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Naming Conventions

These conventions apply to all names added to the master database in the CM-ECF application. It is very important that you add only after an exhaustive, comprehensive searchfor the party failed to find a match!

Once you have determined that you must add a party to the database, add them using their correct full legal name. Do not abbreviate or in any other way shorten or change the name to reduce your typing!

Use upper and lower case for all names and capitalize the first letter in a proper noun. Examples:

Wallace D. Smith
United Services Fidelity and Guaranty

Use punctuation and single spacing between all names and following initials and periods. Examples:

J. J. Jones
Smith, Inc.
C. W. Bradford, Ltd.

When typing names that have upper and lower case letters or hyphens, do not insert spaces. Examples:

Patricia DeLaGarza
Patrick MacDougal
Kathleen O’Brien
Mary Smith-Baker


When working with the Party Information Screen:

Last name: Martin
Middle name: Kramer Johns
First name: Robert

  • If an individual has no middle name, leave that field blank. Do not enter “NMI” (no middle initial) or "NMN" (no middle name).
  • If a party has multiple names such as Robert Kramer Johns Martin, add the extra names in the Middle Name box.
  • Business names should be entered entirely in the Last Name box. Do not use the First Name or Middle Name box when entering business names. Do not use the ampersand sign for “and” unless it is part of a company name on the petition or pleading. Examples:

B. & D. Company
Cameron & Associates
J & J Trucking


Avoid abbreviations unless it is part of a company name on the petition or pleading.

"United States" and "United States of America" can be abbreviated as "U.S." or "U.S.A." without any spaces.

U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Attorney
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Always enter the United States Trustee’s Office as: “Office of the United States Trustee.” Please do not abbreviate the name.

For entities other than the United States, abbreviations should not be used to shorten names.

Searching For Parties

Make sure you search the CM-ECF data base for the party you want to add to a case. Before adding any party to a case, search for that party using appropriate “search clues” listed below. If the system finds the correct name, select it to help eliminate different versions of the same party name.

Search Strategies

When searching for debtors, the more search clues you provide, the more likely you are to find the exact person you are searching for. For example, if you search for a last name of Grant, CM/ECF may return a list of a hundred parties with that last name. However, if you search for a last name of Grant with a Social Security number of 333-22-1111, CM/ECF will return a single party.

When searching for creditors, it may be necessary to conduct multiple searches. First, search for the entire creditor name (e.g., General Motors Acceptance Corporation). If that is not successful, you can search for part of the creditor's name (e.g., General Motors or just General). If there are articles in the title such as "A" or "The," you may or may not need to include the article in the search.

Search Hints:

  • Enter one field of data for each search.
  • Format Social Security Number or Tax ID with hyphens.
  • Searching is case sensitive. (Smith, not smith)
  • Include punctuation. (O’Brien)
  • Try alternate search clues if your first search is not successful.
  • Partial names can be entered.
  • Wild cards (*) are not required at the end of search strings.
  • Wild cards may be used before or within search strings. (*son, Gr?y)
  • A question mark (?) represents a wild card for one character only.
  • An asterisk (*) is a wild card for any number (or none) characters.
  • The asterisk * should not be used by itself. It will search ALL records in the database and use unnecessary system resources.


Entering Debtor Information on CM/ECF

Add debtors to cases using names and addresses exactly as they appear on the petition or complaint.

If a debtor has a title, add the title in the “party text” box. Any title that you add as party text will show up on the front page of the docket report following the name of the party and separated by a comma.

Social Security Numbers and Tax ID Numbers should include hyphens when entered into CM/ECF:

SSN: 000-00-0000
Tax ID: 00-0000000

Adding Plaintiffs and Defendants

Add plaintiffs and defendants to cases using names exactly as they appear on the complaint. (The names on the Adversary Cover Sheet should also match the names on the complaint.) Search for plaintiffs and defendants in CM/ECF prior to adding them as parties. The debtor’s name should always be in CM/ECF when adding them as a plaintiff or defendant in an adversary proceeding.

Do NOT add a title for plaintiffs or defendants.

Make sure to select the plaintiff or defendant party role for each party.

If you find a plaintiff or defendant in CM/ECF with an address, verify that it is the correct address before accepting the Party information screen. Correct the address if necessary.


Adding Creditors

First, add creditors to cases using names already in the CM-ECF data base. Add a creditor to the database only if it cannot be found in the party list. Creditors (such as Ford Motor Credit) are added to many different cases. Ideally, there should be only one Ford Motor Credit party in the CM/ECF data base. This greatly simplifies searching when adding parties and querying cases.

For instance, it is better to add Ford Motor Credit to all cases even if that is not the exact name used on a document being docketed. The idea is to avoid adding name variations for a single creditor. For example:

Ford Motor Credit
Ford Motor Credit Company
Ford Motor Credit Co.
Ford Motor Credit Corporation
Ford Motor Credit Company, Inc.
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Credit Corp.
Ford Motors Credit Company
Ford Motor Credit Company (“FMCC”)

Do not add mailing addresses for creditors unless they are not represented by an attorney. If you find a creditor in CM-ECF with an address, delete the address fields before accepting the Party Information screen.

Make sure to select the creditor party role.


Mailing Addresses for the Mailing Matrix

(These style conventions apply to all debtor addresses and creditor matrix addresses
entered in the CM-ECF application)

Abbreviate post office addresses without a space between the P. and O.

P.O. Box 1359

Use digits for numbers in addresses.

3224 East 26th Street
425 6th Street
1 Valley Plaza

When there is a street address as well as a post office box address for a debtor, add only the post office address.

John J. Johnson
P. O. Box 1477
4218 Elmwood Lane (Eliminate this line)
Bentonville, AR 40453


When needed, use the second and/or third line of the address for building name, suite number, floor, firm name, or attention. The Attention Line should be placed below the Recipient Line, that is, below the name of the firm to which the mail piece is directed. This is a Court requirement!


ABC Corporation
Attention: John Smith
US Steel Tower, Suite 2600
600 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

The city, state and zip must be the only information on the last address line.
Use the ZIP+4 code if possible.

If you have any Foreign or Military Addresses; do not change in any manner. Enter as they appear on your pleading.

Alfonso Diaz
Hartmannstrasse 7
5300 Bonn 1

PSC 802 BOX 74
APO AE 09499-0074


The preferred format for telephone numbers is 412-644-4060.


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