CM/ECF FAQs

  • What do I do if I am unable to access the screen that allows me to pay the fee associated with my filing?

    Call the CM/ECF Help Desk at 1-866-323-1101 during regular business hours for instructions.

  • How do I submit a manual attachment to an e-filing?

    On occasion, items that can not be scanned (i.e., video depositions, audio media, etc.) but are exhibits to an e-filing must be submitted to the court.  Be sure that the e-filing includes a Notice of Manual Attachment. See the Local Forms page for a fillable version of the Notice of Manual Attachment.

    After the e-filing is complete, mail or deliver the manual attachment along with a copy of the Notice of Manual Attachment to the divsiion of the Clerk's Office where the presiding judge of the case sits.  See our Home Page for a listing of the divisional offices and addresses for the Western District of Louisiana.

  • I encountered a filing error AFTER payment was made via pay.gov. What do I do?

    During business hours (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. CST) on the same day of the error:  Call the Help Desk at 1-866-323-1101, and the Financial Section can CANCEL the charges to your credit card without  needing a refund.

    After business hours OR on a different day the error was made:  Call the Help Desk at 1-866-323-1101, and the Financial Section will process a refund to your credit card.

  • Does the court have a list of certified insurance companies for surety bond purposes?

    The Financial Management Services maintains a list of certified companies.  Click HERE to view. 

  • How do I e-file a Notice of Removal?

    Please visit the online tutorial page for e-filing a Notice of Removal.

  • I just received a NEF for an Administrative Entry. What does that mean? Did I do something wrong?

    Not necessarily.  Administrative entries are entered during the quality control process of e-filed documents.  Some common reasons for entering Administrative Entries include:

    1. If a motion containing multiple reliefs (i.e., Motion to Dismiss and for Attorney' Fees) is filed with only one relief (i.e., Motion to Dismiss).  The additional relief sought (i.e., Attorney's Fees) will need to be entered as an administrative entry.
    2. If an e-filed document is filed using the wrong event (i.e., Motion to Intervene e-filed as a Complaint in Intervention).  The correct event is entered as an Administrative Entry.  Other corrections to the docket sheet may need to be made.
    3. If two or more documents are filed as one (i.e., Answer to Complaint and Motion to Dismiss filed as one pleading), an administrative entry will be entered to capture the part of the pleading that was not properly e-filed.
    4. If a jury demand is requested in the pleading, but not captured during e-filing, an administrative entry will be entered to ensure a jury is present during the trial.
    5. When a Notice of Removal or Response to Removal Order is filed, some state court pleadings will be docketed as an administrative entry.
  • How do I file a sealed pleading? Or, one of my exhibits is sealed. How do I submit that?

    Leave of court is required to filed documents under seal unless the purpose to seal is pursant to the E-Government Act.  The events Sealed Motions (Sealed Pleading) or Sealed Document (Sealed Pleading) allow for filing under seal.  The Clerk's Office will review the submission and notify you if leave of court has not been obtained.  To submit an exhibit or attachment to a non-sealed pleading, e-file the pleading with all attachments EXCEPT the sealed attachments.  Then, e-file a motion for leave to seal using Sealed Motions (Sealed Pleading) and include the sealed exhibit as an attachment.  The court will rule on the motion, and , if granted, the Clerk's Office will enter the sealed exhibit on the docket sheet.

  • Why am I prompted to login when attempting to view a document for the first time from a Notice of Electronic Filing?

    If the document or case is considered "restricted," the attorney/party will be prompted to login with their CM/ECF login and password.  This will verify that the attorney/party is a case participant and allowed to view the document.

  • How do I get a copy of a transcript?

    Transcripts should be obtained by contacting the court reporter.  To determine which court report transcribed the hearing, review the minutes of the proceeding.  Visit our Court Reporters & Transcript page for more information.

  • I just received a Notice of Deficiency. Do I have to refile the entire pleading?

    No.  Only the missing part should be submitted by using the Corrective Document event which can be found under Other Filings/Other Documents. 

  • What is the file size limit for each PDF?

