Flattening and Shrinking the Document Image

All PDF files must be “flattened” before they are uploaded into CM/ECF. Otherwise, they are likely to be reproduced in poor quality. Flattening also reduces the file size of a fillable form by over 90 percent, conserving valuable resources for the Court. CM/ECF users who submit files without flattening them will be contacted and asked to resubmit these files. To flatten an electronic file (i.e., to make the field data indistinguishable from the rest of the text in the form), print the form to PDF using the print dialog box. Then, file the resulting document. 

 

Forgotten CM/ECF Password

To reset your CM/ECF password:

  1. Go to https://ecf.cacb. uscourts.gov.
  2. Click on the link Central District of California – Document Filing System.
  3. Click “here” in the sentence “If you forgot your CM/ECF password, you can request a password here.”
  4. Enter your ECF login ID at the prompt and click “Submit.”

The CM/ECF program will send an email to the email address you have on record with the Court. If you need to verify the email address in CM/ECF is current, please call the ECF Help Desk for assistance. 

ECF Activity Reports

On occasion, when you may have missed an emailed Notice of Electronic Filing and need to see what was filed in cases in which you are a party on a particular date, you can run a Summary of ECF Activity Report. This can be obtained by logging into CM/ ECF, clicking on Reports (from the blue menu bar), and selecting Summary of ECF Activity. You will be required to enter a specific date and click Run Report. You can only enter one date at a time. CM/ECF will then list any and all activity that occurred in cases in which you are a party for the date you requested.

Abstract of Judgment

The Court requires the following:

  1. Submit one original and two copies of the Abstract with an entered copy of the Judgment or Order attached.
  2. The signature on the Abstract must be original.
  3. The Abstract forms must be completely filled out and will not be issued with blank lines, alterations, or white out.
  4. Filing fee is required.

Writ of Execution

The Court requires the following:

  1. Submit one original and one copy of the Affidavit and Request for Issuance of Writ of Execution.
  2. The Affidavit must have an original signature on the second page.
  3. One original and two copies of the Writ of Execution with an entered copy of the Judgment or Order attached.
  4. The Affidavit and Request for Issuance of Writ of Execution and Writ of Execution forms must be completely filled out and will not be issued with blank lines, alterations or white out.

One Address in CM/ECF

The address that appears on your petition PDF appears on your petition PDF must match the address that is associated to your CM/ECF login. CM/ECF requires a one-to-one relationship between attorney and mailing address, and cannot accommodate multiple addresses. If an attorney practices out of more than one office, he/she is required to select a master address for the purpose of receiving manual notices from the court. This should have minimal impact on ECF have minimal impact on ECF users as most documents are served electronically to user email accounts in the form of a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF).

If you change your address, you are required to file and serve a notice of change of address as per Local Bankruptcy Rule 2090-1(f). If you are an ECF user you must also notify the ECF Support Desk at ECF_Support@ uscourts.gov

New Live Chat Feature in CM/ECF

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California is pleased to announce its online live chat program for registered users of CM/ECF. The new program will allow for customers to engage in online instant messaging with a court representative who will answer case specific questions and direct users to frequently requested forms, motions, and orders. Live chat is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., excluding federal holidays and other published Court closures. Chat can be accessed via a graphic icon on the CM/ECF homepage.

Requests to Be Removed from Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF)

The Request to Be Removed from Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) can be achieved in two different ways, depending on how you are associated within a case.

If your party is Courtesy NEF only: you must file a “Request to be Added or Removed from Courtesy Notification of Electronic Filing (NEF).” To file this document, please use BK – Courtesy NEF > Request for Removal from Courtesy Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF).

If your party is a Creditor /Client: you must draft a document in standard pleading format entitled “Request to Be Removed from Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF).” To file this pleading, please use BK – Notices > Notice. In the “Modify Text” box, type out the full caption: “Request to Be Removed from Notice of Electronic Filing.”

