Information & Tips for the Legal Community

Attorney Information


 

Announcements

Updates to Guardianship Reporting Forms

In an effort to provide more efficient customer service, the Clerk's Probate Court Records Department has monitored feedback and taken steps to improve the new reporting forms released last year.


Important Notice to all Bidders Regarding Service of Documents

Since February 2018, the Clerk has started sending electronic copies of Certificates of Title and Certificates of Disbursement to third party winning bidders via email.


Attorney Copies of Hearing Notices to be Emailed

The Pinellas County Clerk's office is transitioning from mailing attorney copies of hearing notices to emailing hearing notices to Attorneys on all Criminal cases. This new process will start January 1, 2018.All attorneys are asked to e-file a Designation of Email Address(es), per Rule of Judicial Administration 2.516 (b)(1)(A), into any "one" of their active Criminal cases.


Probate Workflow System and E-mail Notification Change

The Pinellas County Clerk's office is transitioning from its current Case 360 workflow system to a new web based document workflow system. The installation of the new system, which primarily affects the Probate Court Records Department, will take place on Saturday, September 2, 2017 and be available to Clerk’s and Court’s staff when normal business operations resume after the Labor Day weekend.


Implementation of New Docket Numbering for Certain Case Events

Beginning August 27, 2017, the Pinellas County Clerk's office will be implementing a technical standard required by the Florida Supreme Court Standards for Electronic Access to the Courts. This standard requires sequential numbering of certain case events that are applied to a case docket.


New Official Records Website and eMarriage Application

The Pinellas County Clerk's office will debut a new Recording and Official Records website called Acclaim. The upgrade will take place starting Saturday, August 19th through Monday, August 21st until approximately 8:00 a.m. During the upgrade, the Official Records portion of the Clerk's website may be unavailable.


Guardianship Accounting Audit Fees

Pursuant to FS 744.3678(4), an audit fee is charged for the annual accounting in a guardianship case. The fee is based on the net amount of the ward's assets and is paid through the portal at the time of filing.


A Non-Military Affidavit is Required for the Clerk to Enter a Default

Effective immediately and in accordance with Local Rule 5, the Clerk may not enter a default unless an affidavit of non-military service has been filed.


Change in the Service Charge for Online Judicial Sales

Pursuant to 45.035(3) F.S., as amended in 2017, the service charge for online judicial sales must be paid by the applicant filing for an electronic sale date.


Deposit Will Receipts to be Prepared by Request Only

Effective July 1, 2017, the Probate Court Records department will only generate a receipt for a deposit will upon request.


Probate Will Begin Emailing Orders, Other Documents to Attorneys

The Probate department has heard your requests and effective March 20, 2017, will begin sending documents to attorneys of record via email.


Pinellas County Civil Sections 54 and 44 Set to Close

Pursuant to Administrative Order 2017-019 PI-CIR, the Court is closing county civil Sections 54 (county section) and 44 (small claims section) effective April 13, 2017.


Transferring a Deposit Will Filed in Pinellas in Error

Previously, the Clerk required a petition and proposed order to transfer a Deposit Will to another county when it had been filed in Pinellas in error. The court has decided this is no longer necessary.


Discontinuing Mailing Out Notices of Appearance, Requests for Notice and Copies of Pleadings

Effective February 1, 2017, the Clerk’s Probate Court Records Department will discontinue sending out notices of appearance to all parties when a document is filed electronically under the Fla. Rules of Judicial Administration 2.525.


Change to Audit Fees for Guardianship Initial Inventories and Annual Accountings

Effective July 18, 2016, audit fees required by FS 744.365 and 744.3678 for Guardianship Initial Inventories and Annual Accountings will be paid in the Portal at the time of E-Filing. By utilizing this feature of the Portal, Probate Court Records hopes to improve customer service by collecting the fees when the report is submitted and fall in line with the statewide movement to standardize the Portal experience.

Please be sure to read the linked Clerk Alert regarding this important change.


