Dan Sullivan is fighting eviction and says if his nearby courtroom in Van Nuys closes, he’ll have to travel – in his wheelchair – dozens of miles, which simply may not be possible. The LA County Court system is facing a budget shortfall of $85 million. To reconcile an $85 million budget shortfall, the LA County Court system is shuttering 10 regional courthouses and consolidating courtrooms to hear civil cases. Lolita Lopez reports from Van Nuys for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on March 15, 2013.
The Los Angeles County Superior Court says it will have to eliminate 511 jobs by late June as part of a sweeping effort to cut its budget by $85 million.
Presiding Judge David Wesley said this week that with those cuts, the nation's largest trial court system will have lost 24 percent of its employees over the last four years.
Officials say state funding cuts over the last several years has forced the court to reduce its annual spending by $110 million.
The court says it also plans to close eight regional courthouses and eliminate its alternative dispute center, which provides arbitration, mediation and settlement conference as an option to litigation.
Wesley said the cuts will result in long lines and travel distances that may deter people from seeking and getting the justice they deserve.
A lawsuit filed on behalf of court patrons seeks to prevent the cuts, saying they will negatively affect disable people who need court services. Those who have to travel prohibitively far distances are part of the lawsuit.
Eviction cases, now heard in 23 courts, will only be heard in five locations after the cuts, an attorney for the plaintiffs said.