PACER FEES CLASS ACTION
This website contains information regarding a class action lawsuit that is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, entitled National Veterans Legal Services Program, et al. v. United States, Case No. 1:16-CV-00745-PLF.
The proposed Settlement Class includes everyone that paid fees for the use of PACER between April 21, 2010 and May 31, 2018 (excluding federal government agencies, class counsel in this case, and anyone who previously timely submitted a notice of exclusion).
If the settlement is approved by the Court, class members will automatically receive a payment from a common fund. You will not have to fill out any forms or do anything to receive your share.
The parties have agreed to settle this litigation for $125,000,000. Plaintiffs have asked the Court to preliminarily approve the Settlement and approve a plan to provide notice of the settlement to individuals and entities who paid PACER fees between April 21, 2010 and May 31, 2018.
Those documents can be found here (docket entries 140, 140-1, 141, 141-1,
141-2, 141-3, 141-4).
The Court has not yet approved the proposed settlement.
If the Court approves the proposed Settlement and Plan of Allocation, no class member will have to file a claim to recover. Checks will be sent to class members based on the records of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
Under the terms of the proposed Settlement, each class member will receive a minimum payment of the lesser of $350 or the total amount paid in PACER fees by that class member during the Class Period. The remaining monies in the fund will be distributed on a pro rata basis to class members who paid more than $350 in PACER fees during the Class Period.
If, after this distribution, unclaimed or undistributed funds remain one year after the $125,000,000 payment by the United States, those funds will be equally allocated and distributed to all class members who (1) paid more than $350 in PACER fees during the Class Period, and (2) deposited or otherwise collected their payment from the first distribution. The proposed Settlement provides for a payment of no more than 20% of the $125,000,000 as attorneys’ fees and costs, class administration costs, and service awards for the class representatives.
More information about the allocation and distribution of the settlement fund can be found here
NATURE OF THE ACTION
This lawsuit alleged that the United States government unlawfully charged users of the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system more than necessary to cover the costs of providing public access to federal court records.
The Court allowed the lawsuit to proceed as a class action on behalf of all individuals who paid PACER fees during the class period. On March 31, 2018, the Court issued a decision on the parties’ motion for summary judgment. A copy of the district court’s opinion can be found here, and a copy of the district court’s order can be found here.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision on August 6, 2020, and remanded for further proceedings in the district court. The Federal Circuit’s opinion and judgment can be found in the Court Documents section of this website. On July 27, 2022, after mediation and extensive negotiations, the parties agreed to settle the lawsuit.