Court of Appeals Summary of Rule Changes

Effective April 26, 2019

This is a court rule change to Rule 6 (b) and (d) to facilitate the Clerk’s Office docketing direct appeals by adding the highlighted/bold language to Rule 6. (b) and (d) Service of Process,

(b) Service Process. All documents filed in this court and the notice of appeal filed in the trial court shall show that copies have been served upon opposing counsel by United States Postal Service, personal service, or electronic service. Service made by United States Postal Service or personal service shall be shown by signed written acknowledgment, certificate of counsel, or affidavit of server, to include the name and complete mailing address of all opposing counsel, signed by counsel and attached to the document filed.

(d) Electronic Service Process. Parties utilizing electronic service shall strictly adhere to the following process: A party may serve a document via email if the filer certifies that, based upon a prior agreement with the recipient party, service of a .pdf copy of the document via email will be deemed sufficient service. The filer shall also, in the accompanying certificate of service, specifically list any recipients served electronically by full name, email address, telephone number, and complete physical mailing address. Such certification shall state, “I certify that there is a prior agreement with (insert party or law firm name) to allow documents in a .pdf format sent via email to suffice for service.

Reason: The Clerk’s Office is unable to docket some direct appeals because the lower court does not require parties to list their mailing address in the Certificate of Service. For example, pro se parties often only list their email address and we are unable to mail the docketing notice to them. Also, we are unable to serve those attorneys who are not registered in our eFast system. Sometimes the NOA only lists the firm name and not the attorney’s name.

The problem arose as courts around the state implemented rules for electronic filing that allow service via the lower court’s e-service, i.e., through eFileGA or hand delivery. That works well for them, but does not provide us with the required information to docket. An example of these rules is Fulton Superior Court Order Implementing Electronic Filing for Criminal Cases, paragraph 8 C, that states, “E-Service of an E-Document via eFileGA shall be considered valid and effective service and shall have the legal effect as an original paper Document sent via conventional means, e.g., U.S. mail, and/or hand delivery. Recipients of E-Service shall receive an email notification of service, which contains an electronic image of the served E-Document.”