- 1. Is Electronic Filing mandatory?
Yes, as of January 1, 2005. (See next question for how to register for ECF training.)
Non-electronic filer Options:
- If you are scheduled for training, not just signed up, you may file paper through the mail so long as you attach a copy of the court’s email to you confirming your class.
- You may bring the documents to the court and use a scanner at the front counter. After they are scanned, the intake staff will accept them.
- 2. How do I register for ECF?
Go to www.mab.uscourts.gov and click on the ECF button.
To see what dates are available, click on the Upcoming Training button. Write down two or three choices, then click on the Apply button.
- Click on Apply for Training and fill out the e-form.
- Press submit; then there will be a second screen with form information.
- Press save. This is critical. If you do not press save, the information will not be saved and you are not registered.
- 3. How do I learn to use the system?
- The best way to learn to use the e-filing system is to be trained by the Court and to practice using the on-line tutorial found on the PACER website at pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/cmecf/bktrain.html
- 4. How do PACER and ECF fit together?
In addition to your ECF login and password, you must have a PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) account. If you do not already have a PACER account, you can contact PACER via e-mail, phone or on-line:
- Email: PACER@psc.uscourts.gov
- Phone: 1 -800-676-6856
- On-line registration at: http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov
The PACER Service Center (PSC) can also provide phone support for ECF users; specifically, the PSC staff can assist with browser issues, Adobe Acrobat installation and use, general navigation around Judiciary e-filing sites like ours, etc. The hours of the PSC are from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Central Time or 9:00 - 6:00 EST.
A separate ECF login for each court is required to file documents. Only attorneys may register to become electronic filers, but anyone can sign up for a PACER account. When you receive a Notice of Electronic Filing in your email, you’ll note that the case number and document number are both hyperlinks. You can click the document number to retrieve the pleading. That first retrieval is your service of the document and it is free.
You will be charged through PACER for subsequent retrievals, even of documents you have filed. See question 5.
- 5. Are there still fees for PACER access?
- Yes, the Judicial Conference of the United States has set a fee of eight cents per page, to a maximum of $2.40 per document for obtaining electronic court data via the Internet. Parties entitled to documents as a part of the legal process receive a free electronic copy as part of the e-mail Notification of Filing. It is highly recommended that you not only save the Notice itself, but open and view the document in your e-mail and save a copy on your own office computer system or print out a paper copy at that time. Opening the same e-mail a second time and attempting to view the document will require that you enter your PACER account information for billing purposes.
- 6. What technical expertise is required in order to use ECF?
- The basic skills needed are familiarity with using a windows-type environment and familiarity with using a web browser. In order to file documents electronically, additional expertise is necessary. To file documents and automatically create docket entries, ability to convert documents to .PDF and .txt files, and training by the court regarding the use of ECF categories and events will be necessary. Ability to scan documents will also be needed for those documents that are only available in paper format, e.g., most exhibits.
- 7. Is ECF word processor specific?
- No, you may use any word processor that can convert documents to PDF.
- 8. I have been trained by District Court. Can I get a login and password from the Bankruptcy Court without additional training?
- No, you must complete the ECF Training for the District of Massachusetts Bankruptcy Court.
- 9. I have a login and password from District Court. Can I use that to log into the bankruptcy court’s ECF system?
- No. Each court issues its own unique login and password. The user has an option available under Utilities to change their login and password. Under the Utilities menu of each system, the user could make the district and bankruptcy court logins and passwords the same if he/she wanted.
- 10. How is payment of filing fees handled for ECF cases?
- Payment for filing fees may be made by electronic check (ACH) or credit card The court currently accepts MasterCard. Visa. American Express, Diners Club and Discover.
- 11. How do I set up a credit card account?
- You do not set up a credit card account in the ECF system. A credit card screen will pop up whenever a document is filed that has a fee attached to it (new case, motions for relief from stay, motion to convert, etc.) When the credit card screen opens, the attorney will submit all appropriate information at that time. They have to enter the information each time they incur a charge because neither the court nor the system retains any credit card information in the database.
- 12. What if I did not get a pop-up screen to pay?
- You may need to disable your pop-up screen blocker or enter the court’s URL address as a trusted address allowing pop-ups. Note: If the credit card screen does not pop up for some reason you are still responsible to pay the fee - contact the court immediately.
- 13. How do I go in and pay through ECF?
- When you file a document requiring a fee, a credit card screen will pop up and information is entered there. If you exit before paying and you owe the court money, simply go to the Utilities menu and click on Internet Payments Due and make your payment there.(This is only if the document was filed electronically.)
- 14. What will attorneys receive in order to reconcile their credit card accounts?
- Attorneys will receive an email receipt with a case number. No other receipt or summary will be given. In the event the attorney wishes to check to see if payment was made, the receipt number is docketed to the case.
- 15. Filing Fees On-line Payment Error
The Court has received several calls regarding online payment submission errors. Errors such as, “The credit card you have entered is invalid” or “The credit card you have entered has expired,” occurred when users clicked the “Submit Payment” button. A second or third payment attempt produced only intermittent success.
