Sometimes, when a person wishes to file a lawsuit to have their rights enforced, the Court requires paper filings through the U.S. Mail. In 2018, this seems like an archaic method of filing documents, and it is archaic. Most courts offer e-filing, but they usually don’t for someone filing their own case, known as filing pro se. At the federal court level as well as the state level, the initial filings for non-lawyers will need to be on paper.
It took me some time before I found an easy and fairly cost-effective means to get my complaint and other initiating papers to the courthouse.
After trying other services that were terrible, I discovered www.docsmit.com, and was frankly delighted by that service. It is set up to allow you to upload PDFs and an address, pay by credit card or paypal. Docsmit will print your PDF, put the paper document in a flat envelope, and you can choose what level of U.S. Mail service you want to the court. I always use U.S. Mail First Class service because that is what most courts require at a minimum.
Sometimes, the court will allow you to efile after the case is filed with the Court. This is more common at the federal level, I have found.
I filed 3 cases in the past few days in Virginia state court using Docsmit and I’ll share with my readers the documents I filed, as an example. First, I filed a cover sheet (original form from the courts), then my Complaint, an Affidavit with exhibits, a Petition for In Forma Pauperis (proceeding without any fees), a Motion to have the court serve my complaint and summons, and however many summons forms it takes to serve everyone (again, from the court website). This is about the most basic way one can start a lawsuit as a poor person.
Obviously it would be easier to be able to file these online, but you just don’t always have that option. Docsmit has a limit of 47 pages for a single flat envelope, but this is good enough for most complaints. Usually, my complaint document is 20 pages or less and the affidavit fills in the details under oath. All told, everything together is usually less than 47 pages. But even if you need more, you can simply do another Docsmit mailing. Technically, there is no limit to the number of envelopes that Docsmit will send for you so long as you pay for it.
Many people with disabilities who want to run for office will have to file a lawsuit of some kind or an administrative complaint in order to get ballot access or challenge some illegal action taken by the State or your opponent. No problem with Docsmit; you don’t even need to own a printer or go to the Post Office. It is important to know that there is a service like Docsmit to make churning out your PDFs into paper documents and mailing them to court right away easy.
I don’t like having to file like this because all of my links internal to the documents are flattened and unusable. It’s important for the Court to know that you have this disadvantage, but the other side does not when they can e-file.
I wish my candidate readers well in their elections this year, and just wanted to bring this service to your attention.
*I am not associated with Docsmit in any way but use it now because it is convenient. I have no printer and using Fedex would be prohibitively expensive.