E-Service versus Service by E-Mail (Rule 2.516) – Do You Know The Difference?

In the attached Florida Bar News article, we see that the Rules of Judicial Administration Committee voted to file an emergency petition with the court to clarify this point regarding Rule 2.516. (Look at the bottom of Page 2 under “Changes Yet To Come“). 8/15/12 Florida Bar News Article re: E-Service, E-Mail, E-Discovery

As they point out in the article, service by e-mail and e-service are different. Service by e-mail is what is ordered in the new Rule 2.516. They point out that this is temporary and that the Florida E-Filing Portal will eventually handle e-service. Think of it like Florida’s version of PACER.

With service by e-mail, you have to personally send an e-mail to the other side attaching the document. With e-service, you would file the document in the E-Filing Portal and the system would send an e-mail to the other parties automatically – probably including a link to the document. Basically, exactly the way PACER works. Right now, the E-Filing Portal doesn’t have an e-service component… but they are saying this is in the works and that service by e-mail is only temporary until that happens.  This is great news. I think we can all agree that a PACER like system would be super sweet and much better than this service by e-mail


  • karin zimmerman

    Thank you Linda.

    You always help clear up the grey areas in civil procedures!!!!


  • lmcfrp

    Thank you Karin! Just passing it along!

  • Tiffany O

    Good to know! Thanks.

  • Angela B

    What I’m not certain about is – does the clerk want a hand signed pleading or electronically signed pleading? I know the electronic signature can be used for pleadings, but I keep seeing that the pleading to the clerk must be physically signed.

  • lmcfrp

    The confusion is because eFiling through the Florida Filing ePortal is still voluntary. So, some people are eFiling and some people are filing paper documents at the clerks office. If you are filing a paper document at the clerks office (either in person, by mail, by sending it with a courier, etc) then it needs to be “physically” signed… If you are efiling the pleading through an online filing service such as the Florida Filing ePortal then it can be “physically” signed *OR* electronically signed. I still think that in most cases it is best practice to have the document “physically” signed by the attorney. This reduces the chance that the wrong version of the document is filed, or that the document is prematurely filed etc… basically it is a CYA and puts the burden on to the attorney. Does this clear up the confusion?

  • Robin Glanzer-De Armas

    Have you heard of or do you know when we start e-mailing documents what the WE HEREBY CERTIFY should read as?
    Also, do you know anything about having to upgrade computer systems such as what is the minimum of Adobe (i.e. Adobe Pro) you will need and what the minimum of Microsoft Word you will need in the computer systems. Thank you.

  • lmcfrp

    The HEREBY CERTIFY part should just be modified to reflect how the service was done, so instead of by fax to 305-123-4567 or by Mail to ABC South Street, Miami, Florida it would say by e-mail to abc@abc.com

    I don’t think there is any need to upgrade software? Word is irrelevant because documents need to be sent in PDF format so you are only looking at the final product. Any version of Adobe Acrobat should be able to accomplish what is needed, but if a firm doesn’t use Acrobat and only has the free acrobat reader, they may need to invest in a full version.

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