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Buesgens v. Houser

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


November 14, 2008

MICHAEL L. BUESGENS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DOUGLAS G. HOUSER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Phyllis J. Hamilton United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR EXEMPTION FROM PUBLIC ACCESS FEES AT PACER

Before the court is plaintiff's motion for an exemption from PACER fees in this judicial district and "all other jurisdictions." In his motion, plaintiff refers to his application to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) in this case, and also states, without explanation, that the basis for the request is "[t]o avoid unreasonable burden" and "[t]o promote public access." "PACER" is the acronym for "Public Access to Court Electronic Records," a service of the United States Judiciary. Using the PACER system, an individual can access public court records and extract information. The Judicial Conference of the United States, the governing body of the federal judiciary, has determined that fees are necessary to reimburse expenses incurred by the judiciary in providing electronic public access to court records. See 28 U.S.C. § 1914, Advisory Committee Notes.

It is Judicial Conference policy that courts "may, upon a showing of cause," exempt indigents and certain other specified entities and individuals from payment of those fees. Id. "Courts must find that parties . . . seeking exemption have demonstrated that an exemption is necessary in order to avoid unreasonable burdens and to promote public access to information." Id. The court finds that the motion must be DENIED. First, on November 10, 2008, the court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim, pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 1915, and has not yet ruled on plaintiff's IFP request. Thus, there has been no determination that plaintiff is indigent. If plaintiff desires free access to the electronic docket, it is available at the Clerk's Office. Second, plaintiff has not established good cause for the request. Pro se litigants are required to file documents with the court in paper form, and the court and any defendants in the case will serve plaintiff with copies of all filed documents. The Judicial Conference has made clear that "[e]xemptions should be granted as the exception, not the rule. Id. As for plaintiff's request for an exemption from fees "in this jurisdiction" and "in all other jurisdictions," the court notes that an exemption applies "only to access related to the case or purpose for which it was given." Id.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20081114

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