Special to the Legal News
Published: February 17, 2017
There have been a few hiccups along the way, but Stow Municipal Court’s e-filing portal is now activated for civil cases.
E-filing was approved by the court in Local Rule 7. Although the rule mandated that attorneys will be required to file civil cases through the portal starting Jan. 1, a 30-day grace period was extended.
“We weren’t ready to roll it out Jan. 1,” said Diana Colavecchio, Stow Municipal Court’s Clerk of Courts. “Eventually, we will be doing criminal motions through the portal as well in a few months – after the civil division is more comfortable.”
Summit County Common Pleas Court has offered e-filing in the civil division since 2011, and since 2015 in domestic relations.
Summit County began implementing mandatory electronic filing of court documents in its criminal division on Jan. 3. The e-filing system will allow attorneys and pro-se litigants to file most pleadings and other documents from any place with Internet access at any time of day.
“Attorneys really like the e-filing,” Summit County Clerk of Courts Sandra Kurt said. “They don’t have to be here by 4 p.m. anymore and drive all the way to Akron if they’re out of town.”
Kurt said her office no longer accepts criminal paper filings from attorneys.
As of March 6, electronic filing will be rolled out in the 9th District Court of Appeals, she said.
“As we have rolled out e-filing in each division, we have an introductory period where it is optional, and then we make it mandatory for attorneys,” Kurt added. “If we didn’t make it mandatory, we wouldn’t achieve the efficiencies from instituting electronic filing.”
Akron Municipal Court and Barberton Municipal Court do not yet offer electronic filing.
In October 2015, Stow Municipal Court switched to the Courtview case management system to use primarily for e-filing while former Clerk of Courts Kevin Coughlin was still in office.
“We began scanning documents when I arrived in January,” Colavecchio said. “The goal has always been to accept e-filed documents through the portal. There aren’t many municipal courts using Courtview. We’re the only municipal court in Summit County doing e-filing.”
There are already 80 attorneys registered as users, Colavecchio said.
“The word is rapidly spread that the portal is open,” she added.
Colavecchio said she has already seen numerous benefits of electronic filing.
“Attorneys don’t have to waste postage to come down in person to file documents,” she said. “We’re not even opening files anymore. Documents are coming in pre-scanned, which makes us more efficient. We’re doing less scanning, less printing of paper and saving enormous postage costs. We no longer have to worry about paper being lost, and we are loving purchasing less paper.”
Stow Municipal Court is currently not registering pro-se filers, but that could change in the future, Colavecchio said.
Kurt said e-filing training for the 9th District will be offered sometime this spring at the Akron Bar Association. Pre-registration is required, and Continuing Legal Education credits will be offered.
For more information, contact the Bar Association at 330-253-5007.