Important Change to the Probate Priority Request Process

The Clerk of Court will no longer take any action on priority requests without the written approval of the Judge. When a Priority Request is filed, it will be forwarded to the Judge for review along with a form which the Judge will use to indicate whether or not the Request is “Approved.” If the Judge approves the request, the case will be reviewed by the Clerk on a priority basis. If the Judge does not approve the priority request, the case will be reviewed in the order of the filing of all cases. Because the volume of priority requests has so greatly affected the work flow and efficiency of case processing by the Clerk of Court, only matters which are identifiably deserving of priority review will be expedited.

To view the new Probate Priority Request Process, please click here. If you have any questions, please email the Probate Court Records department at Probate@mypinellasclerk.org or call (727) 464-3321.


Criminal E-Filings Now Mandatory Due to New Administrative Order

Effective January 1, 2016, E-filing has been mandatory in the Pinellas County Criminal Division for all documents filed in a Criminal action.

Please be advised that the Pinellas County Clerk’s office will only accept documents filed through the ePortal, except those identified in the new Administrative Order No. 2016-018 . Effective May 1, 2016,documents received in the mail will not be filed or processed and will be returned to the attorney.

Electronic pleadings for the following cases will be accepted in the Criminal Division:

  • Circuit Criminal
  • County Criminal
  • Criminal Traffic
  • Civil Traffic
  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Juvenile Dependency

Access to Pinellas Electronic Court Records

The Florida Supreme Court has issued AOSC14-19, Standards for Access to Electronic Court Records and approved the Pinellas Clerk for issuance of accounts specific for attorney needs. A requirement of the Administrative Order (AO) is for Attorneys of Record to execute a notarized User Agreement. Attorney accounts provide enhanced view, including document view, for cases on which an attorney has been retained. There is no document viewing via an attorney account for cases on which an attorney has not been retained. If an attorney requires document access on a case where they have not been retained, please use the Public View or Registered User View on the Clerk's Public Records site. Otherwise, please use the Attorney View link to log in with an Attorney account. Registered User accounts and Attorney accounts only work on their respective websites. For example, an Attorney account will not work on the Registered User View web page. If an attorney requires a Registered User account, please complete the User Agreement indicating your request.

There is no fee for any service provided by the Pinellas County Clerk in association with viewing court records online. Documents not available through our online system are obtainable via our copy request system, including specialized copies such as conformed or certified, or by visiting any of our convenient locations throughout Pinellas County. For best results, please call us before your visit.

Additional information concerning our Court and Official Records online services can be found on our Public Records New Accounts page.

If you have any questions or account problems, please email PublicView@mypinellasclerk.org

Court Appointed Attorney Standards/Conflict Attorney 

Pursuant to Administrative Order 2010-009 – Court Appointed Attorney Standards & Due Process Costs, the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court is directed to publish the contact names and phone numbers so that attorneys may notify our office of changes in their phone number, availability or status only. Applications to serve on the Court Appointed Attorney list must be made to the Sixth Judicial Circuit, Office of Court Counsel. Please call (727) 582-7474 for more information regarding the application process.

For your convenience the points of contact are:

Electronic Filing

Reminder from the Clerk

Attorneys must use the State of Florida e-Filing Portal.  Pro se litigants may use the e-Filing Portal if they choose.

Please DO NOT SEND original documents to the Clerk's office on cases which you have already e-filed.

Please disregard any instruction to the contrary that you might be seeing on the e-portal site. Pinellas County is not going through a test period where the follow up paper is required for the first 90 days as that period is already over for Pinellas. There is NOT a requirement to follow up your e-filing with paper. Please do NOT send in paper unless they are the specific documents identified in the corresponding Administrative Order.


Questions about E-filing - Contact Us


Criminal Attorneys: A.O. No. 2016-018

In February 2014, the Pinellas County Clerk’s office began accepting Criminal Court Record e-filings for the Circuit Criminal, County Criminal, Criminal Traffic, Civil Traffic and the Juvenile Dependency and Delinquency Divisions.

Civil Attorneys: A.O. NO. 2016-018

In April 2013, the Pinellas County Clerk’s office, began accepting Civil Court Record e-filings for County, Family (Domestic Relations), and Circuit Divisions.

