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I plan on e-filing my lawsuit, but it will be impractical to upload the number of exhibits, plus some of them take up multiple screenshots. So, is it okay to refer to "exhibit 1" and mention that it will be provided in person? I actually find it easier to print out all the exhibits and bring them to a hearing in person than trying to upload them all. For example, if an exhibit takes up multiple screenshots (i.e. the libelous content), will each screenshot end up its own exhibit?

Also, what if some of the exhibits are missing but are obtainable through another institution? How would I write that the exhibit/evidence exists but that I don't have a copy? If I can't get a copy before uploading the complaint (i.e. if the institution doesn't cooperate with my request), do I mention that this evidence is held by "institution x" so it could be subpoenaed?

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is it okay to refer to "exhibit 1" and mention that it will be provided in person?

No. Attach them all in the pleadings/motions/briefs/etc. you file in court. You might want to elaborate why you think that would be impractical.

If by "provided in person" you mean "at the hearing", it will not work because other parties are entitled to get and review a copy. The judge might not even allow that, and ultimately he "runs the show" also at the hearings. Or if you mean "in person with the clerk", the clerk will reject it because exhibits are not to be filed separate from briefs, motions, etc.

Also, the approach you have in mind gives the adversary the opportunity to falsely and vexatiously allege that you never filed those exhibits.

if an exhibit takes up multiple screenshots (i.e. the libelous content), will each screenshot end up its own exhibit?

It depends on the [unspecified] particulars of your matter. For instance, if multiple screenshots are intertwined or pertain to one same event, it makes more sense to include them in one exhibit.

what if some of the exhibits are missing but are obtainable through another institution?

It is premature to call "exhibit" something that has not yet been exhibited in any of the filings. Once the other institution produces the records or evidence at issue, then they can be filed in the form of exhibits attached to the party's motion or response.

How would I write that the exhibit/evidence exists but that I don't have a copy?

This might not be necessary or even useful. Keep in mind that a plaintiff can subsequently file a motion amend complaint, wherein it will be possible to attach to it the evidence that was unavailable at the time the initial pleadings were filed.

If I can't get a copy before uploading the complaint (i.e. if the institution doesn't cooperate with my request), do I mention that this evidence is held by "institution x" so it could be subpoenaed?

Not necessarily. Subpoena (with judge's/clerk's signature) the institution, and in the meantime focus on evidence/facts you currently have/know. If the institution remains uncooperative despite being subpoenaed, you will subsequently file a motion to show cause.

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  • Thank you. I thought it was impractical because in addition to the libelous story, this person harassed me on social media for about a year, and I'm also suing for intentional infliction of emotional distress. However, maybe I could create a page with the links to the threads and make this one exhibit?
    – Gemini
    Jul 3 at 8:57
  • I thought it would be impractical/difficult to capture each harassing comment and submit it as a separate exhibit.
    – Gemini
    Jul 3 at 9:02
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    @Gemini "I'm also suing for intentional infliction of emotional distress." Note that claims of IIED hardly ever prevail, let alone where harassment happened on social media. You might want to focus on the claims of defamation and of harassment, but the latter being for purposes of injunctive relief. "maybe I could create on page with the links to the thread and make this one exhibit?" No, that is not convenient. One cannot expect judges will be opening URLs or that the content of the websites will remain unchanged. Make your filings self-contained. Jul 3 at 9:04
  • "I thought it would be impractical/difficult to capture each harassing comment and submit it as a separate exhibit." Yes, that would be impractical. A single exhibit containing the multiple harassing comments will be easier to handle and to assess. Jul 3 at 9:06
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    @Gemini It is hard to be specific without knowing the details of your matter, but you do not need to include each and every harassing post. Chances are that some or many of them would be stricken as cumulative evidence. Jul 3 at 9:34

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