Mar 19 2013
Organizing Times: Lawsuit Filed to Stop L.A. County Court Closures That Will Likely Lead to More Unjust and Illegal Evictions
Los Angeles Superior Court’s closure of 21 of its 26 courtrooms for eviction hearings illegally “shuts the courthouse doors on many of the county’s most vulnerable residents” community organizers claim in a federal lawsuit, which CES is a plaintiff in.
The 26 courts where unlawful detainer cases were filed are being reduced to five courts in the downtown Stanley Mosk Courthouse, or in Pasadena, Long Beach, Santa Monica, or Antelope Valley.
Scales CutIn response, the Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, and the Disability Rights Legal Center are suing the Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of the Coalition for Economic Survival, People Organized for Westside Renewal, Union de Vecinos, the Independent Living Center of Southern California and several impacted individuals.
The lawsuit claims the state’s response to its judicial funding crisis violated the Fair Housing Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, and the First and 14th Amendments.
Facing a $56 million to $85 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year, the closings will include 10 regional courthouses.
There are 70,000 unlawful detainers – eviction cases – and 60,000 small claims that go through the Superior Court each year.