What items are needed when filing a new civil action?
When case is filed electronically:
Follow CM/ECF Procedures for Filing an Initial Pleading in a Civil or Miscellaneous Case
When case is filed in paper format in the Clerk's Office or by Mail:
Civil Cover Sheet
Submit documents in paper format with the Clerk's Office, to include a signed (pen/ink) original and one copy of each, e.g., complaint, civil cover sheet, any motions, Fed. Rule 7.1. Disclosure Statement, etc. Each document should be stapled or bound, to include tabs or supporting documentation when applicable. (For patent cases, a copy of the patent(s) as issue should be filed with the complaint).
Payment of filing fee, $400.00 (payable to Clerk, U.S. District Court), or an original signed Application to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees. (AO-239)
Two paper copies of the Summons (AO-440) form for each named defendant to be served. The Clerk's Office will sign, seal and date each summons and return them to the plaintiff for service pursuant to Fed. Rules of Civil Procedure 4. Summons forms do not need to be submitted in "pdf" since printed versions are required for issuance.
Notice/Waiver As an alternative to service by summons, forms for Notice of Lawsuit (AO-398) and Request for Waiver of Service (AO-399) may be obtained from the Clerk's Office or HERE on this web site.
In addition to the above requirements, registered CM/ECF users who do not e-file their new cases, must provide "pdf" formatted versions of all new case documents, either on a CD or flash drive. A single document or attachment cannot exceed 5 MB. (Once the CM/ECF electronic docket is created by the Clerk's Office, authorized users may e-file additional papers in the case).
Information regarding service of process can be found in Rule 4
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Last Update: 12/23/2014
Where do Pro Se or non-CM/ECF parties file new cases...
Where do Pro Se or non-CM/ECF parties file new cases, letters to the court, motions and other pleadings in existing District of Delaware cases?
All such filings are processed at the Clerk’s Office Intake counter, Room 4209. The Clerk's Office does not have an after-hours drop box. When filing by mail, send documents to:
OFFICE OF THE CLERK
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
844 N KING ST UNIT 18
WILMINGTON DE 19801-3570
Exceptions to filing with the Clerk include:
- Papers accepted and "Filed in Open Court" during a proceeding. - As directed by a Judge’s chambers.