File & ServeXpress has found that an average of 3.7% of eFilings are rejected by the court. It’s not the kind of stat that we usually brag about on social media, but that data is important! Analyzing rejected eFilings, especially the reasons why courts are rejecting them, helps us understand the common pain points for our users and make improvements to our applications to reduce those rejections in the first place.
We’ve gathered data on the most common rejection reasons to help you know what to look out for and adopt practices to avoid rejections. Here, we will take a deep dive into the data and discuss ways you can avoid filing rejections.
Broad Rejection Reasons in 2022 (percent)
For the purposes of this analysis, we broke down rejection reasons into four key groups:
- Filing Procedure Issues (45%): Rejection due to scheduling issues, redundant submissions, etc.
- Document Format Issues (26%): Rejection due to incorrect file types, incomplete documents, illegible font choices, and other document formatting issues.
- Incorrect Data (22%): Rejection due to misspellings and typos, incorrect case numbers, etc.
- Filer Request (7%): Rejections made at the filer’s request, like if they have uploaded the wrong document.
These numbers alone tell us that following filing procedure is the most difficult part of the process. But it’s not the reason for the majority of rejections either. Filers are likely to struggle with other parts of the process as well. Below, we dive deeper into each group of rejections and breakdown why these problems happen.
What are Common Filing Procedure Problems?
The most common reason filings are rejected is due to procedural issues. Because each state and court has different rules and procedures for eFiling, it’s easy to get confused about exactly how to eFile in your area.
The most common specific procedure problems we tracked are redundant submissions (12%), followed by service problems (12%), eFiling availability (11%), and fee issues (8%).
6% of total rejections
A redundant submission could be a duplicate filing, any filed documents that are already stamped, electronically filed copies of previously paper filed documents, etc.
These mistakes can easily be avoided with proper communication within your law firm.
FSX helps firms avoid these kinds of mistakes with optional eFiling notifications and CaseView dashboards that show your firm’s filing activity so you can ensure that you are up to speed on all submissions into a case.
6% of total rejections
The most common service-related issue was due to missing “Proof of Service.” It’s worth noting this group doesn’t include scenarios where the proof of service/a service-related document was filled in or formatted incorrectly.
As long as you are using the correct transaction type and an up-to-date eService contact list, you should easily be able to avoid this rejection.
5% of total rejections
For some courts, not all case types are available for eFiling.
Additionally, some courts have different rules regarding what kind of documents can be electronically filed. For example, confidential documents with sensitive information usually have different rules and procedures regarding how they should be labeled and filed in the system. Improperly filing confidential documents was one of the more common reasons for a rejected filing in this category. If you are filing documents with sensitive information, it’s worth checking how the court wants it to be handled.
3% of total rejections
Most issues with fees involved paying the wrong amount, selecting the wrong fee type, or neglecting to select a fee at all.
Less than 1% of total rejections
It was very rare for a filer to miss a deadline, but it happened on occasion. If nothing else, this statistic is a testament to how seriously filers take deadlines.
24% of total rejections
The majority of procedural problems fit into the “Other” category—things like scheduling issues, order of operations for different filings, filing into the wrong court, misuse of software, etc. Here are a few notes on what makes up this portion of the data:
- Scheduling issues were very common in this section. This sort of issue can easily be prevented by checking the court calendar before filing.
- Case consolidation (combining two or more cases into one) is a tricky process that can result in filing mistakes. Double-check the expected filing procedure when a case is consolidated. If you’re not sure the best practices for case consolidation in your area, contact File & ServeXpress 24/7 support for assistance as you eFile.
- Another common error was improperly labeling main vs. supporting documents within the system. Be sure to pay close attention when uploading and organizing documents to eFile to ensure that each document is properly labeled.
There are many other ways to break a court procedure rule but looking out for these simple mistakes will help you avoid some of the most common rejections.
What are Common Document Format Problems?
All filed documents must be complete and legible to be accepted by the court. Issues with scanning, font choice, file size, and word count could result in a rejected filing. Documents filed with incomplete information will also surely be rejected by the court.