If your party is Courtesy NEF and Creditor/ Client: you must draft a document in standard pleading format entitled “Request to Be Removed from Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF)” and list all names the attorney is listed as representing. To file this pleading, please use BK – Notices > Notice. In the “Modify Text” box, type out the full caption: “Request to Be Removed from Notice of Electronic Filing.” 

One Free Look

After a document is electronically filed, CM/ECF sends a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) to the registered users associated with the case. Individuals who receive electronic notification of the filing are permitted one free look at the document by clicking on the associated hyperlinked document number embedded in the Notice of Electronic Filing. The filer is permitted one free look at the document and the Docket Sheet to verify that the document was properly docketed. Subsequent retrieval of the case docket sheet and document from CM/ECF must be made through your PACER account and is subject to regular PACER fees. Please note that you can save the free look as a PDF.

However, if when you first attempt to access the document you do not receive the free look, make sure none of the following conditions apply to you:

  1. Others who may access the one free look are viewing your emails.
  2. The Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) email is being forwarded from your email account to another.
  3. More than 15 days have passed since the date of the NEF.

Note: The “free look” is available for 15 days from the date of the NEF. After 15 days it will be disabled.

Pay Stub Event Code

When curing a Case Commencement Deficiency Notice for paycheck stubs, there is a pay stub event code in CM/ ECF Bankruptcy Events. The event code is located under Bankruptcy - BK - Other - Miscellaneous - Copies of All Payment Advices (pay stubs).

It is not necessary to enclose the Debtor’s Certification of Employment Income form if it has already been filed, but pay stubs, pay advices, and/ or other proof of employment income for the 60-day period prior to the date of filing may be enclosed. The pay stubs should contain the debtor’s identifiable information, such as name, address, etc. The personal identifiers, such as social security number, tax payer identification numbers, bank account numbers, birth dates, and names of minor children, must be redacted by the debtor prior to submission.

Filing a Motion to Redact Personal Information

When filing a motion to redact:

  1. Access the appropriate form from the Court’s website: www.cacb.uscourts. gov - Forms - Local Bankruptcy Rules Forms - Form F 9037-1.1.
  2. Ensure the form is signed by both the movant and attorney.
  3. File using the specific event: Bankruptcy - BK – Motion/ Applications - Redact (for Protective Order to Restrict Access Pers. ID) (LBR Form F9037-1.1)(Fee)(motion).
  4. Pay the required fee.

Lodging an Order with Exhibits and/or Attachments

When lodging an order via Lodged Order Upload (LOU) with exhibits and/or attachments, please use one of the following methods to ensure compliance:

  1. PDF. A PDF exhibit and or/attachment lodged along with the electronic order (such as signature pages of parties indicating approval of form of order or a property description) must not exceed 10 pages unless otherwise approved by the presiding judge. Once an exception has been approved by the presiding judge, contact the ECF Help Desk at (213) 894-2365 for instructions.
  2. MS-WORD. An exhibit may be uploaded in MS-WORD format as part of the proposed order as long as it does not exceed 10 pages. DO NOT upload an MS-WORD image.
  3. Other exhibits. If an exhibit exceeds 10 pages, the exhibit must be filed and referred to according to the following procedure.
    1. Exhibit is attached to the motion.
      1. In the order, refer to the motion and the number or letter that identifies the exhibit.
    2. Exhibit is not attached to the motion.
      1. Convert the exhibit to a PDF document and file it via CM/ECF by selecting the docket event “Exhibit”;
      2. Relate the exhibit to the applicable motion/application;
      3. Provide a copy of the exhibit along with a judge’s copy of the order and LOU receipt as specified under section 4.2(c) of this Manual; and
      4. Contact the applicable judge’s courtroom deputy and advise of submission of the exhibit.

When to File a Motion to Reopen a Bankruptcy Case

A motion to reopen a bankruptcy case should be filed only when the bankruptcy case has been closed. The case docket must be reviewed to verify that the case is closed prior to filing this motion. If the “Motion to Reopen” event code is used to file the document and the case is still open, users will still be required to pay the appropriate filing fee.

