Over the years OBLIC has encountered numerous claims caused by a blown deadline, often relating to the filing of a Complaint or perfecting an appeal. In some instances, attorneys believed the relevant deadline was met, or would be met, based on a representation by court personnel that action would be or had been timely taken by them, ie. by a timely file stamp or other indication.
Inevitably, such action was not timely taken, resulting in a no-win argument between attorney and court personnel, with the attorney on the losing side of this argument. Courts are busy and attorneys bear the ultimate responsibility to meet case deadlines.
To avoid these potential claims, we suggest:
- take action well before the approaching deadline – weeks, not days ahead!
- send deadline-related correspondence by certified mail
- use a tickler system to remind you of these deadlines
- verify timely filing
- most importantly, obtain a file-stamped copy of the relevant filing -in YOUR HANDS before the applicable deadline
The same goes for electronic filing:
- take steps in advance of the deadline
- do not use the ease of efiling as a reason for delay
- make sure you receive the efile confirmation for all electronically filed documents well in advance of the deadline
We’ve had a handful of claims in which the pleading or other document was efiled but was caught in the system for failing to pay the filing fee or flagged for improper format, or the attorney just never hit submit! Your client will be looking to you if a technical issue caused the filing delay.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at OBLIC.
President and CEO