Initiating a Case1. What are the steps to initiate a case?
2. What kinds of cases are currently eligible for E-Filing in Common Pleas?
See the Attorney Reference Guide and Video entitled Initiating a Case.
3. When adding plaintiffs and defendants during case initiation are addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, etc. required?
Most Common Pleas cases must be E-Filed, with the exception of (500) Post Conviction Relief, (510) Sexual Predator Actions, (520) Mandamus, (530) Habeas Corpus and (599) Inmate Petitions /Other.
4. What if I misspell the plaintiff's or defendant's name when I enter it in the E-Filing System?
No. Common Pleas Courts do not maintain case party addresses, phone numbers, etc. Only the fields designated with an asterisk (*) should be completed.
5. How will I know that the court has received my E-Filing?
If the name is incorrect on the pleading, an amended filing will need to be submitted. However if the pleading is correct, but the name of the plaintiff or defendant was misspelled during data entry, the Filer will need to submit a Request To Correct Data Entry Error form specifying the correct information.
6. Is the time stamp the time that I submitted my filing in the E-Filing sysstem or the time that it was accepted by the Clerk of Court?
You will receive an email notification once the filing has been received by the court. You can update your account settings to be notified by e-mail when filings have been received, approved and/or rejected.
7. Once a document is filed, will the image be available online?
If the submission is accepted by the clerk, the time stamp will be when the filing was submitted. Check the "Official File Stamp" to determine the precise time of filing.
8. When can I see documents in E-Filing?
Once the filing has been approved by the court, unless the document is confidential or sealed, it will be displayed on the Public Index and in the E-Filing system.
9. How can I view documents on a case if I am not a party to the case?
Once the filing has been approved by the court, if it is not confidential or sealed, it will be displayed in the E-Filing system and on the Public Index.
10. If a filing is rejected, what happens to the filing fee?
If you are a registered E-Filer, you can view the case history in E-Filing or go to the Trial Court Public Index.
11. Will I still need to file the Civil Action Cover Sheet with my new case?
The filing fee is not charged until the filing is accepted. The hold on your credit card will be released if the filing is rejected.
12. For complaints that are exempt from mediation, is the Certificate of Exemption attached to the Summons and Complaint or filed as a seperate document?
No. The Civil Action Cover Sheet is not required with e-filed cases.
13. Does the Summons need to be modified to alert defendants to electronically file their Answers with the courts?
A Certificate of Exemption from Mediation should be saved and uploaded to E-Filing as a seperate document. However, it will need to be filed and submitted together with the Summons and Complaint as part of a single submission.
Please note that, in rare instances, you may receive an error when you indicate a case is exempt from ADR. If this should occur, indicate the case is subject to Mediation, file the Certficate of Exemption, and indicate the exemption status under Special Filing Instructions for the Clerk. Provided the exemption is correct, the Clerk will flag the case as exempt in CMS.
14. What if I don't know my co-counsel's bar number? Is there a way to look this up?
There is no requirement to modify the summons but you can add a note to the summons stating that the case was E-filed. Also, please note that pro se defendants will not be able to e-file their pleadings.
Yes. The E-Filing Portal Page at www.sccourts.org/efiling provides a link to an Attorney Search.