Probate Attorneys: A.O. NO. 2016-018

In November 2011, the Pinellas Clerk’s office received approval from the Florida Courts Technology Commission to accept Probate e-filings from attorneys. Attorneys are authorized to e-file Guardianship and Estate pleadings through the statewide e-filing portal.

Important: Before all the court areas went live with Odyssey, each attorney was issued a Specific Person Number (called a ‘SPN’) in Rumba. Attorneys do not need a SPN number anymore since we associate them by their Florida Bar number only, with Odyssey.


To Register and/or Submit an E-Filing Please Visit The STATEWIDE E-FILING PORTAL

For technical assistance with the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal, please email support@myflcourtaccess.com or call (850) 577-4609.

Additional Resources

Project History

The Pinellas County Clerk’s office, along with Clerks statewide, has supported the Florida eFiling Authority in the development of  the statewide eFiling portal. As of January 1, 2011, the portal became operational allowing for the eFiling of cases through a single point of entry.

E-Filing FAQ

The ePortal is a website that provides eFiling capability to users with a single statewide login. Users may utilize the ePortal web interface to submit documents to Clerks. The ePortal also supports automated interfaces with other submitter systems. The ePortal supports transmissions to/from the local case/recording systems using national XML standards. The ePortal also provides electronic notifications and service on behalf of filers.

The Florida Legislature and eFiling Authority.

For information on how to register please visit: www.myflcourtaccess.com

  • Attorneys
  • Court Reporters
  • Creditors
  • Media
  • Mediators
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Process Servers
  • Self-Represented Litigants (Pro Se)

The ePortal will accept filings in Word or PDF formats. All documents will be converted to PDF formats by the ePortal. By default, the ePortal will provide the PDF format to the local record system.

Pinellas County currently accepts Probate Court, Civil Court and Criminal Court division E-Filings.

Individual Florida Bar members will register to use this system and receive authentication credentials (login ID, password) upon validation of their online registration. Upon receipt of the completed Online Electronic Filing Registration, the system will verify that the attorney is admitted to practice and in good standing with The Florida Bar. A combination including but not limited to name, e-mail and Florida Bar Number, obtained during registration, will be validated against an electronic list provided by the Florida Bar. The attorney will be able to designate their user name and password. Email notification will be sent to the attorney at their identified e-mail account reflecting either approval or denial of the account. The selected user name and password will enable the attorney to retrieve and file documents electronically and to receive the Notice of Electronic Filing. The person to whom the user name and password is assigned is responsible for any documents filed using that user name and password. Each local Clerk's office may opt to participate in the authentication of the user accounts if they choose to do so.

Yes, the ePortal now supports Self-Represented (Pro Se) filers. Please visit our Pro Se page for more information.

Yes, multiple pleadings can be filed simultaneously, if they are attached as individual documents according to A.O. No. 2016-018

Authorized filers may access the ePortal and file documents at no charge above the statutory filing fee. If a filer chooses to pay statutory fees using a credit card, they will be charged an additional credit card transaction fee which will be used to cover the associated banking and merchant fees as allowed by Florida Statutes.

All dates and times, including when the filing is received at the ePortal and accepted/pended by the clerk, are stored in the ePortal database to ensure the accuracy and consistency of when the event took place. An electronic filing may be submitted to the portal at any time of the day or night, twenty four (24) hours a day, seven days a week. For purposes of determining timeliness, an accepted filing shall be deemed filed on the date and time when the electronic filing is received at the ePortal. However, all documents filed after currently established filing hours will not be processed until the next business day.

Yes, Civil Cases only.

Yes, the ePortal authority has received permission allowing filers to use electronic signatures. Below are the acceptable signature types.

