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Presiding Judge David Ballati can’t seem to settle on a single judge to run San Francisco’s complex litigation department. So now he’s opting for two. Instead of having Judge John Munter replace Judge Richard Kramer in that assignment, the plan now is for Munter to join him. But before the court expands the complex department � where mass torts, class actions and various high-stakes business disputes are assigned � Ballati said he’ll need additional funding from the state Administrative Office of the Courts. The AOC hasn’t yet agreed to pony up the funds; in fact, the court hasn’t even calculated costs, Ballati said. But “the AOC has been very supportive of our court on this issue.” Late last year, Ballati moved to substitute Judge John Stewart in complex litigation for Judge Kramer, who had overseen the department since its inception in 2002. Stewart later changed his mind before even stepping into the job, prompting Ballati to pass the baton to Judge Munter. But when Munter and Kramer approached the presiding judge about sharing the department, Ballati said he quickly consented. “They made the recommendation to me. I supported the recommendation and went to the executive committee of the court last Wednesday.” Those judges unanimously approved the decision, Ballati said. Throughout all the changes in complex litigation, Ballati said his objective has stayed the same. “I wasn’t looking to replace [Kramer] as much as offer an opportunity [to another judge]. And that’s what’s happened.”

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