ATLANTA (CN) – The State of Georgia has been voluntarily dismissed as a defendant in a federal class-action that says Lexis-Nexis Courtlink and Fulton County Superior Court, as well as court officials, are operating an illegal, mandatory electronic filing system for cases filed in Fulton County. Plaintiffs, an attorney and two nonattorneys, claim Lexis Nexis charges more for filing pleadings than is authorized by state law, in a mandatory pilot project “unwittingly approved by the Georgia Supreme Court.”
The plaintiff lawyers have not given a reason for their voluntary dismissal of the state.
In their underlying complaint against Lexis Nexis and the state, as well as others, they claim that, “Without any statutory authority, Defendants charge litigants/their counsel fees – in some instance $11 for each electronic filing in those cases designated for mandatory electronic filing pursuant to orders issued by the Superior and State Courts of Fulton County and a pilot project seemingly and/or unwittingly approved by the Georgia Supreme Court. This illegal system prohibits filing of any paper documents in mandated cases, thus forcing litigants to use the e-filing system.”
The complaint continues: “The Georgia Supreme Court’s approval of the State Court e-filing system is not signed by the Chief Justice, nor any Justice, but only by the Supreme Court Clerk; counsel for Plaintiffs made an open records request to the Supreme Court Clerk and was provided those documents in Exhibit 1; the Supreme Court Clerk denied Plaintiffs’ counsel any other recordings of the Supreme Court concerning and/or approving the State Court electronic filing rules; Plaintiffs’ counsel contends that the Georgia Supreme Court is unaware of the cost associated with said system”.
Plaintiffs claim, “Defendants’ e-filing is illegal, unlawful, wrongful, and tortious. Government Defendants lack the authority to impose on litigants a system that allows for Defendant Lexis to impose fees on litigants and their attorneys (in) excess of those expressly authorized by the State Court of Fulton County Schedule of Fees and Superior Court of Fulton County Schedule of Fees. Through this system, Defendant Lexis has taken substantial sums of money from Plaintiffs and other persons similarly situated in violation of O.C.G.A. § 15-6-77(k) (statute concerning filing fees) and in violation of O.C.G.A. § 15-5-40 (statute stipulating clerk shall accept paper filings). This scheme single-handedly doubles, triples or quadruples litigants filing fees with no known ceiling for said fees. This scheme marks the largest percentage and largest actual dollar increase in filing fees in the history of Georgia, all without any statutory authority.”
Plaintiffs are represented by Steven Newton.