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How do I create a pdf file with Acrobat?
When Adobe Acrobat is installed, it will create the Pdf writer. You choose this as your 'printer' and print the file as usual. The pdf writer will query you for a file name and then write the pdf file with the name and directory that you provide (you will be asked for this directory & file name when you electronically file the document). Some software such as WordPerfect 9 has the pdfwriter built into the application so you don't need to purchase Adobe Acrobat separately.
How do parties sign documents?
The Local Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure will specify the requirements for electronic filing, including signature requirements. The Local Rules may be modified in the future to reflect changes in the signature requirements. As of January 30, 2002, however, the general answer is...
It all depends.
Attorneys' original signature on pleadings is not required on electronically filed documents. Accessing the Court's electronic filing system via a court-supplied login & password is considered to be your signature.
Judges' signatures executing orders may be affixed in several ways, such as:
- The Judge may sign a paper copy of the order that is then scanned, or
- The Judge may affix an electronic facsimile of their signature, or
- The judge may "digitally" sign a document using any of several digital signature methodologies available, or
- The Judge may consider access to CM/ECF via their personal login & password as their "signature" executing an order
Each Judge will select a signature methodology they wish to utilize for signing orders. Whichever method is used, rest assured that the document images associated with orders entered into a case docket in the Court's electronic case file system is completely valid and in effect.
The debtors' original signature is still required on the petition and on the creditor matrix verification. When the petition and/or matrix verification are submitted electronically, the debtors' signature is not required on the PDF file submitted. However, a paper copy of these documents bearing the debtor's original signature may have to be forwarded to the clerk's office shortly after the electronic versions are submitted. These paper documents will be retained by the clerk's office. This requirement may be modified to simplify the compliance procedure.
Do I have to have a scanner?
The actual document you submit as a PDF is usually generated using a word processor or bankruptcy case preparation software. Generally, if you produce documents on a personal computer and print them on a printer, you can produce PDF version of these documents without a scanner.
If attachments, exhibits or other items exist only on paper, you will need to scan them to submit electronically as a PDF. Low-volume scanners are inexpensive, some costing less than $100.
How Secure is CM/ECF?
CM/ECF has many security features and has passed an evaluation by the National Security Agency. Access to the system is through a court issued login and password.
How will I Sign Documents?
The court will issue logins and passwords. Using your login and password to file a document is considered to be your signature.
Are There Fees?
There are no added fees for filing documents over the Internet using CM/ECF; existing document filing fees do apply. Electronic access to court data is available through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) program. Attorneys and litigants receive one free copy of documents filed electronically in their cases; additional copies are available for viewing or downloading at ten cents per page. Directed by Congress to fund electronic access through user fees, the judiciary has set the fee at the lowest possible level sufficient to recoup program costs.
How Does it Work?
The electronic case files system accepts documents in a portable document format (PDF). PDF retains the way a document looks, so the pages, fonts and other formatting are preserved. Filing a document with the court’s CM/ECF system is quite easy:
- Create the document using word processing or bankruptcy case preparation software.
- Save the document in PDF format.
- Log onto the court’s CM/ECF system, using a court-issued login and password.
- Follow the set of simple prompts to provide information about the case, party and document to be filed.
- Attach the PDF document and submit it to the court for filing (by pressing a submit button).
- Save or print the CM/ECF electronic receipt emailed from the court confirming that the document was filed.
What Do I Need to Use CM/ECF?
- A personal computer running a standard platform such as Windows or Macintosh
- Word processing software
- Internet access and a browser. The system has been certified with Netscape and is being tested with Internet Explorer
- Software to convert documents into PDF
- Scanning equipment may be useful
How does "Electronic Filing" differ from CM/ECF?
CM/ECF (Case Management/Electronic Case Files) is the formal name for the Court's computerized case management system. "Electronic Filing" is a feature of the CM/ECF system.
What Does CM/ECF Offer?
CM/ECF allows attorneys to file and view documents from their office, home or anywhere they have access to the Internet, 24 hours a day. Documents are automatically docketed as part of the filing process and are immediately available electronically. CM/ECF also provides the following benefits:
- 24-hour access to filed documents over the Internet
- Automatic email notice of case activity
- The ability to download and print documents directly from the court system
- Concurrent access to case files by multiple parties
- Secure storage of documents (so files are not misplaced)
- Potential reduction in courier fees