The Court's payment processing company has determined the error occurs after applying Microsoft security patch 832894 (MS04-004) or HotFix 821814 to Internet Explorer 6 SP1 (Version 6.00.2800.1106). Microsoft confirmed this is a problem, and it has created a patch (Q831167) to correct the problem. NOTE: Users of Netscape Navigator are not affected.
Please go to the following URL to obtain more information about this problem and information as to installing the 32-bit update package: http://support.microsoft.com
- 16. Is the ECF system Secure Socket Layer (SSL) enabled?
- Yes. The system is a secure site.
- 17. How do I set up my scanner?
Yes. It should be set for black and white. Standard paper size - dpi 200. You can submit no more than 50 pages for each document (See Rule 5 of Appendix 8 of the Local Rules)
You may call the Pacer Service Center with other technical issues at 800-676-6856 and on the web at http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/ See question 4.
- 18. What are some of the privacy issues?
- Bankruptcy cases have always been public records viewable by anyone requesting to see the case. However, there has not been the same ease of universal access that there is now by having access to the entire case record via the Internet. There is concern over the availability of personal information such as social security numbers and names of minor children. Also, persons may be able to determine the debtor’s medical conditions based upon the doctors and medical companies who are owed money. Addresses would become available to abusive ex-partners from whom the debtor has been successfully hiding. There is also concern over the availability of financial information such as account numbers of credit cards.
- 19. How are privacy issues being addressed?
A subcommittee of the Judicial Conference Committee was formed to study the issues and to create a policy regarding privacy. Amendments to various statutes, rules and forms will then be necessary to comply with the policy. The Judicial Conference has created a public website – www.privacy.uscourts.gov - where a copy of the policy is posted and where you can view the public comments that were made about the policy. Based upon the recommendations contained in the policy, some changes have been and will continue be made to the software, but the primary responsibility will fall upon the attorney to protect the client.
A new Official Form B21 is used to file the debtor(s) social security number(s). It must be docketed separately using the correct event so the information can remain private or unseen by the public. (Select Bankruptcy at the top of the web page. Select the Other category where you will find the Statement of Social Security event.)
Sealed or Impounded documents should not be filed electronically. See MLBR 9018-1.
- 20. Will this policy be enforced retroactively?
- Yes and No. Older cases that are moved to the system contain all the information that they currently contain so documents that have been scanned with a social security number will continue to be seen. However, social security numbers are no longer reported on the public dockets for any cases in the system.
- 21. What is Adobe Acrobat and PDF?
- Adobe Acrobat is commercial software from Adobe that allows a document to be saved in portable document format (PDF). All documents filed in ECF must be in PDF. Adobe also distributes Acrobat Reader which allows PDF documents to be viewed and printed (but not to create). The Adobe Reader can be downloaded for free.
- 22. What is a plug-in?
- A plug-in is a small add-on piece of software that extends the capabilities of your web browser, such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Explorer. A plug-in may, for example, enable you to view files written in format other than HTML, the language used to create Internet websites, or enable the user to listen to audio files or view videos.
- 23. What is a PDF document?
- Documents in Portable Document File (PDF) format do not require a copy of the word processing program used to create them in order to be viewed. They can be viewed by anyone with a free Acrobat Reader, a product of Adobe Systems, Inc. In addition to its cross platform advantage, a PDF document matches very closely the format of the original document from which the PDF document was created. Some of our documents at this site and all of the pleadings in the Electronic Case Filing system are stored in PDF. To view PDF files, you must have a copy of Adobe Reader software, which you may download free from the Adobe Systems Internet website. To get to Adobe's site, CLICK on the "Get Acrobat Reader" button below or elsewhere in our web site. Once you install the Reader you do not have to do anything more. You will view our documents the way they were created, and you may save and print them in that format.
- 24. How do you start the Adobe Acrobat Reader program in order to view a PDF document on a website?
- You don't. Adobe Acrobat Reader is a plug-in that Navigator will automatically launch when you try to access a document stored in PDF format, assuming of course that you have downloaded the Reader to your PC. If you do not have the Adobe Reader, your computer will show you a set of applications from which to choose a program that will read the file. None of them will work, which is why you must download the Adobe Reader from Adobe Systems' website. If you do not have the Reader, which is free, click on the button below to get it.
- 25. Which method of opening the Adobe Reader, within Netscape Navigator or in a separate window, is the optimum way of viewing PDF files?
- It is a matter of personal preference as much as anything. Some of the functionality of the Reader is lost when the PDF document is opened in a browser window. For example, in the browser window, you do not have the Adobe Reader menu line and cannot use control + various keys to operate the Reader software. Additionally, direct connection to Adobe's online help is not available when the Reader opens within the browser. Nonetheless, most of the functions accessible either using the menu or shortcuts when the Reader opens in its own window can be accessed using the various button icons that remain available when the Reader is opened within the browser. To save a PDF file opened in the browser window, click on the browser file menu at the top of the screen and then on "Save Frame As."
- 26. How do I create a PDF file?