Signatures of Registered Users

A submission by a registered user is not required to bear the electronic image of the handwritten signature or an encrypted signature of the filer. Instead, the requirement of a signature on an electronically filed document may be met as follows (as required by A.O. No. 2016-018):

s/ John Doe
John Doe (e-mail address)
Bar Number 12345
Attorney for (Plaintiff/Defendant) XYZ Company
ABC Law Firm
123 Main Street
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 123-4567

Multiple Attorneys of Record Signatures
When a filing requires the signatures of two or more attorneys of record:

The filing attorney shall initially confirm that the content of the document is acceptable to all attorneys required to sign the document and shall obtain the signatures of all attorneys on the document. For this purpose, physical, facsimile or electronic signatures are permitted.

The filing attorney then shall file the document electronically, indicating the signatories, (e.g., "s/ Jane Doe," "s/ John Smith," etc.) for each attorney's signature.

Original Documents or Handwritten Signatures

Original documents, such as death certificates, or those that contain original signatures such as deeds, mortgages and wills must be filed manually until further standards have been adopted.

The ePortal will provide the following electronic notifications:

  • Receipt of subscriber application
  • Acceptance/activation of subscriber account
  • Change of subscriber profile including login credentials
  • Receipt of filing including filing ID number
  • Acceptance of filing including filing ID number and case identification data
  • Pending of filing including filing ID number, case identification data and pending reason
  • Acceptance notice with attached copy of electronically issued/processed summonses, writs, defaults and other processes by which the Clerk is able to electronically sign documents

If you receive the above error message, please complete the following steps as a temporary work-around to E-File your pleadings for existing cases:

Click OK to continue.
When returned to the Case Information screen, the Case Type, Case Title and Case Status will say “NOT AVAILABLE.” Please review the case number to be sure it is correct. If the correct number was entered, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the NEXT button to continue.
Once at the Parties screen, the Current Parties will appear blank because the case specific information was not returned. Although there are no current parties listed, you do not need to select or add a party if your filing does NOT require fees. If your filing requires fees, click the ADD PARTY LINK and complete the relevant party information. Click NEXT to proceed.
At the Documents screen, click ADD DOCUMENT link to submit your document(s) for e-Filing.
Complete the Service List and Fees and Payments tabs. Review and then Submit your E-Filing.

Only if an original is required by Pinellas County A.O. No. 2016-018.

No, the Pinellas County Clerk's Office may not accept documents mandated to be E-Filed by any means other than through the ePortal, unless authorized or mandated by Pinellas County A.O. No. 2016-018 or Florida Rules of Judicial Administration 2.525. See question What documents will the Clerk's Office not accept through the e-Filing Portal for exceptions.

The Clerk will not process any documents not filed through the ePortal that should have been filed through the ePortal. A notice will be sent to the filer that their documents were not filed or processed and to E-File the documents.

Proposed orders, judgments, letters or correspondence directed to a judge may not be electronically filed through the ePortal but must be submitted directly to the assigned judge's office along with sufficient copies for conforming and stamped, addressed envelopes for mailing.pursuant to A.O. No. 2016-018

Attorneys may check with the 6th Judicial Circuit for information on direct submission of proposed orders.

Do E-File the underlying motion and other paperwork needing to be filed.

Do not provide the above orders to the judge's office until you receive notice from the ePortal that the motions or paperwork related to the order(s) are completed and filed and on the docket or the paperwork will be returned to you and cause a delay in the processing of your case.

Requests for issuance of process for service by publication (Notice(s) of Action): Please submit the required copies and stamped addressed envelopes for mailing directly to Civil Court Records 315 Court St Room 170 Clearwater Fl 33756.

Posting of surety/cash bonds

Posting of deposits into the courts registry

Any recordable document in which you want the original to be mailed back i.e. satisfactions of judgments, assignment of judgments, judgment liens etc. - stamped addressed envelopes are required to be submitted with the paperwork to be mailed back.

Requests for a certificate of mailing in Delinquent Tenant/Eviction cases.

Under most circumstances No. Filings must be submitted on a 'per case basis'

If more than one case number is necessary on a document because the cases are tied closely together, you will need to attach and submit the document for as many case numbers as are on the document, circling the case number on each of the separate documents uploaded to which it is to be docketed.

