If you are a lawyer in Jacksonville or are working for a Jacksonville law office, it is important to know the changes in the rules of court procedure. The Florida Supreme Court has issued an opinion about email service in all court cases. Service must be made by email for most attorneys in compliance with the new rule 2.516. A portion of the Supreme Court opinion is listed below.
For family lawyers in Jacksonville and Jacksonville divorce attorneys, you will need to serve documents by email starting September 1, 2012. If you are a Jacksonville foreclosure defense lawyer, you will be filing under the Florida civil rules of procedure, so all your Florida foreclosure pleadings and documents must be served by email as of September of this year. This September start date applies to all Jacksonville lawyers filing appeals and practicing in civil, probate, small claims, and family law courts.
If you are a Jacksonville criminal lawyer the Florida Criminal Rules of Procedure will not be mandatory until October 1, 2013. This applies to misdemeanor and felony charges. The same is true if you are a Jacksonville juvenile lawyer. If you handle Jacksonville traffic tickets or are a Florida speeding ticket lawyer, the email service requirement will not apply to you until October of 2013, as well. If you are a Jacksonville ticket lawyer, criminal attorney, or juvenile defense lawyer, you may choose to serve by email after September 1, 2012 and before October 1, 2013.
The Florida Supreme Court Opinion for Email Service stated:
“New rule 2.516 provides that all documents required or permitted to be served on another party must be served by e-mail. Under subdivision (b)(1) (Service by Electronic Mail (e-mail)), upon appearing in a proceeding a lawyer must designate a primary e-mail address, and may designate up to two secondary e-mail addresses, for receiving service. Thereafter, service on the lawyer must be made by e-mail. The rule does permit several limited exceptions to this requirement. A lawyer may file a motion to be excused from e-mail service, demonstrating that he or she has no e-mail account and lacks access to the Internet at the lawyer’s office. Similarly, individuals who are not represented by an attorney may designate an e-mail address for service if they wish; however, pro se litigants are not required to use e-mail service. Additionally, applications for witness subpoenas and documents served by formal notice or required to be served in the manner provided for service of formal notice are not required to comply with rule 2.516.”
“Subdivision (b)(1) also includes provisions addressing the time and format for e-mail service. Service by e-mail is deemed complete when the e-mail is sent. Additionally, e-mail service is made by attaching a copy of the document to be served in PDF format to an e-mail. The e-mail must contain the subject line ―SERVICE OF COURT DOCUMENT‖ in all capital letters, followed by the case number of the relevant proceeding. The body of the e-mail must identify the court in which the proceeding is pending, the case number, the name of the initial party on each side, the title of each document served with that e-mail, and the sender’s name and telephone number. The e-mail and attachments together may not exceed 5 megabytes in size; e-mails that exceed the size requirement must be divided into separate e-mails (no one of which may exceed 5 megabytes) and labeled sequentially in the subject line.”
“As noted, the other subdivisions in rule 2.516 closely track the language in rule 1.080, modified to reflect the move to e-mail service.”
“First, e-mail service will be mandatory for attorneys practicing in the civil, probate, small claims, and family law divisions of the trial courts, as well as in all appellate cases, when the rule amendments take effect on September 1, 2012. Second, when the rules take effect on September 1, attorneys practicing in the criminal, traffic, and juvenile divisions of the trial court may voluntarily choose to serve documents by e-mail under the new procedures, or they may continue to operate under the existing rules. E-mail service will be mandatory for attorneys practicing in these divisions on October 1, 2013, at 12:01 a.m. (the date on which electronic filing will be mandatory in these divisions).”
“Self-represented parties involved in any type of case in any Florida court, may, but are not required to, serve documents by e-mail. Attorneys excused from e-mail service are also not obligated to comply with the new e-mail service requirements.”