On January 7, 2016, I suggested to the Indiana Supreme Court Rules Committee a change in the trial rules in an effort to prepare for issues which will occur with e-filing and for problems that already exist.
When I submitted the suggested change the form that is required to be completed asks:
‘What problem or issue are you trying to solve with this proposed rule amendment? What are you trying to accomplish?”
My thoughts are as follows:
In our mobile society obtaining signatures can take a substantial amount of time especially with deadlines and multiple people needing to sign. Also, people cannot get off work during normal business hours resulting in delays for mailing. Settlements especially in mediations are need immediate signature and if people are at different locations this creates problems and could result in settlements falling apart. I recognize e–filing allows typed electronic signatures for lawyers but clients are needed to sign many things such as discovery, agreed entries, agreed judgments, ADR settlements. We need to avoid issues of litigants later claiming they did not sign or did not grant their counsel authority to place an electronic signature. Services such as DocuSign provides some verification of permission and a binding signature in commerce.
Under Indiana Law you can sign contracts electronically. See I.C. 26-2-8-102(10); I.C. 26-2-8-106; I.C. 26-2-8-112; I.C. 25-5.2-2-16 and 5-24-2-2 which states Sec. 2. “Electronic signature” means an electronic identifier, created by computer, executed or adopted by the party using it with the intent to authenticate a writing.
The standard for proposed rule changes is they take place effective January 1 of the year following adoption. I suggested that this needs to be done now.
Whether you are for or against the proposed rule or believe that it should be clearer as I do go to http://www.in.gov/judiciary/4404.htm and let the court know your position.
Prepared by Richard A. Mann of Mann Law, P.C. Attorneys at Law, www.rmannlawoffice.com