Kings County Superior Court requested supplemental funding from the Judicial Council, which was approved at its October 27-28 public meeting. The $509,000 in additional funding was granted because the court finds itself in an emergency situtuation, finding itself in a dire budget shortfall resulting from its failed case management system. Del Norte, Mono and Siskyou County Superior Courts all requested extra funding as well but were denied. The Judicial Council sets aside a mandatory 2% of the total funds allocated in the Trial Court Trust Fund. These funds are designed to support California trial court operations that find themselves in the midst of a budget crisis.
With many courts facing financial woes in the past years, the Judicial Council finds itself in this situation more often than it would like. They are forced to assess the budget shortcomings of those courts that request additional funding and allocate the money to those courts the Council deems appropriate.
“This is one of those difficult decisions that the Judicial Council has had to make pretty regularly in the last four years,” said Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye. “This is exactly the reason why the council is a statewide policymaking body, and we face problems as a statewide judiciary. We need to advocate as a branch for adequate new investment to address the budget reductions and reduced levels of services affecting all of our courts.”
Other items on the agenda at the meeting included the damage done to the Napa Superior Court as a result of the earthquake that occured on August 24. According to the Judicial Council, there are many California courts that are at a critical seismic risk. Should some of these courts experience a good sized earthquake, it could cause structural damage and negatively impact court operations. Napa's courthouse is expected to be closed anywhere from two to four years.
You can read the entire meeting agenda here.
We've recently updated our page with items for Alameda, Amador, Los Angeles, Merced and Riverside Superior courts. Click here to take a look, especially if you have a court filing in one of those jurisdictions!
Riverside Superior Court just released a public notice announcing that effective December 1, 2014, the filing deadline will be 4:00 p.m. for all filing types. This includes in person, eFiling, drop box and fax filings. Any document left in the drop box after 4:00 p.m. will have been deemed filed on the next court day.
Due to the budget crisis, many California courts have elected to close their doors early and cut their operating hours. It has been proven that reducing court hours does not directly save money, although some say it does give the courts the opportunity to catch up on the backlog of filings. Some court officials, however, are skeptical of this assessment. The shortened hours are putting a strain on the public, as many people who must get their documents filed are unable to do so as a result of the shortened business hours.
Not only is the early court closures adversely affecting the public, it is placing pressure on California legislators as well.
"People expect you to keep your doors open," said Bob Wieckowski, chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. "If you're looking to file your paperwork and you finally get it together and the court is locked, it makes you furious and you think, come on guys: 'Get it together!' This is something we shouldn't skimp on. Courts should be open as until 5pm. Period."
Humboldt, Plumas, Sierra, Glenn, Yolo and Kings County Superior Courts are just a few of the courts that plan to reduce operational hours as early as next month. You can read more here!
Will these shortened hours affect you?
It's time for the next installment of our Instant Expert series! Continuing on our quest to help you become indispensable to your law firm, we have created another short "how-to" guide that will not only simplify your day to day work life, but ensure that your physical filing is as hassle and error free as possible.
Click here to download the latest Instant Expert guide.
Our second Instant Expert guide provides you with six must-know tips on ensuring that your filing is hassle free. Tips include how to:
Organize and track your documents
Use Urgent Service
Utilize the special instructions portion of the workflow, and more!
If you would like to become even more of an expert and are interested in further training, you can sign up for any of our free, MCLE accredited courses! We have a diverse curriculum that covers everything from Process Serving to eFiling and eService in Orange and San Diego Counties, as well as in the state of Texas. We also keep you up to date on court closures, reduction in clerk's hours and other pertinent court news.
Do not hesitate to contact our Training team with any questions! We are always here to help.
The Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge David S. Wesley announced that the Court Executive Committee has approved a budget that will allow for eleven courthouses to reopen this fiscal year, thanks to an increase of $7 million in discretionary state funding. Although Judge Wesley acknowledges that this is not enough money to rebuild the court, he did state that the increase does stabalize the budget allowing the court to move forward. Over the last five years, the court has closed 79 courtrooms which has caused a significant backlog of cases.
