Law: Tell It to the Rent-a-Judge

Free-lance jurists offer a way to beat court costs and delays

When TV Actress Valerie Harper and Lorimar Productions sued each other last year, it looked as if the case might drag on until 1992 before it even went to trial. After all, the Los Angeles court system is clogged with 150,000 new civil cases a year. But, instead, the mutual breach-of-contract suits -- a fallout from Harper's departure last summer from the NBC series Valerie -- went to trial together last week. The shortcut? With the blessings of the state court, both sides got together and hired a private judge. "I'm very happy to have my day in court so quickly,"...

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