    This court's file size limit is currently 25 megabytes (mb) per PDF.  So, each attachment can be up to 25mb.

  • Do I have to provide a courtesy copy to chambers? And how?

    Each judge has his or her own requirements for courtesy copies.  Please see the Chambers page and view each judge for their courtesy copy information.

  • Do I have to submit proposed summonses with my complaint?

    No.  This court will automatically issue summonses once the filing fee has been paid or if in forma pauperis status has been granted.  You may also request that a summons be reissued by e-filing a Request for Issuance of Summons. 

  • Do I file Initial Disclosures/Discovery Documents/Subpoenas?

    Unless the Disclosure/Discovery Document/Subpoena is filed in connection with a motion or otherwise ordered by the court, it is not filed in the record.  Local and federal rules doe not allow for routine filing of discovery including disclosures under F.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1) or (2).  See Local Rule 26.5 and F.R.Civ.P. 5(d) for more information.

  • Opposing counsel just filed a witness list, and I can't view it. Why?

    Witness lists are restricted pleadings and have restricted access.  When you receive your Notice of Electronic Filing, the system will not allow you to simply view the document.  Since it is restricted, you will be prompted to login to CM/ECF as well as PACER to view the pleading.

  • What event do I use? I don't see a selection that matches my document.

    To search for an event, click Search on the blue menu bar.  When searching for an event, one word searches deliver more results and may help you locate the most appropriate event for your filing.

  • Personal Identity and Metadata Redaction Techniques for efiling.

    When you e-file a PDF document, you may be providing more information in that document than you can see via your PDF reader software.  Some redaction techniques used when e-filing are ineffective, in that the text intended to be hidden or deleted can be read via a variety of ways.  And, because information about the document, call metadata, is also stored inside the document, it is often viewable as well.  Examples of metadata and hidden data include the name and type of file, the name of the author, the location of the file on your file server, the full-sized version of a cropped picture, and prior revisions of the text.  E-filers must use extra care to make sure that the PDF documents to be submitted to CM/ECF are fully and completely free of any hidden data which may contain information intended to be redacted.  The protection of sensitive data can be compromised if improper redaction techniques are used.

    Here are a couple of examples of sensitive data visibility issues: Highlighting text in black or using a black box over the date in MS Word or Adobe Acrobat will not protect the data from being able to be seen.  Changing the text color to white so it disappears against the white screen/paper is similarly ineffective.  Previous revisions and deleted text may be able to be seen by manipulating an Adobe Acrobat file.  Fortunately, there are effective means of eliminating this metadata from electronic documents.  Probably the simplest method is to omit the information from the original document and save the redacted version with a new name.  For example, "REDACTED," then convert to PDF.  While the court does not endorse and specific method, and the responsibility for redacting personal identifiers rests solely with the parties, commercially-available software can be used to redact, not just hide, the sensitive information.  Redax (www.appligent.com) and RapidRedact (www.rapidredact.com) are two examples of commercial products used by some.  Adobe Acrobat 8.0 Professional and above as well as WordPerfect XIV both contain redaction tools.  Search the web for resources that may be useful to you.

  • If I set up an "Out of Office" rule in my e-mail account does that affect CM/ECF noticing?

    Yes.  If you set up an "Out of Office" message in your e-mail, please make sure that the e-mail address Clerk@lawd.uscourts.gov is set up as an exception to the automatic reply rule set up with your "Out of Office" e-mail notice.

  • How many documents can I attach to one entry?

    There is no defined limit, but depending on each document size and the amount of documents, the system could "time out."  The attorney will receive a blank screen near the end of completing the entry or an error message.  It is recommended to keep the number of attachments in the area of 30 - 40 (depending on size).  The attorney may need to make more than one entry as necessary to file all documents in the record.

  • How do I get electronic noticing on cases where I am not the attorney of record?

    You may specify cases you would like to receive noticing on by logging into CM/ECF, click on the Utilities link on the blue menu bar and then click on Mantain Your E-mail.  Click on the desired address in the left pane.  Under the Case-specific Options, type the case number in the field and click Find This Case.  If more than one case is displayed, check the box next to the appropriate case and click Add Case(s).  The case should appear in the box below.  After you have entered all desired cases, click Submit all changes in the left pane.

