Hurry Up and Wait

One of the most frustrating things for an attorney and client is the length and expense in bringing a civil case to conclusion.

Because of the backlog of cases and the priority of criminal over civil matters, civil cases are put on the back burner and may not reach trial until five years after they were originally filed.

In a effort to clear their calendars, courts will often sit hearings on the cases or even schedule the case for trial even though there is only a remote possibiolity that the case can actually be resolved. The result is that attorneys often have to appear in an over-crowded courtroom. The attorney at the expense of the client may have to prepare documents for filing or even prepare for trial. Because of court’s frustration in moving cases along, they will often charge an attorney monetary sanctions for not complying with a court rule or not being prepared to go to trial, even through the court itself was not prepared. This means that an attorney may have to prepare for trial several different times. He may have to rush to prepare to make sure all the witnesses and evidence are available. Once this is done he may sit around in a courtroom for half the day only to find out that the case is being put off several months.

Pointing out problems is easy; finding a solution is difficult. If we had more judges and more courtrooms, litigators could move more quickly. Barring that, there is small claims court. In small claims a resolution of your claim may only take a couple of months. You can sue for up to $7,500.00 without an attorney. In view of the savings in time and money it may be well worth filing in small claims even though the actual damages are in excess of the $7,500.00 limit.