Cal. Litig. 2019, Volume 32, Number 1

The Nudge Principle Prompts a Drop in Demurrer Filings

By Hon. Richard Fruin

Hon. Richard Fruin

The Stanley Mosk Courthouse, in downtown Los Angeles, is the nation’s largest courthouse. On its nine floors are 102 courtrooms assigned as civil, family, probate and specialized departments. There are 41 individual calendar (IC) departments for unlimited civil cases. IC judges carry an average inventory of about 475 active cases, with each judge receiving 35 to 45 new cases each month in the expectation that about that many older cases were concluded in the previous month. New cases are assigned randomly.

The IC caseload covers the gamut of civil disputes, but excludes personal injury cases, which are supervised by "hub courts" until ready for trial and are then assigned for trial to an open courtroom anywhere in the county. If the hub court deems a personal injury action to be complicated, the case is reassigned to an IC department. Residential unlawful detainer actions are handled in UD departments, but other real property disputes are assigned to an IC court. Class actions are assigned to the complex panel, but representative actions under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) that allege wage and hour violations are assigned to IC judges.

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