- When Adobe Acrobat is installed, it will create the Adobe PDF writer/printer. You choose this as your 'printer' and print the file as usual. The PDF writer will query you for a file name and then write the PDF file with the name and directory that you provide. While the Adobe Reader is free, Adobe Writer is not.
- 27. Why are my PDF documents blank when I print them?
- It's possible you will need to install a postscript print driver. These drivers are available from your printer manufacturer's web-site.
- 28. When I print my PDF document, it is a mirror image or blank or all of the text runs together. What is wrong?
- Make sure that before you print, the box “Print as Image” is checked. Some versions of Acrobat require you to begin to print the document and while in the Print window, click the Advanced button. Check the box "Print as image". In the future, you may want to turn this setting off because it can slow down a large print job.
- 29. My Adobe PDF documents are taking a very long time to upload. What could be the problem?
- It is possible that the documents have been scanned incorrectly or corrupted when printed as a PDF document. Cancel out of the routine and check the PDF image.
- 30. How do I copy a PDF text file to my word processor?
- If a PDF document contains text, as opposed to an image, you can select text and do a normal copy and paste. Using the Acrobat Reader, one can select no more than a page at a time. To copy a large text file in PDF format, it may be easier to use Adobe Acrobat. Save the PDF document to a file. (If the Adobe Reader is embedded in Netscape, so that it opens up within Netscape instead of a separate window, use the Save Frame menu pick under File. You may also save a PDF document by right-clicking on the link to that document and then clicking on "Save Link As.") After noting or choosing the directory in which you save the PDF file, open the document in Acrobat. Under Edit, there is a menu pick called Copy To Clipboard. Once the document is copied to the Windows Clipboard, open your word processing program and paste the document in a new document.
- 31. Adobe PDF Documents must be 8.5 x 11 inches to be uploaded.
- All PDF documents uploaded to the ECF system must be 8.5 x 11 inches. Any other size will not be accepted by the Bankruptcy Noticing Center. Check to see that your scanner or Adobe settings are correct. (http://www.ebnuscourts.com/)
- 32. Workarounds for non-standard images:
For Adobe Acrobat 5:
- Open the PDF document in Acrobat 5
- Print the document to Adobe Acrobat Distiller, make sure the new size shows 8.5” x 11”
- Give new document in a new name
- Upload the new 8.5” x 11” document to the court.
- Open the PDF document in Acrobat 6
- Print the document to Adobe Acrobat PDF, make sure the new size shows 8.5” x 11”
- Give new document in Adobe PDF a new name
- Upload the new 8.5” x 11” document to the court.
- 33. How long will it take to transmit/receive lengthy documents?
- The time it takes to transmit or receive a document depends primarily upon the user’s Internet Service Provider (ISP), the user’s modem speed, and the type of PDF file being transmitted or received. A text PDF file can be transmitted or received 15 to 20 times faster than a PDF file created by the scanning of a paper document. Occasionally an ECF user may perceive the transmission time as slow. However, when compared to the time required to create, copy and deliver paper documents (via mail or hand delivery), plus the delay while court staff reviews and dockets the pleading, ECF significantly reduces the time between pleading preparation and its inclusion in the case record.
- 34. Does ECF accept formats other than PDF, such as tiff?
- No. ECF accepts only documents in PDF (Portable Document Format). PDF was chosen because it is an open publishing standard, which preserves the author’s document content and format. It allows documents filed and later retrieved to display and print exactly as they looked to the original author. PDF can also be used with a variety of operating systems, which aren’t normally compatible, such as Windows and Macintosh. It can also be used with most common word processors and spreadsheets. Both searchable text documents and imaged documents can easily be converted into PDF format.
- 35. What if I have a document that cannot be converted into PDF format?
- Any document that can be scanned can be stored in PDF format. However, if the document has oversized pages that your office scanner technology can’t handle or if the original is of such poor quality that the scanned image is unreadable, please contact the appropriate person at the court to make special filing arrangements. Even if your office scanner cannot scan the document, companies catering to e-business such as Kinko’s, Staples, Office Max or any office supply store should be contacted first to determine if their scanner equipment could produce a readable PDF version of the document try this before contacting the court. If a document still cannot be scanned, a docket entry will be entered stating that the document is not available electronically - with instructions on where a person will have to go to view the physical document.
- 36. How can the document’s creator ensure that the printed draft of the document will match the PDF version that will be filed?
- There are 2 helpful tips: 1) set your printer driver to Adobe PDF Writer before beginning work on the document that you expect to file electronically; 2) if revisions are being made based upon a printed copy, print the PDF version, not the word processor version. This will help ensure, for example, that if you refer to a particular page of the document within the text of the document, your reference will still be correct after the document has been transmitted to the court. Additionally, it would be a good habit to always scroll through the document after you have converted it to PDF format, but before you actually transmit it to the court to check things such as “Tables of Content” and pages breaks.
- 37. Can a full-text search be performed upon the PDF documents filed in a case?
No, reliable and accurate full-text search capability is not possible on documents scanned (even those scanned using OCR technology), so ECF does not offer a full-text search feature. It is unlikely that the courts will offer this service unless the results could be relied upon as being 100% reliable.
