Tuesday, June 27, 2006

E-filed complaint with no filing fee was untimely

In Cornett v. Weisenburger, Magistrate Judge Sargent ruled that the attempt by plaintiff's counsel to file a complaint on the last day of the limitations period was ineffective because counsel did not have a credit card account in place for the filing fee and because the complaint was faxed to the clerk's office and not signed.

I'm not entirely sure whether this opinion is entirely consistent with the opinion by Judge Conrad in Vance v. Potter, still another e-filing snafu case. In that case, the Court allowed the timeliness of the plaintiff's filing, on these facts:

"The plaintiff sent a complaint as to Agency Case #4K-230-0094-04 to the clerk’s office in Harrisonburg via the Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system on February 11, 2005. His attorney had previously registered for both the CM/ECF and PACER systems and believed that he had sent his credit card information for input into both systems. In fact, the credit card information was sent only to PACER and was not entered into CM/ECF. Even though the credit card was not on file with CM/ECF, and therefore the filing fee could not be charged, the CM/ECF system sent an automated message to the attorney on February 11, 2005. This message was styled “Notice of Electronic Filing.” Upon receipt of this message, the attorney left town to attend to personal matters, returning later to learn that his credit card could not be charged and, therefore, the filing fee was not remitted and his case was not actually filed. On February 18, 2005, the filing fee was paid and case 5:05CV00013 was docketed."

I point this out even though Sheriff Jack is a good man and they shouldn't be suing him in the first place.

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