A DeKalb County judge expressed surprise Tuesday when an attorney representing the parent company of LexisNexis asserted that the public has no constitutional right of access to the courts. The exchange came in a hearing before DeKalb Superior Court Judge Robert J. Castellani on a motion for summary judgment in a case that seeks to have Fulton County’s e-filing system declared unconstitutional.

The case is the fourth iteration of a potential class action against Fulton County and its e-filing system, and charges that the Fulton court’s requirement that documents be filed via the fee-based LexisNexis File & Serve system declared an unconstitutional violation of citizens’ right to access the courts. The suit also says the Fulton court’s requirement violates Georgia law that stipulates the method by which legal documents must be filed and constitutes an “illegal scheme” between the county and LexisNexis’ parent company, Reed Elsevier, to “impose an unlawful mandatory e-filing system upon litigants in Fulton County State and Superior Court and to charge excessive and unauthorized fees in connection therewith.”

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