U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Louisiana

CMECF Frequent Questions

What is the Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF)? <back to top of page>
CM/ECF is an electronic system that allows attorneys to file petitions and other electronic documents with designated United States courts through the Internet by using a standard web browser. In addition, it allows court personnel to manage the case electronically.

The result is a completely electronic "case file" that does not have any papers associated with it at the court. Therefore, all case information is available for examination electronically through the Internet.

What are the benefits and features of using CM/ECF? <back to top of page>
There are a number of significant benefits and features for courts, attorneys, and the public:

  • Registered attorneys are able to file documents with the court 24-hours per day, 7 days per week.
  • Full case information is available to attorneys, parties, and the general public through the Internet. This includes the ability to view the full text of all filed documents.
  • Attorneys filing over the Internet automatically create docket entries.
  • Attorneys on the system can receive notices electronically in CM/ECF cases, which greatly speeds delivery and allows easier tracking of case activity.
  • Since the project uses Internet standard software, the out-of-pocket cost of participation for attorneys is typically very low.

Can any member of the public use CM/ECF to file documents with a court? <back to top of page>
No. Access to CM/ECF is available to authorized attorneys, trustees, accountants and  to high volume creditors.

Can the general public view CM/ECF cases and the documents in those cases? <back to top of page>  
Access to view cases and documents in CM/ECF is available to anyone with a PACER login and password. PACER offers convenient electronic access to case file documents, listing of all case parties, reports of case related information, chronologies of events entered in the case record, claim registries, listing of new cases, judgments or case status, and a calendar of events.

To defray the costs of PACER and CM/ECF, the Judicial Conference has set a fee for electronic court data via the internet, except for calendar information, for which there is no charge. Parties entitled to documents as part of the legal process receive a free electronic copy, although they will be charged for replacement copies, whether in paper or electronic form.

Since access is limited to authorized attorneys, is there any way for pro se filers or attorneys without Internet access to file documents in CM/ECF cases? <back to top of page>
Yes. The court has three (3) scanning stations set up in the public area of the clerk's office. Court personnel are available to assist public users in filing documents electronically.

What hardware/software is needed on the attorney's end to use CM/ECF? <back to top of page>
Attorneys will need the following hardware and software to electronically file, view, and retrieve documents in the electronic filing system:

  • A personal computer running a standard platform.
  • An Internet provider using Point to Point Protocol (PPP).
  • An up to date internet browser
  • Software to convert documents to Portable Document Format (PDF), such as Adobe Acrobat Writer.
  • A scanner to transmit documents that are not in your word processing system
  • If you use a modem to connect to your Internet service provider, we recommend one with a speed of at least 56k. We would further like to recommend the use of a DSL or cable modem line in lieu of a standard telephone line.

What is Adobe Acrobat? <back to top of page>
Adobe Acrobat is commercial software from Adobe that allows you to convert your documents in PDF (portable document format). All documents filed in CM/ECF must be in PDF format. Acrobat Exchange is available from commercial software retailers. Adobe also distributes a program called Acrobat Reader that allows you to view and print (but not create) PDF documents. The reader is available for free download from www.adobe.com.

How is the requirement of an original signature (attorney and/or debtor) handled for CM/ECF cases? <back to top of page>
There are two distinct issues: attorney signatures and debtor signatures.

When registering to use the system, attorneys sign an agreement to the effect that use of their login name and password (whether by themselves personally or by delegation to another person in their office) constitutes their signatures on the documents electronically filed.

For documents that must be signed by the debtor (such as petitions, lists, schedules, statements, etc.), originally executed paper copies must be kept by the debtor's attorney for one (1) year after the closing of the case. The electronically filed document will indicate a signature, e.g. "/s/ Jane Doe"

Can an attorney add new attorneys to the database? <back to top of page>
No. Only court staff with appropriate permissions may add attorneys to the database as system users. However, it is possible for an attorney to add another attorney to a case, and to the database, during case opening. The new attorney would NOT have filing privileges. In order to obtain those privileges, the attorney must make the proper application to the court to obtain a login and password.

Can an attorney authorize someone in the attorney's office (such as a paralegal) to use the attorney's login name and password to file documents in CM/ECF? <back to top of page>
Yes, but the court recommends that such access be very limited and controlled. Anything that is filed under the attorney's login and password is deemed to have the attorney's signature on it.

What should an attorney do if the documents they are filing are not listed in the pick list? <back to top of page>
Phone the Clerk’s office and speak with the case administrator. The CA will assist you in finding the proper event code for the document that needs to be filed. Only occasionally is a generic document or generic motion required.

How long will it take to transmit lengthy documents? <back to top of page>
The time it takes to transmit a document primarily depends on the user's Internet Service Provider (ISP), modem speed, and the size of PDF file being transmitted. Generally, the larger the file, the longer it will take to load.

What happens if a document is filed in error? <back to top of page>
Most errors will be immediately advertised through the real time electronic notices and access to the docket report; making deletions of entries to the docket or associated .pdf documents is very rare, if ever. CM/ECF allows court personnel to edit errors made in the docket entry. Besides making the appropriate corrections, the court may need to ask participants to submit amended pleadings. Instances that affect calendar entries and noticing will need to be redocketed.

What about court generated documents that require certification? <back to top of page>
On request, a copy of the document can be printed with the certification or seal in the traditional manner.

CM/ECF is not behaving as usual. What can I do? <back to top of page>
If configured to do so, your computer stores a copy of every Web page that you visit. These stored files, which are called your Internet cache, sometimes cause problems with CM/ECF. The following instructions are provided to clear your internet cache when CM/ECF is not behaving as usual:

Internet Explorer 5.5 -

  1. On the Internet Explorer 5.5 menu bar, click Tools, and then click Internet Options. The Internet Options dialog box appears.
  2. In the General tab, under Temporary Internet Files, do the following:
    a. Click Delete Files..., and then click OK.
    b. Click OK.

If I attended the District Court CM/ECF training class, do I still have to attend the Bankruptcy CM/ECF training in order to receive a password?   <back to top of page>  
Yes, the District Court training is not a substitute for the Bankruptcy training.

I attended the Bankruptcy CM/ECF training class in another district and I need to file a pleading in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Do I have to attend the training class in your district in order to receive a password?   <back to top of page>
No. Go the Court’s internet web-site and complete the Application for Attorney Password for Electronic Case Filing System and this court will issue you a password.