Business Court Technology Frequently Asked Questions

How do I file in the Court electronically?

First you must have an active case in the Court. Then you can obtain the efiling program and an authorization number either by filling in the application located in 'Active Cases' on the Court's Docket Center or by contacting the court administrator.

If I use electronic filing do I still have to file originals in the clerk’s office in the county in which the case is pending?

Yes. You are still required to file the original paper pleading in the clerk’s office in the county in which the case was filed. Local rules will be adopted in the future which deal with this issue. In the interim, the case management order entered in each case will speak to the requirements.

If you have suggestions for additions and/or changes to the rules, please click on the 'Rules of Court' button on the main page and email us your ideas.

When I go to the Court web site I am not able to view all areas.

The Court web site uses technologies that can only be viewed in Microsoft Explorer 3.x or higher or Netscape 6.x or higher. These browsers are free and, in the immediate future, will be the only versions compatible with the Court's web site. We are sorry for the inconvenience.  We are working on current state of the art technologies and future technologies for the Court.  If funding becomes available, we will try to downgrade important areas of the web site for older technologies should the need warrant the expense.

Can the courtroom and electronic filing capabilities be used by other judges in other cases?

Yes. Use of the courtroom and its technology is not limited to the Business Court. Any judge can use both the courtroom and electronic filing for complex cases.

Is real-time court reporting available in the Business Court?

The courtroom is equipped for real-time court reporting and its use facilitated by the in courtroom technology. The Court also encourages use of real-time court reporting. However, there are only four real-time court reporters under contract to the state, and availability is a problem. Counsel wishing to use real-time court reporting are advised to make plans to provide their own reporter.

Does the Court permit a witness to testify by videoconference?

When all parties consent, the Court will permit testimony by videoconference. When all parties do not consent, the Court will decide in each individual case whether the circumstances permit and warrant testimony by videoconference.

What is the benefit of electronic filing if the case is not tried in Greensboro?

There are still many benefits to electronic filing. The Court may prepare a CD-ROM of the electronic file and take the electronic copy for use on computers anywhere in the state. Counsel may obtain CD-ROMS of the file for their use. Some of the court technology can be reassembled in other places. The benefits of cost reduction and speed in filing are important. Accessibility to the file over the internet remains a great benefit even if the case is not ultimately tried in the courtroom in Greensboro.

What file format should I use?

Use the file format that is appropriate for the particular item to be filed.  Consider how the file will be used and in what format the current data resides to determine the best format.  
The file choices below are accepted by the Court:

  • .htm      HTML Format

  • .rtf      Rich Text Format

  • .txt      Text Format

  • .jpeg     Graphic Format

  • .bmp      Bitmap Graphic Format

  • .pdf      (Adobe)Portable Document Format

  • .ppt      PowerPoint Presentations

 

  • Legal pleadings are viewed best in HTML (.htm) format or Rich Text Format (.rtf).  Supporting documents/exhibits/attachments that have been scanned are best in .pdf Adobe Acrobat format. 
  • Statutory and case citations are best as .txt or .rtf formats. 
  • Pictures are best as .jpeg files.
  • Videos are best as .mpeg files.
  • Argument files for use in court presentation are best as PowerPoint files (.ppt), HTML (.htm) or Rich Text Format (.rtf).

What is the best file format for my legal pleadings (complaint, motions, etc.)?

HTML and Rich Text Format are the file formats that will allow the greatest control of the formatting, hyperlinks, and document appearance.  Attachments can be in the easiest and most logical formats: i.e., pictures in .jpeg, scanned images as .pdf files, statute/case cites in .txt or rtf. 

Where possible, the Court prefers electronic files to be submitted in .rtf format.  File formats such as .pdf create storage and transmission issues for the Court.

 How do I create an .rtf file?

.rtf files are the basic word processing format for current word processing software.  These applications, including Microsoft Word and Word Perfect, allow you to save your documents in .rtf format.  Using your word processor, select ‘File’ and ‘Save As’.  Change the  ‘File Type’ to Rich Text Format – .rtf, and select ‘Save’.  It is important to review the .rtf file to ensure that its appearance and/or function is not altered in the .rtf format.

 How do I create an .htm/HTML file?

