The First Circuit Court of Appeals recently released its proposed amendments to Local Rule 25.0, governing the use of electronic document filing (“e-filing”). While Many of the proposed amendments incorporate familiar aspects of the e-filing system in Massachusetts Federal District Court, there are some notable differences and aspects to point out. The following is a brief collection of highlights from the proposed rule amendments. The full text of the rule can be found here.

What Needs to be E-filed?

With limited exceptions, e-filing is mandatory for documents filed in the Court of Appeals. Appendices to briefs are still required to be paper filed. Additionally, motions to seal and documents that are sealed, ex parte or non-public must be paper filed. Practitioners can either e-file or paper file documents that initiate an appeal before the First Circuit (e.g., petitions for review, petitions for permission to appeal, etc.)

  • Note: Notices of Appeal must be filed with the Federal District Court and therefore are subject to the Federal District Court’s e-filing procedures.

E-Filing Briefs

Briefs and Addendum must first be e-filed with the Court. Briefs are deemed tendered to the Court for purposes of deadlines when they are e-filed. After a brief is e-filed, the clerk’s office will then review the brief to ensure that it meets federal and local rule requirements. If the brief is compliant, the clerk’s office will send a notification that the brief has been accepted. Once an attorney receives that acceptance notification, she or he must file nine identical paper copies of the brief so they are received by the Court within seven days of the notification.

  • Summary/Note: (1) E-file your brief (including addendum), (2) wait for the Court to accept the brief, and (3) file paper copies of the brief.
  • Appendices must be filed and served in paper form at the time the electronic version of the brief is initially tendered for filing.

Document Formatting

E-filed documents must be in PDF form. Specifically, the document must be created by converting the original word processing document into a PDF; creating PDFs by scanning paper documents does not comply with the rule. The rule against scanning paper documents to create a PDF does not apply to exhibits submitted as attachments to pleadings.

Time Filed

E-filed documents are deemed filed at the time stated on the Notice of Docket Activity from the Court. To be considered “filed” on the day the party e-files, the filing must be completed by midnight in the time zone of the circuit clerk’s office in Boston. This may be an unexpected difference for practitioners familiar with filing in Massachusetts Federal District Court, which requires that all documents be filed by 6:00 p.m. to be considered filed on the day of e-filing.

Motions Requiring Leave of Court

When leave to file is required to file a document, counsel should e-file both the motion for leave to file and the motion.