RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) - It took 143 years for the first 50,000 cases to be filed and just 4 ½ for the next 10,000 cases. The 60,000th case has been filed in the Nevada Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, demonstrating vividly the burgeoning workload the state’s only appellate court has been facing.
Filing number 60,000 is an appeal of the dismissal of a complex homeowner association case with 74 defendants.
"Sixty-thousand is a significant milestone in our Supreme Court history and will be memorable for every justice on the Court today," said Chief Justice Nancy Saitta. “As case filings increase, however, it is unfortunate that a natural consequence of such a caseload is to delay more immediate resolution of appellate matters.”
“The appeals we are seeing today are complex and diverse, but the court continues to work diligently to resolve all matters in a timely and efficient manner," Chief Justice Saitta said.
As with the state’s population, filings at the Supreme Court have been growing exponentially during recent decades.
It took 112 years – from statehood on October 31, 1864 until August 12, 1977 – for the first 10,000 cases to be filed.
During just the next 30 years – between 1977 and August 13, 2007 – 40,000 additional cases were filed. In the five year period between 2002 and 2007 alone, 10,000 of those cases were filed.
The next 10,000 filings were amassed in about four and a half years.
The countdown to 60,000th case was displayed on the Supreme Court website with daily updates since November.
Supreme Court Clerk Tracie Lindeman said her office will commemorate the event, although she noted that “it is a dubious achievement because it simply emphasizes how the Court’s workload continues to grow.”
Nevada originally had three Supreme Court justices and managed its workload with that number until the boom times of the 1960s. In 1967, the Supreme Court was enlarged from three to five justices.
In 1999, with Nevada being the fastest growing state in the nation, the Supreme Court was expanded again to seven members. This expansion gave the Court the ability to begin hearing many appellate cases in three-justice panels. The most complex and important cases are decided by all seven justices.
Since Nevada is one of just 11 states without an intermediate appellate court, the Supreme Court is required to resolve all cases brought to it.