Court Slams Door as Litigants Rush to Change Venue Amid Judge Shortage

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Judge Kevin Shanahan, Assignment Judge for Vicinage 13, denied six motions to change venue from litigants seeking to avoid moratorium consequences. Chief Justice Rabner had established the moratorium due to a shortage of judges in six counties, but Shanahan ruled that the circumstances did not warrant a change in venue, even for an elderly plaintiff and a wrongful death suit. The judge based her decision on Appellate Division ruling Doyley v. Schroeter, which held that “substantial injustice” is the only exception for a venue change.

Edward Rebenack of RAM Law saw three of his firm’s cases denied; he said his clients would likely not appeal as it would incur additional expense with no guarantee of faster resolution. “I’m not confident that the appeals process really goes any faster than simply waiting out for the moratorium to be lifted. And at the same time, it just builds additional expense into the individual client’s case,” Rebenack said.

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