In the face of California’s on-going budget problems, California courts are being forced to implement budget strategies which will have a serious impact on civil litigation.
Judge Jeffrey Barton, Supervising Judge of San Diego County’s Superior Courts, addressed the San Diego Chapter of the California Receiver’s forum on September 29, 2012. Last May, the State of California revised its budget. $540 million was eliminated from state court funding, and of that amount $300 million for court operations. Judge Barton outlined measures being taken in San Diego which include, but are not limited to, employee lay-offs (including court room clerks), closure of business offices where cases are filed in some courts in San Diego County, and closure of court rooms. In civil matters, the courts will also no longer provide court reporters, and parties will be required to bring their own court reporters.
Most significant is that the case loads for judges assigned civil cases will increase more than 35%. Commercial litigation will be impacted. In receivership litigation, the resulting affect may be:
- Greater difficulty obtaining ex parte hearings.
- Longer periods of time to obtain hearings on noticed motions on non urgent matters.
- Longer periods of time to have receivers dismissed at conclusion of receivership cases.
In the event that Proposition 30 on the November ballot to increase taxes in California does not pass, then additional and even more severe cutbacks will be required.
All counties in California will be similarly affected, and making similar cutbacks in operations.