Full-text search capability can be achieved if a document is “published to PDF” from the higher versions of certain word processing applications.
- 38. Are there guidelines on the relationship between the number of pages and the PDF file size?
- PDF text files average 2.5 Kb per page, with a range of 2 – 6 Kb. PDF image files average 65 Kb per page, with a range of 30 – 150 Kb. Appropriate calculations can be based on this per page average.
- 39. Are there guidelines on the relationship between the word processing file size and the PDF file size?
- A PDF text file [using the font(s) required by our court], is approximately 5 to 10% smaller than the corresponding WordPerfect or Word file. Non-standard fonts will significantly increase the size.
- 40. Are there guidelines on the relationship between the PDF file size and the amount of time it takes to transmit and docket the entry at various Internet speeds?
- Based upon the only study done so far, the average document size being filed in the courts currently “live” on ECF is 12 – 12 ½ pages. Using this average, the transmission of a PDF text file takes less than 1 – 1 ½ minutes.
- 41. Are there guidelines on the relationship between the time it takes to scan a paper document, the dpi setting, and the file size?
- A 100 page document that is scanned on a scanner rated at 30-45 pages per minute at a 600 dpi setting takes approximately 8 minutes and 50 seconds to scan. The PDF file size will be approximately 13.94 MB.
- 42. Can the general public view ECF cases and the documents in those cases?
- Yes, there are public terminal(s) in the intake area of the US Bankruptcy Court in Boston and Worcester. Also, access to view cases and documents is available from any location with Internet access to anyone with a PACER login and password.
- 43. How many users can submit documents at once?
- There is no fixed limit. It is expected that the system will maintain good performance (with our current bandwidth) with 100+ users at one time. Enhancements to communications speed and capacity are expected to be an ongoing task to ensure that we meet the needs of users.
- 44. How many people at a time can view the same document image or the same report, such as a docket sheet, in a case?
- There are no limitations for either function.
- 45. Will the creator of the docket entry be identified?
- Yes, the name or initials of the person that logged in and submitted the entry will be included on all entries made by them.
- 46. Will someone submitting a long document monopolize the system to the detriment of other users?
- No, a user submitting a large file to ECF will not interfere with other users’ access. The system uses web-based technology, which is designed to service large numbers of users simultaneously.
- 47. Will there be restrictions on who may file documents on ECF?
- Only those persons who have obtained a registered login and password from the court will be able to file a document electronically. The same federal and state statutes are still applicable, so the filing of any pleading that is currently considered the practice of law would still have to be filed by an attorney. (Please note that some limited access is permitted to creditors or attorneys representing creditors wishing to file claims or claims related documents electronically.)
- 48. What should I do when support staff leaves my firm?
- Change your password immediately. This function is available to you under the Utilities option. If you fill the position with a new employee and need to have them trained to use ECF, go to the Court’s website www.mab.uscourts.gov and complete an application for training for them in the district where you plan to have the employee trained to arrange for a specific training date and time.
- 49. How do I log into ECF?
Go to your Internet provider page (Internet Explorer, Netscape, AOL or other) and type in the address box https: //ecf.mab.uscourts.gov.
(Suggestion: Save this address as a favorite.)
Or go to our web page at www.mab.uscourts.gov and click on the ECF button in the left-hand column then click on Live Database, Registered Users Only in the middle of the next page.
- 50. Why do I get the Site Certification pages?
The first time you go into the ECF site, you'll get a series of Site Certificate pages, letting you know that the court is encrypting the date while you're signed on to ECF. On the third screen, you'll have an opportunity to check a box that says accept this certificate forever - if you check this box these screens will not come up again. Simply click on next, finish and finally continue on the last screen.
You will always get the final screen to notify you of the certificate, click on continue to proceed.
- 51. How do I set up my account, my email or make changes to them?
- Go to the Utilities menu and click on Maintain Your ECF Account
- On the screen which appears, please verify that all of the information is correct. (attorneys’ name, address, BBO number, telephone number, etc.)
- Click on E-mail information and enter your e-mail address
- Click on Return to Account Screen
- Click submit - a list of cases to be updated should appear
- Click on update all (If the submit button is not clicked, the e-mail information will not update in any of the cases which the attorney is already involved in)
Use this same procedure to update your telephone and address information. Remember to Click submit and select update all. Local rules still require you send the court a paper notice of any address changes as well.
- 52. How is the list of creditors handled?
- The list of creditors must be converted to a .txt file and uploaded using the “Creditor Maintenance” feature of ECF. Many petition preparation software packages now automatically create the matrix in the correct format or automatically convert the matrix to a .txt file. See Question 30.
- 53. How should the creditors be formatted?
A creditor matrix contains each creditor’s name and mailing address. This information is used for noticing and also for claims information when applicable. The creditor matrix must be in an ASCII file format with an appropriate text extension such as .txt before it can be successfully uploaded into the ECF system.
The name and address of each creditor cannot be more than 5 lines. If a record is more than 5 lines, the 6th line will be combined with line 5 and the 7th or 8th lines will be truncated.
- Each line may contain no more than 40 characters including blanks.
- Names and addresses should be left justified.
