July 12, 2024 [Z2B]
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Legislative and DCO updates

Includes information on SB 41 changes, Justice Committee on Information Technology Updates, and DCO Updates.
View the Power Point Presentation or Video Presentation given on December 15, 2021.

eFiling / Re:SearchTX

Includes information to Attorneys on re:searchtx only for civil & family cases.
View the UPDATED Power Point presentation based on the seminar.

Civil Filing

Seminar: Mastering the basics of the state's new e-filing system
Includes tips on how to avoid common errors, send a file and make a payment

According to The Supreme Court of Texas, an order was signed adopting Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 21c and Amendments to Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 4, 21, 21a, and 502.1, Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure 6 and 9, and the Supreme court Order Directing the Form of the Appellate Record in Civil Cases to be effective January 1, 2014 for Harris County. This order mandates electronic filing in all Civil Courts and restricts us from accepting paper filing from any filer other than Pro Se filers. Please, click on the following link to learn more about electronic filing www.efiletexas.gov.. We will also be unable to accept any other type of electronic filing other than through EFileTexas.gov which includes any type of Fax Filing.

Effective June 15th, 2017, the Texas Legislature amended Chapter 141 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code. Please file your Applications for Structure Settlement as follows:

  • Application should be filed as a New Case Filing under Applications for Structured Settlement.
  • Application and all documents in this original envelope including exhibits should NOT be redacted.
  • Application is the lead document, all other documents are attachments i.e. exhibits, case information sheet etc. and should be separated and not be in one complete document.
  • Payee’s full name should be in the body of the Application as Payee.
  • System will automatically seal this original filing and all documents in the original envelope.
  • System will set up the style of the case with the Applicants name vs IN RE (STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT.)
  • After filing the initial unredacted application, petitioners may file redacted copies of the pleadings. Any subsequent filings will not be sealed. Any subsequent filings once the case is filed will not be sealed unless an additional order is signed.
  • Clerk will make party name for PAYEE as initials only until Judgment is signed.
  • The Case is not sealed only the original filing.

New eFile portal

eFileTXCourts.gov has launched their *new* version of the filing portal. This can be utilized to submit filings to the eFileTXCourts.gov filing manager. This new filing portal is designed in HTML5 and offers a number of added benefits including the ability to access eFileTXCourts.gov on your tablet or phone, enabling copy, paste, sorting and filtering features, single screen data entry, keyboard shortcut navigation, modern web browser support and more!

DCO’s seminar on e-filing

Mastering the basics of the state's new e-filing system
Includes tips on how to send a file, make a payment, avoid common errors

Contacts for filing troubleshooting

Basic filing issues: If you cannot file your documents with an electronic file service provider (EFSP) or are having trouble uploading or downloading documents or choosing titles, please contact your EFSP. (You can consult this list of EFSPs, which also includes phone numbers.)

Inquiries for District Clerk’s Office: If you have questions, comments or issues about your filings that the District Clerk’s Office needs to resolve, please send inquiries or comments to eFiling@hcdistrictclerk.com. Staff will screen the inbox daily. Please include your name, phone number, case number, envelope box number and/or party names and a brief description of the problem.

Missing files: If you have a case number but it does not come up in the District Clerk’s system when you look for it, please contact the DCO at eFiling@hcdistrictclerk.com. Your inquiry will be forwarded to the DCO’s technical staff.

eFileTexas.gov’s EFSP service: If you experience e-filing or technical problems while using eFileTexas.gov’s EFSP service, please contact eFileTexas.gov’s self service website: Self-Service Support.

Correct format for e-docs

The state Supreme Court has mandated that e-files in civil and family cases be submitted in specific formats. The District Clerk’s Office also has its own requirements

Some filers may find meeting the e-doc requirements described below intimidating. There’s an alternative. Some electronic file service providers (EFSPs) will format e-docs to meet requirements. Filers may shop around to see what services EFSPs provide. When you attach each document for a filing:

  • Description field – enter the exact document title that is listed on your paper document
  • Security field – select the appropriate document type for each document
  • Envelope size is limited to 35 meg
  • Enter any filing comments to the clerk in the Filing Comments
image showing correct way to prepare civil filing

Formatting tips

Text-searchable e-docs: Documents must be in text-searchable, PDF format on 8.5-by-11 inch pages. Pages must be appropriately rotated. Use optical-character recognition software (OCR) to make documents text-searchable. Some scanners and scanning software may have OCR capability, but you may have to buy the software.

Resolution requirements: All black-and-white scanned documents must have 300 dots-per-inch resolution (dpi). Color images must have at least 600 dpi. A larger DPI number will increase the size of your files and could cause it to not be accepted by the Electronic Filing Manager. (The average for a 10 page PDF, whether scanned or converted, should be less than 1MB.)

Requirements for document file names: File names should OR MUST be limited to 50 characters. Files names should contain only alphanumeric characters that are part of the Latin1_General character set. No special characters are allowed.

