(a) Purpose: The purpose of this rule is to provide guidelines for the use of email in communicating with the judges and/or court staff. This rule does not apply to other forms of communication and does not establish a preference for email communication over any other form of communication. Email 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: The Court will accept electronic bench copies of pleadings prior to a hearing provided the following guidelines are followed. All parties, or their counsel, must be provided contemporaneous copies of the email. Attached documents to an email 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. There shall be no editorial, comment or argument included in the emails; however, information as to the time, date and docket of the matter shall be permitted. The purpose of the rule is solely to permit electronic transmission of copies of pleadings.
(c) Appropriateness: Email communication with court staff is appropriate in the following typical situations:
- (i) To obtain a date for an in-court hearing;
- (ii) submit proposed orders and/or bench copies of pleadings or trial aides;
- (iii) To determine the judge's availability;
- (iv) To determine the availability of equipment needed for trial (such as a projector, video/compact disc player or speaker phone);
- (v) To advise the Court of a settlement (to be immediately followed by formal written notice pursuant to CR 41(e));
- (vi) Other matters of a similar nature that would be appropriate to handle by way of a phone call to court staff.
(d) Ex Parte Communication Prohibited: The prohibitions regarding ex parte contact with the Court are fully applicable to email communication. To avoid ex parte contact, all parties must be included in the email and appear as additional recipients in the email. If all parties are not included, the judge will not review the email or its content. If an attorney or party is communicating substantive information to court staff, the email must also be sent to all opposing attorneys/parties 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) Electronic Service of Working Copies and Pleadings:
- (1) Absent agreement of the opposing party or express permission of the Court, email may not be used for service of pleadings on opposing parties.
- (2) Bench or work copies of pleadings may be transmitted to the assigned judge in advance of any hearing, provided that all parties to the case are copied on the email including any attachments. Any email which fails to copy all parties will be deleted without review.
- (3) Submission by email is an accommodation and in no case shall it be a requirement for any party to submit any document via email, absent a specific order of the Court. Parties are still encouraged to provide a hard copy of any working papers for judges to Court Administration.
(f) Retention of Email: The Court is not obligated to retain any electronic communications.
[Adopted effective September 1, 2012; amended September 1, 2013; amended September 1, 2015; amended September 1, 2019; amended September 1, 2020]