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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 24-716




Approval and Adoption of Local Rule of Civil Procedure L-205.4; No. 2024-1

[54 Pa.B. 2766]
[Saturday, May 18, 2024]

Administrative Order

And Now, this 3rd day of May, 2024, having received approval from the appropriate statewide rules committee in accordance with Pennsylvania Rule of Judicial Administration 103(d)(4), it is hereby Ordered, Adjudged, and Decreed that Local Rule of Civil Procedure L-205.4, as set forth following this Order, is Approved and Adopted.

 The above-identified local rule of civil procedure shall be effective June 20, 2024, and following publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. 103(c)(5). The District Court Administrator is directed to:

 1. File copies of this Administrative Order and the adopted local rules with the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin;

 2. File one (1) electronic copy of this Administrative Order and the adopted local rules with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts;

 3. Arrange for the publication of the local rules on the website for the Twenty-seventh Judicial District,, within thirty (30) days of the effective date; and

 4. Cause a copy hereof to be published in the Washington County Reports once a week for two (2) successive weeks at the expense of the County of Washington.

By the Court

President Judge

Rule L-205.4. Electronic Filing of Legal Papers.

 For the purposes of this rule, the following words shall have the following meaning:

 ''case management system,'' means an electronic document repository maintained, administered, and managed by the Court to track information and manage cases;

 ''electronic filing,'' the electronic transmission of legal papers by means other than facsimile transmission;

 ''filing party,'' an attorney, party, or other person who files a legal paper by means of electronic filing; and

 ''legal paper,'' a pleading or other paper filed in an action, including exhibits and attachments.

 (a) Electronic filing. Beginning January 1, 2025, the filing of legal papers with the Prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, 27th Judicial District, is required to be done electronically unless otherwise excluded below. Prior to the date identified in the preceding sentence, the filing of legal papers electronically shall be permissive.

 (1) Notwithstanding the previous section, the following legal papers shall not be filed electronically:

 (i) a complaint for custody;

 (ii) a complaint for divorce that includes a count for custody;

 (iii) an appeal taken pursuant to Pa.M.D.J. 1002 through 1008;

 (iv) a notice of appeal from a decision of the court of common pleas pursuant to Chapter 9 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure;

 (v) an appeal from an award by a board of arbitration;

 (vi) an appeal of a suspension of a driver's license or motor vehicle registration;

 (vii) exemplification of records;

 (viii) filings under seal;

 (ix) a petition for a name change;

 (x) praecipe to continue an arbitration hearing;

 (xi) praecipe to reinstate a complaint;

 (xii) praecipe to reissue a writ of summons;

 (xiii) a request for special relief pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1531;

 (xiv) a request for a second or subsequent continuance of an arbitration hearing;

 (xv) filing of a bond, supersedeas, or any other monies into court; and

 (xvi) oversized documents that cannot be reduced to an 8.5 by 11-inch paper format.

 (2) The applicable general rules of court and court policies that implement the rules shall continue to apply to all filings regardless of the method of filing.

 (3) Actions for child support or alimony are filed in the Domestic Relations Section and are not subject to this rule.

 (b) Document Format.

 (1) Electronically filed legal papers shall be presented in a portable document format (PDF).

 (2) If a legal paper contains a proposed order of court, the filing party shall separately file only the proposed order in a Microsoft Word format.

 (3) In the event any legal paper is presented in hard copy for filing, the Prothonotary shall convert and maintain the legal paper as a PDF. The physical legal paper shall be returned to the filing party for retention in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. 205.4(b)(4).

 (c) Electronic Access.

 (1) The Prothonotary shall provide sufficient terminals for use by filing parties and to provide for public access to court records.

 (a) The Prothonotary shall make the terminals available for use during business hours as established by the President Judge.

 (b) The Prothonotary shall provide assistance to users of the public terminals in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. 205.4.

 (2) The designated website for electronic filing is the C-Track E-Filing Portal, which can be accessed by clicking on the ''e-File'' link on the Court's website (

 (3) All electronic filers must register with the C-Track E-Filing Portal by clicking on the ''Register as an E-Filer'' link of the designated website.

 (4) Use of the C-Track E-Filing Portal shall be in accordance with the user manual (if applicable), this local rule, and all instructions contained on the designated website.

 (5) Registered users that submit electronic filings shall be individuals, and not law firms, agencies, corporations, or other groups; provided, however, that the filer of a legal paper must be a party or counsel of record.

 (d) Fees.

 (1) The Prothonotary shall accept payment of all electronic filings fees through credit or debit card. The payment processor shall be approved by the Court through the President Judge, or his or her designee.

 (a) A reasonable convenience fee may be charged for the use of a credit or debit card.

 (b) The Prothonotary may not accept alternate payment or a deposit of funds in advance of filing; provided however, that a filing party who utilizes a public terminal may pay all fees associated with the filing by cash or money order in addition to those methods prescribed in paragraph (1).

 (2) The Prothonotary shall collect a user fee for the filing of certain legal papers as established by the Court through the President Judge. The user fee and list of legal papers shall be delineated by Administrative Order.

 (e) Acceptance of Filing.

 (1) In the event that a legal paper is to be filed by a deadline, the filing shall be timely if filed by 11:59:59 P.M. EST/EDT on the day of the deadline.

Note: The electronic filing system is presumed to always be available. However, there will be times that the system is unavailable due to maintenance or other reasons. In such an event, the filing party shall make all reasonable attempts to file the legal paper as soon as the unavailability ends.

 (2) The Court upon motion shall resolve any dispute arising under the preceding paragraph or Pa.R.C.P. 205.4(e). If a party makes a good faith effort to electronically file a legal paper but it is not received, accepted, or filed by the system or Prothonotary, the Court may order that the paper be accepted and filed nunc pro tunc upon a showing that the filing party made reasonable efforts to present and file the paper in a timely manner.

