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Practitioners – New Central District Court of California Local Rules Effective Tomorrow, June 1, 2012


05/31/12

On June 1, 2012 several amendments to the Local Rules in the Central District of California become effective.  Many of these amendments incorporate requirements already in place through General Order 10-07.  Some of the general procedural changes are discussed below.  A complete version of the amended rules is available here.

L.R. 3-2: Filing of Initiating Documents
Amended L.R. 3-2 specifies the types of case-initiating (e.g., complaints and notices of removal) and claim-initiating (e.g., third-party complaints and counterclaims) documents which must be filed in paper format.  Any simultaneously filed emergency-relief documents must also be filed in paper format.  In addition, Amended L.R. 3-2 states that all such paper filed documents must be e-mailed to the civil intake box, in PDF format, by the close of business the following business day.  Finally, Amended L.R. 3-2 specifies that attorneys who fail to timely file PDF copies "shall be subject to such sanctions as may be imposed by the Court."

L.R. 5: Filing and Serving Documents
Amended L.R. 5 requires all lodged documents to be electronically filed except for those which are exempted, such as documents filed by pro se litigants, non-paper or unusual exhibits, claim-initiating documents, under seal or in-camera documents and bankruptcy appeals and administrative records.  See L.R. 5-1, 5-4.2.

In addition, Amended L.R. 5 specifies the format of electronically filed documents.  In particular, "the document filed with the Court must be created using word-processing software, then published to PDF from the original word-processing file."  The rule admonishes: "PDF IMAGES CREATED BY SCANNING PAPER DOCUMENTS ARE PROHIBITED."  This requirement allows for searchable electronically filed documents.  An exception exists for attachments which cannot be created through word-processing.  Attachments also cannot exceed 10 MB or must be divided into sub-volumes.  See L.R. 5-4.3.1.

Amended L.R. 5 also specifies how to lodge and submit proposed orders.  Proposed orders must be either attached to the main electrically filed document or lodged as an attachment to a Notice of Lodging.  See 5-4.4.1.  In addition, after the proposed order is lodged, a Word or WordPerfect version must be submitted to the judge's generic chambers e-mail.  See L.R. 5-4.4.2.

Amended L.R. 5 details exact steps to be taken when technical failures during electronic filing are encountered.  If unable to file electronically, the filer must contact the CM/ECF Help Desk immediately.  In addition, the filer must make two attempts to file electronically, with each attempt separated by one hour.  If both attempts fail, the Clerk will accept a paper filing that same day if time permits.  However, if the delay "causes the document to be untimely, the filing shall be accompanied by a declaration or affidavit setting forth the facts of the CM/ECF User's failed attempts to file electronically, together with an appropriate application for leave to file the document."  Notably, the amended L.R. does not "authorize the Court to extend a deadline that, by statute or rule, may not be extended."  Therefore, filers should not wait until the eleventh hour—literally—to file.  Indeed, if filing on the last day, filers should try to file early enough to allow time for a paper filing, in case the electronic filing fails.

Harleen Kaur is an associate in Nossaman's Los Angeles office.  She is a member of Nossaman's Litigation Department focusing primarily on financial services and bankruptcy matters.  Ms. Kaur has experience in federal and state court including developing case strategy, preparing witnesses, and participating in settlement negotiations.  She can be reached at hkaur@nossaman.com or 213.612.7850.

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