- Spaces in the first position of a line will cause an exception report for that creditor record.
- Special characters such as ~, ½ or ^ will cause problems. However, the # and & characters have not been reported to cause errors.
- Account numbers or “attention” lines should NOT be placed on the second line of the name/address or anywhere else. DO NOT enter account information on the matrix.
- City, state and ZIP code must be on the last line.
- Nine digit ZIP codes must be typed with a hyphen separating the two groups of digits.
- All states must be two-letter abbreviations.
- Each creditor must be separated by at least one blank line.
- Do not include page numbers, headers, footers, etc.
- Please do not include the court on the matrix
- 54. How to Convert a Creditor Matrix to a .txt File
- After creating the creditor list in WordPerfect or Microsoft Word, open the file. Click on File in the WordPerfect or Microsoft Word toolbar to display the drop down list.
- Click Save As in the drop down list.
- Click the drop down menu arrow in the File Type box.
- Select the file type ASCII DOS Text.
- Click on the drop down box arrow in the Save As Type box.
- Select the file type of Text Files(*.txt) or Text Only(*.txt).
- For both applications, enter the file name in the File Name box. (The system provides the same file name with a .txt extension.)
- Click the [Save] button.
- 55. How do I upload a creditor matrix?
- After typing up the matrix in your word processing program (Word or WordPerfect), save the list of creditors as a text file (a text file is a file with .txt not .PDF on the end) Under Bankruptcy, click on Creditor Maintenance Click on Upload a Creditor Matrix file Browse and attach the .txt file and click next, this will give you the number of creditors you want to add, please verify Click submit and you will receive your receipt of creditors
- 56. How do I sign a document filed electronically?
All documents with the exception of the Declaration of Electronic Filing (Official Form 7) should be signed in the following manner: /s/ YOUR NAME. We need both the /s/ and the name. Your client’s signature may be presented in the same fashion.
Examples: /s/ Joe Debtor
/s/ Josephine Debtor
/s/ Jo Attorney
Official Form 7 Re: Declaration of Electronic Filing requires an imaged original signature, not just the /s/ name.
Filing a pleading through ECF is the equivalent of “signing” that pleading. The use of an imaged original signature or a “/s/ name” is required, and it is a helpful and unambiguous indication that a signature has been electronically affixed. The “/s/ name” should be placed precisely where you would have placed the signature in a conventional document.
- 57. How will the original signatures on documents be handled for documents filed electronically?
- The attorney’s and trustee’s login and password are treated as an original signature with the same weight and the same Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9011 consequences. See Rule 7 and 8 of Appendix 8 of the Massachusetts Bankruptcy Local Rules.
- 58. How is the filer identity authenticated?
- Authentication is completed at login. Each user is required to identify him/herself by presenting a valid combination of user login and password. Only a valid combination will allow access to the system.
- 59. When a user files a pleading with the court, does the system automatically serve the other parties or does the user still have to serve copies on other parties?
A Notice of Electronic Filing is automatically generated to other electronic filers in the case. This notice includes information about what was filed, a hyperlink to the document, a hyperlink to the docket sheet, the docket text describing the document filed, the unique document stamp, and a list of the case participants who received e-mail copies of the notice. It also contains a list of those participants who did not receive e -mail copies.
NOTE: The filer will still have to serve paper copies upon anyone to whom service is required if they did not get an electronic notice.
- 60. Is a certificate of service still required?
- Yes. You must state (“certify”) who was served electronically, and also who was served (and their addresses) by other means. Be precise. Make sure your certificate is clear, and accurately establishes the fact and manner of service.
- 61. Do the other parties just get notification of a filing or do they get the actual document?
- The Notice of Electronic Filing sent to those listed as receiving e-mail notification, contains a hyperlink to the document. By clicking on the document number, the party can view the actual document that was filed and may save a copy to a computer drive or diskette in their office if they wish. They may also print out a paper copy of the document if they prefer.
- 62. To what extent will noticing be dependent upon a particular e-mail system?
- The important thing is not the particular email system but the size of the account. The ECF system is not dependent upon a particular e-mail system. It uses the standard features of Internet e-mail so that it can work with the great variety of e-mail systems that attorneys may have. Attorneys who do a lot of bankruptcy work will need an account large enough to handle the volume of email they will receive. (Usually the free accounts are not sufficient.)
- 63. How can I find out BEFORE I prepare and file my motion who will receive electronic notice?
There are two ways to accomplish this task. One way is to click on ‘Query’ in the blue ECF Main Menu Bar, then enter the case number and click Run Query. Click on the ‘Parties’ hyperlink.
Any party listed with an e-mail address under their name will receive electronic notice. Any party without an e-mail address under their name will not receive electronic notice.
A second way is to click on ‘Utilities’ in the blue ECF Main Menu Bar, then click on ‘Mailings’, then click ‘Mailing Info for a Case’. Enter the case number and click ‘submit’ to view the Electronic Mail Notice List and Manual Notice List.
- 64. If you login in and find you are missing menu options that should be available to you, your cookies need to be cleared.
