Coastal Lawsuit Backup Shows 1,837-Case, 20-year Backlog

What happens when the Superior Courts civil dockets get really, really backed up? In effect, the rule of law is suspended; there’s a great example of that with the California Coastal Commission, which can’t actually levy fines but uses lawsuits to enforce regulations. But, in a must-read story, the San Jose Mercury News says the state agency now faces “… 1,837 backlogged cases, some dating back 20 years.”
The newspaper says that the cases “… range from wealthy Malibu residents putting up illegal “no parking” signs to block families from public beaches to a company suspected of illegally mining sand on Monterey County beaches to property owners dumping debris on the shoreline in rural Del Norte County.” And there’s a bill in Sacramento that would allow the commission to levy its own fines, like the Fish & Wildlife or air quality agencies. 
So you can take your pick: The new law would finally give the commission “some teeth” or it could bypass the civil justice system in favor of another fine-producing state board. But as other issues face the slowness of Superior Courts, you can bet this illustrates a trend away from having “your day in court.” Read the story here.