The Massachusetts Appeals Court requires that many motions and other papers be filed electronically in addition to, or often instead of, a paper filing. While an Appeals Court Standing Order mandates the electronic filing of motions and letters after an appeal has been assigned to a panel of justices, even before panel assignment many other documents must be filed electronically. A Massachusetts appellate attorney should know which documents must be filed electronically and understand the procedure for doing so.
Documents for which electronic filing is required can be divided into four groups: (1) those directed to a single justice of the Appeals Court; (2) motions heard in single justice session before an appeal is entered in the Appeals Court; (3) documents filed after entry of the appeal but before an appeal is assigned to a panel; and (4) documents filed after panel assignment. An appeal is not deemed to have been assigned to a panel until briefing is complete and the parties have been notified of oral argument or assignment to a panel.
Documents directed to the single justice.
One paper and one electronic copy, in .pdf format, of a Petition for Interlocutory Review under G.L. c. 231, §118, ¶1, of any related memorandum or opposition, and of the appendix required for such petitions must be filed with the Appeals Court. The electronic copy must be a searchable .pdf file and should be filed as an attachment to an email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Files larger than 10 megabytes cannot be emailed and must be filed on a CD.
Similar, but not identical, requirements apply to a Motion to Stay Judgment pursuant to Mass. R. App. P. 6. See Standing Order Governing Motions to Stay a Judgment or Execution of Sentence Filed Pursuant to Mass. R.A.P. 6.
Motions heard in single justice session before an appeal is entered.
Various motions (and related oppositions) heard by a single justice prior to entry of an appeal in the Appeals Court must be filed both by email to email@example.com and on paper. Such motions include a Motion for Leave to File Late Notice of Appeal, a Motion to Extend Time for Docketing and other motions heard by a single justice.
Documents filed after entry of the appeal but before assignment to a panel.
A Registration for Electronic Notification may be filed electronically, via a .pdf attached to an email directed to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject header “Notice Consent Registration,” but may also, instead, be filed on paper.
A Civil Docketing Statement must be filed on the required form and may either be attached as a .pdf to an email directed to email@example.com, or e-filed through the Appeals Court’s e-filing system.
Many other documents may be filed on paper or electronically through the Appeals Court’s e-filing system. These include: A Motion to Stay Appellate Proceedings; a Motion to Enlarge Time for Filing Brief; a party’s Brief, Reply Brief or Record Appendix; a Notice of Unavailability for Oral Argument, and any other motion or paper filed before the appeal is assigned to a panel.
Documents filed after panel assignment.
An Appeals Court standing order requires that all motions and letters filed after an appeal has been assigned to a panel be either: (1) e-filed using the Appeals Court’s e-filing system or (2) filed as a .pdf attachment to an email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Requirements for email filing are set forth in the Appeals Court’s Standing Order Requiring the Electronic Filing of All Motions and Letters Filed After Panel Assignment. No paper copies need be filed.
Filings subject to this Standing Order include: A Motion to Reschedule Oral Argument; a Motion for Additional Time for Argument; a Petition for Rehearing; a Rule 16(1) Letter; and any other motions, oppositions, or letters filed after panel assignment.
The e-filing system.
Information about the Appeals Court’s e-filing system is available here.
Formatting requirements for .pdf files.
Where documents are required to be filed as .pdf files attached to emails, the Appeals Court’s Standing Order imposes the following formatting requirements.
The subject line of the email and the .pdf’s file name must consist of (1) the docket number of the appeal, without spaces or hyphens (e.g. 12P0062); (2) a hyphen; and (3) a description of the filing not exceeding 56 characters, indicating the nature of the document and who filed it. The Standing Order provides as an example “11P0826-Deft Ellis Petition for Rehearing.pdf”
A person filing a .pdf may electronically sign the document and certificate of service, by placing “/s/” prior to his or her typed name.
Electronically filed documents are deemed filed when received by the Court or, if filed after business hours or on weekends or holidays, on the next business day.
Updated: January 20, 2017.