Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Law: Edwin Stegman

As an attorney, I enjoy Edwin Stegman's articles. He has a diverse legal background, so his ideas tend to be both realistic and individual-oriented. Here is an excerpt from a June 2009 article on how to reform the legal system:

Motions for summary judgment (MFSJ) were originally a summary procedure to deal with the practice of debtors filing unmeritorious answers to delay collection of their debts. CCP §437c, enacted in 1931, required 10 days’ notice for a motion for summary judgment. The motion is no longer “summary.”

Instead of 10, the motion now requires 80 days notice, if by mail. The court may grant a continuance to conduct discovery; then the judge has 90 days to rule, the loser has 15 days to file a motion for new trial and the court has 60 days to rule. Therefore, it can take more than a year for a creditor to obtain a judgment to collect a debt. As a result, collections specialists say the MFSJ has become so slow, cumbersome and expensive ($200 filing fee) that they rarely use it.

So we’re back to pre-1931 and debtors can again file unmeritorious answers to delay collection of their debts.

Oh, the irony.

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