Forsyth County Bar Association Meeting
January 13, 2017
Bar President Charlotte Ruble opened the meeting.
Announcements from the Bench:
Judge Bagley reported that the computer station in the attorney’s lounge is now available for use. Attorneys can use this computer to print documents that they have on a flash drive or memory stick. At this time, there is no charge for this service. Please do not abuse this courtesy.
Judge Jackson reported that the Juvenile Court applied for and received a grant to create a family treatment court. Judge Meincke will be overseeing this court. The family treatment court will be modeled after other accountability courts, such as drug courts. Child abuse and neglect issues, particularly those with a substance abuse component, will be addressed by this court. Anyone can make a referral to the family treatment court. Ashley Willingham will be the court coordinator. The court will be up and running beginning in February 2017.
Judge Boles introduced the newest part-time magistrate judge, Erin Fowler. Judge Fowler will be hearing county ordinance violations as well as handling warrants. In other Magistrate Court news, the Magistrate Court has started doing first appearance hearings on Saturdays.
Judge Boles also reminded the group that Magistrate Court has its own e-filing options. The free option can be found at www.georgiamagistratecouncil.com, and can be used presently for civil matters only. The other option is NCourt, home.ncourt.com, which costs $20.
Judge McClelland reminded the group that the State and Superior Courts are currently offering permissive e-filing of civil cases. Permissive e-filing of pleadings in criminal cases is expected, maybe as soon as March 2017. Two e-filing systems are available: PeachCourt and software from Tyler Technologies.
Announcements from the bench concluded.
Speakers: Ryan Roengik and Jay Bland, Esq., of Peach Court.
Jay Bland explained that our Clerk of Court, Greg Allen, and Emily Caldwell of the Clerk’s office, have provided two e-filing options for Forsyth County cases. He then gave an informative presentation regarding one of those two options: PeachCourt.
- The Superior Court rules regarding e-filing also apply to State Court e-filing.
- In e-filing, the “filer” should be the attorney working on the case – even if your administrative staff does the actual filing, the “filer” needs to be the person with the bar number. However, each “filer” account can have as many courtesy email addresses as you want. So, your administrative staff can still physically push the button to e-file, and receive the e-filing notifications.
- PeachCourt charges $5 to file. You save your documents in PDF, and then are charged $5 to file as many documents as you want, provided they fit within a certain file size.
- $5 is likely cheaper than traditional filing costs outside of court filing fees, when you consider the costs of paper, ink, and postage to and from.
- Time estimates: PeachCourt takes about 5 minutes to file a new case, and about 2 minutes to file something in an existing case.
- You will be able to use PeachCourt to search any open case – not just those cases that have been e-filed. So, if opposing counsel is not an early adopted of e-filing, you will still be able to see all pleadings in the PeachCourt system. (This access may or may not be through the local court portal. Just depends on the county.)
- Presently, 19,000 people are using PeachCourt.
- They pride themselves on customer service and responsiveness.
- More features are anticipated in the future – for example, generating summons.
- A list of all counties currently using PeachCourt can be found here: www.peachcourt.com/. (Hall and Dawson are using it already.)
- PeachCourt offers free online training twice a week, via webinar. The webinar is approximately 45 minutes long.
- In response to a question regarding whether e-filing will soon be available in all courts, Judge McClelland noted that the Uniform Rules Committee and the Standing Committee on Technology are working together to update the uniform rules of all courts such that e-filing rules will be uniform across all courts.
The presentation concluded, and the meeting was adjourned.