Clearing Your Cookies
According to Howstuffworks.com., a cookie is a piece of text that a web server can store on a user's hard disk. Cookies allow a Web site to store information on a user's machine. By doing this, the stored information will allow the user to access that particular site quicker the next time.In other words, it is a history of where you’ve been on the web.
The problem with cookies is they tend to clutter the background of your machine and can cause the user to have connection faults with ECF.It is recommended that every few weeks you make an effort to clear your cookies thereby refreshing your Internet connection to the court.
- 65. How do I clear my cookies?
In order to clear your cookies, access your Internet provider and do the following:
For Internet Explorer:
- From the top tool bar, click on tools
- From the drop down menu, click on Internet Options,
- Click the General Tab at the top
- From the Temporary Internet files menu, click on Delete Cookies,
- From the Temporary Internet files menu, click on Delete Files,
- On the pop-up screen, Delete Files, place a check mark in the box marked, Delete all offline content,
- Then click OK
- At the bottom of the Internet Options screen, click OK,
- 66. How do I file a proposed order?
A proposed order cannot be filed as a separate docket entry. It can be an attachment, or the last page of a pleading, or faxed if they forgot to attach it. If a judge has asked for a proposed order, it can be e-mailed to that specific judge - each judge has a special email address to receive proposed orders.
The addresses are as follows:
firstname.lastname@example.org for Chief Judge Hoffman
email@example.com for Judge Panos
firstname.lastname@example.org for Judge Feeney
email@example.com for Judge Boroff
firstname.lastname@example.org for Judge Bailey
These addresses are available in Appendix 5 of the Local Rules.
- 67. Why do I get second login screen after I've already logged into ECF?
- This is the PACER login screen that you get whenever you request a report or document from a case. The first time you login, click the box that says 'make this my default login' and you shouldn't have to login repeatedly. For more information, contact the PACER Service Center.
- 68. I get an error message when trying to view a pdf document.
"Error reading linearized hint data" OR "The instruction at "0x006153ee" referenced memory at "0x00000004". The memory could not be "read".
Click OK to terminate the program. Click on CANCEL to debug the program.
The instruction number and memory number may not be the same as your error but the fix should work on all machines.
Open Adobe Acrobat 5.0. Choose Edit--Preferences--General. Choose the category Options. Uncheck the box labeled "Allow Fast Web View".
For Adobe Acrobat 4.0. Choose File--Preferences--General. Uncheck the box that reads "Web Browser Integration". By deselecting this option, the Adobe document will open in Adobe Reader instead of opening in your Browser.
- 69. When I print a PDF document, the Judges signature does not print.
- When you print the document and the print dialog box pops up, click the drop down next to the Print What: box & choose to print Document and Comments.
- 70. Some docket reports are very long, with hundreds of entries. Can a docket report be run for only part of the docket?
- Yes, like most other ECF reports, docket reports have a wide variety of criteria that can be entered, such as a date range, to narrow down the data that is retrieved. Using these options also enables the report to be run faster and relieves the user from receiving extraneous information.
- 71. When I print an image from ECF, the right edge gets cut off.
- After you click the print icon, click the 'shrink to fit' box on the printer setup screen. Once you change this setting, it should stay that way for all PDF documents.
- 72. I'm trying to docket an event and it tells me that this transaction has already been posted, but I look on the docket and it's not there.
- Probably what has happened is that you docketed an event for a case, and then clicked on the browser back button a few times to get to a point where you could enter another case number and then docketed another event. By clicking the back button, instead of clicking on 'Bankruptcy Events' you're keeping the information pulled for the last case you docketed. As long as you click on the main item instead of clicking on “Back,” you'll be fine - only use the back button to correct a mistake on an event you're in the process of docketing - not to change cases.
- 73. When I query a case in ECF, it gives me the previous case I looked at instead.
Check your cache settings in Netscape. The verify documents entry should have the 'once per session' or 'every time' entry checked, but not the 'never' entry. In Netscape 4 this can be found by clicking on Edit, Preferences, Advanced, Cache. The Netscape default of 'once per session' will work fine.
Clear your cookies in Microsoft Explorer.
- 74. I'm getting an invalid user code or password message and I know I'm entering the correct password.
- Logins and passwords are case sensitive, (UPPER and lower case). Make sure you are using the correct case type. If you are sure of the login and password, check the location of the web browser https://ecf-train.mab.uscourts.gov. If you are still having problems, contact the court.
- 75. When I get an email that something is filed, I can't view the document or pages are missing. What's wrong?
- Make sure you have version 4.6x or 4.7x of Netscape or version 5 or better of Internet Explorer. If you get a login screen when you request the document, make sure you give it your PACER not ECF login id and password.
- Adobe Acrobat version 6 is not backward compatible to prior versions and as a result, documents created with version 6 sometimes appear not to have all of their pages when viewed with lower versions. This is corrected by changing the Adobe settings.
- 76. How do I get back to the previous page, when after selecting a link, I press the Back button on the browser and nothing happens?
