Because of recent budget cuts, many state courts are struggling with bulging dockets and reduced resources -delaying and denying access to justice for thousands of individuals and businesses across the nation. read more...
In recent years, many states have dramatically cut their courts’ operating budgets. In California alone, the court system has experienced over $1 billion in cuts over the past several years, leading to the closure of more than a hundred courtrooms and reduced hours for dozens more.
This is particularly problematic for the American business community, because businesses rely on an independent, impartial court system to enforce contracts, protect property rights, and resolve disputes in a fair and expeditious manner.
Unfortunately, the court funding crisis is leading to greater delays in litigation and hurting businesses of all sizes. The uncertainty created by protracted litigation can cause businesses to delay hiring new employees, launching new products, or expanding operations.
Lengthy litigation can also damage business reputations. The longer it takes for a business to vindicate itself in court, the greater the loss in goodwill and reputation.
Stock prices are also affected. Studies have shown that pending litigation depresses share value, and the stock price usually does not recover until after the case has been resolved through settlement or otherwise.
To ease the civil litigation backlog, state, localities, and the federal government need to adequately fund our nation’s courts. They should also consider additional changes that could reduce the court backlog, including increased use of alternative dispute resolution, implementation of more stringent pleading standards, stronger venue and evidentiary standards, and more streamlined discovery procedures.