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Readers Write: Want to Read the Briefs in the Epic vs. Tata Consulting Case? That’ll Cost $0.10 Per Page (Unless We Do Something About It)

February 25, 2015 Readers Write 6 Comments

Want to Read the Briefs in the Epic vs. Tata Consulting Case? That’ll Cost $0.10 Per Page (Unless We Do Something About It)
By Reluctant Epic User

As Americans, we tend to assume that we have the most open and transparent courts in the world.  Unfortunately, that probably isn’t the case. The reality is that all of the public documents filed in a court case are locked behind the world’s largest paywall. Including the Epic Systems vs. Tata Consultancy Services Limited case

It doesn’t have to be this way. The courts give every person in America $15 per quarter in free downloads. The Free The Law project has created a clever workaround which places these documents in the public domain. 

Five of 82 documents in the Epic vs. Tata case are available to the public. You can increase that number. Follow these steps:

  1. Install the “RECAP the law” Firefox Extension.
  2. Open a PACER account as a view user (credit card required).
  3. Once you have an account open, go to the Western Wisconsin Court District site and log in.
  4. Click Query and enter 3:14-cv-00748 in the case number field.
  5. Click Docket Report, accept the default values, click run.
  6. Click on one of the document # hyperlinks which doesn’t have a “RECAP the law” logo by it (examples in green boxes).
  7. Read the document if you’re interested. If you aren’t, click back and find another one. At most, a document will cost $3.00. Therefore, don’t open more than four documents and you’ll stay under the $15 free limit.


Some of you may be wondering, why do this?  To date, documents like Epic’s Standard Consulting Agreement (circa 2005) have been unavailable to the general public. The case offers us the chance to get a glimpse behind the Epic’s veil of secrecy, something any HIT observer should happily support.

Since this will be an ongoing case, we’ll need people to regularly contribute. If you comment on this post, you’ll be updated on an ongoing basis as we gather all the documents we need.

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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. I’ve viewed document #7 plus 12 attachments. Recap showed notifications with each document viewed but didn’t update the source web page (even when I refreshed and re-did the search), so I suspect that either it didn’t do the copy/upload or there will end up being duplicates because people don’t know what has already been copied.

  2. Really? This is what we are interested in? Well, 3 people are interested in it. And more who can’t follow other instructions in order to get the whole thing open to the public so our right to information can be observed. USA! I’ve seen the consulting agreement dozens of times in various situations. And it really isn’t a whole lot different from any other vendor. If this somehow pulls back the curtain and we call figure out the secrete EPIC sauce, shame on us for not figuring that out years ago. Years.

    Also, the assumption that we have the most open and transparent courts in the world is still a pretty good one. Now, as John Oliver pointed out, how we ELECT officials to preside over those courts may paint a different future. But, until then, let’s dig in to these juicy consulting agreements…

  3. This blog is amazing. Thanks Mr. H for publishing my article. We’ve made great progress uploading the files. There are now 30 files there, 50ish to go!

    There are two ways to get the files without the RECAP the law extension:

    1.) Access the directory listing on the Internet Archive site:

    2.) Open the docket on the Internet Archive site:

    Yawn, an open court means open documents. Think we have an open court? Ask Aaron Schwartz. The FBI investigation which began around the time he committed suicide was triggered by him dumping several million documents out of PACER onto the internet at one of the 17 libraries that had free access to PACER. PACER ended that program.

    KG, best comment ever.

  4. This is a little bit like tilting at windmills. What exactly do you think you’re going to see that you couldn’t as an Epic user, even a reluctant one? As an Epic user, you can probably just get your own UserWeb access. Also, the consultant agreement isn’t exactly a secret-there are thousands of them out there.

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