South Carolina Lawyer
SC Lawyer, January 2007, #1.
Deficiency Memos in ECF
South Carolina LawyerJanuary 2007Deficiency Memos in ECFDeficiency memos: the e-mail every filing user loves to hate. No doubt you've received a few of these missives if you are an active user of the district court's Electronic Case Filing System (ECF). While they may not strike fear in your heart, they probably do elicit, at the least, a hearty groan. This article is dedicated to reducing your ECF-related PGR (personal groan rate) by explaining the top 10 triggers for deficiency memos and some tips for avoiding them.
What are they? Deficiency memos notify filing users (attorneys registered to e-file with the district court) of errors in an electronic filing. The memo is sent by the clerk's office and normally requests correction within one business day. Occasionally, the memos simply provide notice that a correction has been made by the court.
Try not to take them personally; everyone gets them (at an average rate of one for every 14 filings). But do use them as a learning tool. The court certainly has. For instance, we have used them to determine where our training and procedures need improvement.
With that little introduction, let's explore the top 10 reasons for deficiency memos based on a recent three-month tracking period. During that period, there were more than 9,000 attorney filings of which only seven percent required a deficiency memo.
10. Including protected personal identifiers in unsealed documents. The requirement for such protection is found in Section 205 of the E-Government Act of 2002, Pub. L.107-347, 116 Stat.2899, which addresses privacy issues and public access. This district's implementing policy is included on the court's Web page, which explains that "[s]ensitive information should not be included in any documents filed with the court unless such inclusion is necessary and relevant to the case" because, absent other protection, this information "will be made available over the Internet . . . " Categories of information that require protection and their proper partial designation include:
Social Security numbers. If an individual's Social Security number must be included, only the last four digits of that number should be used.
Names of minor children. If the involvement of a minor child must be mentioned, only the...