Last week, the Florida Supreme Court amended Florida Rules of Judicial Administration 2.515, 2.516, and 2.525. These amendments are effective immediately. Each of the amended rules has been updated on FloridaCivPro.com.
The amendment to Florida Rule of Judicial Administration Rule 2.515 clarifies and modifies the significance of an attorney’s signature on a document. What does it mean when at attorney signs a document? Here is a refresher:
2.515(a) . . . The signature of an attorney shall constitute a certificate by the attorney that:
1. the attorney has read the document;
2. to the best of the attorney’s knowledge, information, and belief there is good ground to support the document;
3. the document is not interposed for delay; and
4. the document contains no confidential or sensitive information, or that any such confidential or sensitive information has been properly protected by complying with the provisions of rules 2.420 and 2.425.
The amendment to Rule 2.515 also clarifies and modifies what an attorney represents when she files and/or serves a document:
2.515(c)(2) By serving a document, or by filing a document by electronic transmission using an attorney’s assigned electronic filing credentials:
(A) that attorney certifies compliance with subdivision (a)(1) through (a)(4) and accepts responsibility for the document for all purposes under this rule;
(B) that attorney certifies compliance with all rules of procedure regarding service of the document on attorneys and parties;
(C) that attorney certifies that every person identified as a signer in the document as described in subdivision (c)(1)(C) has authorized such signature; and
(D) every signing attorney is as responsible for the document as if that document had been served by such signing attorney or filed using the assigned electronic filing credentials of such signing attorney.
The amendment to Florida Rule of Judicial Administration Rule 2.516 clarifies and modifies how to electronically serve a document through the e-filing portal. In short, if the e-portal automatically serves a party, you do not have to separately serve that party by e-mail. This tracks the practice in federal court. The e-filing attorney is responsible for ensuring that the names and correct email addresses of the parties to be served are in the e-portal.
The amendment to Florida Rule of Judicial Administration Rule 2.525 provides that, when e-filing a document, the credentials used to log in to the e-portal must be associated with the same attorney who signed the document; e.g., you cannot have attorney Arthur sign a document and then use attorney Betty’s username and password to sign-in to the e-portal when uploading the document for filing. This does not prohibit attorney Betty, or attorney Betty’s secretary, from filing the document, but the login credentials used must belong to attorney Arthur.