Civil Case Opening Frequently Asked Questions
Back to Civil Case Opening page
Yes, it is mandatory, except for miscellaneous cases.
Can I open a case 24 hours a day?
Yes. An electronic document is considered filed when it is received by the court's CM/ECF system. The filing deadline is 11:59 PM Pacific Time for the current date of filing.
What happens if I open a case in error?
You will need to contact the Help Desk at (206) 370-8440 for assistance. The Help Desk is available from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.
Sealed cases can only be filed in person over the counter.
No. Not at this time.
The filing fee can be paid by credit card, debit card or Automated Clearing House (ACH), also known as Bank Account Debit or Direct Debit. ACH payments are like online checks; the funds are withdrawn from your bank account. For more information, visit Pay.gov's Frequently Asked Questions page.
While posting your complaint or removal, the first of two Pay.gov screens will appear where you will enter your credit card, debit card, or account information for ACH.
Pay.gov is not working. Can I submit my filing fee a different way?
You can call the New Case Help Desk at (206)-370-8440 with your credit or debit card number. If your ACH payment does not go through, it is your responsibility to contact your financial institution withdrawing the funds.
How do I get a judge assigned to the case?
The judge is assigned to your case by Clerk's Office staff after the case is opened. You will receive a Notice of Electronic Filing of the judge assignment.
How do I determine if it is a Seattle or Tacoma jurisdiction?
The following counties reside in the Seattle division: Island, King, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom.
The following counties reside in the Tacoma division: Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Skamania, Thurston, and Wahkiakum.
See Local Civil Rule 3(d) for further information.
No. Only Pro se litigants (including prisoners) may file their cases over the counter or by way of mail or e-mail.
How to I get my summons issued?
Download and save the summons form. Use this fillable form each time you post a summons to the court docket. Post each summons separately. Summon(es) will be issued by the court electronically the following day.
You will receive a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) of the issued summons when the Clerk's Office enters it on the court's docket. Use the NEF (Notice of Electronic Filing) hyperlink to retrieve the issued summons form to effect service of process.
What types of information do I need to redact?
In compliance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.2, Fed. R. Crim. P. 49.1, and WAWD Local Rule CR 5.2, all filers must redact:
- Dates of Birth: redact to the year of birth.
- Names of Minor Children: redact to the initials.
- Social Security Numbers or Taxpayer Identification Numbers: redact in their entirety.
- Financial Accounting Information: redact to the last four digits.
- Passport Numbers and Driver License Numbers: redact in their entirety.
- Home addresses in criminal cases: redact to the city and state.
What is the maximum allowable file size for PDF documents?
PDF documents should be no more than 5 megabytes (MB). This will allow for faster processing of filing and downloading documents.
Call the New Case Help Desk at (206) 370-8440 for assistance.