Verdict - Summer 2015 - (Page 39)

> PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE POINTERS Updates on E-filing, the Court of Appeals, and a New Traffic Division in DeKalb State Court BY JORDAN M. JEWKES E-FILING For those attorneys anxiously awaiting the day when pleadings and clerks are working with more than one service provider for their e-filing motions can be electronically filed in county courthouses in and outside services. These services charge a reasonable fee to file pleadings and the metro Atlanta area, the future is now. Within the last year, well motions, and, depending on the county and service, it is often possible over 60 Georgia courts - the majority of which remain superior courts to immediately view your time-stamped pleadings. E-filing through these - have adopted some form of electronic filing. companies is available 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year, although the Seeking to capitalize on what has long been sought by many mem- filings are ultimately subject to approval by the court clerk. bers of the plaintiff's bar, it seems private companies are leading Where in the past firms could expect to spend $100 or more on a the charge on making filing a complaint from your desktop computer courier service for their filing needs in metro Atlanta, and often more a reality. outside the metro area, only to hope the pleading was filed before the GreenCourt Legal Technologies, LLC, better known as PeachCourt (, is one of several companies offering e-fil- clerk's office closed for the day, e-filing - for the most part - offers a reliable and efficient form of filing. ing access to an ever-expanding number of Georgia courts. Coweta, While there are still some counties and courts that have yet to Calhoun, and Fayette are just a few counties that now offer e-filing connect, and the technology for e-filing continues to evolve, e-filing through PeachCourt, which has been operating since 2013 and has part- appears to have found its permanent place in Georgia. nered with the Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia. PeachCourt boasts that they are in 61 state and superior courts across 58 counties, NEW COURT OF APPEALS with an aim to serve 200 state and superior courts in 140 counties in PANEL OF JUDGES the near future. By way of amended House Bill 279, the Georgia legislature has approved Similarly, Odyssey eFileGA ( offers a budget for the creation of an additional court panel - or three new electronic access to state and superior courts in DeKalb, Rockdale, judges - for the Court of Appeals, increasing the judicial seats from Douglas, and other counties. Perhaps most notably, as of June 1, 2015, its current level of 12 to 15. Fulton State Court dropped LexisNexis' "File and Serve" for Odyssey According to the bill, the three new judges will be initially appointed eFileGA's electronic filing service. All cases that were with File and by Governor Nathan Deal for a term beginning Jan. 1, 2016, and then Serve in Fulton State Court have been automatically transferred to will face election in 2018 for six year terms. Odyssey eFileGA. Also of note, DeKalb State recently adopted an order According to the Court of Appeals' website, appellate case fil- that mandates electronic filing for certain cases, including personal ings have been steadily rising over the past 5 years, from 3,299 injury, premises liability, wrongful death, and other claims. A copy per year in 2009 to 3,464 in 2013. (Data for 2014 was unavailable.) of the order can be downloaded from DeKalb State Court's website. The number of appellate judges was most recently increased Not unlike the federal case management electronic filing system, in order to file a pleading electronically, one must first setup an account in 1996, when Governor Roy Barnes signed a bill increasing the judicial seats from 10 to 12. with the service before filing. Once the account is established, you can file directly from the service provider's website. Increasingly, county continued on page 46 Summer 2015 39

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Verdict - Summer 2015

President’s Message
GTLA President’s Gala
Trying a Sex Abuse Case Against a Local Church in a Conservative Venue
New Strategies and Interventions to Curtail Discovery Abuses
High-Speed Police Chases and Injured Innocent Bystanders
When One Award is Not Enough
Three Strategies to Fend off a Funding Attack
Recent Updates to Georgia Suggested Pattern Jury Instructions (Civil), July 2013 – Present
The Hidden Predator Act: How House Bill 17 Will Impact Victims’ Rights in Georgia
New Lawyers’ Corner: Trying a Low-Damage Jury Case
Professional Practice Pointers: Updates on E-filing, the Court of Appeals, and a New Traffic Division in DeKalb State
Case Updates: What’s New?
Workers’ Comp Updates
Notes: What’s New with GTLA Members
Welcome New GTLA Members!
Index to Advertisers

Verdict - Summer 2015