Software company closure affecting local courts

Software program closing leaves courts in lurch

LISBON, Ohio (WYTV) – Local court systems create massive amounts of documents and data they have to store and retrieve at a moment’s notice.

AMCAD was one of the largest government records software providers in the country. In June, with no warning, the company closed shop and broke their contracts by email.

Two local courts used AMCAD of Virginia for their court systems.

“They sent an email out to all their customers, including Columbiana County, Warren Municipal, Loraine, as well as Oklahoma, Virginia, Texas, other states. What they decided to do was exit the business of software for court systems,” Columbiana County Deputy Clerk of Courts Shane Patrone said.

Columbiana County courts bought the system this spring, and it was supposed to be up and running by October. Warren Municipal Court has been using AMCAD’s system for years.

“We can still operate. But if there’s any new mandates that come out, state mandates through the BMV, the Supreme Court, any changes like that, we can’t make any changes to the application at all,” Margaret Scott of Warren Municipal Court said.

The court management systems are pricey. Between them, the two courts have paid more than $1 million to AMCAD.

“We have lost $598,000. That is what we have paid so far,” Scott said.

Patrone said Columbiana County is out $470,000.

On Thursday, reporter Amanda Smith emailed the company CEO, Rick Lowery. He is the AMCAD officer who sent the email to courts and governments across the nation. He emailed back saying he was no longer with AMCAD.

Messages sent to the company’s corporate headquarters were not returned. The company was bought last year by an investment firm in New York City. As of Thursday, AMCAD is listed as a “historical investment” for the firm.

Local courts are looking for new systems and are considering legal action.

“The commissioners gave permission to the county prosecutor to start the lawsuit process for us just to protect our legal rights. We have to protect the money of the citizens of Columbiana County,” Patrone said.

Current computer systems are operational in both courts.

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