Let’s compare a civil lawsuit to a game of chess. In chess, the object is to capture your opponent’s queen. The lawsuit equivalent of checkmate is an agreed or forced ending of the case.

Due to COVID restrictions, the trial courts did not try civil lawsuits for 15 months, and our caseload spiked. In addition, many parties refrained from filing cases until the courthouses reopened for business. The combined effect created a logjam that trial judges have been working overtime to discharge ever since.

Around 95% of civil lawsuits resolve without a trial. Hence, a judge with a 1,000-case docket can expect 50 of them to end by trial. Typically, the parties litigate at their own pace, and judges push them toward the finish line if they take too long. How long is too long? It depends on the circumstances.