The caseload of civil cases in the Carbon County Court of Common Pleas increased by about 4.4 percent in 2009, according to a statistical report released by Joann M. Behrens, Carbon County prothonotary who oversees the filing of civil cases in the judicial district.

Behrens reported there were 4,663 new cases started last year, an increase of 199 cases over the 4,464 cases initiated the prior year.

The modest spike also resulted in her having collected more revenue in 2009. Filing fees and costs totalled $428,270.44. That represented a $31,341.98 hike over the monies collected in 2008.

A breakdown of the 2009 cares (with the 2008 number in parenthesis) is as follows:

Assessment appeals, 54 (42); civil actions, 792 (759); custody complaints, 244 (228); district justice appeals, 91 (91); declaratory judgments, 1 (2); divorce complaints, 207 (201); ejectment complaints, 28 (49); eminent domain/declaration of taking, 19 (3); land use appeals, 3 (3); license appeals, 16 (26); mandamus actions, 3 (2); mortgage foreclosure complaints, 414 (376); name change petitions, 2 (3); protection from abuse petitions, 346 (310); quiet title actions, 9 (22); replevin complaints, 10 (5); tax sales, 6 (10); zoning appeals, 7 (4); auditor/financial reports, 5 (3); court appointments, 10 (12); judgments, 2,253 (2,137); judicial tax sale, 1 (1); miscellaneous, 17 (19); and stipulations/waivers of liens, 125 (151). The office staff also received and processed 1,076 (1,339) applications for U.S. Passports.

Behrens' financial report shows that $428,270.44 was generated as follows: prothonotary's fees, $353,256.98; PFA Surcharge, courts, $671; PFA Surcharge, sheriff, $693.50; custody fees, $6,850; data processing charges, $66,659.39; and interest income, $139.57.

The report points out department operational expenses for the last year amounted to $225,211, meaning the prothonotary's office generated a profit of $203,059.44 for the county in 2009.

The prothonotary also remitted $28,582.35 to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Revenue, representing state fees collected locally, and $688.80 to the Administrative Offices of the Pennsylvania Courts, this being surcharges on new custody cases in accordance with Act 119 of 1996. Another $19,245.17 deposited in the Prothonotary's Automation Fund for future use in automating the office.