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2020 California Rules of Court

Rule 2.257. Requirements for signatures on documents

(a) Electronic signature

An electronic signature is an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with an electronic record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign a document or record created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means.

(Subd (a) adopted effective January 1, 2019.)

(b) Documents signed under penalty of perjury

When a document to be filed electronically provides for a signature under penalty of perjury of any person, the document is deemed to have been signed by that person if filed electronically provided that either of the following conditions is satisfied:

(1)  The declarant has signed the document using an electronic signature and declares under penalty of perjury under the laws of the state of California that the information submitted is true and correct. If the declarant is not the electronic filer, the electronic signature must be unique to the declarant, capable of verification, under the sole control of the declarant, and linked to data in such a manner that if the data are changed, the electronic signature is invalidated; or

(2)  The declarant, before filing, has physically signed a printed form of the document. By electronically filing the document, the electronic filer certifies that the original, signed document is available for inspection and copying at the request of the court or any other party. In the event this second method of submitting documents electronically under penalty of perjury is used, the following conditions apply:

(A)  At any time after the electronic version of the document is filed, any party may serve a demand for production of the original signed document. The demand must be served on all other parties but need not be filed with the court.

(B)  Within five days of service of the demand under (A), the party or other person on whom the demand is made must make the original signed document available for inspection and copying by all other parties.

(C)  At any time after the electronic version of the document is filed, the court may order the filing party or other person to produce the original signed document in court for inspection and copying by the court. The order must specify the date, time, and place for the production and must be served on all parties.

(D)  Notwithstanding (A)-(C), local child support agencies may maintain original, signed pleadings by way of an electronic copy in the statewide automated child support system and must maintain them only for the period of time stated in Government Code section 68152(a). If the local child support agency maintains an electronic copy of the original, signed pleading in the statewide automated child support system, it may destroy the paper original.

(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2020; adopted as subd (a); previously amended effective January 1, 2007, July 1, 2016, and January 1, 2018; previously relettered and amended as subd (b) effective January 1, 2019.)

(c) Documents not signed under penalty of perjury

(1)  If a document does not require a signature under penalty of perjury, the document is deemed signed by person who filed it electronically.

(2)  When a document to be filed electronically, such as a stipulation, requires the signatures of opposing parties or persons other than the filer not under penalty of perjury, the following procedures apply:

(A)   The opposing party or other person has signed a printed form of the document before, or on the same day as, the date of filing. The electronic filer must maintain the original, signed document and must make it available for inspection and copying as provided in (b)(2) of this rule and Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6. The court and any other party may demand production of the original signed document in the manner provided in (b)(2)(A)-(C). By electronically filing the document, the electronic filer indicates that all parties have signed the document and that the filer has the signed original in his or her possession; or

(B)  The opposing party or other person has signed the document using an electronic signature and that electronic signature is unique to the person using it, capable of verification, under the sole control of the person using it, and linked to data in such a manner that if the data are changed, the electronic signature is invalidated.

(Subd (c) amended effective January 1, 2020; adopted as subd (b); previously amended effective January 1, 2007; relettered as subd (c) effective January 1. 2019.)

(d) Digital signature

A party or other person is not required to use a digital signature on an electronically filed document.

(Subd (d) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2020; adopted as subd (d); previously relettered as subd (e) effective January 1, 2019.)

(e) Judicial signatures

If a document requires a signature by a court or a judicial officer, the document may be electronically signed in any manner permitted by law.

(Subd (e) relettered effective January 1, 2020; adopted as subd (e) effective January 1, 2008; previously relettered as subd (f) effective January 1, 2019.)

Rule 2.257 amended effective January 1, 2020; adopted as rule 2057 effective January 1, 2003; previously amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2007; previously amended effective January 1, 2008, July 1, 2016, January 1, 2018, and January 1, 2019.

Advisory Committee Comment

The requirements for electronic signatures that are compliant with the rule do not impair the power of the courts to resolve disputes about the validity of a signature.

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