic service is not capable of conferring jurisdiction. Therefore regarding electronically filed cases, documents that require personal service to confer jurisdiction as a matter of law may not be served electronically through the E-Filing system, but must be served in the conventional manner.

B. All other documents may be served upon the other parties or their representatives electronically. The subscriber shall be responsible for completing electronic service of these other documents. By their registration in the e-filing program, subscribers consent to receipt of all other documents e-filed and e-served upon them. Service of documents on parties not registered as an e-filing or e-service registrant shall be made as otherwise required by rule or statute.

C. E-service shall be deemed complete at the filed date and time listed by the E-Filing system. However, for the purpose of computing time for any other party to respond, any document served is deemed to be served on the next business day following the date of transmission. The electronic service of a pleading or other document shall be considered as valid and effective service on all parties and shall have the same legal effect as personal service of an original paper document.

D. If electronic service on a party does not occur because of (1) an error in the transmission of notice to the party being served, (2) the failure to process the electronic filing for service or (3) the party was erroneously excluded from the service list, the party to be served shall, absent extraordinary circumstances, be entitled to an order extending the date for any response or the period within which any right, duty or other act must be performed.

E. The E-Filing system is required to maintain an e-service list for each e-filed case. The Clerk of the Circuit Court shall immediately update the service list upon being given notice of new contact information. Whenever a document is submitted for service upon other parties, the most current e-service list to perform service shall be used.

F. All subscribers and other participants must immediately, but not later than ten (10) business days prior to when such a change takes effect, notify other parties and the Clerk of the Circuit Court of any change of firm name, delivery address, fax number or e-mail address.

G. The Court, through the Clerk of the Circuit Court, may issue e-filing notices, Orders and other documents electronically.  The Clerk of the Circuit Court may also issue e-filing notices and other documents electronically. When service is required by the Clerk of the Circuit Court, the Clerk shall record in the official court record the effective date and time of service.

H. Paper courtesy copies of documents customarily required to be provided to the Court may continue to be required in e-filed cases by individual judges’ standing order.

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18.13 COLLECTION OF FEES/REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION

A. The e-filing of a document requiring payment of a statutory filing fee to the Clerk of the Circuit Court in order to achieve valid filing status shall be filed electronically in the same manner as any other e-filed document. The E-Filing system shall electronically return to the filer the electronically filed documents of each accepted filing without additional costs to the subscriber.

B. The Clerk of the Circuit Court shall provide a procedure for response to requests for case information, including the appropriate Clerk’s certification. Copies of any documents or certification of same may be provided electronically and shall be available to the requesting party at reasonable cost, including all applicable fees as set by rule or statute.

C. If a merchant vendor is used, the vendor shall electronically transmit to the Clerk of the Circuit Court's bank account all statutory filing fees required for that day's electronic filings at the end of each business day.   The vendor shall electronically provide the Clerk's Accounting Department a detailed breakdown including case number, type of transaction and party being billed for the payment for each deposit. Allowable methods of payment include credit card, draw down accounts or other methods of payment as approved by the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

D. Fees charged to e-filing subscribers for payment services are solely the property of the merchant vendor and are in addition to any statutory fees associated with statutory filing fees.

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18.14 SYSTEM OR USER ERRORS

A. The Court and Clerk of the Circuit Court shall not be liable for malfunction or errors occurring in electronic transmission or receipt of electronically filed or served documents.

B. Subscribers should attempt, in good faith, to resolve filing and service errors based on technical failures, such as: (1) an error in the transmission of the document to the E-Filing system which was unknown to the sending party or (2) a failure to process the electronic filing when received by the E-Filing system or (3) rejection by the Circuit Court Clerk of the Circuit Court or (4) other technical problems experienced by the filer or (5) the party was erroneously excluded from the service list. If the subscribers are unable to resolve the problem, the Court may upon good cause shown, enter an order permitting the document to be subsequently filed effective as of the date of the attempted first filing.

C. In the case of a filing error, absent extraordinary circumstances, anyone prejudiced by the Court's order to accept a subsequent filing effective as of the date filing was first attempted, shall be entitled to an order extending the date for any response, or the period within which any right, duty or other act must be performed.

  Adopted by the Circuit Judges
of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit
on the 7th day of October, 2013
and effective upon filing with the
Clerk of the Circuit Court.

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