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PACER Fees Unlawfully High, Nonprofits Say in New Class Action

Released 4/21/16 at The National Law Journal | Tags: Class Actions

The federal judiciary is overcharging users for access to the public online database of court records known as PACER, a group of nonprofits alleged in a class action filed on Thursday in Washington. The Public Access to Court Electronic Records system, known as PACER, generally charges users 10 cents per page for court records, with a maximum charge of $3 per record. The plaintiffs—National Veterans Legal Services Program, National Consumer Law Center and Alliance for Justice—claim the fees more than cover the cost of maintaining of the system, and that the extra money is used for unrelated expenses in violation of the federal E-Government Act of 2002. “This noncompliance with the E-Government Act has inhibited public understanding of the courts and thwarted equal access to justice,” the nonprofits argued, in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

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