CM/ECF Frequently Asked Questions

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Adobe PDF Issues

How do I file my executed summons?
Once service has been made, complete the reverse side of the summons. Either scan the summons into a PDF document, or, if already in electronic format, convert it to PDF. File using the proper event in CM/ECF.

How do I sign my documents?
"The user log-in and password required to submit documents to the ECF system shall serve as that user's signature for purposes of Fed.R.Civ.P.11 and for all other purposes under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules of this court. All electronically filed documents must include a signature block and must set forth the attorney's name, Bar number, address, telephone number and e-mail address. The name of the ECF user under whose log-in and password the document is submitted must be preceded by a ""/s/"" and typed in the space where the signature would otherwise appear. (See CM/ECF Administrative Procedures, Section J)"

How do I get a summons when I file a new case?
On December 3, 2007, the Clerk's Office implemented a new procedure for the electronic issuing of summons in civil cases through the Electronic Case Files (ECF) system. A general summons for each case which includes the case caption, court seal and electronic signature will be sent to the plaintiffs/attorneys to be completed for service. Plaintiffs/attorneys no longer will need to prepare and submit a summons form with the complaint when a case is filed electronically. The summons form will be attached to the summons issued docket entry and a link to the form will be included in the notice of electronic filing (NEF). Prior to service of the summons, the required information (the name and address of each defendant and the attorney/party to be served with the answer) must be added to the summons form for each defendant. This information can be added to the portable document format (PDF) using the typewriter tool in Adobe Acrobat. For those plaintiffs/attorneys who do not receive notices of electronic filing, a summons form will be mailed to them.

How do I sign and file an affidavit?
See CM/ECF Administrative Procedures Section J.3: Except as provided in subsection H(2)(e), affidavits shall be filed electronically; however, the electronically filed version must contain a "/s/ name of signatory" block indicating that the paper document bears an original signature. The filing attorney shall retain the original for future production, if necessary, for two (2) years after the expiration of the time for filing a timely appeal.

I have a box full of exhibits. Must they all be filed electronically?
The Court permits documents that are too large, or that can not be converted to PDF to be filed on paper. See CM/ECF Administrative Procedures, Section M

I recently upgraded my Adobe application. When I try to view PDF documents in CM/ECF, I see a blank screen. How can I fix this?
In Adobe (writer), make the following changes: Go to Edit, Preferences, Options. Uncheck Display PDF in Browser.' Uncheck Allow Fast Web View. It may also be helpful to upgrade your Adobe software to the lastest version.

I tried to file a document but it says "format not recognized". What am I doing wrong?
All documents must be submitted in Adobe PDF (portable document format) with an extension of ".pdf". Two common errors occur. First, a user thinks that he/she saved the document in PDF. The user then tries to file the word processor version (Word, WordPerfect, etc.) of the document; not the saved PDF version. Second, a user fails to indicate the full path name for the PDF file he/she wants to upload. Because the system could not find the file, it responded with the "format not recognized" message. The solution: provide the full path name when identifying the file (example: "c:\documents\motion.pdf") during the upload process.

I'm unable to print a pdf document, it only asks me to name it. Why?
To print the pdf document, click on the printer icon from the Adobe toolbar-not from the browser's File menu or printer icon. Then, when the print dialogue box pops up, ensure that your installed printer is chosen as the device to print to. If the device chosen is 'print to file' or 'pdf writer' then you will be asked to give it a name. This will generate an error message and your document will not be printed.

Is there a size limitation for Adobe PDF documents in CM/ECF?
Each PDF document may not exceed 7 MB in size.

Local Rule requires a Certificate of Service, but how do I know who I have to serve by paper?
A "Notice of Electronic Filing" is created at the completion of each entry. That notice will list all attorneys receiving email notice, and any attorney (with the current street address) who is not receiving email notice. The filing attorney is responsible for sending a hard copy to those individuals. See the Court's CM/ECF Administrative Procedures, Section E for an explanation and suggested language for the certificate of service.

What if my document is too large, or is bound in some way that I can't scan it?
The Court permits documents that are too large, or that can not be converted to PDF to be filed on paper. See CM/ECF Administrative Procedures, Section M

I open the document, but all I see is a blank screen. What's wrong?
Try refreshing your screen - that normally solves the problem. You may also want to clean out your temporary Internet files if the problem persists.

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

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