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U.S. Court Closings, Restrictions, and Re-Openings Due to COVID-19

September 20, 2021

By Bruce M Wexler and Yar Chaikovsky

Paul Hastings created this webpage to provide publicly available information on modifications to access and scheduling by courts and administrative agencies important to our clients.

This content is organized into 5 sections as follows:

United States District Courts

United States Courts of Appeals

United States Supreme Court

Other Courts and Administrative Agencies

Various State Courts

Other Courts and Administrative Agencies

The Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission issued a joint statement detailing an expedited antitrust procedure and providing guidance for collaborations of businesses working to protect the health and public safety of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Per the Division’s update on March 24, 2021, in terms of internal procedural changes for public health and safety, the Division now permits the electronic filing of Hart-Scott-Rodino submissions and conducts all meetings by phone or video conference, absent extenuating circumstances.

On June 1, The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”), Chief Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) issued an Administrative Order and Notice, 2020-MIS-00008, extending indefinitely the moratorium on in-person hearings scheduled to expire on July 24, 2020.

Per Administrative Order and Notice 2020-MIS-00008, until further notice, OALJ hearings will be conducted by telephone or video, unless the presiding ALJ grants, based on compelling reasons, a party’s motion for a hearing where persons are in the same physical location. All previously scheduled hearings are automatically converted to a telephone or video hearing and will convene on the same time and date as originally scheduled, unless ordered otherwise by the presiding ALJ. The parties will be notified of the type of hearing and the appropriate dial-in information by separate order issued by the presiding ALJ, as well as the procedures for filing pre-hearing submissions and exhibits. When the parties agree that an evidentiary hearing is not needed, they may move for a decision based on stipulations of fact or a stipulated record.

Beginning April 29, 2020, the Office of Administrative Law Judges piloted a streamlined procedure for processing subpoena requests in Longshore and Defense Base Act cases entirely via email. Effective September 1, 2020, this streamlined procedure will be the default process for requesting subpoenas for all case types. The OALJ website asks to refer to the Subpoenas page for instructions and updated forms.

The Chief ALJ's Administrative Order and Notice tolling and suspending procedural deadlines lapsed at the close of business on Monday, June 1, 2020. Beginning Tuesday, June 2, 2020, procedural deadlines will be applied based on applicable regulation or order of the presiding ALJ.

Per Supplemental Administrative Order and Notice 2020-MIS-00006, until further notice, OALJ will continue to accept filings via email at the email box of the district office at which the case is pending. Instructions and requirements for filing via email are found on the OALJ website.

On April 16, 2020, the Chief ALJ issued Administrative Notice 2020-MIS-00007, which provided information on how OALJ will resume service of orders and decisions. Where email addresses are available, OALJ will use electronic service on the parties, attorneys and/or non-attorney representative.

Receipt of U.S. Postal Service mail and UPS deliveries is limited in OALJ’s offices in Cincinnati, OH, Covington, LA, Newport News, VA, and Pittsburgh, PA. Receipt of mail in OALJ’s Boston, MA, Cherry Hill, NJ, San Francisco, CA, and Washington, DC offices may be delayed. In order to ensure timely receipt of filings, the OALJ’s site encourages parties to file by email.

Per Administrative Notice 2021- MIS-00001, on Monday, December 7, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor is launching its new eFile/eServe System (“EFS”) for use by the public in adjudications before the OALJ and the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (“BALCA”), and before the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”), the Benefits Review Board (“BRB”), and the Employee Compensation Appeals Board (“ECAB”). This is a “soft-launch,” meaning that using EFS will be voluntary. It provides a new and improved method for e-filing and e-service during the pandemic, and going forward. OALJ encourages parties to use EFS for e-filing and e-service.

 

Until further notice, parties will be permitted to e-file with OALJ and with BALCA using either EFS; the e-mail system stood up by OALJ in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; or conventional means, such as regular or express mail, courier service, hand delivery, or facsimile transmission. Parties should consult with the ARB, BRB and ECAB on requirements for filing with those agencies.

