Maine courts slowed by sluggish economy

Posted July 18, 2011, at 2:36 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The sluggish economy during the past few years has bloated Maine’s court docket, which has had the spinoff effect of slowing down the resolution of cases.

Maine Today Media said judicial branch records show a 50 percent increase in civil cases during the last five years, mainly due to foreclosures and collection cases.

In the meantime, tight budgets have forced the state to trim dozens of clerks and other courthouse jobs. Those factors have combined to slow down the turnaround in cases.

Attorney Matt Goldfarb, who handles collection cases, said it used to take about seven months to get a judgment in a civil case, but now it takes more than a year.

Records show 13,500 lawsuits filed in state courts in 2006. But in 2010 the total was more than 20,000.

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