According to the Daily Journal (subscription required), Los Angeles Superior Court will close one of its seven complex litigation courtrooms as of April 12, 2010. The closure is projected to save the Court $600,000. "Judge Peter Lichtman will be transferred from his current assignment at Central Civil West to the Stanley Mosk courthouse downtown, and employees working in his courtroom will be reassigned." The complex litigation program has, in the last year, declined to take class actions with increasing frequency. The closure of one of the complex litigation courtrooms is a significant loss for the people of Los Angeles County. The concentration of experience with the management of complex litigation matters and class actions simply cannot be duplicated in the general civil departments. But here we see yet another casualty of the grossly incompetent management of California's fiscal affairs.
A reader asks an important question: how will closing the department and moving the Judge and staff save $600,000? Good question. This reader points out that the cases won't go away, so the work will get distributed to other judges. Assuming that a net reduction of staff occurs, i.e., that the staff of this department fill vacancies elsewhere and the system continues with one less department, it is still not obvious that you arrive at a figure of $600,000 from the salaries and benefits cut. Anyhow, so much for our co-equal third branch of government, which gets to stand in the soup line and wait for the other two branches to figure a way out of the mess they've made of things.