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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Ind. Courts - Must read article on Chronological Case Summary (CCS) Records

This Sept. 26, 2012 ILB post linked to a Court Times article on Chronological Case Summary and Record of Judgments and Orders.

The newest issue of Court Times links to a much more "hands on" CCS article which, in my opinion, should be read very carefully by practitioners.

Some high points [emphasis added by ILB] from the long article:

The CCS is a key, official record. It provides in one place an accurate summary of what has transpired in a case, without the need to search files for pleadings and orders. Thus, the accuracy and timeliness of CCS event entries is of critical importance to an accurate court record. This means that the date of every notation on the CCS should be the date that the notation is made, regardless of the date the motion is filed or an order is signed. It also means that the CCS entry is not a substitute for a court order; the CCS is a brief description of the motion, order or other event that happened.

In most modern automated case management systems (CMS), such as the state Odyssey CMS, the user is guided to a drop-down list from which he must select the CCS description that best reflects the event. CCS entries, once made, should not be amended. In order to amend a CCS event, the user must make another entry explaining the change and when it was made. Furthermore, the date an action is entered on the CCS is the date from which all time limits run (except in a few criminal case instances). As more and more courts post their CCS records on the Internet, compliance with these rules is critical in order to assure the integrity of the court record. * * *

A local rule with clear statements of the courts’ policies and deadlines can help assure the accurate and prompt entry of CCS event. For example, such a local rule should:

  • state what office (clerk or court) and what positions (not the particular names) are responsible for the CCS entries;

  • establish a “paper flow” process if the making of CCS entries involves the passing of orders, motions and other paper from one office to another;

  • require lawyers to submit proposed entries or designate the particular event from the CMS drop down menus;

  • set a specific time from the date of the filing of an order and other papers, within which the persons making the CCS entry must complete the task in the system;

  • provide instructions about what and when special judges, judges pro tempore, senior judges and other “visiting judges” have to do to get their events entered on the CCS.
The Senior Judge Committee strongly recommends that courts provide senior judges “instructions” about specific guidelines and expectations. For instance, the courts could prepare a special instruction sheet for “visiting judges” telling them to whom, how and when they must send or email the CCS entries.

If the clerk’s staff will be responsible for CCS entries, the courts should engage the clerk and his/her staff in figuring out a reasonable but also timely period within which CCS entries must be made. Input from the local bar, particularly if the court will require lawyers to propose CCS entries, would also be helpful. Having all the parties at the table should go a long way to achieve buy-in from all.

ILB: One line jumped out at me:
In most modern automated case management systems (CMS), such as the state Odyssey CMS, the user is guided to a drop-down list from which he must select the CCS description that best reflects the event.
Two observations:Illustrating the importance of the CCS, here are some references in recent cases:

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 6, 2013 01:05 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts