By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Kings County has the busiest civil court in the entire country, including thousands of jurisdictions between New York and California, according to New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Schack, who said tens of thousands of cases are heard at the Adams Street courthouse each year.
Between 15,000 and 16,000 foreclosures cases come before the court a year, Schack told Community Board 10 members Monday night. In addition, there are thousands of court cases involving negligence lawsuits stemming from accidents and thousands of contract disputes in which the conflicting parties ask the court to decide the outcome, Shack said.
“I have to put in a plug for increasing our budget,” he said, adding that he and his colleagues at the court work under tight fiscal constraints.
Schack revealed the information during remarks he delivered at the community’s board’s monthly meeting at the Norwegian Christian Home and Health Center at 1250 67th St.
The justice, who lives with his wife Dilia Schack in Bay Ridge, was there at the invitation of Board 10 Chairman Brian Kieran to participate in a tradition known as the “Honor of the Pledge.” Each month the board asks a prominent person living in Bay Ridge or Dyker Heights to lead the board members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the meeting. The honor has previously gone to business leaders, educators and soldiers, among others.
Schack was a member of Board 10 from 1983 to 1998 and served as its chairman for three years, from 1986 to 1989. He told the board he missed his days as a board member, but added that as a judge, he is not permitted to serve on a community board. Dilia Schack is currently a board member.
In his introduction, Kieran, a lawyer who has argued cases in front of Schack, called him a “courageous, outspoken, but considerate” justice. “He has been a fighter, a thinker and a go-getter all his life,” Kieran said.
Schack said he was pleased to be making a return visit to the board he had served for so many years. “It’s a pleasure to be here with my friends and neighbors,” he said, noting that he and his wife have lived in Bay Ridge for nearly 35 years.
In addition to his role as a state Supreme Court justice, Schack is also a civic leader in Brooklyn. According to his profile on nycourts.gov, he has been a member of the national council of the Boy Scouts of America since 1991 and has served on the board of directors of the Friends of Historic New Utrecht group since 1997.
Last year, he and his wife volunteered to help communities ravaged by Super-storm Sandy. “I remember seeing them loading up their car to take supplies to a school,” Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
Prior to becoming a justice 14 years ago, Schack was a lawyer representing the Major League Baseball Players Association. Before that, he taught social studies in public schools.
Schack isn't the only New York State Supreme Court justice with ties to Community Board 10. Justice David Vaughan served as chairman of the board back in the early 1980s.