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-ESH.
NATURE OF THE ACTION
Nonprofit groups have sued the United States government alleging that the United States government has 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 has allowed the lawsuit to be a class action on behalf of all individuals or entities that paid PACER fees between April 21, 2010 and April 21, 2016, excluding class counsel in this case and federal government entities.
On March 31, 2018, the Court denied Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment. It also denied in part and granted in part the government’s motion for summary judgment, deciding that the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts lawfully covered the costs of certain programs with PACER fees, but impermissibly paid for other programs with PACER fees.
Specifically, the Court held that the following categories may be paid for with PACER fees: (1) PACER; (2) CM/ECF; (3) electronic bankruptcy noticing; (4) certain court staffing and training programs; and (5) certain telecommunications equipment and services. The Court also held that the following categories may not be paid for with PACER fees: (1) courtroom technology except digital audio recording equipment; (2) victim notification under the Violent Crime Control Act; (3) web-based juror services; and (4) a three-year study with the State of Mississippi on the feasibility of sharing the federal courts’ CM/ECF system at the state level. There is no money now, and no guarantee there will be any recovery.
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.
Both the Plaintiffs and the United States appealed the district court’s decision to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. 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.
The Class includes everyone that paid fees for the use of PACER between April 21, 2010 and April 21, 2016, excluding class counsel in this case and federal government entities.
For more information, please review the Class Notice.