E-Portal, EPortal, or e-Portal? None of the Above

Recently I have noticed significant confusion about what, exactly, to call the Florida Courts e-filing Portal.  Just check out this email from the “Florida Courts E-filing Portal Team.” I count 3 different names for the portal (emphasis added):

Subject: EPortal Upgrades


Dear E-Filing Portal Customer:

Portal Unavailable this Sunday, 9/16

The Florida Courts E-Filing Portal, www.myflcourtaccess.com, will be unavailable on Sunday, September 21, 2014 from 5 a.m. EDT to 11 p.m. EDT for system maintenance.  We apologize for this inconvenience. We strive to maintain our services with excellent security and system processes and this requires maintenance. Please contact the service desk at support@myflcourtaccess.com for further information.

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Florida Courts E-Filing Portal Team

Is it the Portal, EPortal, or E-Filing Portal? Attorneys seem to be just as confused.  Here are several recent Certificates of Service that I copied from documents I was served with:

I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true and correct copy of the foregoing was filed via the E-Portal which will electronically serve a copy to ______________ this 19th day of August, 2014.

I HEREBY CERTIFY that on this 15th day of August, 2014, a true and correct copy of the foregoing was served by the Court’s electronic noticing system to:

I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true and correct copy of the foregoing has been served electronically via the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal to all registered participants or by regular U.S. Mail to all nonparticipants, as designated below:

Despite the widespread confusion, the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, Rule 2.516(b)(1), actually provide the terms that can be used:

Service by Electronic Mail (“e-mail”). All documents required or permitted to be served on another party must be served by e-mail, unless this rule otherwise provides. When, in addition to service by e-mail, the sender also utilizes another means of service provided for in subdivision (b)(2), any differing time limits and other provisions applicable to that other means of service control. A filer of an electronic document has complied with this subdivision if the Florida Courts e-filing Portal (“Portal”) or other authorized electronic filing system with a supreme court approved electronic service system (“e-Service system”) served the document by e-mail or provided a link by e-mail to the document on a website maintained by a clerk (“e-Service”). The filer of an electronic document must verify that the Portal or other e-Service system uses the names and e-mail addresses provided by the parties pursuant to subdivision (b)(1)(A). (emphasis added).

While the rule provides for the term “e-Service system,” as far as I am aware, the Florida Supreme Court has not authorized the creation of some “other” electronic filing system.  Accordingly, we currently have  the “Florida Courts e-filing Portal” which  Rule 2.516(b)(1) provides may be referred to simply as the “Portal.”  Service by Electronic Mail (“e-mail”) is defined to include both service by e-mail and service through the “Portal.”  Since their is not currently an “e-Service system,” the term “e-Service” refers only to service via the “Portal.”   Note also the Florida Rules consistently use a lower case “e” when using the terms “e-mail,” “e-service,” and “e-filing.”

According to the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, there is no such thing as the “E-Portal.”