Courthouse News Service has reported that a recently filed class action suit accuses PACER of systematically overcharging its customers. Many of our readers will be familiar with PACER, which stands for the Public Access to Courts Electronic Records system. PACER is a government-operated, online database that provides access to federal court documents for a fee of 10 cents per page, up to a maximum of three dollars per document. The complaint, filed by Bryndon Fisher against the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts and its director James C. Duff, claims that PACER uses an erroneous formula to count the number of bytes in an HTML document, thereby inflating its page count.
“During the past two years,” the complaint claims, “Fisher accessed 184 court docket reports using PACER and was charged and paid a total of $109.40 to the AO for this access…. Over this two-year period, based on the formula contained in the PACER User Manual, Fisher should have been charged $72.40, representing an overcharge of $37.00 or approximately 51 percent.” Fisher is seeking class certification, refunds, and an injunction. The full complaint can be found here.