 (3) If a legal paper is accepted by the Prothonotary, it shall be deemed to have been filed upon the date and time it was received by the C-Track E-Filing Portal; provided, however, that the Prothonotary is authorized to refuse for filing a legal paper that is submitted without the requisite fee being paid.

 (4) Nothing shall prohibit the Court and/or District Court Administrator, or their respective designees, from directly filing an order, notice, or transcript into the C-Track case management system or E-Filing Portal. For purposes of this rule, an order may include an unfiled motion or petition that is attached to order once it has been signed by a common pleas judge.

 (f) Filing Status; Record; and Other Procedures.

 (1) Upon receipt of an electronic filing, the Prothonotary shall provide the filing party with an e-mail notification, or automated notification from the C-Track E-Filing Portal, which includes the date and time the document was received by the C-Track E-Filing Portal.

 (2) After review of the electronic filing, the Prothonotary shall provide the filing party with a second e-mail notification, or automated notification from the C-Track E-Filing Portal, that the document has been accepted for filing (''filed'') or refused and not accepted for filing and the reason.

 (3) When a legal paper is accepted by the Prothonotary, the PDF is considered part of the official record. Proposed orders filed in Microsoft Word are to aid the Court and not part of the official record.

 (4) The Prothonotary shall maintain hard copies of the following documents regardless of the method of filing:

 (i) a final order in an Abuse Act case until five years after the date of the order;

 (ii) a verdict;

 (iii) a final order in a petition for a name change; and

 (iv) a divorce decree.

For all other legal papers, notices, or orders filed or maintained electronically under this Rule, the Prothonotary is not required to maintain a hard copy.

 (5) Hard copy case files in existence at the time this Rule is adopted must continue to be maintained by the Prothonotary. Except as otherwise authorized by the Court through the President Judge, the Prothonotary may only purge a case file upon closure of the case if the legal papers in the case file are scanned into the C-Track case management system in a PDF format. To purge a case file, the Prothonotary must file an attestation that the electronic documents represent a full and complete copy of the papers in the case file.

Note: This paragraph does not apply to cases that are expunged in accordance with statute, rule, or order of court.

 (6) When an electronic filer files a document that should be marked ''confidential'' or otherwise secured, the filer shall indicate such required security at the time of their filing submission through the prompts on the C-Track E-Filing Portal.

Note: A docket entry, legal paper, or other information may only be sealed by the Court upon issuance of an order. A party may not seal a filing sua sponte; rather, the party should present a motion if requesting that a case or filing be sealed.

 (7) All electronic filing fees and costs shall be submitted and collected according to subsection (d) of this Rule.

 (8) Except as provided in Pa.R.C.P. 240, the Prothonotary is authorized to refuse for filing a legal paper submitted without the requisite payment. If a legal paper is accepted, it shall be deemed to have been filed as of the date and time it was received by the C-Track E-Filing Portal. If a legal paper is submitted without the requisite fee, the legal paper shall be deemed to have been accepted for filing as of the date payment was received. If the pleading or legal paper other than original process is accepted for filing, it will be electronically served as authorized by Pa.R.C.P. 205.4(g)(1)(ii) and service shall be effectuated as provided in Pa.R.C.P. 205.4(g)(2)(ii).

 (9) Attachments, including exhibits, required to be part of any filing, shall be filed electronically at the same time as the legal paper. An attachment or exhibit that exceeds the technical standards for the C-Track E-Filing Portal or is unable to be electronically filed due to its physical characteristics must be filed in person within one business day of the filing of the legal paper.

 (g) Service. The C-Track E-Filing Portal will automatically distribute a copy of any legal paper filed in a case to each registered C-Track user who has entered his or her appearance in that case and has been selected by the electronic filer to receive electronic service. Such automatic distribution by the C-Track E-Filing Portal of electronically filed legal papers other than original process constitutes service in accordance with the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure. The electronic filer must serve the electronically filed legal papers upon any opposing parties or attorneys who are not registered users of the C-Track E-Filing Portal in accordance with the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure.

 (1) Service through the C-Track E-Filing Portal upon transmission on a Saturday, a Sunday, a holiday recognized by Court, or after 5:00 P.M. EST/EDT, shall be considered complete on the next business day.

 (2) Establishment as a registered user of the C-Track E-Filing Portal constitutes consent to participate in electronic filing, including acceptance of service electronically of any document, other than original process, filed on the C-Track E-Filing Portal in any type of civil proceeding that permits electronic filing.

 (3) Use of the C-Track E-Filing Portal does not relieve a party of service requirements for a notice of appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 906(a)(2)—(4).

 (h) Civil Cover Sheet. The filing of a cover sheet pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 205.5 is not required in the C-Track E-Filing Portal.

 (i) Termination Notices for Inactive Cases. In addition to the procedures set forth in Pa.R.C.P. 230.2, notice of proposed termination for inactive cases may be accomplished electronically in cases where a party is a registered user of the C-Track E-Filing Portal.

 (j) Public Access Policy. Counsel and unrepresented parties must adhere to the Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania. Use of electronic filing does not relieve any obligation regarding the filing of confidential information and/or documents.

 (k) Signature and Verification. A legal paper filed electronically is deemed an original document.

 (1) A legal paper filed electronically must include a signature block for the name of the authorized filer.

 (2) A required signature shall be supplied either by filing a scanned image of the legal paper that bears the original signature of the filer, or, by affixing the digitalized signature, or the name of the filer preceded by /s/, and the printed name of the attorney, to the electronically filed legal paper.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 24-716. Filed for public inspection May 17, 2024, 9:00 a.m.]

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