Wednesday, November 21, 2012


While the State of California funds the various county courthouses, the counties are responsible for actually managing those funds and administering the courthouses in their respective counties.  The Los Angeles Superior Court just announced the closure of 10 courthouses, including Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Malibu, Avalon, Whittier, Pomona, and San Pedro.  This is supposed to be phased over the next 8 months.  This will mean a delay in civil trials, longer lines at the courthouses that still remain open, and longer distances for litigants and witnesses to travel to court as their cases are assigned to the remaining courthouses that are remaining open.  In practicing law over the past 34 years, I have always had the opinion that the Los Angeles County SuperiorCourts were never run as efficiently as those of other counties. The Orange County Superior Court system remains a shining example of how the doors to justice can still be kept open, even if some cutbacks are inevitable.  As bad as the situation in LASC is, the situation up north in San Francisco is going to be worse, with most of the civil courtrooms in the main courthouse being closed.  The only bright side to the budgetary cutbacks is that we are still apparently able to fund the salaries of the members of the state legislature, so that they can continue their good work in administering the public's money for the benefit of all concerned (yes, this is supposed to be sarcasm).

Thursday, November 1, 2012


According to a recent report from the National Center for State Courts, civil filings through-out the state declined approximately 2 per cent in 2010 as compared to 2009.  The same study also showed that California had fewer civil cases filed per capita versus other states.  Of the 29 states and the District of Columbia that were actually profiled in the study, California ranked 28th in the number of civil cases filed.  In 2010 California had 3,308 civil cases filed per 100,000 people, compared to top-ranked New Jersey with 11,625 civil cases filed per 100,000 people.  California is often unfairly profiled as being an overly-litigious state, usually by various "tort reform" groups whose avowed agenda is the curtailing of consumers' rights to access the civil justice system.  California continues to be plagued by a backlog in its courts system of both civil and criminal cases, thanks to the current budgetary crisis in Sacramento and in the various counties and cities that also support the court system.  When this will improve is anybody's guess.