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Frequently Asked Questions
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin welcomes you to its Electronic Case Filing system (ECF). ECF allows documents to be filed electronically over the Internet.
Yes. Electronic filing is required in all civil and criminal cases in the Western District of Wisconsin. An attorney must have an ECF account to file documents in this court, and must have a PACER account to view documents in the system.
Lawyers admitted to the bar of this court, including lawyers admitted pro hac vice and lawyers authorized to represent the United States, must register for electronic filing in this district. Please visit https://ecf.wiwd.uscourts.gov/AttorneyReg to begin the registration process. Pro se litigants may request access to file electronically by signing a Request for Non-Lawyer Access Form and mailing the form to the clerk's office.
By registering as a Filing User, you consent to electronic service of all documents as provided in these procedures and in accordance with Rule 5(b)(2)(D), Fed. R. Civ. P. and Rule 49(b), Fed. R. Crim. P.
During the registration process, each Filing User will receive a confirmation e-mail from the court. You must open the message to acknowledge receipt. A login and password will be sent by separate e-mail.
If you discover that you made a mistake during the registration process, please notify the court by sending an e-mail to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each attorney of record in a case will receive a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) containing a copy of the docket entry and a link to the document in question. Each attorney is entitled to one free viewing of the document. If the attorney has added any secondary recipients, they are also entitled to a free viewing. The link will automatically expire after its first use or 15 days, whichever occurs first. It is suggested that users print or save the document during the initial viewing to avoid any unnecessary charges.
Yes, ECF and PACER are separate systems that work together. A PACER login is issued by the PACER Service Center and is required to view cases or documents that are already in the system. An ECF login is issued by the court and is required to file documents electronically and access sealed documents.
Note: A separate ECF account is required for each federal court in which an attorney practices. A login and password from one district will not allow an attorney to file in another district.
Yes. Attorneys in a firm may share a PACER account, and this account can be used to query cases and view public documents. However, each attorney of record must have and maintain a separate ECF account to file documents or view sealed documents. ECF account information is confidential. The use of an ECF login and password to file a document represents an attorney’s signature on the document.
The court has established a Help Desk. If you need assistance or have questions, call 1-866-241-7123 or send an e-mail to email@example.com. The Help Desk is available from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.
ECF is a web-based system that requires no special software other than a computer with an internet connection and a compatible web browser, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Netscape.
Members of the general public can view cases and documents that are not sealed through PACER. The clerk's office also maintains a number of public workstations with a connection to the court's electronic filing system.
Pro se litigants may request access to file electronically by submitting a Request for Non-Lawyer Access Form to the clerk’s office.
The court's Administrative Procedures are a comprehensive guide to electronic filing in this district.
For all questions related to electronic filing during regular business hours, please contact the Help Desk at (866) 241-7123. For PACER questions, please contact the PACER Service Center at (800) 676-6856 or visit www.pacer.gov.
2. The clerk's office opens a shell case.
3. The clerk's office sends the Filing User an e-mail with the case number.
4. The Filing User electronically files the complaint, uploading the civil cover sheet and completed summons form(s) as separate attachments to the complaint.
a. Each summons form must be completed with the caption, case number and relevant defendant information. A fillable form is available here.
b. The filing fee can be paid through Pay.gov as part of the electronic filing process or by same-day delivery of cash, check or money order. If payment is by cash, check or money order, the Filing User must pay first and obtain a receipt number from the clerk's office to bypass the electronic payment process. If the Filing User wishes to proceed without prepayment of the fee, a motion to proceed in forma pauperis must be filed with the complaint.
5. A new case is deemed filed when the complaint is electronically filed. Once the complaint has been filed, the case will be assigned to a judge and the summons issued electronically and returned to the Filing User through CM/ECF.
To add another lawyer or staff member to receive notices of electronic filing:
1. Log into ECF.
2. Click on Utilities in the menu bar.
3. Under Your Account, select Maintain Your E-Mail.
4. Click Add Additional E-Mail Address and enter the new address in the space provided, ensuring that the box marked "Active" is checked. You can send notices to this address in all your cases by checking the appropriate box, or you can designate specific cases by following these steps:
a. In the drop-down menu labeled Additional Options, select "Specific or Additional Cases."
b. In the drop-down menu labeled Specific or Additional Cases to Receive NEFs, select "Add" and enter a case number in the space provided. Click Add to List.
5. Click Submit to complete the transaction.
You will receive a confirmation message on the screen that your e-mail preferences have been updated. Please keep e-mail addresses current to ensure receipt of all notices.
A Filing User may change an assigned password after logging into ECF and selecting Utilities > Your Account > Maintain Your Login/Password.
A Filing User may reset a forgotten or compromised password by selecting “click here to reset your password” on the main login page or by accessing the following URL: https://ecf.wiwd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/lostPassword.pl. Please Note: You will need your username and e-mail address of record with the court to use this link. If you need assistance, contact the Clerk's Office at (608) 264-5156.
A Filing User may add or change an e-mail address, or add secondary recipients, by logging into CM/ECF and selecting Utilities > Your Account > Maintain Your E-mail.
To change your name, firm affiliation, address or telephone number, please update your information with the state bar first, then send an e-mail to the court indicating the state bar to which you belong and containing both your old and new contact information. Changes will apply to all open cases in which you have appeared, including cases that are on appeal, unless you request otherwise.
E-mail should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please Note: If you change law firms, you should change your primary e-mail address before you depart to one that you can access after you depart. This is necessary to perform any future maintenance on your account, including the addition of any secondary e-mail addresses at your new firm.
You can receive NEFs per filing, or you can request a daily summary report of filings in a particular case:
1. Log into CM/ECF and select Utilities > Your Account > Maintain Your E-Mail.
2. Click on an e-mail address to see configuration options for that address.
3. Under "Case Specific Options," enter the case number that you would like to monitor.
4. Click on "Find Case" and then "Add Case(s)."
5. Highlight the name and number of the case in question and click on "Change selected case(s) to notice as a summary report."
6. On the left side of the screen, click on "Submit All Changes."
Yes. If you set up an “Out of Office” automatic reply rule, please make sure that the e-mail address email@example.com is entered as an exception to the rule.
Yes. When you attempt to view a document, PACER will display information regarding the number of billable pages and the related cost. To accept the charges, click on the button, "View the Document." The current PACER cost is $0.10 per page.
If you believe there is an error on your statement or if you have a question concerning a transaction, please go to the PACER website at www.pacer.gov.