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Call the Court’s Help Desk between the hours of 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday, except federal holidays, at or toll-free at 1-866-558-6631. If you do not need an immediate response, you may email the Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org . We will get back with you within one business day. Remember, although parties may file documents electronically 24 hours a day, filers are strongly encouraged to file all documents during the regular business hours of the Clerk’s office, when assistance is available.
What Can I Do With ECF?
If you are a registered participant, with Internet access and acceptable browser software (Internet Explorer, Mozilla, etc.) the electronic case filing system will allow you to:
• Access the Court’s web page
Self-train on a web-based ECF Tutorial
• Practice entering pleadings and using pay.gov into an ECF training database before using the live ECF database
• Electronically file pleadings and documents in actual live cases
• View official docket sheets and documents associated with cases
• View various reports for cases that were filed electronically
• Receive notices of electronic filings via e-mail with a link to the filed document
• Cut and paste from the PDF files
• Designate more than one e-mail address to receive notices of electronic filings
What Do I Need to use CM/ECF?
In order to file electronically and/or view and retrieve case documents, you’ll need the following:
• A personal computer with a standard operating system such as Windows or Macintosh
• Internet access
• Web browser: Internet Explorer; Mozilla Firefox (Recommended browser for CM/ECF is Firefox). Note: Safari web browser on a Macintosh does not work well with ECF.
• Word processing software like WordPerfect or Word.
• Software like Adobe Acrobat Writer or pdf Factory to convert documents from word processor to portable document format (PDF) – the only file format ECF will accept. Many free pdf writers are available on line.
• A scanner to convert documents that are not on your word processor. Note: Using a scanner is a last resort and should only be used for documents that you cannot produce with your wordprocessor. Scanned documents are memory hogs and slow down the entire system. We are moving away from using scanned documents and ask you to do the same.
• A PACER account if you want to file electronically, or do more than take your one and only free peek at a filed document, such as run queries or reports. Also, you need a PACER account if you receive e-notices for Social Security cases.
What is a PACER account?
PACER stands for Public Access to Court Electronic Records. For a PACER login contact the PACER Service Center at (800) 676-6856 for information or to register for an account. You may register for PACER online at http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov. PACER registration is FREE and accessing documents (after the first freebie) or pulling up a docket sheet costs 8¢ per page (maximum of $2.40 per document). If you don’t reach $10.00 in a year, you won’t even be billed.
How Do I Get Access to ECF?
First, you have to be an attorney in good standing in the Middle District of Louisiana AND you have to register as a CM/ECF user. You can find the registration form here. Completed registration forms should be faxed to225-389-3550. Just follow the clear instructions. Someone from the court will call or mail you your login and password.
Or if you really have to, you can mail it to:
United States District Court
Middle District of Louisiana
Attn: ECF Attorney Registration
777 Florida St., Ste. 139
Baton Rouge, LA 70801
The Middle District no longer requires training in order for you to receive a login and password; however, we strongly encourage you to take time to do the on-line training tutorial on our website. In about thirty minutes, you can cover the basics for filing in civil matters.
For practice before filing documents in the “live ” ECF database, you can visit a training version of the system on the Internet at https://ecf-train.lamd.uscourts.gov to practice ECF actions. After all, practice does make perfect . . .
If you’re working on a Social Security case, you’ll need an ECF login and password, a PACER account AND you must be an attorney of record. Also, for criminal cases, those documents filed prior to November 1, 2004 are only available to be viewed on line by attorneys of record in that criminal case. Anything after that date can be viewed on line by any attorney regardless if he is listed as counsel or not.
Portable Document Format (PDF)
Only PDF (Portable Document Format) documents can be filed with the Court using the ECF system. Before sending the file to the court, you want to preview the PDF document to be sure that it’s all there and in the proper format. You also might want to make sure it’s the right document.
How Do I View a PDF File in the CM/ECF system?
To view a PDF file on your computer, double-click on the link for the document file. If your computer is set up correctly, the file will automatically open in Adobe Acrobat.
If you use Internet Explorer 6.0 or Microsoft XP Operating System, you will need to make sure your Adobe software has these settings:
From the ‘Preferences’ window, select the ‘Internet” option. Uncheck the boxes: “Display PDF in Browser” and “Allow Fast Web View” and click the ‘OK’ button to accept the changes.
