When calculating deadlines in federal court, most attorneys are familiar with the "mailbox rule." Until recently, the "mailbox rule" provided respondents with an additional three days to respond to pleadings and discovery that were served via e-mail, via the federal court's e-file system, or via traditional "snail mail" options.

In 2001, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were amended to add e-filing and e-mail to the types of service that received the benefit of the "mailbox rule."

This was done to account for technological difficulties in transmitting pleadings electronically. As technology advanced, this rule seemed like another instance where the legal profession had failed to keep up with modern technology.

But, in 2016, the legal profession made a great leap forward.

Now, when responding to a pleading served via e-mail or the court's e-file system, respondents are no longer entitled to an extra three days.

Finally, some, but not all, states have made similar changes to their civil procedure rules. In Georgia, the Civil Procedure Act's guidelines have NOT been updated. So, litigants in Georgia courts are still entitled to the benefit of the extra three days under the "mailbox rule" when responding to a pleading that was served via mail or e-mail.

Navigating the procedural rules of the federal court system can be confusing for inexperienced litigants. If you have been served with a pleading in a federal court case and you have questions about your response deadline, it would be prudent to consult an experienced attorney as quickly as possible.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.