Thousands of Benton County Court Cases In Limbo
KENNEWICK, Wash. - When she ordered the report of all the pending civil cases in the county it was over 6,000 pages. It was so large Benton County Superior Court Clerk Josie Delvin couldn't print it on the office printer and had to have the names shipped to her in three boxes.
Usually a clerk's office allows twelve months for cases to either be dealt with or they're dismissed. But right now, the clerk's office is taking care of old cases ranging from law suits to divorces that never became official dating back to 1992.
Josie Delvin was appointed to the office several months ago after Kay Staples retired from the position. She said she does not know why the cases were left open.
She said her staff put in dozens of hours in over time even working Saturdays to notice parties with pending lawsuits they have thirty days to keep their case active or else it will be dismissed.
Delvin said anyone who filed for divorce and never signed the final paper work may actually still be married because the clerk's office never sent out notices saying the cases were still open.
"If a divorce hasn't been finalized they actually aren't divorced when they think they are," said Delvin.