The court is also facing an impressive stack of paperwork due to the lack of staff on hand to process it. The increase in funding is not nearly enough to make a significant impact, which is why Judge Wesley stated that the court is "pursuing a range of initiatives that are improving access to justice with existing resources." These initiatives include the reallocation of staff, reengineering the business processes, and automated solutions to specific processes. Rather than downsize, the court feels that the implementation of these changes will spare the court the need to lay off staff and close additional courtrooms.
Althought the court is adamant that there will be no layoffs, 55 employees will be moved into a "transition process" which means that they will be required to move into new positions within a year.
Although this news is not the dire situtaitons facing many court clerks in California including those working in Glenn and Amador counties, the court did not address any plans to implement electronic filing.
What do you think of this use of additional funding in the Los Angeles Superior Court?
The San Francisco Superior Court announced last week that it is accepting applications from third-party filers to provide litigants and attorneys the ability to file civil case types electronically. The Court intends to approve three qualified applicants to file on behalf of their clients. If more than three applicants are found qualified, the Court will hold a lottery in which all qualified applicants will have a chance to secure one of the three open third-party eFiler spots.
Details of the Court's plan be found here.
We will be submitting an application to be a third-party filer, pursuant to California Rule of Court 2.255 (a)(3) that requires the Court's vendor to support other Electronic Filing Service Providers (EFSP). The third-party filer must be ready to support their clients by the first week in December. We believe the Court intends to mandate civil eFiling as early as December 3.
Our intent in becoming an approved third-party eFiler is to promote a more competitive eFiling market and to provide you and other valued customers with the best service possible. This means you can continue to use One Legal as you always have for filing and other services, including process serving, court research and document retrieval and courtesy copy delivery.
We will continue to execute on our existing contract with the court to launch our own portal just as soon as possible, thus ensuring that the legal community has a choice of electronic filing service providers.
Check out our San Francisco Court community page for more information and where you can sign-up to receive the latest updates.
San Francisco Superior Court clerks returned to work Wednesday after walking the picket line on a daylong strike last Tuesday. The clerks believe that the court should be using what they say is a $16 million surplus to increase their pay. Court officials say that money is earmarked for the health care of retired court employees. The strike shut down most court operations with the exception of certain pressing criminal matters along with those matters facing statutory deadlines. The shutdown also came after the Columbus Day holiday, creating an even greater backlog than anticipated.
Although the clerks have returned to work and daily court operations have resumed, tensions still run high. Court officials say that the clerks are the highest paid court employees in California, and San Francisco Superior Court Executive Officer Michael Yuen called the strike "dirty", after stating that it also violated their labor agreement. However, Steve Stallone, a spokesman for the Service Employees International Union Local 1021, disagreed, saying that the court's salary figures are "lies" and emphasizing that it takes years for the clerks to reach the highest level of the pay grade for their position. In a city like San Francisco where the cost of living is so high, they believe that their salary doesn't go very far.
San Francisco Superior Court officials promise to file a complaint with California's Public Employement Relations Board as part of their response to the strike. Stallone argued that the strike was a repsonse to the court's alleged unfair labor practices and that as a result it is legally sanctioned and overrides the 2012 labor agreement's no-strike provision.
In the meantime, it is back to business as usual for the One Legal San Francisco branch. Our branch manager has reported that they are almost caught up on filings from both the Columbus Day holiday and Tuesday's strike. They are experiencing little to no fall out, which is great news for those of you who need us to file your documents with the San Francisco Superior Court! If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact our Customer Support team.
Thinking about filing a document today in the San Francisco Superior Court? You might want to think again. The San Francisco Superior Court clerks have officially gone on strike, and today marks the first day of picketing. Clerks offices are closed and hearings have been canceled for today.
The court clerks voted overwhelmingly to strike last month. Out of 186 ballots cast, 169 clerks voted in favor of striking because they want an increase in pay. They state that the San Francisco Superior Court has roughly $16 million in their reserve fund but continue to refuse to offer the clerks a raise. Steve Stallone, spokesman for the Service Employees International Union Local 1021, said that the clerks received a three percent pay raise last year in addition to increasing co-payments for health care. Instead of offering any further pay increases, the court instead offered court clerks two additional paid holidays. However, because there is such a significant shortage of staff, clerks argue that it is impossible to get time off as it is.
