In many of my court appearances over the last two years, particularly in the smaller outlying courthouses, I have heard judges lamenting about courts closing throughout Southern California and how it was affecting their calendars and courtrooms. They freely share with the lawyers who appear before them how cases more likely than not will never get to trial, and that the parties either need to settle or hire and pay a retired judge to decide the case. Although judges in my opinion have always aggressively tried to reduce their caseloads using whatever tricks worked for them, these particular complaints from the bench are very real.
I recently was involved in a case where I represented the defendant. The plaintiff, in order to get a trial, waived the jury. That greatly pleased both me and my client. But even then we still could not get a firm trial date with the trial to be held on consecutive days (the trial was scheduled for 10 court days). It was not the judge's fault; he actually was flexible, cooperative and apologetic. The problem was that because of other court closures in his district, he now had to devote a day and a half of his week to probate matters, and another half day to small claims court appeals.