Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

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Newsletter, May 2002

Looking for a Copy of a Document?

We currently have over a quarter million pages of scanned images available to you on-line via Web PACER. The Western District began limited document scanning in February 2001. On February 4, 2002, we implemented the Case Management and Trustee filing portion of Electronic Case Filing. As a result, while we phase in attorney participation over the remainder of this year, court staff is scanning and docketing nearly all documents (petitions, schedules, motions, orders) into the system. While this has a number of advantages for you, such as 24 hour availability of images, the additional volume of work means that until more attorneys begin filing electronically, there will be delays in processing cases. Please be patient.

Why Should I File Electronically?

You may wonder why you should use ECF if the Clerk’s office staff is currently scanning and docketing. Well, as mentioned above, the volume of work means delays in processing, but it also means attorneys cannot take advantage of the features in ECF that permit them to manage their cases more effectively.

Here’s how it works: Attorney A mails his petitions to one of our offices. The mail is distributed among several staff members. The petitions are docketed and scanned into the system during the day. As a result, his cases are scattered throughout the 341 Calendar.

Attorney B has hers delivered to the Clerk’s office at 4:00 p.m.. Again, they are distributed, and docketed that afternoon, but some cannot be completed until the next day. Attorney B also has no control over the 341 scheduling and must wait until we provide docket numbers, which is not possible until all the information on the petition has been entered into our system.

Attorney C uses the court’s ECF system, or one of the special bankruptcy software products designed to work with ECF. He can file his cases 24 hours per day, receive immediate case number information, and because the time of filing is under his control, is able to group his cases closer together on the 341 calendar. He also reduces his copying costs and eventually, as other parties participate by email, everyone can reduce paper and copying expenses. Finally, since he receives email notice of documents filed by other parties in his cases and can immediately view them or print them out, he achieves a strategic advantage before the paper copy arrives in the mail. And as a bonus, he can also earn frequent flyer miles since he must use a credit card to file electronically.

Email Comment from Attorney Tim Korf

Some thoughts on ECF: "Saves me over $4 postage on each filing - $3.95 for the manila envelope and 34 cents for the self-addressed return envelope. If an average petition with schedules is 35 pages, it saves me 105 pages of copy on each filing. Ordinarily, filing requires: original and three copies of petition and other documents, addressing envelopes, affixing postage, writing transmittal letters, writing checks for filing fees - and about half an hour or more. It takes less than 10 minutes to file the petition, schedules and address matrix - and receive e-mail confirmation of filing with case number. A wonderful tool if immediate filing is necessary for any reason.

I'm thoroughly taken with the process. I think it'll save me considerable time and money - important since a lawyer's stock in trade is time."

Trustee Electronic Filers

The following Assistant U.S. Trustees, Panel Trustees and their staff members have been trained and are filing electronically: Sheree Dandurand, Tom Walz, William Chatterton, Peter Gennrich, Michael Kepler, William Rameker, Scott Shadel, Arthur Eberlein, Mark Wittman, Brian Wright, Peter Herrell, James McNeill, Jr., Melvyn Hoffman, Daniel Freund and Randi Osberg. Their input and participation have been extremely valuable and have already resulted in several modifications that have made filing more efficient. We truly appreciate them and their staff members! The Wisconsin Supreme Court has authorized 3.5 CLE hours for the Trustee Training. We have applied for similar credit for Attorney Training.

Administrative Procedures & "Help Desk"

Please check our website for a downloadable copy of the ECF procedures manual. We are also developing a Frequently Asked Questions area on our website, a Help Desk, and plan to have a toll free number for your convenience.

Attorney and Staff Training for ECF

Specific information to register you and your staff for training classes is posted on our website.

Attorney Filers

The following attorneys and staff members have already attended training. Attorneys: Pierre Abaca, Jenny R. Armstrong, Joan M. Bedner, Andrew J. Clarkowski, Stewart L. Etten, Daniel Freund, Catherine Furay, Peter Gennrich, Patricia M. Gibeault, Bradley J. Halberstadt, Richard Humphrey, Tim Korf, Michael E. Kepler, J. David Krekeler, Janet M. McDonough, Timothy Peyton, James T. Remington, Bryan C. Royce, Kristin J. Sederholm, Ronald L. Siler, Mart Swanson, R. John Symonds, Jeremy M. Welch, Richard Wallace Zeddun, Bruce E. Zito

Staff members: Amy M. Benedict, Diane L. Benson, Joanna Boxer, Jackie Counts, Lisa M. Christians, Cindy M. Dahlke, Marcia Dampier, Erica P. Freid, Ed Bezel, Carie Hall, Judith E. Holtz, Kim L. Johnson, Cindy L. Klein, Margo A. Lindauer, Sue Nyberg, Carol S. Vondrasek, Janice E. Walden, Cheryl F. Watson.

Their comments and suggestions have been an integral part of helping us develop the FAQ area on our website. The Clerk’s office could not have come this far without their help. Thanks everyone!

Important WebPACER Reminder

Due to required software upgrades, the old WebPACER system was replaced by ECF/PACER effective February 4, 2002. Dial_in PACER is no longer available. Your current logon and password will work with the new system. Check our website for registration information if you are not already signed up.

WebPACER Fees

Effective immediately, the Judicial Conference of the United States has approved a cap of seven cents per page for internet access to data. Users will be charged a maximum of $2.10, the equivalent of 30 pages, for electronic access to any single document. Please note that attachments will be treated as separate documents for purposes of this rule.

Miscellaneous

More than a third of bankruptcy courts - 32 - are using CM/ECF to manage cases. Over half of those are accepting filings electronically over the internet, including Western WI. Another 39 courts are in some stage of implementation.

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Contact Us at: feedback@wiwb.uscourts.gov