Court fee-waiving bill doesn't get legislative hearing

A proposal that a Gales Ferry man hoped would limit frivolous lawsuits does not appear to be headed for a public hearing during the current legislative session.

State Rep. Timothy Bowles, D-42nd District, had submitted a bill requiring community service of some litigants seeking court fee waivers at the request of Wyatt W. Kopp, a former employee of the clerk’s office in New London Superior Court. The Judiciary committee did not take up the bill for a hearing, according to Kopp.

“It was disappointing that the House Bill 5667 did not make it to a committee hearing, but it was not surprising since there were 2,562 proposed bills in the 2013 legislative session,” Kopp said in a written statement. “Taxpayers will continue financing frivolous litigation, and state resources that could have been directed at making a real difference in people’s lives will remain wasted.”

The proposal required those seeking monetary damages in civil lawsuits to perform community service if they could not afford the $300 court filing fees and to reimburse the court if they won money in their cases.

Statewide, the courts waived about $8.6 million in fees for civil, family and criminal matters during each of the last three fiscal years, according to figures provided by the Judicial Branch.

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