New Class Challenges Mandatory E-Filing

     ATLANTA (CN) – Attorney Steven J. Newton is continuing his year-long quest to show that Lexis-Nexis Courtlink and Fulton County are running an illegal, mandatory e-filing system in Fulton courts. In his latest class action, filed last week, Newton represents three individuals, an estate and a jewelry company.

     “This class action arises from an illegal scheme perpetuated by defendant Reed Elsevier Inc. dba Lexis-Nexis Courtlink Inc. to impose an unlawful, mandatory e-filing system upon litigants in Fulton County State and Superior Courts and to charge excessive and unauthorized fees in connection therewith,” the complaint states. “Defendant Fulton County has participated in Lexis’ illegal scheme by promulgating a ‘pilot program’ authorizing Lexis’ unlawful mandatory e-filing scheme and excessive fees without the statutory authority to do so.”
     Documents filed in Fulton County State and Superior Courts through the LexisNexis File & Serve system can cost from $7 to $11 per filing in cases where electronic filing is mandated by orders from Fulton County State and Superior Courts and authorized by Fulton County.
     In Fulton County State Court, cases with damage claims of more than $50,000 and cases in which a dollar amount has been not been specified must be electronically filed.
     Also subject to mandatory e-filing are cases involving asbestos, fen-phen, mercury and lead, silicosis, welding rod, medical malpractice, legal malpractice, tort, personal injury cases and civil cases with four or more parties.
     The scope of cases that must be electronically filed in Fulton County Superior is less broad, covering only asbestos and silicosis damage claims.
     Newton represents named plaintiffs W. Phillip McCurdy III, Michael Cawthon, Nelson Picklesimer, Kenneth Clowdus as administrator for the estate of Kenneth Larry Clowdus, The Best Jewelry Manufacturing Company Inc. and Does.
     Newton filed a similar lawsuit against Lexis-Nexis Courtlink and Fulton County in federal court in December 2007 but withdrew the case in March 2008, then refiled in June 2008. The case was dismissed in March this year. U.S. District Court Judge William Duffey lambasted the complaint in an opinion and order, saying it was “rambling, unfocused, redundant, overly broad and at times completely misstates applicable law and fact.”
     Duffey also criticized the defense attorneys.
      “The defendants’ motions to dismiss are also undisciplined and unclear. The defendants’ ‘shotgun’ defense strategy is an undisciplined response to plaintiffs’ long, ambiguous, ‘shotgun’ amended complaint.”

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