Fallout from the deepest recession since the 1930s is starting to show up in U.S. courts, in the form of foreclosures, evictions, contract disputes, domestic violence, commitment to mental-health facilities and other matters driven by economic stress. Many states have not produced statistics for 2009, but data from New York and Florida point to caseloads that could take years to work through. What starts out as a social problem often ends up in court, judges said. "Society's problems come to us," said New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman. "We are the emergency room for society."

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