- Unlike most programs, a web browser will open multiple windows. In other words, two or more windows in which the browser appears may be active at the same time. Look at the bottom of the screen on the line with start button. If the Netscape or Explorer logo appears on two different buttons, you have more than one window open. Click on the button that is not active (not highlighted) to open the previous window. If there is only one window open, click on GO menu item at the very top of the screen; a drop down menu will appear from which you can click on the address of the page you wish to return to
- 77. How can I search for a word or phrase on a web page?
- Once you select a document to review you can do a word search by clicking on EDIT, then Find and Replace, or Find in Document (or pressing Ctrl+F), and entering the word(s) you wish to locate in the document. For documents in PDF format (viewable using Adobe Acrobat Reader) search by clicking on TOOLS, then FIND (or Ctrl+F), and proceed the same way. Note, however, that if the PDF document is an image file, as opposed to a text file, searching the document is not possible. As the names imply, a text file is one created in the first instance using a word processing, spreadsheet or similar program, while an image file is created by scanning a document using a document scanner or fax machine.
- 78. 'Data Missing' error
- Printing a large docket sheet (over 50 pages) can sometimes produce this error. You should select a smaller date range before you run the report.
- 79. The page "times out" after 30 minutes of inactivity.
- Sometimes a large document can take a long time to transfer, in fact too long and the system actually times the user out. To avoid being timed out, you may wish to break the document up into approximately 50 page parts attaching the remaining parts as an attachments or smaller files. If you are unsure, contact the court and we can determine the best way to handle the file. (Over 2.5 MB)
- 80. Can a document be deleted?
- No documents can be deleted (or modified) in the ECF system. If an attorney submits the wrong document s/he must submit the correct document and insert the word "Amend" in the docket text. You can also optionally refer back to the incorrect document (using the related document screen), when you submit the amended document. Contact the Case Administrator and he/she will help you.
- 81. Can the docket text be modified?
- The docket text can be modified by court users only.
- 82. I just filed a duplicate bankruptcy case, what do I need to do?
- You must send in a Motion to Dismiss the case and include in it a request to have the filing fee refunded. (You may also wish to call the Court and ask to be connected to the Finance Department and tell them about the problem.)
- 83. After I select my PDF document and click 'Next', why does the system just hang?
- Unfortunately, the system does not give the user any indication that the document is being transferred. If you typically only file short documents you may get confused the first time you file a large document and it appears your session is hung. Be patient.
- 84. Can an attorney add new attorneys to the database?
- It is possible for an attorney to add a new attorney to the case and the database during case opening. However, that attorney would not have attorney level user privileges. It would be necessary for the new attorney to obtain his/her own registered login and password in order to file any documents in the case.
- 85. How will the US Trustee and panel trustees receive copies of the petition?
The US Trustee is automatically added to every case and receives e-mail notification when the Voluntary Petition is filed. The panel trustee also receive e -mail notification upon assignment.
These parties will make their own decisions about whether to view the petition on-line, save an electronic copy on their own computer, or print a paper copy.
- 86. What should be done if the document you are filing is not listed in the “pick-list” of documents?
- During business hours, contact the case administrator for that case at the court for help in choosing the best code to use when filing your document. After regular business hours, determine if a more generic code can be used. For example, a “Motion for Extension of Time to Complete Discovery” could be filed using the generic “Motion for Extension of Time” event. Then, contact the case administrator at the court the next business day to inform them of your solution. Court personnel can edit the docket text as needed and can advise you if a different event should have been used. In certain circumstances, court personnel may determine that there is a need to create a new event to enable the filing of your document, so it is worth contacting them and informing them of the problem.
- 87. What happens when an error is made (such as the wrong code used) during the electronic filing of a document?
- Case administrators in the court will still be reading each document filed with the court as part of the quality control process. Depending upon the problem, a telephone call will be made to the user or an order will be issued to correct the filing deficiency. Since parties are automatically noticed with the incorrect information, our court has chosen to minimally edit the entry and to instead enter a “corrective entry” on the docket. This allows for the distribution of the correct information to the participants who originally received the erroneous information.
- 88. Can a filer edit a docket entry?
- Generally no. During the filing process, but before transmitting, some events will allow the entry of “free text”. This allows the filer to type in extra details. Once the document has been sent to the court by clicking the “Submit” button, only court personnel can revise the docket entry.
- 89. How will Proofs of Claim and their attachments be filed?
- Claims may be filed using the File Claims event and attachments may be attached in the same manner they are now for pleadings. On the screen where the claim is uploaded, make sure to click on the radio button that there are attachments to be added and click submit. This will tell the system to display a screen for multiple attachments.
- 90. Is there a special process to handle filing the same document in multiple cases?
- Yes, ECF has a “batch filing” feature. After selecting the appropriate event, the user will be able to enter or “paste in” multiple case numbers. Then, the application will prompt the user for the appropriate PDF document to be attached to the event in each case. ECF also has a special feature to allow batch docketing of asset and no-asset reports for trustees.
- 91. I represent two parties in a case. ECF won’t let me pick both parties, why?
- To pick two or more parties, single mouse click on the first party, then while holding down the control key, single mouse click on the second party. At this point both parties will be highlighted. If more than two parties, continue to hold down the control key and click on the parties you represent. When finished picking the parties, click on the next button and continue with your filing.
