How long does it take to get justice? At some point, it takes too long, hence the expression "justice delayed is justice denied."
We filed our lawsuit against Safeco in state court in early February 2011. Safeco removed the action to federal court -- made a federal case out of it. We diligently prosecuted our case. We spent tens of thousands of dollars on court reporters and videographers for depositions, and for experts.
After marshaling evidence to support our case, we filed motions for partial summary judgment. The Court conducted a hearing on those motions back in October 2011, and the trial was scheduled to begin in January 2012. Then in December 2011, the Court vacated the trial date without ruling on any of the motions.
Now, here it is, July 2, 2012, with no ruling on any of the motions, and no trial date. We, the plaintiffs, are stuck in limbo, living in a partially demolished house that Safeco's own field examiner labelled, in writing, "uninhabitable." That suits Safeco just fine, of course.
So I did some digging in the data this weekend to see if our case is the only one going nowhere fast. It is not. The following chart shows cases filed during 2011 and assigned to our judge, that are still open. There are 182 such cases, according to my research. The vertical axis shows how many days each case has been pending. Our case, as of July 2, 2012, has been pending for 486 days. By way of comparison, the "standard" time to resolve cases in state court -- where we filed this action -- is one year, i.e., 365 days.
In fairness to the Court, I personally cannot imagine handling hundreds of cases at a time. I've got my hands more than full if I have a dozen. Plus, this chart does not show all the cases file during 2011 that the Court closed. Even so, it is incredibly frustrating to live in a partially demolished house, unable to do anything to get one's day in court. That, presumably, is what big insurance companies like Safeco and Liberty Mutual count on as part of their bad-faith campaign to grind down people who have the temerity to insist that they keep their written promises. Justice delayed is the insurance company's business plan.