Amendments to the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration Address E-Filing and Electronic Service of Pleadings

By Scott Kalish
This past Thursday the Florida Supreme Court issued amendments to the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, which have taken effect immediately. The amendments modified the rules governing the signature of attorneys and parties, service of pleadings and documents, and electronic filing. In re Amendment to the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration (SC13-1915).
The Supreme Court amended rule 2.515 (Signature of Attorneys and Parties) to include the new subdivision (a)(4). This new subdivision provides that “the signature of an attorney constitutes a certificate by the attorney that the document contains no confidential or sensitive information, or that any such information has been properly protected…” as required by rule 2.420 of the Rules of Judicial Administration. New subdivision (c)(2)(B) was added to rule 2.515, which now provides that when an attorney either files or serves a document by electronic transmission using his or her electronic filing credentials, the attorney certifies compliance with all Florida rules of procedure regarding the service of the document.
The Court made further modifications to rule 2.515 and to rule 2.525 (Electronic Filing). The Court stated that these changes were meant “to clarify that the act of electronically filing a document through the [Florida Courts e-Filing] Portal using the filing attorney’s credentials (username and password) authenticates the document and links the ‘signing’ attorney or attorneys to the document.”
The Court also issued amendments to rule 2.516 (Service of Pleadings and Documents) which, once the function is implemented, will provide electronic service (e-service) through the Portal. These new additions detail the parameters of e-service through the Portal and state that once the document is served through the Portal then the e-mail service requirement will be satisfied. Upon using the e-service function, an attorney will not be required to additionally serve the electronically filed document by e-mail. The Court provided in their opinion that attorneys are responsible for the accuracy of their email addresses that are listed on the Portal. The rules now establish that e-service through the Portal will be “complete on the date the served document is electronically filed and such e-service is treated as service by mail for computation of time purposes.”
Finally, Court noted its amendment to rule 2.516(f) (Certificate of Service), which now requires the mailing addresses of those served be included in the certificate of service.