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New Service Requirements In Florida: Service By E-mail Is Mandatory As Of September 1, 2012

July 23, 2012

Electronic service is already common among litigants as a courtesy but soon it will be mandatory in Florida. New Rule of Judicial Administration 2.516 provides that all documents required or permitted to be served on another party must now be served by e-mail. Rule 2.516 required that upon appearing in an action, the attorney must designate a primary e-mail address and may designate up to two secondary email addresses to receive service. Thereafter, service must be made by e-mail. The rule also specifically directs how e-mail service must be made. The e-mail must contain certain information in the subject line and documents must be attached in pdf format.

The rule does permit exceptions for pro-se litigants, and documents required to be served by formal notice such as wetness subpoenas. Pro-se litigants are also excepted from compliance.

If you litigate cases in Florida, you should be familiar with the requirements for e-service.

Rule 2.516 also applies to appeals. Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.420(c) was also amended to require e-mail service of all documents including the initial filing which now must be served by e-mail and regular mail.

The Rules Committee noted that mandatory e-service is needed because Florida state courts will soon have an e-filing system comparable to the federal courts. The goal is a uniform electronic service and filing system for Florida state courts.