The EPA issued a temporary policy regarding EPA enforcement of environmental legal obligations during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The EPA selected August 31, 2020, as the termination date for the temporary enforcement policy.

The EPA’s website for Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance Documents for Field Activities includes documents designed to supplement existing guidance to help analyze COVID-19 risk and determine necessary actions to minimize COVID-19 risk. The Interim EPA COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines for Field Activities represent an integrated set of safety and health guidance that provide timely and consistent information for employees conducting field activities. The Job Hazard Analysis (“JHA”) for COVID-19 is a supplement to the standard JHA that has been previously completed for typical work activities and is to be used to establish the level of COVID-19 risk.

The FCC is not allowing visitors into its facilities, absent special permission from the Office of Managing Director.

Per Order DA-20-562, effective upon publication in the Federal Register, hand-carried documents are to be filed at the Commission’s office located at 9050 Junction Drive, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701. After COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, this will be the only location where hand-carried paper filings for the Commission will be accepted. At that time, the filing window for hand-carried documents will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Commission will not accept hand-carried filings outside of those hours.

The Commission issued the public notice, Procedures for Filing Requests for Waiver, Reduction, Deferral and Installment Payment of FY 2020 Regulatory Fees, to streamline the waiver process procedures to make it easier for licensees to file waivers.

On January 22, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) extended through and including July 30, 2021, a waiver of regulations requiring that filings with the Commission be notarized or supported by sworn declarations, which was set to expire January 29, 2021. The Secretary originally extended this waiver on May 8, 2020, and again on August 20, 2020.

On April 2, 2020, in light of the National Emergency concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), the Commission issued an order pursuant to section 206 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), providing a blanket waiver of requirements to hold meetings in-person and/or to provide or obtain notarized documents in open access transmission tariffs (OATT) through September 1, 2020.2 On January 25, 2021, the Commission issued an order extending the blanket waiver of all such requirements through July 30, 2021. The Commission’s order issued July 26, 2021, continues to provide a blanket waiver of all such requirements to hold meetings in-person and/or to provide or obtain notarized documents in OATTs, extending the blanket waiver of all such requirements provided in the January 2021 Order, effective from July 30, 2021 through and including January 1, 2022.

Per the FERC’s News Release on May 8, 2020, the headquarters building remains closed to the public and is now closed to all FERC staff and contractors until further notice. The FERC is not able to accept deliveries by mail, to include hard copies of filings, until further notice. The process for submitting electronic filings with the Commission is unchanged. The public is strongly encouraged to continue to submit filings and submissions electronically, through the Commission’s eFiling application.

The Commission is operating and will continue to fulfill all statutory obligations. FERC offices at 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC, are closed to the public; minimal staff are on site. All Commission employees are authorized to telework and are available via email and phone. Staff are teleconferencing, and are canceling or postponing in-person meetings.

Hearings are now being held remotely pursuant to the Notice of Remote Hearings issued by Chief Judge Cintron on April 23, 2020. Settlement conferences are being conducted by telephone and oral arguments are being heard via WebEx.

The Federal Trade Commission staff issued a report highlighting the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report addresses challenges consumers face during the pandemic and details the Commission’s strategy to combat COVID-related fraud and other consumer issues using sophisticated targeting, aggressive law enforcement, and ongoing partnership and outreach.

As described in a press release, dated April 15, 2021, in the first action under the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act, the FTC is seeking monetary penalties for deceptive marketing of purported coronavirus treatments.

As of July 6, The Federal Trade Commission has issued orders in four administrative litigation proceedings that will allow the public to access the proceedings via telephone or live streaming. The four proceedings are Axon Enterprise and Safariland; Peabody Energy-Arch Coal; Thomas Jefferson University; and Altria Group/JUUL Labs.

