Messenger Service to Take Another Hit, This Time in Florida

Florida has recently issued a rule change, SC10-2101, which mandates service by e-mail for cases when filing. The new rule will have a significant impact on the amount of messenger service work.

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This rule took effect took effect in non-criminal trial court and appellate cases on September 1, 2012 and will be in the criminal trial court by October 1, 2013. There are two main situations in which service by means other than e-mail will be utilized:

  • When service is not allowed by e-mail
    • Parties aren’t represented by attorney and haven’t designated an e-mail address
    • An attorney has obtained an order exempting service via e-mail
    • As a secondary or additional means of service

The courts are now making all attorneys designate a primary e-mail address and while they may seek an exception the odds of qualifying are slim. While other states have implemented e-filing slowly and given attorneys the option to utilize e-filing, in Florida it will be mandatory. The court is only granting exceptions to those who have no email account and who lack access to the internet at the attorney’s office. Those with personal e-mail addresses will not be given an exception.

One of the more interesting parts about this new rule is the vagueness with which service is deemed effectuated. The rule states that service by e-mail is complete when the e-mail is sent.  “Sent” is not clearly defined and it is presumed that it will be taken of as the time the sender clicked “Send”.    This could prove to be an issue which would need clarifying as we see more and more cases of e-service surrounding initial proceedings.

What this means for messengers and couriers

A number of other states have already implemented e-filing systems including:

  • Utah
  • Texas
  • Colorado
  • New York
  • Hawaii
  • New Jersey – Special Civil Part and Foreclosure

Unfortunately it looks as though this is a trend which will continue as courts see the success of e-filing implementation in other states and districts and look to cut costs across the board. By reducing the amount of work available in the legal area it is likely messengers will become more specialized in their services and move to take on work from other industries.

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2 Comments

  • Dear writer of this article,

    While I can appreciate your intent to get the news out, the article is a bit misleading. Under your sub-paragraph “When service is not allowed by email” you left a vital piece of information out. Please let me fill in the missing pieces of this article. This rule is for party to party communication, more specifically Attorney to Attorney. It does not take away from any formal service required to give notice & bind jurisdiction over the other party. One can read the rule at:

    https://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2012/sc10-2101.pdf scroll to the bottom of page 5 and the top of page 6, it reads: “Additionally, applications for witness subpoenas and documents served by formal notice or required to be served in the manner provided for service of formal notice are not required to comply with rule 2.516”

    This rule was modeled after current Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.080 (Service of Pleadings and Papers), however does not replace or take away the requirement of it. In common language, you cannot email a Subpoena, Summons or Order to Show Cause and expect it to conform to the rules pertaining to service in accordance with FL CRP 1.080 and/or FL SS 48.031.

    How it effects a messenger wouldn’t be any different because as it was, the pleadings mandated to be emailed were being sent by regular mail, fax and email to begin with. I could not find any portion that prohibited one from utilizing the method of hand delivery in addition to the required email. I do agree with your position of the process being complete when the email is sent, rather that when it was actually delivered. This is one of many items FAPPS is watching closely. Please feel free to contact me for any further information.

    Respectfully,
    Lance Randall,
    FAPPS President
    http://www.fapps.org

  • Amanda Sexton says:

    Thank you Lance for expanding. You can be sure that I will be in touch prior to any future postings regarding Florida rulings. I should have clarified further on the attorney to attorney portion rather than it being an all encompassing piece of legislation. It was misleading in that and should have been explained in further detail.

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