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ATTORNEYS/PLEADINGS - STATE OF ALABAMA V. $93,917.50 AND $376 GAMBLING DEVICES, ET AL.

State of Alabama v. $93,917.50 and $376 Gambling Devices, et al. [Ms. 1130437, Dec. 19, 2014] __ So.3d __ (Ala. 2014), concerns the requirements for electronic attorney signatures under Ala. R. Civ. P. 11(a) and Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 30(G). If an attorney does not properly electronically "sign" pleadings or motions, they may be stricken as a sham pursuant to Rule 11(a). Merely electronically filing a pleading or a motion is not sufficient. An attorney's signature must follow the requirements for electronic signatures as specified in Ala. R. Jud. Admin. 30(G).
Rule 11(a) provides: Every pleading, motion, or other paper of a party represented by an attorney shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney's individual name, whose address shall be stated. ... The signature of an attorney constitutes a certificate by the attorney that the attorney has read the pleading, motion, or other paper; that to the best of the attorney's knowledge, information, and belief there is good ground to support it; and that it is not interposed for delay. As provided in Rule 30(G) of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration, an electronic signature is a "signature" under these Rules. If a pleading, motion, or other paper is not signed or is signed with intent to defeat the purpose of this Rule, it may be stricken as sham and false and the action may proceed as though the pleading, motion, or other paper had not been served. ... Rule 30(G), Ala. R. Jud. Admin. states: Electronic signatures. The requirement that any court record or document be signed is met by use of an electronic signature. An electronic signature is considered to be the original signature upon the court record or document for all purposes under these Rules and other applicable statutes or rules. Electronic signatures shall either: (1) show an image of such signature as it appears on the original document or appended as an image file or (2) bear the name of the signatory preceded by an "/s/" typed in the space where the signature would otherwise appear, as follows: /s/ Jane Doe. ...
In State of Alabama v. $93,917.50, a civil forfeiture action, the Court was moved to excuse an improper attorney signature pursuant to the language of Ala. R. Civ. P. 1(c), which states that the Rule of Civil Procedure "shall be construed and administered to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action" and the comments contained within the Official Committee Comments to the Rule which state that "the policy of Rules such as these is to disregard technicality and form." While the Court excused the improper electronic signature in this case, it gave Alabama's attorneys clear warning that it would not be tolerant in the future.

Related Documents: state_of_al_v._93917.50

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