Harris County District Clerk screws it up for us all.
Filetime, my firm’s e-filing portal, sent this email to its customers today. I believe what the Harris County district clerk’s office is now doing is outrageous. If you pay a fee to file a document, you should be entitled to receive a file marked copy of that filed document without further cost. However, effective Monday, March 20, attorneys who e-file documents in the Harris County district clerk’s office are now required to log in to the district clerk’s website (not their own e-filing portal) retrieve a watermarked copy of their document, free of charge. Or, alternatively, they can pay an *additional fee* to retrieve a clean (non-watermarked) copy of the document bearing the clerk’s file mark which, prior to Monday, was offered via their e-filing portal free of additional cost. Filetime is urging all attorneys affected by this new procedure to lodge their displeasure with the district clerk’s office. I hope my firm does so. Note that this does not affect appellate court filings or any other state district court filings. This peculiarity is unique to Harris County.
Over the last 2 days, it has come to our attention that the Harris County District Clerk’s Office has changed their policy regarding the return of file stamped copies. FileTime did not receive any warning to these changes and apologize for any confusion that our filers may have experienced. Unfortunately, effective March 20th, Harris County District Clerk’s Office will not allow attorneys to obtain a file stamped copy unless login directly into their website. Harris County is allowing attorneys with a valid bar number to be able to get these copies for free. However, you may see a watermark spread across the page unless you pay for the document. We understand the hindrance and extra time filers will now be spending for this added step in the eFiling Process. Please use these steps to obtain your document:
- Log into www.hcdistrictclerk.com
- Click Search Records & Documents
- Enter your Case Number and click “search”
- Select the Blue “Style” text, this will give you a new pop-up
- Click the “Image” Tab
- 6. Click the “Image No.“ of the document you are needing. You will now see the document with the file stamp and watermark. This can be downloaded and saved or you can choose “Add to Basket” to pay for the document.
We urge all filers to contact Harris County to express their concerns directly to the county. Contact details for Harris County can be found here. Unfortunately, FileTime cannot change their decision and we are hoping they realize the disruption they are causing for the filers and the eFiling process. Respectfully, The FileTime Team.