By John V. Berry, Esq., www.berrylegal.com
Our firm represents federal employees before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), in the appeals process. When an appeal is filed these days it is mostly done through the MSPB e-filing process. Basically, the MSPB has moved over the last few years to an e-filing system for federal employee appeals. Our experience in representing federal employees in e-filing issues has generally been positive. The MSPB e-filing process is governed by 5 C.F.R. § 1201.14 Electronic filing procedures.
What is E-Filing?
E-filing at the MSPB is just another method of submitting and receiving documents in relation to a federal employee’s MSPB appeal. The types of documents that can be submitted and received through the MSPB e-filing system include initial appeals, motions, written responses to orders, briefs and petitions for review (appeals). Once a document is filed electronically it is automatically served on all other e-filers (i.e. typically the federal agency’s attorney and that judge). If a federal employee doesn't use the e-filing system, then the documents must be served in other ways (i.e. fax, mail). The e-filing process saves postage, time and typically registers as filed within the e-filing system fairly quickly. The e-filing system can also make the process less formal. One need not submit a formal pleading in certain cases and may choose instead to enter information in the electronic questionnaire.
A Description of the E-Filing Process
Typically, the e-filing process begins with a federal employee or their attorney registering for an account with the MSPB e-filing system. Following registration, the individual may then file their initial appeal electronically with the correct MSPB field office. Users can save drafts of their appeal while it is a work in progress and then file it when it is completed. The administrative judge assigned to the case will then typically issue their Acknowledgment and other initial orders to the parties in the case to all e-filers with copies by mail to those not registered.
Discovery requests and other correspondence between the parties are not typically filed in the e-filing system unless a party is having difficulty with the opposing side and must seek a motion to compel. Following a decision on a motion or on the appeal itself, the MSPB administrative judge will issue the decision which will be electronically served if the parties have elected electronic filing. It is much more efficient to receive these decisions right away rather than waiting for mail delays. Furthermore, if the decision on appeal is adverse then the parties may generally file an appeal through the e-filing process. In general, e-filing makes the MSPB process much more user friendly in our experience.
In sum, registering for e-filing at the MSPB is generally recommended. When a federal employee is involved in an MSPB appeal, it is important for them to have legal advice and/or representation. Our law firm represents federal employees before the MSPB and can be contacted at www.berrylegal.com or by telephone at (703) 668-0070. Our Facebook page is located at https://www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.