By Ann E. Marimow, The Washington Post, October 11, 2022
The federal judiciary has agreed to pay $125 million to reimburse hundreds of thousands of users of the nationwide online records system as part of a proposed settlement made public Tuesday in a long-running lawsuit aimed at reducing the cost to access court records.
Three nonprofits accused the judiciary in 2016 of overcharging to review and download records through the service known as PACER, an acronym for Public Access to Court Electronic Records. The agreement, which must be approved by a federal judge in Washington, mainly would refund up to $350 for fees paid between April 2010 and May 2018. Users who paid more during that period would receive an additional share of the remaining funds.
The settlement does not eliminate charges for using PACER. But advocates for court transparency say the unusual case has put pressure on the judiciary to overhaul the system and prompted Congress to act.