A San Francisco federal judge is proposing what could be the nation's first rule requiring attorneys to file court papers online.
Chief U.S. District Judge Thelton H. Henderson of Northern California today proposed that attorneys in class-action securities fraud cases post electronic copies of major litigation documents, such as complaints and summary motions.
While many legal papers are posted online, there are no apparent regulations requiring attorneys to do so. Online filing could make information available quickly to far more people.
The online filings could be posted on the Internet either by email or posting to specially designated Internet sites that fulfill certain criteria.
The Stanford Securities Class Action Clearinghouse is the first site to meet the criteria for a designated site. The full text of the proposal is posted there.
Henderson said the new rule would provide an inexpensive way to communicate with a great number of people at the same time.
"We are searching for ways to make the securities class-action litigation process more transparent and efficient," he said in a written statement. "We want to improve communication with members of the class, and we want to do so in a cost-effective manner."
Members of the public are invited to comment on the proposal.