Service by e-mail: Holy cow! Now, when you e-file a document, if your opposing counsel(s)
are signed up to receive e-service, you can serve them through the provider.
That’s not that huge – we’ve had this ability for some
time, just few signed up for it. But NOW, you can legally serve a lawyer
through e-mail outside of the e-filing service provider!!! To me, this
creates many potentialities for problems. Sometimes e-mail isn’t
reliable. Sometimes e-mail goes to spam filters and is therefore not seen.
But, alas, we have now officially moved into the electronic age!
Service by fax no longer extends the deadline: How many lawyers are going to get caught with late discovery (and waived
objections) by this rule? Not you, if you are reading my blog! The new
rules amend Rule 4 and Rule 21a to
remove the provision that added 3 days to deadline when the service is by fax.
The 3-day extension only applies now when service is accomplished by old-fashioned
snail mail. (Who sends stuff by snail mail anymore? Maybe only people
who are trying to be sneaky?)
Commercial Delivery Services are now accepted: For the first time, the procedure rules acknowledge the existence of
commercial delivery services like behemoths FedEx and UPS, and actually
permit service via one of those services. This probably includes local
courier services, since they are “commercial” if they charge you.
Completion of service: Service by mail has always been completed when depositing the document
with the USPS. Now, the mailbox rule has been extended to commercial delivery
services – service is completed when delivered to a commercial delivery
service. Faxes remain delivered upon receipt by the opposing fax machine,
unless it’s after 5:00 p.m. Electronic service is completed upon
delivery of the e-mail to the
serving party’s service provider. A document electronically filed is timely if filed by
midnight, and filings on weekends and holidays are deemed filed on the
next business day.
Electronic signatures: Signing a pleading can now be done electronically with either an image
of the signature of by typing a “/s/” followed by the lawyer’s
name. Example: /s/ Michelle May O’Neil.
Signature blocks: Now signature blocks
must contain the email address of the lawyer.
Sensitive data redacted: New rule 21c requires redaction of “sensitive data” unless
the information is required by statute. This includes: social security
numbers, drivers license numbers, passport numbers, tax ID numbers, bank
account numbers, credit card numbers,
or a minor’s name and DOB. So, this new rule will prohibit family lawyers from including
names of minors in captions and pleadings.