To save the document as an .htm file, use the same steps outlined in the question above, except change the file type to .htm (Web Page/HTML). Some programs are easier to use to create HTML files than others.  Most current word processors allow you to save documents in HTML.  However, the actual formatting may look different in HTML than in the original word processing format.  It is important to review any file to ensure that its appearance and/or function is not altered in the chosen file format.  Front Page and other Web authoring programs allow you to create documents in HTML. 

 The new Microsoft Office 2000 Word program is an improved HTML editor.  It allows you to create HTML files from Word documents without losing the original formatting.  There are also conversion programs available that will convert word processing documents to HTML.  The program Word to Web is an application that converts Microsoft Word documents to HTML while retaining original formatting. [Thanks to Ms. Presson and Ms. Hare of WCSR for this tip.]  The program costs approximately $300 and is available for download at www.solutionsoft.com.

What will an HTML Complaint look like?

See sample complaint with hyperlinks to attachments and authority, complaint.htm 

 What is the best file format for my exhibits?

The best file format will be one designed for that type of exhibit.  (See question "What file format should I use?" above.)  Pictures are best in .jpeg, scanned images in .pdf, reference text as .txt or .rtf.  For presentation in court, PowerPoint files are preferable. 

How do I obtain a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader for .pdf files?

Visit www.adobe.com and follow directions to download Adobe Acrobat.

Can I download and use an evaluation copy of Microsoft Office 2000?

Visit www.microsoft.com for information and support on Microsoft products.

What type of digital video formats will be allowed by the court?

Where can I find an mpeg video editor?

How can I ‘practice’ electronic filing with the Court?

 If I represent 8 defendants, do I have to fill out 8 E-Filing Applications on the NC Business Court Web site?

No and Yes.  You do not have to fill out multiple forms if the defendants you represent are in the same case.  You will have to fill out an E-Filing Application for each case in which you are counsel.  This is to protect against improper filings and to provide all litigants with case specific notice on each individual case before the Court.

How many email addresses may I use to enable those individuals to receive the automatic court email notification of scheduling, filings, and communications?

You can enter your own address, 1 party email address, and 2 other addresses for automatic court email notification of events.  You will receive the original notice from the court and can forward that message to whomever you like from your own email system.

 What schedule does the NC Business Court web site show? 

The posted schedule is the docket of the Hon. Ben F. Tennille and may include events scheduled out of the Greensboro Business Court situs. 

Where would I get a copy of a document filed in a Business Court case that is listed on the Internet but does not exist electronically?

There will be cases that have files that exist only in paper.  The Internet Document Center of the web site will note such a file with an asterisk, and a hyperlink will provide notice that a particular "paper-filed" document is not available electronically.  You may get a copy of this document from the clerk’s office in the county of origin or in some cases from the Business Court Administrator. 

Particularly large files may be directed to the court via CD-ROM and will be available from the Business Court on CD-ROM for the cost of copying the files to a recordable CD.

Can I set up my email program to receive emails from the Court and place them in a particular email folder so that I do not mix up notices from the Court with my other mail?

You can set some email programs to ‘filter’ your incoming email and file it in a designated file folder.  To do this you may set up your program to look for either the case number or Business Court designation in the email header.  Use your email help file to accomplish this in your own system.  Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes email software allow this filtering capability.

 What do I do if my email address changes while I have an active case before the Business Court?

You will be responsible for maintaining your correct email address with the Court to effectuate notice and communication with the Court and Parties.  If your email address changes, you may go to the Business Court Web site and change your E-Filing Intake Form and update your email address.  You will need to use your Authorization Number to enter your Intake Form for editing.  If you are unable to make the change yourself, as a last resort you can call the Business Court and ask for your record to be changed.

 Do I need an Authorization Number to view Business Court filings on the Internet site?

No, you do not need an authorization number to view and read filings posted on the Business Court site.  The Internet Document Center allows public access to Court documents that are not filed under seal or filed unofficially.  Anyone can download a posted electronic file from the Internet Document Center.  The files are compressed in a zip format to reduce their size and to limit download time. 

 How can I find all filings on a particular case?

You can search the Business Court Docket Center on the web site by case number and retrieve a list of all filing activity on that case.  If the file is electronically available, it will be downloadable from the site; if not, it will be available from the clerk of superior court in the county of origin.

What are Case Notes?

 

Will all documents filed in all cases be available on the Internet Document Center?