If a case is consolidated into another case number place the main case number with the style of the case first, for all other case numbers listed place the remarks 'consolidated with (specify the main case number)' so the Clerk knows which case number listed is the main case number for the document to be docketed on.

This is the action taken to remove 'inactive' filings from the portal system. The portal has established a 5 day time-frame for 'pended' filings to be resubmitted for processing. The filing, if not resubmitted (this also includes when a new filing is submitted instead of the original filing being resubmitted) within the 5 day time frame, will be set to the Abandoned Filing Queue status. At this point, the filing cannot be retrieved. If the documents need to be filed with the Clerk, a new filing will have to be submitted. An email notification will be sent to the filer notifying them of the status change.

Yes, Pinellas County A.O. No. 2016-018 requires attachments to be labelled and filed as separate documents in the filing.

F.S. 28.241 (circuit civil filings) and F.S. 34.041 (county civil filings) require the payment of a reopen fee when filing certain documents.

If a re-open fee is owed, the fee is assessed by placing a '1' in the Reopen fee box under the Additional Fee Options on the case information page. Your filing will be pended back if the fee is due and not paid when submitting your filing at the ePortal.

All documents are mandatory to E-File unless otherwise specified in Pinellas County A.O. No. 2016-018.

The Clerk will sign and issue the required documents and send them to you electronically at the email address provided on the documents in your filing. If no email address is provided on your documents, they will be emailed to the email address you registered with at the portal.

Defaults - A default form for the clerk to sign must be attached or be a part of the motion filed. The clerk will not generate a default for signature. Please note that your motion and default must be separated from one another, however can be filed in the same E-Filing submission (per A.O. No. 2016-018).

Writs of Garnishment/Writ of Replevin - Place a '1' in the appropriate writ box under the Additional Fee Options on the case information page to assess the appropriate fees. Submit your proposed writ form by selecting the Document Group 'Writs'.

Writs of Possession - Submit your proposed writ form by selecting the Document Group 'Writs'. The issued writ will be returned to you via e-mail. Please include an e-mail address on the document for the Clerk to use in order to return the issued writ. If no email address is provided on your documents, the Writ will be emailed to the email address you registered with at the portal. The filer will be responsible for providing the issued writ along with the appropriate funds to the Sheriff for service.

**Please note that the Clerk cannot issue a writ of possession prior to a Final Judgment having been entered-it is suggested that you wait until the judgment is entered and reflects on the docket in your case before EFiling your writ of possession to the Clerk. Submission of this document prior to a judgment being entered will delay your writ from being issued.

Surety and Cash bonds cannot be filed through the e-Filing portal. Original surety or cash bonds must be filed in paper form directly to the Clerk's Office.

Requests for issuance of service of process by publication will not be accepted through the e-Filing Portal. The Notice of Action must be submitted to the Clerk in paper form. The completed Notice of Action must include the response due date as defined by F.S. 49.09.

If mailing is required under F.S. 49.12, the following must also be provided the clerk:

A pre-addressed, pre-paid envelope for the residence of any party to be served by publication.

Sufficient copies for the mailing.

A self addressed, pre-stamped envelope for return of the issued Notice of Action to the filer. In order to process a notice of action, the affidavit of constructive service or affidavit of diligent search and inquiry must be E-filed through the Florida Courts E-filing Portal. Once the affidavit has been e-filed, please mail in the Notice of Action along with mail packet, if a mailing is required under F.S. 49.12. The Clerk will fill in the appropriate publication date or time to respond on the notice of action and include the Clerk signature and seal once notice of action is issued. You may retain the original affidavits as they do not need to be sent to the Clerk once they have been E-filed.

Also, please include the following with notice of action to the Clerk's Clearwater office, 315 Court Street, Room 170, Clearwater, FL 33756:

A pre-addressed (to last known address), postage paid envelope for any party to be served by publication. Sufficient copies for the mailing.

We then electronically distribute a copy of the Issued Notice of Action to the publisher of your choice and the attorneys email we have on file. The publisher will then contact you for payment.

