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Superior Court of Washington

for cowlitz county

E-mail Policy

Superior Court EMAIL Communication Policy (CCLR 10)

emailicona. Purpose:  The purpose of this rule is to provide guidelines for the use of e-mail in communicating with the judges and/or court staff.  This rule does not apply to the other forms of communication and does not establish a preference for e-mail communication over any other form of communication.  E-mail is another tool to provide information as may have been through a telephone call or delivery of documents but it is not intended to substitute as oral argument on any issue.

b. Guidelines for use of email:  Attached documents to an e-mail must be in a PDF format.  A party must advise the court and parties of any later updated or changed versions of a document previously sent via e-mail.

c. E-mail communication with the judge and/or court staff is appropriate in the following typical situations: 

  • To obtain a date for an in-court hearing;
  • To submit proposed orders;
  • To determine the judge's availability;
  • To determine the availability of equipment needed for trial (such as a video player or speaker phone);
  • To determine the judge's preference as to the number of copies of jury instructions required for trial;
  • To advice the court of a settlement (to be immediately followed by formal written notice pursuant to CR 41(e));
  • To determine whether the judge will accept pleadings, jury instructions, legal memoranda, and the like, in the form of an e-mail submission;
  • Other matters of a similar nature that would be appropriate to handle by way of a phone call to a judge or court staff. If such communication is allowed by the judge, all parties must be included in the emails to the judge in order to avoid exparte contact.  The judge will not open or read any email that does not have all parties cc'd on it. 

d. Ex parte communication prohibited:  The prohibitions regarding ex parte contact with the court are fully applicable to e-mail communication.  If an attorney is communicating substantive information to court staff, the e-mail must also be sent to the opposing attorney and so indicate on its face. Substantive information includes information regarding the likelihood of settlement, the timing of witnesses, anticipated problems with scheduling, concerns regarding security and other case-specific issues.

e. Service of working copies and pleadings:  Absent prior permission of the court, e-mail may not be used to provide working copies of legal pleadings, including jury instructions.  Absent agreement of the opposing attorney or express permission of the court, e-mail may not be used for service of pleadings on opposing parties, even in those situations where the court has agreed to accept working copies by e-mail.

f. Retention of e-mail:  The court is not obligated to retain any electronic communications.  Original documentation shall be filed by the parties with the County Clerk's Office.

 

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