  • How do I add other email addresses for electronic noticing?

    You may add or change email information by logging into CM/ECF, click on the Utilties link on the blue bar and then click on Maintain Your Email.

  • I am having trouble with pay.gov to pay for my e-filing.

    Pay.gov may be accessed from any computer capable of accessing the Internet using a web browser. Windows users may use Internet Explorer 6 or higher, Mozilla 1.4 and 1.75, or Firefox 1.5 or higher.  Mac OS X users may use Safari 1.2 or higher. Other operating systems or browsers may be used to access Pay.gov, but such use is untested and unsupported at this time.

  • I do not see the Civil and Criminal hyperlinks on the blue menu bar.

    If you do not see the Civil and Criminal hyperlinks on the blue menu bar, it is likely that you are not logged into CM/ECF, rather you are logged into PACER only.  PACER is used to query case information, and CM/ECF allows for e-filing.

  • When someone files a document with the court, does the system automatically serve the other parties or does the user have to do something extra to serve the others? And, what do the other parties actually receive?

    When a document is filed in CM/ECF, a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) is automatically generated and e-mailed to ALL parties and/or attorneys who are registered with an e-mail address unless noticing for a particular party/attorney has been deactivated.  the NEF includes the text of the docket entry, the unique electronic document stamp, and a list of the case participants receiving or not receiving e-mail notification of the filing, and a hyperlink to the actual document filed.  Most recipients will receive one free look at the document.

    If the document is filed under seal or includes any manual attachments (sealed or otherwise), the filer is responsible for sending a copy to the other parties/attorneys in the case.  The court does not notice/serve sealed documents filed by the parties.

  • Why am I receiving the message "you do not have permission to view this document?"

    Electronic access to Social Security Administration appeal case documents and criminal cases filed prior to November 1, 2004 is limited to parties in the case.  If you are an attorney of record in a case of either type, you must be logged into CM/ECF as well as PACER to view documents.  All others interested in these documents should contact the Clerk's Office for more information.  Documents in non-sealed criminal cases filed on or after November 1, 2004 are available electronically through PACER.

  • Why am I getting an invalid login message?

    Look for a few of these common problems:  Make sure the proper login and password are being used for the proper database (i.e., PACER login for querying, and CM/ECF login for e-filing).  If you do not remember your password, use the Forgot My Password link on the CM/ECF login page.  Too many incorrect login attempts may lock your account.  Verify that the recommended brower is being used.  CM/ECF has been tested with Firefox and Internet Explorer 8 and 9.  In either case, the browser must be JavaScript-enabled.

  • Why do I get a second login screen after I've already logged into CM/ECF?

    This second login screen if requesting a PACER login and password, which is required whenever you run a report such as a docket sheet or view a document.  In order to bypass this login screen in the future, click the "Make this my default login" box after entering your PACER login and password.  NOTE that your CM/ECF login and password are still required each time you visit the CM/ECF site.

  • Can the general public view cases and documents within CM/ECF?

    Yes.  The public can access non-sealed case data at the public terminal located in the Clerk's Office lobby.

  • How do I change my address or e-mail information in the CM/ECF system?

    You may change your e-mail information by logging into CM/ECF and clicking Utilities on the blue menu bar and then on Maintain Your E-mail.  To change your mailing address, you will need to either send the court a letter or an e-mail (to CMECF_HelpDesk@lawd.uscourts.gov) indicating the correct address.  Court staff will then update your information.

  • I tried to file a document but it says "format not recognized." What am I doing wrong?

    All documents must be submitted in PDF with an extension of ".pdf."  Two common erros occur:  first a user thinks that they saved the document in PDF.  The user then tries to file the word-processing version of the document instead of the PDF version.  Second, a user fails to indicate the full path name for the PDF file.  Because the system cannot find the file, it responded with the "format not recognized" messaged.  The solution:  Provide the full path name withen identifying the file during the upload process.  Ensure your document is a PDF document.

