Maine Hotel Case Illustrates Civil Justice Rationing
It seems a routine case: A town planning board approves a new Hampton Hotel but a resident thinks it was done improperly and failed to properly address questions like how tall the buildings would be. But, as with many such “civil referee” cases around the country, this one illustrates the rising problem of civil justice rationing. That’s because the community, Kittery on the coast of Maine, has not heard civil lawsuits for months because the caseload has been consumed by criminal cases.
Brian Early, writing in the Fosters.com newspaper site, quotes Kittery Town Attorney Duncan McEachern saying that York County is “about a judge-and-a-half short, so the priority is processing criminal cases and this is civil.” The report adds that “… a clerk at the York County Superior Court in Alfred said Friday the court has not heard civil cases since June , and the next opening to hear civil cases will be during the first week in March. What cases will be heard will not be decided until next month. If the case is not heard in March, it is not clear when it will be.”
Read about the rationing here.