Not all documents will be available on the Internet Document Center.  Documents filed under seal or filed unofficially, files that are not electronic, and extremely large files will not be posted on the Internet Document Center. 

Some relevant files that are not filed electronically with the Court may be scanned by the Court and posted on the Internet Document Center.

Do I need to have a fast Internet connection to download electronic files from the Internet Document Center?

No, but you may choose to download large electronic files during non-peak hours if you have a slower modem.  When choosing to download a file from the Internet Document Center, your Internet browser will estimate the time required for download.

Once a case is assigned to the Business Court, do I need to electronically re-file all my pleadings with the Business Court?

This issue will be handled in a case management conference.  Regardless, the original filing date will be the date of record..

What if I make a mistake in e-filing and send the wrong document?

Just as in the current paper filing environment, mistakes should be dealt with by filing an amended or corrected pleading.  If you recognize that you have attached the wrong document when e-filing, you can immediately file the correct document without delay.  The Court will keep both documents and note that the second is the correct pleading for the case.  The Court does not intend to delete incorrect filings.

The Court accepts only certain electronic file formats.  May parties stipulate to use a different file format(s) in their case?

Yes, but only as long as the public can read that document format.  Exceptions might apply in special circumstances such as where the files are under seal or unofficial, or there if there is a compelling reason to allow a foreign format. 

The reason the Court has chosen to employ certain file formats is to enable both lawyers and the public to read these files without having to purchase additional software.

What are the size limits for files electronically filed with the Court? ??

How can I learn more about filing electronically in the Business Court?

Read the Court Rules and FAQs on www.ncbusinesscourt.net.  Monthly training sessions are offered at the Business Court at 200 South Elm St,. Suite 200, Greensboro, NC 27401.  You can sign up for a class on www.ncbusinesscourt.net.  You can download the Attorney Electronic Filing Manual.  Additional training sessions will be offered across the state.  If you would like to organize a training session for your local bar or litigation group, contact Mark Shaughnessy at CX Corporation to arrange for a remote session.

What if my ISP goes down and I cannot file/receive files or notice?

How can I electronically communicate with opposing counsel?

This will be dealt with in each case management order. 

Unofficial communication may be effectuated by e-filing and/or email among parties and the Court.  Unofficial communications sent by e-filing will not be made public.  The Court may receive copies of any unofficial communications and send notifications to all parties that an unofficial filing was sent.  Attorneys using electronic communication methods have an obligation to ensure that all parties are able to receive email and that all electronic communications are in a readable format..

What might a case management order in a case before the Business Court look like?

Click here for a sample case management order.

Why don’t I receive all Business Court electronic files via my email system?

Email systems have difficulty dealing with large files.  The results of downloading a large file can range from a long delay in downloading the file to a total lock-up of your entire email system.  In either event, your communication line will be unavailable.

The Business Court E-Filing process notifies all parties of the Court’s receipt of a filing and enables the parties to go to the Internet Docket Center at any time to download filings.  The filings are compressed in a zip format to reduce their size.  Downloading these files in your Internet Browser is much different from receiving mail through your email program.  It is faster and more reliable, and there is a time estimate for the download duration. In addition,  it allows you cancel the download process at any time.

How do I open files that are compressed in a zip format?

There are several decompression software available for download free on the Internet.

Where can I send my own FAQs?

FAQ@ncbusinesscourt.net

What is the best way to create a document (i.e., a brief) which contains hyperlinks (i.e., to exhibits)?

A document can contain hyperlinks to other documents as long as all associated documents are saved in the same file folder.  You may create the primary document as an .htm or .rtf file.  The decision whether to use .htm or .rtf may depend on your word processor software.  For example, Microsoft Word 2000 is an excellent software to use and edit .htm documents.  

The primary document can contain hyperlinks to other documents which are in various formats, including .rtf, .txt, .pdf, .jpeg, .ppt and .htm.  To create a hyperlink: (1) Highlight the appropriate text in the primary document  (i.e., "Exhibit A"); (2) Click on "Insert," "Hyperlink;" (3) In the "Insert Hyperlink" window, type the location of the document to which you are hyperlinking in the appropriate box (i.e.,C:\case\brief\exhibitA) and click on "OK."

Note:  When you are prompted to "Select Files" in the E-filing program, you must select the primary document and all of the documents to which the primary document is hyperlinked.  All documents will be sent to the Court in one electronic filing.