Picket lines were set up early this morning at three different locations, including the Hall of Justice, the Civic Center Courthouse and the Youth Guidance Center.
As most Californians know already, the state courts have been suffering through a budget crisis for the last few years. The majority of courts statewide have endured court closures, furloughs and staff layoffs. The San Francisco Superior Court laid of 69 employees in 2011, closed 11 of its 63 courtrooms, and reduced clerk office operating hours. Governor Jerry Brown submitted a budget that includes a $129 million increase for trial courts, but Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has stated that although this is a start, it is only about half of what the courts need to maintain services. Ann Donlan, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Superior Court, says that the court expects to avoid further reductions through June. They have earmarked the remaining reserve money for the health care coverage of retired employees.
If you have any questions regarding the strike and how it affects you, please contact our Customer Support team! We have sources on the ground in San Francisco keeping us up to date on any new developments.
We want to know what you think about the strike! Do you have a document that won't be filed today as a result?
A swanky soiree with an Oktoberfest feel? Sign us up! One Legal had the privilege of attending the Witkin Award dinner last night, held at the San Diego Law Library in beautiful downtown San Diego. Though fall has yet to show its crisp face here in perpetually sunny San Diego, the Law Library was decked out in seasonal decor complete with pumpkins, orange and red leaves, and just enough black ties to polish off the festive look. An accordion player serenaded the crowd as they visited the beer garden, bought raffle tickets, and perused the art for sale. In keeping with the Oktoberfest vibe, the crowd dined on German style sauerkraut and bratwurst.
For those of you who don't know, the Witkin Award is presented annually to honor members of the San Diego legal community for civic leadership and excellence in teaching, practice, enactment, or adjudication of the law. The Witkin Fund is then used to purchase books and materials for the San Diego Law Library. The award is named after Bernard Witkin, Esq., a man who developed an alternate way of teaching and learning the law after becoming disheartened with the Socratic method taught at most law schools of his time.
This year's winners of the prestigious award included the following honorees:
The Honorable Julia Craig Kelety for Excellence in the Adjudication of the Law
Thomas E. Sharkey, Esq. for Excellence in the Practice of Law
Linda and Carlos LeGerrette for Excellence in Civic Leadership and Philanthropy
Stephan C. Ferruolo for Excellence in Legal Education
Congratulations to all of the honorees! It was such a fun night to celebrate those who have made a difference in the legal community and raise money for the San Diego Law Library. We have done many free, MCLE accredited trainings at the library for the community and were happy to be a part of this night. Check out our Facebook page to view more pictures of the event!
As we previously posted, a typical Orange County eFiling transaction can include multiple documents totaling up to 120MB in size. There is, however, a list of several documents which automatically limit the transaction size to 65MB, those are:
• Notice of Entry of Judgment
• Notice of Ruling
• Opposition to Noticed Motion
• Reply - Other
• Reply to Motion
• Reply to Opposition
• Reply to Opposition of Noticed Motion
• Request for Judicial Notice
• Separate Statement
For those of you who are interested in the technical details -
These documents are automatically accepted by the court's system and skip clerk review. For this reason, large documents cannot be sent via a proxy page and need to be sent as-is for the court's system to file and stamp them automatically and so they need to conform to a different size standard.
While we instruct our customers to try and upload as many documents for the given case as possible in a single transaction, when you are filing any one of the document types listed and you are near the limit it may be a good idea to upload that document separately.
As a reminder on a related subject - even if you are not quite approaching the size cap, whether the 120MB or the 65MB, it is a good idea to reduce your file size and optimize your documents. The court wants you to minimize the digital size of your filings and our Training team offers the "Adobe Acrobat for the Law Office" webinar where you will be shown how to perform those functions within a matter of minutes.
If you wish to receive more information or have specific questions about file size and electronic filing, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to assist you!