Court News & Notes

UMKC hosts trial competition at the Whittaker Courthouse
UMKC Hosts Trial Competition at the Whittaker Courthouse

On Feb. 16, 2012, the Court welcomed teams from Drake University, Hamline University, St. Louis University, the University of Iowa, the University of Minnesota, the University of Missouri—Columbia, the University of Missouri—Kansas City, the University of St. Thomas, the University of Wisconsin and Washington University a national trial competition and regional tournament.

The finals were held on Feb. 18, 2012, and four teams competed. Washington University and St. Louis University won, and they will compete at the National Competition in Austin, Texas, on March 21-25, 2012. The University of Missouri—Kansas City finished a close third and graciously hosted the tournament.

The competition was a great success, and competitors, judges and witnesses alike expressed tremendous praise about the welcoming atmosphere of the court and those assisting with the event. The event brought considerable talent and enthusiasm for the law to the courthouse and provided a preview of the Midwest’s future trial lawyers.

Courtroom Assistance for Hearing Impaired

The court has sound-amplifying headphones available for use during hearings. If you or your client needs hearing assistance while in the courtroom, please contact the courtroom deputy prior to the hearing so that she can have the necessary equipment ready.

PACER Fees to Increase April 1

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In September 2011, the Judicial Conference of the United States authorized an increase in the judiciary's electronic public access fee in response to increasing costs for maintaining and enhancing the electronic public access system. The increase in the electronic public access (EPA) fee, from 8 cents to 10 cents per page, will take effect on April 1, 2012. The change is needed to continue to support and improve the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system, and to develop and implement the next generation of the judiciary's Case Management/Electronic Case Filing system.

The EPA fee has not been increased since 2005. As mandated by Congress, the EPA program is funded entirely through user fees set by the conference.

The conference was mindful of the impact such an increase could have on other public entities and on public users accessing the system to obtain information on a particular case. For this reason, local, state and federal government agencies will be exempted from the increase for three years. Moreover, PACER users who do not accrue charges of more than $15 in a quarterly billing cycle would not be charged a fee. (The current exemption is $10 per quarter.) The expanded exemption means that 75 to 80 percent of all users will still pay no fees. The 30 page cap on reports and case-related documents (excluding transcripts) will remain in effect for a maximum charge of $3. View the updated PACER fee schedule at

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