I have blogged a number of times in this space about how the lack of funding for the Federal court system is impacting consumers’ rights to be heard at trial. Apparently, this issue persists today.
The Wall Street Journal reports that civil suits are backlogged in Federal courts, which is leading to delays in cases involving Social Security benefits, personal injuries, and civil rights. More than 330,000 civil cases were pending as of October, up nearly 20 percent since 2004, according to the Administrative Office of the United States Court, and the number of cases left unresolved for three years or more exceeded 30,000 for the fifth time in a decade, the Journal reports.
As civil docket backlogs grow, magistrate judges assume greater role. The article goes on to report that in districts with heavy civil case backlogs, US magistrate judges are assuming greater responsibilities, as more and more, parties are opting to have their cases heard by magistrates. The Journal notes that in the fiscal year that ended in September 2014, magistrate judges heard a record 16,000 “civil consent” cases, up 20 percent since 2004.
The full article can be read here (subscription only).
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