Part 2.00 Electronic Filing of Court Records

1-2.01 Authority


Electronic filing of Court records is undertaken and conducted in the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, in compliance with the Electronic Filing Standards and Principles established by the Supreme Court of Illinois.

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1-2.02 Electronic Filing Case Types


A. Pursuant to Supreme Court Order, as of January 1, 2018, all filings in civil cases must be made electronically, except those documents and case types noted at LCR 1-2.02(B)
 
B. The following documents and case types shall not be allowed to be filed electronically:

1. Juvenile Court;

2. Ordinance Violations;
 
3. Documents filed by a self-represented litigant incarcerated in a local jail or correctional facility at the time of the filing;

4. Wills;

5. Documents in a specific case by court order, upon good cause shown.

6. Any other exemptions as authorized by Supreme Court Rule.


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1-2.03 Definitions


A. Nonelectronic filing refers to 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") means an electronic file containing informational text.

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

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

E. Electronic Service ("e-service") refers to 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) refers to a file format that preserves all fonts, formatting colors and graphics of any source document regardless of the application platform used.

G. Filer means one who uses the E-Filing system. A filer may be an attorney, self-represented litigant, or any other user of the E-Filing system.
 
 
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1-2.04 Authorized Users

 
A. In order to use the E-Filing system one must first register with the E-Filing system, in accordance with the instructions found on the State-wide E-Filing website (currently; http://efile.illinoiscourts.gov).

B. As part of the registration process, each individual or firm will be prompted to create a user name and password. The user name and password created will be used to log on to the E-Filing system and to confirm the filing was approved by a filer, No filer shall knowingly permit his or her individual or firm logon information 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 filer's registration. 
 
C. It is the responsibility of a filer to keep all contact information, including the filer's e-mail address, current with the E-Filing system.

D. Persons seeking to use a separate Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP) must use only EFSP's authorized by the Supreme Court. Users of separate EFSP's must follow all registration and other rules promulgated by the particular EFSP.
 
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1-2.05 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 document or pleading to be filed in a specific case using a nonelectronic manner of filing. In those circumstances, the Clerk of the Circuit Court shall scan nonelectronically 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 Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court 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 shall be done electronically.

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1-2.06 Maintenance of Original Documents


 A. Filers filing an electronic document that requires an original signature certify by so filing that the original signed document exists in the filer’s possession. Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the filer shall maintain and preserve all documents containing original signatures that are filed electronically. The filer 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 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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1-2.07 Privacy Issues


A. It is the responsibility of the filer to ensure that documents filed electronically do not disclose confidential, impounded, sealed or personal identity information as defined in Supreme Court Rules 15, 138, and 364.

B. Filers 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, 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. Financial Account Numbers - If financial account numbers are relevant, only the last four digits of these numbers shall be used.

3. Debit and Credit Card Numbers- If such numbers are relevant, only the last four digits of these numbers shall be used.

4. 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.

5. Previously or statutorily impounded or sealed information.

C. In addition to the above, filers 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, other Rule or statute are excluded from electronic filing. A filer 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 shall be filed under seal and remain confidential, except as provided in LCR 1-2.07(F), or as the Court may order.

F. The information contained in the “Notice of Personal Identity Information Within Court Filing” shall be available to parties and their counsel, the Court and the Clerk of the Circuit Court in performance of any requirement provided by law. It shall also include 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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1-2.08 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 twelve point font, and footnotes no less than ten point font; (b) the size of the pages must be 8½ 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 document shall include the case title, case number and the nature of the filing on each document.

B. Each electronically filed document shall also include the typed name, e-mail address, address and telephone number of the filer filing such document. Attorneys shall include their Illinois ARDC Attorney Number or Pro Hac 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 25 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 filer 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 nonelectronically. If possible, however, a filer should scan a paper exhibit and file it electronically, in accordance with the size and scanning limitations set by Local Court Rule or Order. A filer 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 will 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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1-2.09 Signatures


A. Each electronically filed document that requires an original signature if nonelectronically filed, shall bear a facsimile or typographical signature of the attorney or self-represented litigant 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 filer 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 self-represented litigant, or a witness’ affidavit), the filer 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 filer 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 Sections A, B, C, F and G of LCR 1-2.09, 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 Sections A, B and C above, shall be maintained and preserved as required by LCR 1-2.06.

F. Where the 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 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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1-2.10 Time of Filing, Acceptance by the Clerk and Electronic Filing Stamp


A. Any electronic document 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 filer who files a document electronically shall have the same responsibility as a person filing a document in a nonelectronic manner for ensuring that the document is complete, readable and properly filed.

C. Unless a statute, rule, or court order requires that a document be filed by a certain deadline, a document is deemed timely if submitted before midnight (in the court’s time zone) on the date of the deadline. 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 as defined in Local Court Rule 1-1.10, the document will be deemed filed the next business day of the Court.

D. A confirmation shall be issued to the filer 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 filer will receive e-mail notification  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 filer 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 online. Electronic documents are not officially filed without the electronic filing stamp.

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1-2.11 Electronic Service, Courtesy Copies, and Filing Proof of Service


A. Electronic service is not capable of conferring jurisdiction. 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 a nonelectronic manner.

B. All other documents may be served upon the other parties or their representatives electronically. The file shall be responsible for completing electronic service of these other documents. By their registration in the e-filing program, filers 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. 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.

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

F. The Court, through the Clerk of the Circuit Court, may issue Notices, Orders and other documents electronically. The Clerk of the Circuit Court may also issue 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.

G. 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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1-2.12 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 filer.

B. The Clerk of the Circuit Court shall provide a procedure for response to requests for case information, including the appropriate certification. Copies of any documents or certification 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. Allowable methods of payment include credit card, echeck, or other methods of payment as approved by the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

D. Fees charged to e-filing subscribers for services are solely the property of the merchant vendor and are in addition to any statutory filing fees.
 
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1-2.13 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. Filers shall 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 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 filers 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.

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