Delaware court OKs CD filings
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Jan 07, 2001
Superior Court of Delaware
In a state known for firsts, Delaware's Superior Court claims to be the
first to allow parties to submit filings on CD-ROM.
The new order, adopted and implemented this summer, amends Superior
Court Civil Rule 107, permitting any party to "serve and file identical
copies of any brief and exhibits on CD-ROM."
The state was also the first to create an electronic docketing and
filing system for civil cases, in 1991.
Delaware's order outlines the steps parties must take if they wish to
file a CD-ROM, such as labeling it correctly, providing the appropriate
number of copies and ensuring that the disc is virus-free. The order also
lists what should be included on the disc such as images of the signed
brief and exhibits and describes how the disc should be formatted.
Henry duPont Ridgely, the Superior Court's president judge, said CD-ROMs
are space-savers because they can store the equivalent of 100,000 word-processed
"Given the complex nature of some of the commercial litigation we have,
we have space issues of where to store and file materials," he said. "This
is helping to address that. This is also helping us to go through the briefs
and the citations, which are given on a more expedited basis."
The legal filings appear on the screen in Portable Document Format,
which can include hyperlinks to cited cases, statutes, case law or exhibits
on the CD-ROM.
"If a case is cited, it would be the equivalent of somebody photocopying
every reference and providing them every reference," Ridgely said.
Ridgely said certain federal courts have allowed attorneys to file
CD-ROMs on a case-by-case basis dating back to 1997, but Delaware is the
first state to promulgate a rule. In August 1999, Delaware's Court of Chancery
was the first to accept briefs submitted on CD-ROM, which was a sort of
pilot project for the state, Ridgely said.
No CD-ROM briefs have been filed in the state since then, he said,
because lawyers are still adapting to the technology. But Ridgely said he
expected lawyers in an upcoming tobacco litigation case to file briefs
on CD-ROM beginning in December.
The Superior Court can be found on the World Wide Web at courts.state.de.us/superior.