The Michigan Public Service Commission’s Electronic Case Filings System provides for the electronic submission of filed documents and online access of documents submitted in select cases before the Commission. All documents are available in Portable Document Format (PDF) files. These files can be searched and text can be copied directly from the file for later reference. Documents available from this system mirror the filed paper copies, which are still required and remain the legal/official copy at this time. Additional cases will be added over time leading to full scale availability.
The Michigan Public Service Commission's (MPSC) Electronic Case Filings Project began as a pilot on March 31, 1999. Six utility companies volunteered to use select cases as pilot cases. As of August 2003, 391 cases have been electronically filed and over 9,300 documents have been electronically posted to the system. We are continuing to make refinements and enhancements to the Electronic Case Filing Web site and to look for ways to streamline the administrative process.
The processes for filing and accessing electronic documents have been designed to be simple and straight forward. To file a document, participants convert the original document to a Portable Document Format (PDF) file and upload it to the MPSC Electronic Case Filings Web site after completing a brief document description. MPSC staff review the document description to ensure it is properly described and readable, and post the file to the MPSC Electronic Case Filings Web site. The electronic submission of all documents in these cases is in addition to the existing paper filing process.
All Electronically filed case documents can be searched, downloaded, viewed, and printed. Documents are grouped first by industry and then by case number and are displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent filings are located at the top of the page). These files can be viewed by the public at http://efile.mpsc.cis.state.mi.us/efile.
A Users Manual also provides information on: (1) how to file a document, (2) how to organize large filings, (3) information on creating PDF files, (4) using digital signatures, and (5) alternate methods for filing if the Internet or E-mail systems are not available.
Participants must submit a signed assurance agreeing to the specifics of the system's operations. Afterwards, users are assigned a user name and password to access the file upload area of the system. The user documentation is available at the "Electronic Filings" help section for easy online reference.
PureEdge XML e-forms chosen to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and enhance citizen services
Victoria, BC – March 15, 2005 - PureEdge Solutions Inc., the leading provider of e-form technology to enable forms-based business processes, today announced that the Michigan Judiciary has chosen PureEdge e-forms to form an integral component of their electronic court filing system that will improve efficiencies of court filing processes and enhance constituent services.
The State of Michigan’s 38th District Court is the first of more than 150 district courts in the State to automate e-filing processes with PureEdge XML-based electronic forms. The electronic filing system enables electronic submission and payment of court filings fees. Now, citizens, attorneys, judges, and court employees can use PureEdge e-forms to file, manage and access court documents with a mouse click - via the Michigan Supreme Court’s eFiling Portal.
PureEdge e-forms allow for the attachment of multiple case related documents in a single legal envelope that can be time stamped and routed internally for approvals. As a result, the process of e-filing streamlines workflow, saves time, reduces costs, uses less paper, and produces secure, non-reputable records to ensure compliance. The PureEdge solution integrates with existing Case Management systems and is compliant with existing and emerging standards, such as Legal XML, while providing an adaptable platform of scalability for future initiatives.
Specific forms implemented in the first phase of the e-filing program include filings of General Civil Cases such as the Summons and Complaint, Jury Demand, Answer, and Cover Sheet (motion) court forms. Future phases of the State of Michigan e-forms program are slated to include filings for Court of Appeals and Circuit Courts.
Michigan e-forms program are slated to include filings for Court of Appeals and Circuit Courts. From grant applications, procurement and vehicle inspections to court, permit and tax filings – State, Local and Federal governments have chosen PureEdge e-forms to automate a wide variety of government processes to improve efficiencies and enhance services provided to citizens, businesses and employees. Other PureEdge government customers include: US Army, US Air Force, State of Washington, City of LA, HHS: Grants.gov and SEC.
Mark Dobek, Director of Judicial Information Systems for the Michigan Supreme Court noted that, “PureEdge e-forms enable the courts, attorneys and citizens in our State to efficiently file civil case documents and make payments online. PureEdge combines multiple documents into a single, electronic legal envelope and their native XML e-forms supports LegalXML while integrating with our existing systems to provide a level of scalability necessary to meet our future e-filing initiatives.”
“State and Local Governments are laden with paper-based, manual process that are inefficient, error prone, time intensive and costly. From grant applications and vehicle inspections to court, permit and tax filings – citizens, businesses and government employees must interface with numerous forms-based processes on a daily basis,” said Mark Upson, President and CEO, PureEdge Solutions. “PureEdge e-forms provide significant advantages to all layers of the U.S. Court system as they automate processes, ensure data quality, improve user productivity and enhance services provided to constituents.”
Documents go back 10 years. Information of personal nature is still blocked from viewing
Access to public information just got a little easier in the city.
The 38th District Court, the first district court in the state to offer e-filing of lawsuits, has expanded that service to include inputting case information online.
"It's an outgrowth of the e-filing (system); the same technology infrastructure is in place," said court administrator Lori Shemka.
The court fields many calls from people wanting to know things like when a case was filed or when hearings are scheduled. Now they can get the information online, she said.
"(Now) they can access it themselves, and they can access it 24-7," Shemka said. "They're going to be looking at the same information as clerks are at the District Court."
Attorneys like Brian Calandra appreciate being able to view case information online.