When you are on the ECF system, you can read a PDF document, save it, or print it. Your first look is free. All of your additional email accounts you set up when you registered also get one free look. Just remember - you must save it, print it or pay through Pacer to view again.
If you just can’t get enough or to learn more about PDF’s, check out https://get.adobe.com/reader/
Setting Up Web Browser
We recommend that you set your browser so that the cache is automatically cleared out frequently and your system is always retrieving fresh information directly from the Internet. Instructions on how to do this in Internet Explorer and Netscape can be found on the court’s website under the ECF Info, Technical Info buttons.
How to Convert Documents to PDF Format
You must convert all of your documents to PDF format before filing them in the Court’s Electronic Case Filing (ECF) system. This process requires special software such as Adobe Acrobat Writer, Fine Print pdf Factory or Cute Pdf. Some word processing programs have Acrobat Writer built-in and can be used to convert documents to PDF.
Using any word processing program:
1. Install Acrobat Writer or any of the fine, free pdf writers available from the Internet on your computer.
2. Open the document to be converted in your wordprocessor.
3. Select the Print option – usually found in the File menu. A dialog box will come up. Select the option to change the current printer. A drop down menu with a list of printer choices should be displayed. (NOTE: If you’re using WordPerfect, you can choose “Publish to PDF” rather than print, and follow the directions.)
4. Select Adobe PDFWriter, or Fine Print pdf Factory, from within your word processing software. (In order for Adobe PDFWriter or pdf Factory to appear, you must already have them installed on your computer. See Step 1.)
5. “Print” the file. The file will not actually print. Instead, a dialog box will pop up allowing you to save the file as a PDF file. Note: Make a note of the file location so you can find the document later when you are ready to upload it. Change the location if necessary by clicking in the “Save in” area of the window.
6. Name the file, make sure it ends with “.PDF” and click the [Save] button.
Correcting a Mistake
A document filed incorrectly in a case may result from posting the wrong PDF file to a docket entry; selecting the wrong document type from the menu; or possibly entering the wrong case number and not discovering the error before completing the transaction. In any of these (or other) cases, if you have filed something in error, call 389-3552 or 1-866-558-6631 as soon as possible after the error is discovered. You’ll need to provide the case and document number(s) for the document requiring correction. If appropriate, the court may make an entry indicating that the document was filed in error. You will be notified if you need to re-file the document The ECF system does not permit you to change the misfiled document(s) or incorrect docket entry after the transaction has been accepted.
Viewing Transaction Log
This feature, found in the Utilities menu, will allow you to review all transactions ECF has processed with your login and password. If you suspect someone is using your login without your permission, change your password immediately and contact the Court’s Help Desk at 389-3552 or 1-866-558-6631 immediately to let the Court know that you believe the system, and perhaps your filings, have been compromised
Viewing Activity in My Cases Report
This report, found in the Report menu, will allow you to review all filings made under your login for a particular day. You will get hyperlinks for each associated document. If you click on the hyperlink to view the document, you will be prompted for your PACER login
Notification of Documents That Were Filed
After a pleading is electronically filed, the ECF System sends a Notice of Electronic Filing (the NEF) to designated attorneys and parties who have registered for electronic filing/noticing. These individuals are entitled to a “free peek” for each e-mail address – that is one look, free of charge, at the filed document by clicking on the associated hyperlinked document number (the 3 in the previous case) embedded in the Notice of Electronic Filing . The filer is permitted one free look at the document and the Docket Sheet to verify that the pleading was properly docketed. We strongly urge you to copy the NEF and documents to your hard-drive for future access. The next time you want to look at that case docket sheet and pleading in CM/ECF, you’ll need your PACER account – login and password -- as it will be subject to regular PACER fees. In some cases the documents, such as Witness Lists, have security features set on them, so they are not viewable by the public. If you are prompted for a login when you are trying to get your free look, you will need to enter your CM/ECF Login and password to confirm you are a party to the cae and entitled to view the document.
Note: It is the responsibility of the filer to send hard copies of the pleading and Notice of Electronic Filing to attorneys and pro se parties who have indicated they do not have E -mail accounts. Before filing any document, be sure to check Mailings for a Case, under the Utilities Menu.
Deadlines listed on CM/ECF
While deadlines are set through the CM/ECF system, It is important to remember that system-generated deadlines (e.g., those that appear when a motion is electronically filed or when querying deadlines) are for court use only and should not be relied upon as accurate deadlines.