Mandatory Electronic Case Opening

Attorneys filing new civil actions and “miscellaneous” cases in the Central District of California are required by Local Rule 3-2 to file their case-initiating documents electronically, using the Court’s Case Management/Electronic Case Filing System (CM/ECF), unless exempted from electronic filing by Local Rule 5-4.2.  Certain proceedings that are administrative or otherwise ancillary to civil actions are filed as “miscellaneous” cases, not full-scale civil actions. Every case-initiating document filed in the Central District must be filed electronically, except:  (a) in criminal cases; (b) in sealed cases, or where leave to file the case under seal is sought; or (c) where the filer is exempt from e-filing pursuant to Local Rule 5-4.2(a), such as parties who are not represented by attorneys.  (Note that even pro se litigants who have been granted permission to file documents electronically in a particular case may not open new civil actions electronically; such cases must still be presented to the Clerk for filing in paper format or submitted for filing through the Electronic Document Submission System.  After a case has been filed, eligible pro se litigants may then seek leave of Court to file electronically in that case pursuant to Local Rule

Refer to the Electronic Case Opening User Manual and the Civil Case Opening FAQs for more information.  For a short step-by-step demonstration, view the videos below.  Please note, however, that these videos were created using an earlier release of the case opening events in CM/ECF, and several of the screens and event names will appear slightly different in the videos than in what you will see during the current case opening process.  The Electronic Case Opening User Manual contains more up-to-date information and updated screen shots.  Nonetheless, the videos can still provide useful guidance regarding the electronic case opening process.

To open a case electronically, an attorney must be a registered CM/ECF user.  Registered CM/ECF users are reminded of their obligation to keep their personal contact account information, especially their e-mail addresses, current.  See L.R. 5-4.8.1; L.R. 83-2.4.  Click here for information about updating an attorney’s contact information.

Have questions or need additional information? Contact:
The CM/ECF Help Desk
(213) 894-0242
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST Monday thru Friday


(must be electronically filed starting 12/1/2014, unless otherwise exempt pursuant to L.R. 5-4.2)


(must be electronically filed starting 7/20/2015, unless otherwise exempt pursuant to L.R. 5-4.2)


Registration of Judgment from Other District Court (Form AO-451)

Notice of Removal

Motion Related to Subpoena from Other District (i.e., to quash, modify, enforce, compel, obtain protective order, etc.)

Petition to Compel Arbitration, or to Confirm or Vacate an Arbitration Award

Notice of Receivership Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 754

Petition for Writ of Mandamus

Petition to Quash a Third-Party IRS Summons

Motion to Withdraw Bankruptcy Reference

Request for Administrative Deposition Subpoena

Petition re Naturalization Application (e.g., for a hearing, or for review of denial)

Petition to Perpetuate Testimony Filed Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 27(a)

Application by IRS to Effect a Levy, or to Enforce an IRS Summons

Receipt of Letters Rogatory

Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence

Requests for Issuance of Digital Millennium Copyright Act Subpoenas

Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

Motions to Enforce Filed Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 65.1

Request for Appointment of Counsel/Stay of Execution (Capital Habeas Corpus Petitions)


Civil Matters Ancillary to Criminal Cases


Request for Extradition