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Farley v. Koepp

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

June 8, 2015

DANNY FARLEY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
JACOB KOEPP, et al., Defendants-Appellees

Argued: November 4, 2014.

Page 682

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. No. 3:13-cv-234-DGW. Donald G. Wilkerson, Magistrate Judge.

For Danny Farley, Plaintiff - Appellant: Thomas P. Germeroth, Attorney, Germeroth Law Firm, LLC, Clayton, MO.

For JACOB KOEPP, individually and in his official capacity for acts done under color of state law in his capacity as a police officer for the City of Granite City, Illinois, JONATHAN HADLEY, individually and in his official capacity for acts done under color of state law in his capacity as a police officer for the City of Granite City, Illinois, Defendants - Appellees: Jane E. Unsell, Attorney, Erin M. Phillips, Attorney, Unsell, Schattnik & Phillips PC, Wood River, IL.

For VINIT J. TAILOR, individually and in his official capacity for acts done under color of state law in conjunction with police officers of the City of Granite City, Illinois, Defendant - Appellee: Kenneth Martin Lander, Attorney, Kortenhof Mcglynn & Burns LLC, St. Louis, MO.

For Granite City Hotels And Suites, LLC, Defendant - Appellee: Kenneth Martin Lander, Attorney, Kortenhof Mcglynn & Burns LLC, St. Louis, MO.

For Granite City, Illinois, Defendant - Appellee: Eric W. Evans, Esq., Attorney, Evans Blasi, Granite City, IL.

Before MANION, WILLIAMS, and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 683

Sykes, Circuit Judge.

At 4:15 p.m. on Friday, March 8, 2013, the plaintiff's attorney in this civil-rights case opened an electronic case file in the Southern District of Illinois by e-mailing the complaint and civil cover sheet to the clerk's office as required by the local court rules. The clerk received the e-mail, opened a new case file in the Case Management/ Electronic Case Filing system (" CM/ECF" ), and at 5:11 p.m. notified the attorney that the electronic file was available to receive uploads. On the next business day--Monday, March 11--the attorney's assistant tried to upload the complaint but encountered problems with the electronic payment system. It was not until Tuesday, March 12, that she successfully paid the filing fee and uploaded the complaint. But the deadline to sue under the two-year statute of limitations was Monday, March 11, and under the local rules, the complaint was not deemed " filed" until it was uploaded into CM/ECF. The district court dismissed the suit as untimely.

We vacate the judgment and remand for reinstatement of the complaint. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, " [a] civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court," Fed.R.Civ.P. 3, and a paper is " filed" simply by " delivering it ... to the clerk," FED. R. CIV. P. 5(d)(2)(A). The clerk may not " refuse to file a paper solely because it is not in the form prescribed by these rules or by a local rule or practice." Fed.R.Civ.P. 5(d)(4). Here, counsel e-mailed the complaint to the clerk, as required to open a new electronic case file in the Southern District of Illinois. Although the filing process was not complete under the local rules until the complaint was uploaded, transmitting the complaint via e-mail effectively " delivered" it to the clerk for purposes of Rule 5(d)(2). The delay in ...


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