TrueFiling in the Sixth District

Mandatory electronic filing through TrueFiling starts in the Sixth District Court of Appeal on Monday, January 11, 2016. The old system of e-filing/e-submission directly with the court shall be discontinued.

If you have not already done so, you must register with TrueFiling to electronically file documents in the court of appeal. TrueFiling is a private vendor that has contracted with the state to facilitate the electronic filing system. There is a fee for using TrueFiling, but panel attorneys can be reimbursed when submitting a compensation claim.

For those not familiar with TrueFiling, there is plenty of information available on the FDAP and CCAP websites. There is also information and training available at the website of the Court of Appeal. To learn how to TrueFile, go to http://www.truefiling.com/documentation/UserGuide.pdf for detailed instructions. You can also find videos on YouTube. Again, call TrueFiling tech support for help if you have any problems.

With TrueFiling, SDAP and the Attorney General can be electronically served. The email address for serving SDAP starting January 11, 2016 is servesdap@sdap.org. The email address for the Attorney General is SFAGDocketing@doj.ca.gov. When you first register for TrueFiling, you should be sure to enter the email addresses for both SDAP and the Attorney General. In this way, you will be able to electronically serve our respective offices in all cases. However, the client, the superior court, district attorney and county counsel must still be served a paper copy by mail. Going forward, SDAP will be communicating with the trial courts and various District Attorneys’ offices in order to encourage them to accept electronic service.

Although the California Supreme Court has yet to institute TrueFiling, counsel may serve a petition for review on SDAP at servesdap@sdap.org. With respect to copies of client correspondence, counsel should not use the servesdap cite. Rather, copies of client correspondence should be sent to the email address for the project buddy on the case.

If you have technical questions about how to use TrueFiling or need to troubleshoot problems you are having, you should start by contacting TrueFiling by email at support@truefiling.com or by phone at (855) 959-8868 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, Pacific Standard Time. SDAP is available, as always, for consultations regarding filing requirements.

Counsel should carefully review new Local Rule 2 which governs electronic filing in the Sixth District. The court has provided us with guidance regarding two aspects of the rule that differ from the local rules in other districts.

First, rule 2(e)  requires that counsel must submit a single “unbound paper copy” of “briefs, writ petitions, and documentation submitted in support of a writ petition” within “two days of the electronic filing.” The court has indicated that the paper copy need not have a colored cover page. Rather, the cover page can be a white piece of paper. The document should either be stapled or attached by a paper or binder clip. The paper copy should be mailed on the same day as the electronic filing occurs. The court will not be strictly enforcing the two day requirement. Thus, counsel should not use priority or overnight mailing. Rather, first class mail is sufficient even if counsel's office is distant from San Jose. The court will accept the paper copy after the two day period has passed so long as it was timely mailed.

Second, rule 2(d) requires an “actual signature” for those documents which require a signature under the statewide Rules of Court. The court has indicated that an “actual signature” is one where counsel has put pen to paper in order to create a signature. However, the signature need not have been contemporaneously created for the document in question. Rather, counsel may import a previously prepared “actual signature” into a document. Below, you will find some guidance regarding the methodology for complying with the “actual signature” requirement.

Like the practice in the First District, the court wants consecutive pagination throughout briefs, with page one being the cover page, page 2 being the table of contents and so on. The court also requires all briefs to have bookmarks.

Finally, any expense for the use of TrueFiling is reimbursable on both interim and final claims. TrueFiling expenses should be billed on line 9 of the expenses form.

SIGNATURES: There are various ways you can provide a pen-to-paper signature for your pleadings:

(1) You can use a scanner and Adobe Acrobat Standard. Most modern printers function as scanners. Once your brief or motion is all ready, print a copy and sign it where required. Then scan the entire document and save it using the conventions for e-filed briefs and motions. Use Adobe Acrobat Standard to create a .pdf document out of your scanned document (your scanner software may do this automatically). Then use Adobe Acrobat Standard to create bookmarks. You do not have to spend a lot of money to do this, as you don't need the newest version of Adobe Acrobat. Adobe Acrobat Standard 9 will work fine, and can be purchased for under $100.00.

(2) One way to create a previously prepared signature is to use Jot!, an app for the IPhone which costs about $2.99. With the app, you sign your name using your finger. Then email the signature to yourself. If you use WordPerfect, you need to email it as a .pdf. If you use Word, either a .pdf or a .jpeg works. When it comes in your email, download and save the file to some location (even your desktop). Then open your brief with a minimized screen. Drag and drop the signature file into your brief at the signature line. You will have to reduce the size so it looks appropriate. Then convert your brief to a .pdf file the way you've been doing it all along. Your brief (or motion) will have pen-to-paper signatures where required.

(3) If you are a PC user, Jon Berger, a CADC member, has written instructions on how to create and add a pen-to-paper signature to your documents using Adobe Standard. Here's the link: http://cadc.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Putting-real-signatures-on-PDF-documents.pdf.

(4) If you are a Mac user, Sachi Wilson, a “CADC Geekette,” has written instructions on how to create and add a pen-to-paper signature to your documents. Here's the link: http://cadc.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/How-to-Add-a-Digital-Signature-in-Nisus-Word-and-Other-Mac-Documents.pdf . While the title refers to a “digital signature,” she is talking about a pen-to-paper signature which you save to your computer.

The first time may take a while, but after a couple briefs or motions it will become a routine process.

(December 21, 2015, updated January 7, 2016)

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