by Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza, District Clerk of Travis County
Last August, Travis County’s proposed amendment to its eFiling rules was approved by the Supreme Court, and Texas Online added “Return of Service” to its list of filings September 19th. That means that you may now eFile returns of service with the Travis County District Clerk’s Office. Presently, over 50 returns of service have been received.
Allowing the eFiling of service returns was a natural second step for the District Clerk’s office, which was the first in Texas to take advantage of a change in statute that permitted court clerk to use electronic signatures and seals. The award-winning e-Issuance program has been in place for almost two years and currently all five Travis County Constables offices and 130 private process servers are participating.
eFiling returns of service is convenient: you can submit at cyberspace speed from anywhere at any time—which makes it easier to meet your deadlines. The return is file-stamped when submitted, an important consideration under T.R.C.P. Rule 107, which does not allow default judgments to be granted until the citation service return has been on file with the Clerk for 10 days, excluding the day of filing.
Most returns filed to date have been submitted by attorneys. However, Texas Online is paving the way for process servers to file returns directly by creating a special, non-party filer category. The new filer category is expected to be available this quarter.
For attorneys who use eFiling, the amendment to Travis County’s e-file rules means that filing returns can now become standard procedure. Just look for the “Return of Service” document category in the Texas Online eFile system.
In addition, our office now has a copy request order form that can be downloaded online at http://www.co.travis.tx.us/district_clerk/documents/record_search_form.pdf. The new order form gives you the option of having uncertified copies sent to you via email. Next time you need copies from our records, I urge you to try email delivery, a faster, cost-effective, and greener option.
Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza is completing her 21st year as District Clerk of Travis County and was one of the court clerks that pioneered e-filing of court documents in Texas. She was recently appointed by the Supreme Court to a second term as Chair of the E-Filing Subcommittee of the Judicial Commission on Information Technology.