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Civil Case Opening

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For Pro Se Civil Case Opening instructions, see Representing Yourself page

Opening Sealed Cases: Per the Electronic Filing Procedures (Section IV.A.), sealed cases cannot be opened electronically and must be filed in paper either by mail or in-person.

Preparing to File: Civil Case Opening


Preparing to File: Notice of Removal


Preparing to File: Motion to Vacate/Set Aside/Correct sentence (2255) (PDF; revised 10/2020)

Opening Your Civil Case (via CM/ECF):

Select a topic to see more detailed instructions.


After you file, court staff will complete the following 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


For additional information, review our Case Opening Frequently asked questions.