Multiple e-docs, same envelope: Multiple documents related to a single filing or case number may be filed in the same e-envelope. Make sure the documents are separated within the filing. For example, the lead document would be separate from the attachments and pleadings with exhibits. Effective immediately, Family Court documents requiring a supporting affidavit SHOULD NOT be e-filed as separate documents. The document and affidavit should be filed as one document. All other accompanying documents should be filed as attachments.

Embedding: An e-filed document may not contain any security or feature restrictions including password protection or encryption and may not contain embedded multimedia video, audio, or programming. Documents may not contain package PDF's. PDF's should not be embedded inside of another PDF. Each Document must be a single PDF. An appellate court may require that multiple PDF documents be combined into a single PDF document and bookmarks used to separate content appropriately. The content of the document should not depend on bookmarks.

Common reasons why files are returned for correction:

The Harris County District Clerk’s Office returns some files that have been improperly submitted. When these files are returned, the DCO will notify you of the type of filing error that occurred. Filers should resubmit files after they have corrected the error. Please take a moment to review common errors:

Sensitive Data: Pursuant to the Texas Supreme Court electronic filing mandate regarding sensitive data, TCRP Rule 21c is effective March 1, 2017.

  • Sensitive Data–Please redact: Bank Account Number, Credit Card Number, Financial Account Number
  • Sensitive Data-Please redact: Birthdate, Home Address and name of any minor when suit was filed
  • Sensitive Data-Please redact: DL, SSN, Passport Number, Tax ID Number, and Government Issued ID Number

If filings should be submitted in paper or electronic format with any of the numbers, dates, names or addresses specified in this rule they will be returned for correction with seven (7) days to return to retain original filing date. If the document is in paper format and has any of this sensitive information in the filing, the following statement must be included on the upper left-hand side of the first page of the document, "NOTICE: THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS SENSITIVE DATA".

Contact information: In the signature block, filers must include their contact information, including name, address, phone number and email address. Documents without signatures will be returned to filers.

Duplicate filings: The District Clerk’s staff is not responsible for determining if a filing is a duplicate or deducing the intent of the filer. Unless the attorney contacts the DCO to ask for cancellation of the filing before the DCO accepts it, it will go into the system. If there is cost involved, refunds are not guaranteed.

No attorney signature: Signatures must be entered in accordance with the Supreme Court order. Files without the proper signature will be returned.

Incorrect filing code: Filers can limit their options by entering the wrong code. In addition, codes may determine fees. A wrong code may lead to overbilling or underbilling. For example, if you enter “divorce” instead of “divorce with children,” the fees are different. If the District Clerk’s Office cannot make the change, the file will be returned to the filer.

Incorrect agency or jurisdiction: Both the Harris County District Clerk’s Office and Harris County Clerk’s Office are subject to the Supreme Court mandate on e-filing. But the offices operate independently and cannot accept filings slated for the other office. If you file documents with the District Clerk’s Office that must be filed at the Harris County Clerk’s Office, the files will be returned. If you file them in the wrong county, they also will be returned.

Insufficient payment: If your credit or debit card is rejected due to insufficient funds, the District Clerk’s Office will return the file and request that you use another card or form of payment.

Missing information pertinent to the filing: Files lacking key information will be returned.

Unreadable or illegible documents: Such files will be returned.

Rejections requested by filing party: Please give your name when you ask the District Clerk’s Office to reject a file. Names are needed so the DCO can send rejection notifications to the right parties.

Documents not separate: Filers may submit multiple documents in the same envelope as long as they are related to a single filing or case. But such documents must be separated within an envelope and cannot be grouped together in a large document. So within an envelope, filers may send, for instance, a lead document and exhibits, an order, correspondence and request for service that are related to the lead document. But all these items must be sent as separate documents within the envelope. The envelope will be returned if the documents are not separated.

No encryption, password protection: Documents may not contain security or feature restrictions, such as password protection and encryption, and may not contain embedded multi-media video, audio, or programming. The District Clerk’s Office will return documents with such restrictions and embedded elements to filers.

Sealed files: If an order has been issued sealing a file while a party is pursuing a permanent sealing under Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 76a, a person trying to file additional documents will need to bring them to the District Clerk’s Office for processing. These documents cannot be filed electronically and will be returned.

No viruses, malware: An e-filed document must not contain a virus or malware. By efiling a document, filers are in effect certifying that they have checked and made certain that documents have no viruses and malware. Corrupt files will be returned to filers.

Those filings not following these filing instructions will be returned for correction. Questions, contact us at CriminaleFiling@hcdistrictclerk.com. Any filings returned for correction and resubmitted within 72 hours of the original filing will receive the original file date. Filings received after 72 hours will receive a new filing date, pursuant to rule 2.6 of the Statewide Rules Governing Electronic Filing in Criminal Cases.

Now that we have begun this transformation, we would greatly appreciate your feedback. If you have questions, comments or issues we need to resolve about your filings we encourage you to contact us at eFiling@hcdistrictclerk.com. We will be screening the inbox daily. Please, send your name, phone number, case number, envelope box number and/or party names and a brief description of the problem. We are in this together and we want to work with you to get these issues resolved as soon as possible.