District Court Highlights


Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) Changes

In March 2010, the Judicial Conference approved changes to the PACER fee schedule so users will no longer be billed unless they accrue charges of more than $10 in a quarterly billing cycle. Previously, users were not billed until their accounts totaled at least $10 in a one-year period. The billing change took effect on March 16, 2010.

The change to the PACER fee schedule will significantly increase the amount of data available to users without accruing charges. In fiscal year 2009, about 153,000 PACER account holders, nearly half of all active accounts, did not receive a bill. For that same period, the new quarterly billing schedule would have affected an additional 85,000 accounts, resulting in 75 percent of all active accounts not receiving bills.

The U.S. Party/Case Index allows users to locate appellate, bankruptcy, civil, criminal and multi-district litigation cases throughout the federal court system. On a daily basis, more than 200,000 searches are performed using the U.S. Party/Case Index.  A new version of the U.S. Party/Case Index, which includes additional search capabilities, is now available on the PACER website under the new name PACER Case Locator.  Users will be billed 8 cents per page, which is standard for all PACER searches.

Questions regarding PACER charges should be directed to the PACER Service Center at (800) 676-6856 or (210) 301-6440 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Central Time.

CM/ECF Civil and Criminal Administrative Procedures Manual and Users Guide

The CM/ECF Administrative Procedures Manual and the CM/ECF Users Guide have been combined into one document – aptly named The CM/ECF Civil and Criminal Administrative Procedures Manual and Users Guide. This manual provides procedures and instructions for using the Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system to file documents with the Court, or to view and retrieve docket sheets and documents for civil, criminal and miscellaneous cases in the system. The combined manual is now available on our website.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When viewing a docket sheet, how do I view the most recent activity first?

When running a docket sheet, select Most recent date first from the Sort by drop-down list. Once the report is run, the most recent activity will appear at the top of the docket sheet.

I am still receiving electronic notice in a case in which I/my client was dismissed.  How do I turn off electronic notice for that case?

If either you or your client has been dismissed from a case, and you are continuing to receive electronic notice and you no longer want to receive notice of activity in the case, you can docket the event as Notice of Request for Termination of Electronic Notification. This event is found under Notices on the CM/ECF menu. Based on the docketing of this event, court staff will turn off your notification. An additional option is to contact the CM/ECF Help Line at 1-800-466-9302 and request that the notice be turned off.

Attorneys should not docket the Notice of Request for Termination of Electronic Notification event in cases in which they are an active participant.  Doing so will terminate all noticing for that attorney.

Can I get multiple logins and passwords for CM/ECF?

The login and password of an attorney constitutes the signature of the attorney.  Therefore, the Court does not issue multiple logins and passwords for CM/ECF. 

The Customer Service Area of the Clerk's Office

How do I file ex-parte and sealed documents?

Ex-parte motions are to be filed in CM/ECF using the Ex-Parte Motion event, which is found under the Motions category. Other ex-parte documents are to be filed using the Ex-Parte Notice of Filing event, which is located under the Notice category. These ex-parte events will allow the filer to receive notice of the filing, view the document and view the entry on the docket sheet. Notice will not be sent to any other participants in the case, nor will the entry be viewable by any other participants in the case.

Sealed documents are to be filed in CM/ECF, with access restricted to the judge and authorized staff, unless otherwise ordered by the Court. Users wishing to file sealed documents must seek permission from the Court to file the document, unless they are being filed pursuant to a previously entered protective order. More information on how to file sealed documents can be found on page 7 of the CM/ECF Civil and Criminal Administrative Procedures Manual and Users Guide.

The CM/ECF system will send notification of a sealed document, but the document cannot be accessed by counsel, so you MUST provide opposing counsel with a copy of the document.


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