|Date Requested:February 15, 2011
Time Requested:11:26 AM
| FUND(S) |
Sources of Revenue
Legislation creates:A New Program
Effect this measure will have on costs and revenues of state government.
|HB 3067 would increase certain civil filings fees currently collected by circuit courts, and impose a new docketing fee for unspecified civil appeals including family court appeals but not including Workers’ Comp cases or, presumably, actions in the Supreme Courts original jurisdiction, to be collected by the Court and paid, at its discretion, to either Legal Aid of West Virginia (LAWV) or into the Interest on Lawyer’s Trust Accounts (IOLTA) fund.|
|Effect of Proposal||Fiscal Year|
|1. Estmated Total Cost||0||0||0|
|Repairs and Alterations||2,000||2,000||2,000|
|2. Estimated Total Revenues||38,400||38,400||38,400|
3. Explanation of above estimates (including long-range effect):
The personal services amount included in the “effect on total cost” section represents the salary (minus benefits) of an entry-level position created in the Supreme Court Clerk’s office to receive the docketing fee and to consider fee waivers submitted along with filings (in forma pauperis , for example, by prisoners in habeas corpuses cases.) Currently the court collects no fees for these filings, in reference to the zero amount entered on “current expenses.”
The repairs and alterations section’s estimate of $2000.00 represents the cost for updating the court case management system to include this fee collection. Note that this estimate is low – it is based on the rate of $95.00 an hour which is a previously contracted amount for similar technical work, for a little over 20 hours of work.
Regarding estimated total revenues, this amount includes the $10 increase collected in circuit court fees to be paid into both a special fund for domestic violence victims (which would generate an estimated additional $320.00) and into the special Courthouse Facilities Improvement Fund (which would generate an estimated additional $480.00.)
The additional $37,600.00 representing the bulk of the estimated total revenues is based on data from 2010 during which 376 appeals were filed, (should the bill intend to exclude fees from Workers’ Comp cases and cases in the Court’s original jurisdiction -- vagueness regarding these intended exclusions are discussed in the appropriate place below.)
Concerning the long range cost, again this estimate is based on one year’s data and there is no way to predict future filing trends. The newly enacted Rules of Appellate Procedure are, however, more filing-friendly than their predecessors.
| Areas of vagueness and ambiguity include the following proposed language under §59-1-13 imposing a new Supreme Court docketing fee:
For docketing any civil appeals, including appeals from Family Courts, but not including, appeals in workers’ compensations cases, any action in the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction or any other action, cause or proceeding.
One reading of this appears that the intent is to restrict fees to civil appeals only, including family court fees, while excluding everything following the third comma. It is under this reading and understanding that this fiscal note was prepared. However, if the drafters intended to include cases within the Court’s original jurisdiction, then there would be an additional $26,700.00 added to the estimated total revenues, above, for a total of $65,100.00. Bear in mind, however, none of the above estimates take into account the percentage of filings that are accompanied by fee waiver applications, which would decrease the collected revenue. A number of cases fall under the definition of “civil filings” (ex. Habeas corpus cases filed by prisoners) that would have the fee waived by necessity.
So the language in the above-cited passage imposing the fee needs to be clarified grammatically to clearly indicate which types of cases are to be included and excluded from the new fee.