The Fourth Circuit Won’t Let The Government Rely On A Document Behind A Paywall Unless It Was Introduced Into the Record In The District Court

January 6th, 2012

The online citation provided by the government for the full-text version of this report requires a paid subscription to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Fortunately for the government, we were able to confirm the accuracy of the government’s citation to our full satisfaction by viewing an abstract of the report on the Internet website for the Journal of the American Medical Association and by observing that the Seventh Circuit, sitting en banc, cited the same report for the same statistic in Skoien II, 614 F.3d at 643. Nonetheless, we are hereby putting the government on notice that, while it caught a break under the circumstances this time, if a social science report, article, or raw data upon which it relies is not readily available free of charge on the Internet, the government must offer a paper copy in the district court for the record in order for it to be considered.

Meanwhile, that very document, were it attached to the record in the district court proceedings, would only be accessible via PACER for a cost! Pacer is a paywall for the federal government. What CHUTZPAH!

H/T How Appealing and Kevin Walsh.