Federal Circuit: Changing Contact Information in an Electronic Forum is Critical to Your Practice

The Federal Circuit recently sent a mass e-mail to its CM/ECF users emphasizing the duty to file an amended Entry of Appearance (and an amended Certificate of Interest), whenever appropriate. While this was probably in connection with conflict screening on the Court’s part, it did remind me of a problem associated with changing contact information that I have noticed since the Court moved to e-filing via the CM/ECF system.

If you moved firms, changed addresses or had a firm or personal name change in the past, changing that information with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was done with a simple letter notice to the Court and filing an amended appearance in any active cases. Your staff probably did this along with a batch of change of address notices sent to all your contacts and clients. Now with PACER, you have to also change your contact information in your appellate e-filer account (https://www.pacer.gov/psco/cgi-bin/cmecf/ea-login.pl). Failing to do this may result in your old information being pulled into the electronic docket. I can most often spot this issue when information on PACER clearly shows conflicting information between the firm name and email address (firm listed as XYZ, LLC, but the email is jsmith@abclaw.com) or lists a phone number with an area code not normally associated with the address.

This might seem to be harmless if you are filing an appeal and you catch the error when you review the docket for the first time, but, if the Court has the wrong e-mail for you, you will not receive notices of appellate filings via the CM/ECF system. If you are the respondent/appellee, you might not even know the case is docketed or that an emergency motion has been filed and requires a deadline response. Staying current in the electronic system is critical to your practice.

With most jurisdictions using an electronic docket of some form or another, counsel should remember to update that electronic piece wherever you are admitted to a bar or court.

Please contact me with any questions regarding preparing and filing any appeal. Counsel Press provides a full spectrum of appellate services. Our Washington, DC office focuses on rule-compliant appellate filings in the Maryland, DC and Virginia state and district courts, as well as the D.C. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. We offer unparalleled in-depth expertise nationwide in all state & federal courts through our local offices.

Tagged: Appellate Practice, Appellate Procedure, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Litigation