PACER Class Action Lawsuit – National Veterans Legal Services Program et al v United States

PACER Class Action Lawsuit – National Veterans Legal Services Program, et al. v. United States
EventHorizon1984
17 May 2017

 

“Paying too much for PACER? You could get an email notice later this spring to join a class action”
Amanda Bronstad
In PACER Suit, a Class Action Even Defense Lawyers Can Love

 

Need quick online access to Federal Court records? Then you want PACER (pacer.gov).

What is PACER?

“Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information online from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts, and the PACER Case Locator. PACER is provided by the Federal Judiciary in keeping with its commitment to providing public access to court information via a centralized service.”

“The Federal Judiciary has developed a Next Generation (NextGen) Case Management/ Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system that will allow you to use the same account for both PACER and electronic filing access”

“The PACER Case Locator is a national index for U.S. district, bankruptcy, and appellate courts. A subset of information from each case is transferred to the PACER Case Locator server each night”

“PACER is available to anyone who registers for an account.

The more than one million PACER users include attorneys, pro se filers, government agencies, trustees, data collectors, researchers, educational and financial institutions, commercial enterprises, the media, and the general public.”

PACER registration is free, but there is a fee for document access.

“All registered agencies or individuals are charged a user fee of $0.10 per page. This charge applies to the number of pages that results from any search, including a search that yields no matches (one page for no matches).”

“The schedule places a cap on the per-page charge, with a maximum $3, the equivalent of 30 pages, for electronic access to any single document. For example, a 50 page document that would cost $5 at $0.10 a page is capped at 30 pages and only costs $3. Users will receive the entire 50-page document but are only charged $3. Each attachment in CM/ECF sites is considered a separate document. Therefore, the cap will apply to each attachment over 30 pages separately.”

“The PACER Service Center bills quarterly and sends a statement by mail or email. Fees are waived when usage is less than $15 for the quarter.”

Why the fees for public documents?

In 1988, the Judiciary sought appropriations from the U.S. Congress in order to provide electronic public access to court records. However, Congress did not provide the funds and instead directed the Judiciary to fund the initiative through user fees. As a result, the program relies exclusively on fee revenue.

Are these fees reasonable? On 21 April 2016, the National Veterans Legal Services Program, National Consumer Law Center, and the Alliance For Justice presented the case “that PACER’s fee schedule is higher than necessary to cover the costs of operating PACER.”

A few months later, on 24 January 2017, “U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle in the District of Columbia approved the” ‘class action lawsuit.’

The nineteen (19) page document ends with:

CONCLUSION

Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification is granted, with minor modifications to the proposed class definition. A separate Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.

/s/ Ellen Segal Huvelle
ELLEN SEGAL HUVELLE
United States District Judge

Date: January 24, 2017

 

Of course, notice of this event reached our email box on 16 May 2017.

 

  Gmail - PACER Fees - Notice of Class Action Lawsuit 70

 

Of course, settlement talks began in March. And according to a 11 March 2017 article, all parties were “to report back to the court no later than April 21.

Did we mention it’s May?

/*
“One of those hobbies of mine, is studying laws. The laws you used to be paid to enforce.”
Detective Robert Goren

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