- 92. How many motions can I file at the same time?
- The court would prefer you file only one pleading at a time, but you can file a multiple-part motion which is one document. We would prefer each motion to be filed individually as a PDF document, with it’s own proposed order. However if you cannot have separate PDF’s, when you arrive at the motions pick list, choose each and every motion type you are filing by highlighting it and holding the control key.
- 93. I forgot to sign the certificate of service on my motion? Do I have to file everything again?
- No. If the only thing not signed was the certificate of service, you do not have to file the motion and all of its attachments again. File only an amended certificate of service link it to the originally filed motion and use the drop down box on the final screen to choose “Amended”.
- 94. What if I forgot to sign the motion? Do I have to file everything again?
- Yes, you will have to file the motion and any attachments again. Electronically signing the document is extremely important. Any motion that is not signed will be marked as “ENTERED IN ERROR” and not reviewed by the Judge. If you realize you have not signed the motion please call us to let us know.
- 95. I filed a signed motion (or objection, response or complaint) with a proposed order but I forgot to file an exhibit. How do I file that?
- File the exhibit and link it to the motion (or objection, response or complaint).
- 96. I don’t understand why on some things I file I get that message about referring to an existing document but on other things I don’t see that message. What’s the difference?
- A number of documents filed with the court will always refer to another document filed in the case, such as responses, certificates of service or proposed orders. Whenever you see the question ‘Does this filing refer to an existing document in this case? (If yes, click on the box) the right answer is to check the box.
- 97. I need to file something in an adversary, how do I know where to file documents?
- Choose the Adversary menu to find the filing event you need. At the case number prompt ALWAYS enter the adversary proceeding number.
- 98. Why does it matter if I file something regarding an adversary complaint using the bankruptcy case number?
- The Clerk’s office makes a fuss about ensuring adversary proceeding documents are filed in the adversary for one very simple reason - the appropriate party will not receive electronic notice if something is filed using the bankruptcy case number. Any document regarding an adversary that is filed in the bankruptcy case will be marked as “Entered in Error” on the docket and an Order will enter requiring the document to be filed in the correct proceeding.
- 99. I’ve filed all the documents I need to file. Why do I have to log out, can’t I just close my browser?
- Clicking on the Logout option on the Blue Menu Bar ensures you are fully off the system and no one can try to file anything using your login and password. It is also gentler on both your computer and the ECF system.
- 100. How do I file documents to be sealed?
- Manually. Check the local rule MLBR 9018-1 Impounded Documents.
- 101. What if I want to file a proof of claim and the creditor is not there?
- Add them to the Courts database. Under Bankruptcy, click on Creditor Maintenance and select Enter individual creditors.
- 102. If I file a case in paper, can I still file in paper for that case?
- Not enough information to answer the question. You may file paper in all cases so long as you are not an electronic filer and you scan the documents at the public intake counters. Electronic filers must file electronically. Those attorneys with waivers may file paper only until their scheduled training date.
- 103. Do I need to file a declaration in a case where it was opened before ECF or before I became an e-filer?
- All cases regardless of when they were opened are subject to electronic filing rules so yes, if a declaration is required.
- 104. Can I e-file a pleading in a closed case?
- 105. Have Court deadlines changed now that I can file 24/7?
- No, it is the same for paper and electronic filing. Check the MLBR 5001-2(b).
- 106. How do I create the association between my client and myself in the system?
It depends. If you are opening a new bankruptcy petition, the software will assume you are the attorney from your login and password and will make the association for you.
If you are filing an adversary proceeding, you will have to make the association manually. When you enter your clients information you will see a box called attorney. Click this box and you will be able to enter your information and the association will be made.
If you are filing a motion or response, you will be asked to enter your information then your clients. A check box will appear asking if your information should be associated with the client’s information.
- 107. How do I get a clerk’s certificate?
- Attorneys prepare the certificate and send it into the Clerk’s office for verification and endorsement. There is a fee for this service.
- 108. What if my client has a P.O. Box can I use that as the address?
- Notices may be sent to a PO Box but for the Court to properly assign a division and open the case, we must be provided with the actual physical address of the debtor(s).
- 109. How do I see ECF/PACER information through RSS?
The Court's ECF RSS Feed is here
RSS FEEDS ARE NOW AVAILABLE TO ATTORNEYS AND THE PUBLIC: (Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a type of XML that allows Internet browsers and other feed readers to display information from a website.) Users can subscribe to RSS feeds so they will be notified every time content is updated on a particular site. Until recently, the only way to follow a case in PACER was to repeatedly visit the PACER site and check for updates. This has changed with recent versions of CM/ECF.
Our court now provides automatic case notification through the use of RSS feeds. You may subscribe to our court's free RSS feed to receive automatic notification of activity in all cases including summarized text, such as the name of the document filed, and links to the document and docket report. Results may be sorted by date or case title. You can use one of the many commercially-available RSS readers to further organize and filter the results, customizing the feed to meet your specific needs.
To view the document or docket report linked from the RSS feed, users must login to PACER, and will incur applicable fees.