COMMON NEWSPAPERS FOR LEGAL ADS

Business Observer- 727-447-7784
La Gaceta- 813-248-3921
Tampa Bay Times-727-893-8358

All proposed orders, judgments, letters or correspondence directed to a judge - with the exception of Probate cases - must be submitted directly to the assigned judge's office along with sufficient copies for conforming and stamped, addressed envelopes for mailing pursuant to Administrative Order (AO) No. 2016-018. AO 2016-018 requires Probate proposed orders or letters to be e-filed.

Attorneys may check with the 6th Judicial Circuit for information on direct submission of proposed orders.

Do E-File the underlying motion and other paperwork needing to be filed.

Do not provide the above orders to the judge's office until you receive notice from the ePortal that the motions or paperwork related to the order(s) are completed and filed and on the docket or the paperwork will be returned to you and cause a delay in the processing of your case.

All summonses must be E-Filed except if filing a Delinquent Tenant/Eviction case. (**See information below specific to Delinquent Tenant/Eviction summonses). The Clerk's Office is still accepting summonses to be issued over the counter. However, it is strongly encouraged they be E-Filed. If you have previously E-Filed the summons to be issued at the portal, please do not bring in originals to be issued over the counter as the Clerk's Office will not sign your summonses. This is to prevent multiple copies of the same summonses from being issued.

The filer must prepare summonses he/she wishes to be issued by the Clerk and attach them as a document to the filing, except in Small Claims cases (* see below). The statutory $10.00 fee per summons for issuance is assessed by placing the appropriate number in the Summons to be Issued box under the Additional Fee Options on the case information page of the ePortal. Summonses submitted without the appropriate fees will be pended back to the filer. The electronically issued summons will be emailed back to the filer. The filer is then responsible for effectuating service on the party.

* When filing a Small Claims case DO NOT attach a summons. The Clerk prepares the Summons/Notice to Appear for Small Claims cases. Be sure to enter the number of summonses under the Additional Fee Options in order to calculate the $10.00 issuance fee, otherwise the Summons(es)/Notice to Appear will not be prepared.

**If you are filing a Delinquent Tenant/Eviction case, you may E-File your summons(es) or you may submit them directly to the Clerk's Office. Copies and envelopes with sufficient postage for each mailing need to be provided to the Clerk in order for a certificate of mailing to be issued. This cannot be done through the EPortal.

All fees are calculated by placing the associated number in the boxes for the category of your filing under the Additional fee Options on the case information page of the ePortal. For example - Writs of Garnishment fees, recording fees, summonses to be issued, charges for extra defendants over 5, reopen fees, counterclaim fees etc.

If recording a Lis Pendens or a Discharge of a Lis Pendens, please complete the boxes for Lis Pendens (# of parties) and Lis Pendens (# of pages) as the fees to record a Lis Pendens are different from other recordable documents.

For all other documents needing to be recorded complete both the lines for # of pages but also include names considered for indexing to calculate the statutory fees. Please see next question on how to count parties for indexing.

To calculate parties that need to be indexed for recording a document:

Count all plaintiff(s) and defendant(s), alternate names (AKA's, DBA's Assignees of etc) are counted as separate parties. Do not count unknown parties (unknown tenants, unknown spouse, any and all unknown parties etc.).

To calculate additional defendants over 5:

Count only defendants, all unknown parties are counted separately (unknown tenants, unknown spouse, any and all unknown parties, etc). Do not count alternate names (AKA's, DBA's, etc.)

Case type selection should match Civil Cover Sheet.

Do not add attorney, or they will be added as a party to the Civil Cover Sheet. The attorney is added automatically from the filing ID entered at the portal for the filing.

All main parties should be added to a new case, entering them in the order they are styled in the complaint, starting with the plaintiff(s). Do not add alternate names (AKA's, DBA's. Assignees etc.) they will be added by the Clerk.

Add Unknown parties as an Organization.

Filings will be pended if the money amount due/owing is incorrect. Fill in the # of Defendants under the Additional Fee Options. The system will automatically calculate, based on the number entered, if additional fees are due.

Separate attachments/exhibits from the complaint or other document and file as separate documents pursuant to A.O. No. 2016-018.