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Ga. Court OKs Class Action on Mandatory E-Filing

A Georgia state trial court has denied a motion to dismiss filed by Reed Elsevier, the parent company of LexisNexis, in a class action accusing the company -- and Fulton County -- of violating the state constitution by requiring court documents to be electronically filed at litigants' expense.

Courthouse News has a good recap of the court's opinion, which recites the long and tortured procedural history of the case before getting to the meat. The judge who authored the opinion was brought in from neighboring DeKalb County after all Fulton County judges recused themselves because the county was a defendant.

According to the opinion, the Georgia Constitution indeed includes an implied right of access to the courts, despite Reed's protestations to the contrary, and the plaintiffs properly stated a claim that the mandatory e-filing procedures violated that right. The judge, Robert Castellani, had, at oral argument, expressed surprise that Reed would actually dispute the existence of such a right, according to an October article in the Fulton County Daily Report.

The judge also took a shot at the lawyers in the case. After noting that he had read all of the voluminous submissions on the motions, he called out counsel on their "propensity . . . to use a shotgun when a carefully aimed rifle would be preferable," and instructed them to get their act together on all future filings.

The court vowed to set a hearing early next year to work out discovery issues pertaining to class certification and the merits of the case.

Posted by Eric Lipman on December 8, 2010 at 12:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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