Letter: NY courts could be more efficient

Reader Joanne Fanizza proposes ways to fix New Reader Joanne Fanizza proposes ways to fix New York's court system. Photo Credit: Jim Peppler, 2011

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Writer Anthony V. Curto recognizes the problems with New York's civil justice system and posits several good theories on why it cannot handle superstorm Sandy claims efficiently ["The long wait for post-Sandy justice," Opinion, June 3].

I practice law in New York and in Florida, which, though comparable in population and caseload, spends roughly one-sixth what New York does on the judicial branch and resolves most of its cases within 18 months. I have some ideas about how New York can get better results.

1) Adopt the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as have most other states. The rules are designed to mete out justice efficiently, not make winners from technicalities.

2) Adopt a uniform motion calendar, where lawyers can have simple motions resolved within a week or two that move cases along. Judges conduct five-minute hearings several days a week at set times to issue rulings on them.

3) Adopt a uniform trial calendar, putting all cases on a docket within, say, two years. And require that cases be resolved in 24 months, with exceptions for complicated cases or other good cause.

4) Elect an independent judiciary with no party affiliations.

These reforms would put New York in the right direction of streamlining and making more effective its judicial branch. For victims of Sandy, having to fight for their rights in the judicial system will only add insult to their injury.

Joanne Fanizza, Farmingdale

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