On Friday, the Florida Supreme Court approved extensive changes to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure relating to electronic service of documents. Under the changes, e-mail service of documents will become the primary method for service, and is required as of July 1, 2012 for civil, probate, small claims and family law divisions.
The opinion is found here: http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2012/sc10-2101.pdf
The opinion follows the trend of centralizing rules common to multiple areas of practice in the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration. Many of the relevant changes are in Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.516.
The rules have not yet been updated, but will be as soon as I have the time.
Here are a few highlights:
Service by e-mail is deemed complete when the e-mail is sent. Additionally, e-mail service is made by attaching a copy of the document to be served in PDF format to an e-mail. The e-mail must contain the subject line ―SERVICE OF COURT DOCUMENT‖ in all capital letters, followed by the case number of the relevant proceeding. The body of the e-mail must identify the court in which the proceeding is pending, the case number, the name of the initial party on each side, the title of each document served with that e-mail, and the sender’s name and telephone number. The e-mail and attachments together may not exceed 5 megabytes in size; e-mails that exceed the size requirement must be divided into separate e-mails (no one of which may exceed 5 megabytes) and labeled sequentially in the subject line.
e-mail service will be mandatory for attorneys practicing in the civil, probate, small claims, and family law divisions of the trial courts, as well as in all appellate cases, when the rule amendments take effect on July 1, 2012.
Finally, we note that, pursuant to rule 2.516(b)(1), self-represented parties involved in any type of case in any Florida court, may, but are not required to, serve documents by e-mail.