All documents filed with the OJCC, except documents filed by parties who are not represented by an attorney, shall be filed by electronic means through the OJCC website. Rule 60Q-6.108(1)(a).
In the event a represented party files a pleading or other paper with the OJCC by electronic means, that party shall be required to serve the other party or parties, or their designated representative, with a copy of that pleading or paper simultaneously by electronic means, if available. Rule 60Q-6.108(1)(b).
Any document filed in paper form by U.S. mail, facsimile, or delivery shall be filed only with the OJCC clerk in Tallahassee. Rule 60Q-6.108(1)(a).
But, there are times when a document should be reviewed by a judge before its contents are disclosed to the other parties or their attorneys. Discovery in Florida workers' compensation litigation is controlled by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 60Q-6.114(2)(a), (3) and (4). Thus, a party may object to producing documents that are requested by another party.
When that objection is raised, it may be appropriate for the assigned judge to conduct an "in-camera" review of the documents, in light of the context or basis for the objection (relevance, privilege, etc.). See Brandsmart v. Schaffer, 855 So.2d 145 (Fla. 1st DCA 2003). In Camera means "in chambers," or "when all spectators are excluded from the courtroom." In regards to an examination of documents, it means that the judge would review documents for the purpose or determining whether it is appropriate for them to be provided to the other parties to the case.
Thus, it may be necessary to provide some document(s) to the judge without e-filing them. What is the best way to accomplish that? Simply stated, that is up to the assigned judge. And, the best way to ask the judge to answer a question during litigation is to file a motion. See Rule 60Q-6.115(1). See How do you Spell Relief, Follow Orders or Seek Relief, and Following Orders.
A party that wants an in camera review or inspection should file a motion that asks for that and explains why the review is needed or necessary. The judge may then enter an order on the motion (which should explain any issues associated with providing the document(s), such as e-filing, service, etc.). The party may then follow the judge's directions (comply with that order).
Another issue that arises regards the filing of documents that a party may agree to sharing with other parties, but not with others. When this arises, parties are often in agreement that a document should not be generally view-able, particularly after the issue to which it is relevant has been compromised or adjudicated.
TheRules of Procedure for Workers' Compensation Adjudications provide a method for protecting a document from view. Under Rule 60Q6.108 Filing and Service, a judge has the authority to order a document be placed under seal. The precise provision is 60Q6.108(i):
(i) The clerk of the OJCC shall, upon order of the assigned judge, place a document under seal and render it thereby viewable only upon further order of the assigned judge.
(1) Is not a public record of the State of Florida (it likely is as soon as it is filed with the OJCC) or (2) Will not be produced by the OJCC in response to a public record request.
Fundamentally, secrets are not for government. The filings and orders in litigation before the OJCC are public records. Therefore, those records will generally be accessible to all. Preventing such access will be the exception, a rare and special exception, to that rule.