TOPEKA—Attorneys and self-represented litigants will be able to provide service by email under a temporary rule adopted today by the Supreme Court.
Administrative Order 2023-RL-077, signed today by Chief Justice Marla Luckert, sets out the parameters for attorneys and self-represented litigants to meet service requirements by email. It was adopted in response to the Kansas Courts Electronic Filing System being unavailable following an October 12 security incident.
“Restoring court information systems safely and securely is our highest priority. We are working through a multiphase recovery plan, and it will take time to be fully restored,” Luckert said. “This temporary rule gives direction to court users who need to meet service requirements without access to familiar tools.”
Service by email
Service is the official delivery of documents to the opposing party in a lawsuit. Attorneys, who have been required to file electronically since 2018, agree to receive service electronically when they enter an appearance in a case. Service is then through the Kansas Courts eFiling System.
The temporary rule allows licensed attorneys to serve other licensed attorneys by email without requiring written consent. When any party is a self-represented litigant, all parties must consent in writing to receive service by email. Filers are encouraged to read the temporary rule to ensure they comply.
Information systems affected by security incident
The Kansas Courts eFiling Systems is one of several information systems offline since October 12, when the Office of Judicial Administration experienced a security incident. The other affected systems used by attorneys, businesses, and the public to conduct court business or access records, include:
Kansas Protection Order Portal, which accepts electronically filed documents.
Kansas District Court Public Access Portal, which allows searching district court case information.
Appellate Case Inquiry System, which allows searching appellate court case information.
Kansas Attorney Registration, which allows searching for an attorney by name or bar number.
Kansas online marriage license application.
Response to security incident
The Office of Judicial Administration activated its response process upon learning of the security incident. The response included notifying the Kansas Information Security Office of the security incident. Law enforcement is also aware, and the Office of Judicial Administration is cooperating with their inquiry into the matter.
Restoring court information systems
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court announced it had opened two service centers in the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka using limited network access to information in the Kansas eCourt Case Management System. One service center is supporting district court information needs. The other provides public access to district court case information processed prior to October 12.
“We have a large team of people working to get our court information systems fully restored,” Luckert said. “We appreciate how disruptive this has been for our courts and the people who are served by them. We ask that you please bear with us while we work on it.”
Restoration is multiphase effort
Efforts to bring judicial branch information systems back online will occur in phases, and the judicial branch is still developing a firm timeline when all information systems will be fully restored.
Beyond rebuilding a safe and secure environment for its information systems, the judicial branch is planning how it will restore full access to court case data. It will occur incrementally, and it started with access to district court case information through a network of computers in the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka.
Investigation into October 12 security incident ongoing
The Office of Judicial Administration has been working with outside experts to investigate what happened, how it happened, and what is affected. That investigation is ongoing.