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2018 California Rules of Court

Rule 2.251. Electronic service

(a) Authorization for electronic service

When a document may be served by mail, express mail, overnight delivery, or fax transmission, the document may be served electronically under Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6 and the rules in this chapter.

(Subd (a) amended effective July 1, 2013; previously amended effective January 1, 2007, January 1, 2008, and January 1, 2011.)

(b) Electronic service by consent of the parties

(1)Electronic service may be established by consent. A party or other person indicates that the party or other person agrees to accept electronic service by:

(A)Serving a notice on all parties and other persons that the party or other person accepts electronic service and filing the notice with the court. The notice must include the electronic service address at which the party or other person agrees to accept service; or

(B)Electronically filing any document with the court. The act of electronic filing is evidence that the party or other person agrees to accept service at the electronic service address the party or other person has furnished to the court under rule 2.256(a)(4). This subparagraph (B) does not apply to self-represented parties or other self-represented persons; they must affirmatively consent to electronic service under subparagraph (A).

(2)A party or other person that has consented to electronic service under (1) and has used an electronic filing service provider to serve and file documents in a case consents to service on that electronic filing service provider as the designated agent for service for the party or other person in the case, until such time as the party or other person designates a different agent for service.

(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2018, adopted as part of subd (a), previously amended and relettered effective July 1, 2013; previously amended effective January 1, 2007, January 1, 2008, and January 1, 2011.)

(c) Electronic service required by local rule or court order

(1)A court may require parties to serve documents electronically in specified actions by local rule or court order, as provided in Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6 and the rules in this chapter.

(2)A court may require other persons to serve documents electronically in specified actions by local rule, as provided in Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6 and the rules in this chapter.

(3)Except when personal service is otherwise required by statute or rule, a party or other person that is required to file documents electronically in an action must also serve documents and accept service of documents electronically from all other parties or persons, unless:

(A)The court orders otherwise, or

(B)The action includes parties or persons that are not required to file or serve documents electronically, including self-represented parties or other self-represented persons; those parties or other persons are to be served by non-electronic methods unless they affirmatively consent to electronic service.

(4)Each party or other person that is required to serve and accept service of documents electronically must provide all other parties or other persons in the action with its electronic service address and must promptly notify all other parties, other persons, and the court of any changes under (g).

(Subd (c) amended effective January 1, 2018; adopted effective July 1, 2013.)

(d) Additional provisions for electronic service required by court order

(1)If a court has adopted local rules for permissive electronic filing, then the court may, on the motion of any party or on its own motion, provided that the order would not cause undue hardship or significant prejudice to any party, order all parties in any class action, a consolidated action, a group of actions, a coordinated action, or an action that is complex under rule 3.403 to serve all documents electronically, except when personal service is required by statute or rule.

(2)A court may combine an order for mandatory electronic service with an order for mandatory electronic filing as provided in rule 2.253(c).

(3)If the court proposes to make any order under (1) on its own motion, the court must mail notice to any parties that have not consented to receive electronic service. The court may electronically serve the notice on any party that has consented to receive electronic service. Any party may serve and file an opposition within 10 days after notice is mailed, electronically served, or such later time as the court may specify.

(4)If the court has previously ordered parties in a case to electronically serve documents and a new party is added that the court determines should also be ordered to do so under (1), the court may follow the notice procedures under (2) or may order the party to electronically serve documents and in its order state that the new party may object within 10 days after service of the order or by such later time as the court may specify.

(Subd (d) adopted effective January 1, 2018.)

(e) Maintenance of electronic service lists

A court that permits or requires electronic filing in a case must maintain and make available electronically to the parties and other persons in the case an electronic service list that contains the parties' or other persons' current electronic service addresses, as provided by the parties or other persons that have filed electronically in the case.

(Subd (e) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2018; adopted effective January 1, 2008 as subd (b); previously amended and relettered as subd (d) effective July 1, 2013; previously amended effective January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2011.)

(f) Service by the parties and other persons

(1)Notwithstanding (e), parties and other persons that have consented to or are required to serve documents electronically are responsible for electronic service on all other parties and other persons required to be served in the case. A party or other person may serve documents electronically directly, by an agent, or through a designated electronic filing service provider.

(2)A document may not be electronically served on a nonparty unless the nonparty consents to electronic service or electronic service is otherwise provided for by law or court order.