"It makes it very nice for us because we file a pleading electronically and rather than creating 150 copies of it for each defendant ... we file it online and all those defendants go online and get their own copy," he said. "I can't even estimate how much money (we're) saving."
Calandra, an Eastpointe resident who works for Farmington Hills-based law firm Mazur & Kittel PLLC, also manages properties for his father and has researched prospective tenants by searching the Macomb Circuit Court database to see if they have ever been sued.
"I can hop online and see what their litigation history is," he said. "It's definitely valuable because you can investigate their background."
Only public information can be viewed online. Personal information, such as birth dates and driver's license numbers, have been blocked to protect against identity theft. Case files are viewable online going back 10 years, including those filed in Eastpointe Municipal Court, before it became a district court, said Shemka.
Technology has a way of filtering slowly through the court system in Michigan, but officials in Eastpointe aren't interested in waiting.
E-filing has come to Macomb County's 38th District Court, allowing residents to file their motions in civil matters electronically -- without having to set foot in the courtroom. It's a service that has become more common at the federal and circuit court levels, but Eastpointe's court is the first district court in Michigan to offer it -- and more are likely to follow.
The proliferation of computers and the need for courts to move away from paper-based record keeping has state judicial officials looking to put more services online.
But will it open the door to a flood of litigation?
Peter Falkenstein, whose Southfield-based firm Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss e-files regularly for federal cases, said he does not see that happening -- even now that the service is available at the district court level.
"You still can't initiate a lawsuit electronically," Falkenstein said.
"A summons still has to be issued and stamped by the clerk of the court. So you can't start a lawsuit online."
Judge Norene Redmond, who oversees the 38th District, helped bring e-filing to her court. As a former attorney, she also sees the potential for abuse, but does not believe it will come to that.
"There are frivolous lawsuits filed every day anyway," she said. "But even with e-filing, you'll still have the same rules that applied to filing lawsuits before."
Those include paying the costs for filing a suit and having to present a credible case before the court clerk will accept it. Lawyers are not required, but e-filing does not offer the public an opportunity to file lawsuits anonymously.
"Anything that gets filed electronically is going to be available online for anyone to see," Falkenstein said. "You'll post your complaint, which will likely include some negative things about a defendant. But that person is going to file a response, which will also be online."
Redmond and Court Administrator Lori Shemka made e-filing available on Nov. 30. As of Wednesday, 12 civil motions had been filed using the service. As more attorneys become aware of it, Shemka said she expects the service to get more traffic.
For starters, it saves time by allowing people to file motions with a mouse click instead of a courthouse visit. In addition, postage costs for mailing documents to the courts and to the complete list of respondents are eliminated.
Computers are changing the nature of the judicial process across Michigan these days making filings easier for attorneys, making it easier for motorists to pay tickets and making it easier for court officials to share information.
Ottawa County Circuit Court in west Michigan is accepting e-filings for any general civil case.
In Wayne County, Circuit Court Judge Robert Colombo Jr.'s office is accepting e-filings having to do with asbestos cases.
At the federal level, Michigan's courts have begun to follow the global justice data model, which allows different legal venues to share case information.
Eight Michigan counties have implemented the state's data warehousing system, which shares basic case information across courts. Court workers handling a filing against a defendant would be automatically alerted to a case pending against the same person in another district.
In the City of Wyoming, Mich., residents are now paying their traffic tickets on-line.
With each new service, the reasons for going to the courthouse decrease. Mark Dobek, director of information systems for the Michigan Supreme Court, said even more changes are coming with the spread of technologies such as video-conferencing.
"A lot of courts are already doing it," Dobek said of arraignments via teleconferencing. "At this point, we're trying to set up a fiber optic backbone throughout the criminal justice system to help facilitate it."
In the future, the use of such technology will allow even more hearings to take place without all of the principals having to be in the same room. But it's a limited future for criminal cases, Dobek said, since defendants have the right to face their accusers.
Eastpointe's 38th District Court is the first district court in Michigan to allow residents to file motions with a mouse click.
To file, log on to 38thdistrictcourt.com, or "www.judgeredmond.com"?www.judgeredmond.com .
Click on the link for e-filing, and you will be directed to the state Supreme Court's registration page.
Attorneys and residents can file general civil complaints, answers, jury demands and motions.
Electronic system will save lawyers and clients time, money
Taking someone to court in Eastpointe has become a lot easier in the past two weeks.
The 38th District Court is the first district court in the state to have electronic filing -- or e-filing -- available for certain types of lawsuits. The system will save attorneys and their clients time and money.
E-filing is already an option in federal and state courts, and the Ottawa County Circuit Court in Grand Haven, just west of Grand Rapids, is running its own pilot e-filing program. But the 38th District Court will be the only district court in the state -- until at least well into 2005 -- to have an e-filing system.
Lori Shemka, the administrator for the 38th District Court, said the e-filing system will save attorneys money they now spend on postage and couriers to deliver lawsuits to the court. But more significantly, she said, the new system will give them the ability to file lawsuits after court hours and will enable the court to process the lawsuits more quickly and more efficiently.
"We're going to give the state a gauge of what other courts may need, what would be appropriate," Shemka said.
A link to the e-filing site can be found at www.38thdistrictcourt.com