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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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Hon. Michael McShane, Chief Judge

Melissa Aubin, Clerk of Court

Civil Case Opening

FAQs about opening new cases.

  • Can an attorney still file a new civil case over the counter or via regular mail? +

     As of May 1, 2012, it is mandatory for an attorney to open civil cases electronically unless the case is to be sealed and if accompanied by a motion to seal or if the attorney is not yet a Registered User in this Court. 

  • Can I electronically open a civil case anytime? +

    Yes.  Case initiating documents may be filed electronically at any time, and you may also pay the filing fee or apply for IFP status electronically when you initiate your case.

  • Can I electronically open a new sealed case or criminal case? +

    No.  Sealed cases and criminal cases must be opened by delivering the case initiating documents to the Clerk’s Office. 

  • How do I determine the proper division jurisdiction for my case? +

     The divisions of court and corresponding counties and codes established to identify divisional venue are in LR 3-2:

    1. Portland Division (Division Code is 3)
      Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Hood River, Jefferson, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, and Yamhill.
    2. Pendleton Division (Division Code is 2)
      Baker, Crook, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, and Wheeler.
    3. Eugene Division (Division Code is 6)
      Benton, Coos, Deschutes, Douglas, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion.
    4. Medford Division (Division Code is 1)
      Curry, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, and Lake. 
  • How do I get summonses issued for an E-filed civil case? +


    The Clerk’s Office will download and electronically issue the proposed summons that the plaintiff uploaded as an attachment to the complaint.  The plaintiff will receive an NEF for the issued summons and must print the summons(es) for service on the defendant(s).  In addition to service of the summons and complaint, plaintiff is reminded of the additional service requirements for the case assignment notice, consent to jurisdiction by a U.S. magistrate judge forms, and scheduling order as required in LR 3-5 and described in LR 16-1.

  • How do I open a new civil case in CM/ECF? +

    An attorney can open a new civil case electronically according to procedures described in the CM/ECF User Manual. When you open a new case, you will enter data about the filing party and attorney, e-file case initiating documents, and pay the filing fee or apply for in forma pauper status. During this process, you are to include a Civil Cover Sheet and may also submit a completed summons(es) for issuance by the Clerk’s Office.

  • How is a judge assigned to a case that is opened electronically? +


    A judicial officer will be assigned to the case upon completion of e-filing the complaint or other case initiating document.  There are limited circumstances in which the assignment of the judge may occur following the case opening process by the Clerk’s Office.  You will receive a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) as the Clerk’s Office staff enters the Discovery and Pretrial Scheduling Order and Case Assignment Notice on the docket when processing the newly e-filed case.

  • If I am opening my case in CM/ECF, when do I file an IFP Application? +

    When representing a party wishing to proceed in forma pauperis, file the IFP Application as the next event following the complaint.  Pursuant to LR 3-4(b), the Application will be conditionally granted and will not delay the filing, assignment, and statistical opening of the case pending final review of the application by the Court.

  • Must I open civil cases electronically? +

    Effective April 2, 2012, attorneys who are Registered Users can electronically open their new civil cases in CM/ECF.  On May 1, 2012, all attorneys who are Registered Users must electronically open any new civil cases. Self-represented parties (including prisoners) are not permitted to open new cases electronically.

  • What happens if I open a case in CM/ECF in error or by mistake? +

    Contact the Clerk’s Office for assistance Monday-Friday, during normal business hours.

    • For Portland and Pendleton cases, call 503-326-8000
    • For Eugene cases, call 541-431-4100
    • For Medford cases, call 541-608-8777
  • What if I forget to enter a party or make a mistake during the opening of a new civil case? +

    You should contact the Clerk’s Office to report any mistakes made during the opening of the case so that corrective action may be taken.  All new cases, including the statistical information supplied during case opening and all parties named in the case initiating documents will be quality checked by staff in the Clerk’s Office against the documents uploaded in CM/ECF.  Additional actions, including entry of administrative corrections of the record or other judicial action, may be necessary to correct the Court’s record. 

  • What if, in addition to a civil complaint, I also need to file a motion for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction? +


    During the e-filing process, the filer will be asked by the system if the complaint is accompanied with a request for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction.  If yes, after you have completed the transaction to electronically file your complaint (and, as appropriate, IFP Application), electronically file your motion request by clicking Civil on the blue tool bar, then go to the Motions menu and select the appropriate relief type(s) from the Available Events list. 

  • When will the Court process a case opened in CM/ECF? +

    The Clerk’s Office will complete its case opening process, including the issuance of summons and generation of scheduling orders, on the next regular business day after a case has been opened electronically.

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