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Texas Lawsuit Challenges Required e-Filing via LexisNexis

Via FutureLawyer comes word of this class action (PDF), filed by a plaintiff in a lawsuit in Texas state court who doesn't think the judge in that suit should have been able to order her to file all documents using LexisNexis' File and Serve.

As reported yesterday in Texas Lawyer, the court clerk in Montgomery County has been bouncing any filings not made through the service, which tacks on fees, service charges and other costs every time a litigant wants to file something.

I'm new to Texas, so not yet too familiar with their filing systems. There is a "statewide" e-filing system called Texas Online, but Montgomery County does not participate (query how, then, it can be called "statewide").

The complaint challenges the e-filing requirement on several grounds, including as a RICO violation. At 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, the commenters seem to think that, while it might not amount to racketeering, a litigant has a legitimate complaint when forced to use a particular private vendor for such services, at extra cost. In a comment on the FutureLawyer post, Chuck Newton wonders why state courts don't just find a way to tap into the PACER/ECF system.

E-filing is undoubtedly more convenient for the courts and the litigants (assuming they or their lawyers have computers), as anyone who ever had to staple a pleading to a blue back can attest. And yay for environmental friendliness. But where it adds to the cost of pursuing or defending a lawsuit, should it be required?

Posted by Eric Lipman on April 20, 2010 at 01:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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