  • How do I convert an electronic document to PDF?

    There are several ways in which you can get a document from a word-processing program into PDF.  Software should be configured for "black & white," 300dpi (minimum) and searchable.  The newer versions of some common word-processors include the ability to publish to or save as a PDF builty right into the word-processing software.  In WordPerfect, you can click on File and then "Publish to PDF" to convert your WordPerfect file (.wpd) to PDF.  Other word-processors do not have this capability, and you will need software, such as Adobe Acrobat, that will work along with your word-processor to convert to PDF.

  • I am not receiving my electronic notifications and I am registered.

    Please check your spam-blocking preferences.  This may prevent your from receiving notices of electronic filing.  You should verify that "clerk@lawd.uscourts.gov" is listed as an acceptable address.  You may also want to review the Configuration Options within Maintain Your Email in CM/ECF to ensure your email address should be receiving notices.  If you ruled out all possible technical difficulties on your end, contact our Help Desk at 1-866-323-1101 or email us at CMECF_HelpDesk@lawd.uscourts.gov for additional help.

  • I received the NEF, but I did not get my free look.

    The "free look" expires after 15 days and applies to the main document only.  Do not double-click the link on the NEF, this will "kill" your "free look."

  • Does your court accept filings via FAX?

    No.  Filings must either be e-filed in CM/ECF (mandatory for attorneys) or manually filed with an original signature.

  • Are subpoenas filed in the record?

    Unless ordered to do so by the court, subpoenas are not routinely filed in the record.

  • Can you tell me how long it will take for the judge to make a decision or ruling in my case?

    No.  The Clerk's Office can not predict when the judge will make his/her decision in any case.

  • I want to file an exhibit over the 25mb (megabytes) limit. What do I do?

    The 25mb limit is per PDF.  You may split your exhibits into smaller PDFs and then upload them into CM/ECF.  If your exhibits had to be scanned into PDFs, you may want to check the resolution settings of the scanner.  The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts recommends 300dpi as the minimum resolution for scanned documents.

  • I forgot my CM/ECF login ID or password. How can I retrieve this information?

    If you forgot your CM/ECF password, please try resetting it from the link on the CM/ECF login page.  Enter your login ID and click the "forgot password" link.   The link is sent ONLY to the primary e-mail.  If you are not the primary e-mail on the account, please work with the primary user to reset the password.  The generated e-mail includes a link which is active for 24 hours, after which the link is no longer valid.  As a minimum, passwords must include 8 characters, a combination of upper and lower case letters, and a digit or special character.  If the primary e-mail recipient does not receive an e-mail promptly, please call our Help Desk at 1-866-323-1101.

    If you forgot your CM/ECF login, please contact our help desk at 1-866-323-1101.

  • How do I get a login and password to CM/ECF?

    Currently, only attorneys are allowed to e-file in the Western District of Louisiana without requesting leave from a U.S. District Court judge; however, you must attend a training class before you can obtain a login and password.  Click HERE to visit the Attorney ECF Training page for more information.

  • Do I need to file a notice of motion setting in your court?

    No.  The Clerk's Office will prepare a notice of motion setting for any contradictory motion filed with the court.

  • When electronically filing a new suit, can any form of payment be made other than by credit card?

    Yes.  Pay.gov allows two options.  1) by ACH (Automated Clearing House) which allows a filer to enter checking account information and the funds will be withdrawn from that account, and 2) by credit card.

  • I'm having problems while e-filing or viewing a document. What do I do?

    Most of your technical issues can be solved by clearing your browser’s cache. Click here for more information about clearing your browser’s cache.  If your problem still persists, contact our Help Desk by calling 1-866-323-1011, or emailing us at CMECF_HelpDesk@lawd.uscourts.gov.  

  • I am having trouble logging into PACER. Can you help me with my login and password?

    No.  PACER is a separate entity from the court.  Please contact PACER for any login and password issues.

  • Most of your technical issues with CM/ECF can be solved by clearing your browser's cache.

    Please click here for more information about clearing your browser's cache.  ( Link to Google: Clearing Cache and Cookies )