Civil Case Opening

Case Opening Checklist (PDF)

Entering Party Names (PDF)

Attorney's Guide to Opening a
Civil Case
(4.6 mb PDF)


The Attorney's Guide is also available as a PowerPoint (PPTX) tutorial (Internet Explorer 8 users please see note below):


1. Getting Started

2. Entering Party Names 

3. Opening Your Civil Case

3a. Opening Your Civil Case (cont.) 

4. Adding Parties

4a. Adding Addl Attorneys 

5. Docketing the Lead Event 

5a. Complaint

5b. Notice of Removal

5c. Motion to Proceed IFP

5d. Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

6. Emergency Matters 

7. Paying the Filing Fee

8. Completing the Process

To view these files in Internet Explorer 7 or 8, please save the file on your computer. When saving, change the file's extension from ".zip" to ".ppsx". You'll then be able to open the file normally.

Electronic filing of new civil cases is mandatory for attorneys. Self represented parties may not open civil cases electronically. Attorneys must register for CM/ECF. All documents must be converted to PDF. Please note that miscellaneous cases cannot be filed electronically at this time. Please visit our web page on miscellaneous cases for more information.


Filer tasks (via CM/ECF):

  • Enter Civil Cover Sheet information
  • Add case participants from the Complaint or Notice of Removal
  • Upload initial pleadings in PDF format. 
  • Pay the filing fee through, and
  • Transmit the case information and documents to the court.


Court staff tasks:

  • Issue summons, if any
  • Assign the judge to the case
  • Do a quality check of the new case after it is filed, and  
  • Notify filer of deficiencies or errors.


Civil case forms


Frequently asked questions