Updating Attorney ECF Profile

Registered CM/ECF users are able to update their email and mailing addresses, phone numbers, and fax numbers by logging into CM/ECF > Utilities > Maintain Your Account. The updates will become effective immediately.

To update a CM/ECF user’s mailing address for previously filed cases, the CM/ECF user must file a Notice of Attorney Change of Address or Law Firm in each case pursuant to LBR 2091-1(f). The CM/ECF user can use the multi-case docketing feature in CM/ECF to file the change of address and include a list of the affected cases as a PDF attachment. The Change of Address form is available on the Court’s website at www.cacb. uscourts.gov > Forms > Other Forms. 

When to File the Debtor’s Certification of Completion of Postpetition Instructional Course Concerning Personal Financial Management

Official Form 423 should be completed and filed only if the financial provider has not already notified the Court of the debtor’s completion of the course by filing the certificate. For chapter 7 filings, this form and/or the certificate must be filed within 60 days after the first date set for the meeting of creditors. Additionally, a separate form is required for each debtor.

The event code to file this document is located under: Bankruptcy -> BK – Other -> Certification about a Financial Management Course for Debtor 1 (Official Form 423) Bankruptcy -> BK – Other -> Certification about a Financial Management Course for Debtor 2 (Official Form 423)

If this form is not filed within the allotted time period, the clerk will be required to notify the debtor that the case will be closed without entry of a discharge.

When to File a Motion to Reopen a Bankruptcy Case

A motion to reopen a bankruptcy case should be filed only when the bankruptcy case has been closed. The case docket must be reviewed to verify that the case is closed prior to filing this motion. If the “Motion to Reopen” event code is used to file the document and the case is still open, users will still be required to pay the appropriate filing fee. 

Ten Tips for Attorneys

TEN TIPS FOR ATTORNEYS
1. Failure to pay filing fees within 24 hours of electronic filing results in a lockout from filing further documents in the CM/ECF system until the fees are paid.

2. Official Form 423 should be filed only if the financial provider has not already notified the Court of the debtor’s completion of the course by filing the certificate.

3. Attorneys can now access the CM/ECF system to update their profile data.

4. A CM/ECF login issued by the District Court will not work in Bankruptcy
Court.

5. Using a pop-up blocker will prevent LOU from opening.

6. If refiling petition pages, such as Form 101, you must use the event code “Addendum to Voluntary petition.”

7. It is against Court procedure for a CM/ECF registered attorney to file a document for an unregistered attorney friend.

8. Using the “Search” key in CM/ECF is a good tool for looking up event codes.

9. The Statement of Social Security form should not be included when filing the petition in CM/ECF.

10. Staple the NEF on the back of the judge’s copy.

Avoiding Unnecessary Fees When Filing Amended Schedules D, E, or F And An Amended List of Creditors

When filing the amended schedules D, E, or F with an amended List of Creditors, be sure to use the event code “Amendment-Amending Schedules D and/or E/F.” You may attach to the schedule a sheet of paper with only the new or modified creditors listed. This sheet represents the creditor matrix. Both documents may be filed using the single fee event code, “Amendment-Amending Schedules D, and/or E/ F.” 

Financial Management Codes

Very helpful electronic filing information for bankruptcy attorneys was provided in the latest issue of Court News.

Please  remember  that  when the Financial Management Course certificate is being filed, the Financial Management Course     –   Debtor event code is to be used for single debtor cases.  The Financial Management Course – Joint Debtor is for cases with two debtors.  When selecting the Financial Management Course – Joint Debtor, CM will ask the user:  “Have you already filed the certificate for the Debtor?” The  user must select “Yes” or “No,” then click “Next” in order to complete the filing.   If only the    joint  debtor’s  certificate is being filed, “No” must be selected.