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Bar News - August 11, 2006

US District Court – District of NH


ECF TIP: Documents Exceeding 3 Megabytes and Pleadings Having Multiple Attachments in ECF

One of the most challenging aspects of electronic filing involves submitting a pleading that is large in byte size or a pleading that has numerous exhibits or attachments. The following information should help you to successfully submit these types of electronic documents.


Document Exceeding Three Megabytes

            The court has recently increased CM/ECF’s capacity to accept a single PDF document from two to three megabytes. If you attempt to file a document in excess of three megabytes, you will receive an error message telling you that the document cannot be accepted by the court’s server. Documents converted from Word or WordPerfect to PDF using conversion software will rarely approach the three megabyte per document limit. Depending on the characteristics of the document, however, scanned imaged PDF documents may well exceed this limit.

If you have a document exceeding the three megabyte limit, you should take the following steps:

            If the document is a scanned PDF, check to assure that you are using the most efficient scanner settings. For more information on scanner tips, consult the “Portable Document Format” section of the ECF User Manual or click on the “Scanner Tips” link on CM/ECF “Reference Material” section of the court’s Web site,

            Should the document still exceed three megabytes, the district’s Administrative Procedures for ECF require that you submit the document as separate PDF documents of less than three megabytes each, AP 2.3(b). If a document exceeds 10 megabytes (i.e., would have to be broken into four separate segments of less than three megabytes), the filer is required to file the document on a compact disk rather than trying to submit it in ECF or on paper. In the case where the 10 megabyte document is an exhibit/attachment to a main document, which it will be in the vast majority of cases, the exhibits should be submitted consistent with AP 2.5(d), (i.e., file a Notice of Conventional Filing in the place where you would have filed the exhibit electronically and get the disk/CD to the court and the parties within 48 hours).


Pleadings Having Multiple Attachments

            Occasionally, and usually in the context of summary judgment requests, attorneys submit a filing having numerous attachments. We have configured our system so that it should no longer time you out of a session until dormant for a 10-hour period. Thus, our system should not time out while you are attempting to file a large submission. Nor is there any limit to the number of attachments you can add to one filing. You may, however, need to be aware of the aggregate or cumulative size of the submission.

            Although we have a three megabyte per document limit, there is no definite aggregate or cumulative size limit per submission. Nonetheless, many courts recommend keeping the aggregate size of any one transaction to less than 20 megabytes. In a recent stress test using a high-speed Internet connection, we were able to file a pleading with an aggregate of over 60 megabytes. During our testing, the system would occasionally appear to fail and no “Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF)” would appear at the end of the transmission, as occurs under normal use; or, it would take three to five minutes for the NEF to appear; nonetheless, in both situations the transaction was accepted by the system and added to the court’s docket. It should be noted that while all of our test submissions were successful, some courts reported that during their testing they received a server error message and had to repeat the filing process.

            We recommend you take the following steps in order to minimize the cumulative or aggregate size of each submission. First, you should convert rather than scan documents (in fact, AP 2.3(a) requires this), because scanning creates a much larger file size. Second, as mentioned previously, you should use scanner settings that minimize document size. Third, you should carefully choose the exhibits necessary to support your position, using excerpts if appropriate in your professional judgment. See 2.5(b) (authorizing submitting excepted exhibits). Finally, while not related to the size of the submission, you should review the court’s instruction sheet on the Proper Method of Attaching Exhibits to Pleadings in ECF, which is available on the CM/ECF “Reference Material” section of the court’s Web site.

            If you attempt to make a submission having multiple attachments and are uncertain whether it was accepted by the CM/ECF system, please contact the ECF Help Desk (1-800-776-0320, Option 8) or use PACER to review the docket sheet and confirm the transmission was accepted and posted to court’s docket. If successful, a filer should also receive an e-mail notice of the filing within 5-15 minutes of submitting the pleading through CM/ECF.



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