The court document electronic-filing system at Texas.gov is scheduled for upgrades and will be unavailable from July 27-29, says David Slayton, administrative director of the Texas Office of Court Administration.
E-filing costs will increase on Sept. 1 from $4 to $5 to cover the upgrade costs of Texas NICUSA, a vendor that contracts with the state to operate the e-filing system. Slayton says Texas NICUSA’s contract expires Aug. 31, but the Texas Department of Information Resources negotiated an 18-month extension to provide more time for the OCA to choose a new vendor that will create a new e-filing system.
The OCA is analyzing and negotiating eight vendors’ proposals for the new system, and hopes to choose one in August.
The Texas Supreme Court has expressed interest in creating an e-filing system similar to the federal courts’ PACER.gov.
Slayton says the OCA would like to stop charging a fee for each e-filed document. The agency will work with the Texas Legislature in 2013 on a legislative proposal to charge an e-filing fee per case, which would range from $5 to $10 but would cover the e-filing of unlimited documents, he says. “Now, e-filing is more expensive than paper filing, so we’d basically make it where it would be the same price,” Slayton explains.
According to an emailed statement, Erin Hutchins, director of portal operations for Texas NICUSA, says: “Since the transition to a new eFiling system is expected to take up to 18 months, Texas NICUSA will need to invest in technology upgrades to the existing system to ensure that filings are processed smoothly and successfully. Beyond providing the necessary new infrastructure, we expect that the enhancements to the system will improve performance for filers and the courts alike.”
-- Angela Morris