(Subd (f) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2018; adopted as subd (c) effective January 1, 2008; previously amended and relettered as subd (e) effective July 1, 2013; previously amended effective January 1, 2011.)

(g) Change of electronic service address

(1)A party or other person whose electronic service address changes while the action or proceeding is pending must promptly file a notice of change of address electronically with the court and must serve this notice electronically on all other parties and all other persons required to be served.

(2)A party's or other person's election to contract with an electronic filing service provider to electronically file and serve documents or to receive electronic service of documents on the party's or other person's behalf does not relieve the party or other person of its duties under (1).

(3)An electronic service address is presumed valid for a party or other person if the party or other person files electronic documents with the court from that address and has not filed and served notice that the address is no longer valid.

(Subd (g) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2018; adopted as subd (d) effective January 1, 2008; previously relettered as subd (f) effective July 1, 2013; previously amended effective January 1, 2011.)

(h) Reliability and integrity of documents served by electronic notification

A party or other person that serves a document by means of electronic notification must:

(1)Ensure that the documents served can be viewed and downloaded using the hyperlink provided;

(2)Preserve the document served without any change, alteration, or modification from the time the document is posted until the time the hyperlink is terminated; and

(3)Maintain the hyperlink until either:

(A)All parties in the case have settled or the case has ended and the time for appeals has expired; or

(B)If the party or other person is no longer in the case, the party or other person has provided notice to all other parties and other persons required to receive notice that it is no longer in the case and that they have 60 days to download any documents, and 60 days have passed after the notice was given.

(Subd (h) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2018; adopted as subd (e) effective January 1, 2011, previously relettered as subd (g) effective July 1, 2013.)

(i) When service is complete

(1)Electronic service of a document is complete as provided in Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6 and the rules in this chapter.

(2)If an electronic filing service provider is used for service, the service is complete at the time that the electronic filing service provider electronically transmits the document or sends electronic notification of service.

Subd (i) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2018; adopted as subd (b); previously amended effective January 1, 2007; previously relettered as subd (e) effective January 1, 2008; previously amended and relettered as subd (f) effective January 1, 2011, and as subd (h) effective July 1, 2013.)

(j) Proof of service

(1) Proof of electronic service shall be made as provided in Code of Civil Procedure section 1013b.

(2)Under rule 3.1300(c), proof of electronic service of the moving papers must be filed at least five court days before the hearing.

(3)If a person signs a printed form of a proof of electronic service, the party or other person filing the proof of electronic service must comply with the provisions of rule 2.257(a).

(Subd (j) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2018; adopted as subd (c); previously amended effective January 1, 2007, January 1, 2009, July 1, 2009, January 1, 2010; and January 1, 2017; previously amended and relettered as subd (g) effective January 1, 2011; previously relettered as subd (f) effective January 1, 2008, and as subd (i) effective July 1, 2013.)

(k) Electronic service by or on court

(1)The court may electronically serve documents as provided in Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6 and the rules in this chapter.

(2)A document may be electronically served on a court if the court consents to electronic service or electronic service is otherwise provided for by law or court order. A court indicates that it agrees to accept electronic service by:

(A)Serving a notice on all parties and other persons in the case that the court accepts electronic service. The notice must include the electronic service address at which the court agrees to accept service; or

(B)Adopting a local rule stating that the court accepts electronic service. The rule must indicate where to obtain the electronic service address at which the court agrees to accept service.

(Subd (k) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2018; adopted as subd (e); previously amended effective January 1, 2007, and January 1, 2016; previously relettered as subd (g) effective January 1, 2008, as subd (h) effective January 1, 2011, and as subd (j) effective July 1, 2013.)

Rule 2.251 amended effective January 1, 2018; adopted as rule 2060 effective January 1, 2003; previously amended and renumbered as rule 2.260 effective January 1, 2007, and as rule 2.251 effective January 1, 2011; previously amended effective January 1, 2008, January 1, 2009, July 1, 2009, January 1, 2010, July 1, 2013, January 1, 2016, and January 1, 2017.

Advisory Committee Comment

Subdivisions (c)–(d). Court-ordered electronic service is not subject to the provisions in Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6 requiring that, where mandatory electronic filing and service are established by local rule, the court and the parties must have access to more than one electronic filing service provider.

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