Missing or incomplete signatures and signature blocks are a common reason for filings to be rejected. Remember that different courts will have different signature requirements for documents, so it’s important to check the rules of a court before you start filing.
9% of total rejections
Sometimes the filer simply doesn’t complete the necessary components of the filing. That can range from missing a name, not checking a box in a form, or, occasionally, a completely blank/missing document.
What distinguishes this from incorrect data is that rather than the data actively being wrong, it is simply not included. It’s possible that a form is incomplete because the filer didn’t know the correct information to fill it with, but it’s just as likely that a line or page in a form was just accidentally missed.
In general, an incomplete filing of this type (almost 10% of the dataset) was much more common than a late document (less than 1% of the total dataset). It’s possible that filers opted to file incomplete documents rather than missing the deadline, but we can’t make any assumptions about the reasoning solely based on the rejection data.
6% of total rejections
Missing signatures and signatures that were not dated were common format mistakes, alongside signatures that were illegible and digital signatures that were formatted incorrectly.
11% of total rejections
Clerical problems include a wide range of potential issues:
- Illegible writing, pictures, or text
- Improperly scanned documents (scanned upside-down, sideways, too zoomed, or cut-off)
- Multiple documents submitted as one file
- Wrong file type (for example, some courts require editable files for certain submissions instead of PDFs)
- Wrong Font Size
- Wrong word count (Too many or few words based on document requirements)
- Items blocking location for stamp
- File size too large
The majority of these issues can be document scanning best practices.
What do you mean by Incorrect Data?
The two most common data mistakes? Incorrect case numbers and misspelled names. These simple mistakes are more common than any other rejection – and can easily be avoided with a quick double-check before filing.
10% of total rejections
Filings contain a lot of data, meaning a lot of opportunities to get something wrong. This data includes errors such as:
- Data not matching what was written elsewhere in the filing/previous filing.
- Incorrect date for hearing/another event.
- Incorrect party member listed.
- Misspellings (not counting names, which we tracked separately).
7% of total rejections
File & ServeXpress is built to help you file into the correct case and avoid case number issues on the platform. However, case numbers are contained within filed documents as well, and due to human error, those numbers don’t always match up.
The takeaway here is that double-checking the case number between the software and your documents is worth the time.
4% of total rejections
Rejections Due to Filer Request
This final portion of the data refers to rejections made at the request of the filer – in other words, the filer realized an issue with their filing before the court was able to reject it themselves. Oftentimes, this is because a document was filed more than once, filed into the wrong case, or simply filed by accident.
What do I do with this Information?
Learn from it! As eFiling experts, it is our mission to make eFiling and eService effortless for everyone. The best thing you can do to avoid rejected filings is to know why they happen in the first place. Let’s review the most common reasons electronic filings are rejected:
- Redundant Submissions (6% of the total dataset).
- Issues with Signatures (6% of the total dataset).
- Clerical Mistakes (11% of the total dataset).
- Incorrect Case Numbers (7% of the total dataset).
- Misspelled Names (4% of the total dataset).
These rejections made up a total of 34% of the data. Simply checking for these common errors before submitting a filing improves your odds of success by over a third! These are items that generally don’t involve a deep well of legal knowledge to get right, but rather a habit of checking on them.
The File & Serve application presents an opportunity to double- (or triple-!) check important case details before filing. The last step before submitting a filing on the File & Serve app is the Review & Submit page. On this page, filers have one last chance to review all case and document data before they officially file their document. Use this page as the final accuracy checkpoint before you submit your document to the court – this is the perfect time to have another set of eyes checking for errors.
Concierge eFiling and eService Can Help
The secret to fool-proof filing? Leave it to the experts.The File & ServeXpress Customer Support team is available for eFiling assistance 24/7.
Our expert support team is staffed with legal professionals eager to help with everything from answering simple filing questions to providing Concierge eFiling and eService on your behalf.