The Premerger Notification Office has stopped accepting hard copy and DVD submission and have put into place a temporary e-filing system. While the system is in place, early termination will not be granted for any filing. Unplanned visitor access to FTC facilities is suspended. Parties should assume that meetings will be held remotely, rather than in-person, until further notice.

The Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission issued a joint statement detailing an expedited antitrust procedure and providing guidance for collaborations of businesses working to protect the health and public safety of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Division of Examinations remains fully operational nationwide. The Division of Examinations has moved to conducting examinations off-site through correspondence, unless it is absolutely necessary to be on-site. The Division of Examinations is working with registrants to address the timing of its requests, availability of registrant personnel, and other matters to minimize disruption. The Division of Examinations will work with registrants to ensure that its work can be conducted in a manner consistent with maintaining normal operations, and importantly, necessary or appropriate health and safety measures.

The agency has now transitioned to a full telework posture with limited exceptions. A majority of SEC staff began teleworking on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, and the agency has remained fully operational during this transition, which is expected to last at least through January 3, 2022. Several Divisions and Offices have released statements to inform market participants and others about their operating status and how best to engage with staff during this time.

The USPTO is eliminating the handwritten signature requirement set forth in 37 CFR 1.4(e).

On May 13, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it is offering relief for applications on appeal or involved in an opposition before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) if the applications were examined under the COVID-19 Prioritized Trademark Examination Program.

On April 14, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) will soon accept petitions for expedited resolution of ex parte appeals for COVID-related inventions. There is no cost for appeals related to COVID-19 in this pilot program, which starts on April 15, 2021.

According to a notice dated April 12, 2021, USPTO accepts circumstances related to COVID-19 as excusable nonuse in trademark maintenance filings.

On January 29, 2021, the USPTO recognized that some foreign intellectual property offices are not currently issuing paper certified copies of foreign applications due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Under the conditions set forth in the notice, the USPTO will suspend the requirement for filing the certified copy of the foreign application when the foreign application was filed in a foreign intellectual property office that does not participate in a bilateral or multilateral priority document exchange program with the USPTO that would cover the application and thus permit retrieval through the program.

On September 16, the USPTO announced a collaborative deferred-fee provisional patent application pilot program for inventions that combat COVID-19.

On June 15, the USPTO announced the COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Program for certain trademark and service mark applications, which allows COVID-19-related trademark applications to be advanced out of turn and immediately assigned for examination. On June 30, the USPTO launched a related webpage, where applicants can find additional resources and information about the program.

As detailed in the June 29 notice, the USPTO has extended from July 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020, the time for small and micro entities to pay certain patent-related fees that would otherwise have been due on or after March 27, 2020. The small and micro entity fees eligible for an extension until September 30, 2020, include: basic filing fees, issue fees, maintenance fees, and other fees as set forth in the June 29 notice.

As detailed in the June 15 press release, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced a new COVID-19 prioritized examination program for certain trademark and service mark applicationsAs detailed in the June 11 notice, the USPTO is extending the time period for petitioning for certain rights of priority or benefit in a patent application and waiving the associated petition fee. The relief extends the two-month time-period for restoring the right of priority to or benefit of a foreign or provisional application for any non-provisional application due to be filed on or after March 27, 2020, but on or before July 30, 2020.

As detailed in the May 29 Notice, the USPTO will permit patentees to file initial patent term extension applications that meet certain criteria via EFS-Web or Patent Center.

The USPTO further extended the time to file certain patent- and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees, as detailed in the May 27 News Briefs.

Under a new pilot program, the USPTO will grant requests for prioritized examination to patent applicants that qualify for small or micro entity status without payment of the typical fees associated with other prioritized examination, and attempt to reach a final disposition of applications within six months, provided that the applicant responds promptly to USPTO communications. The USPTO has launched a related webpage with additional information.

The USPTO will temporarily permit the filing of plant patent applications and follow-on documents via the USPTO patent electronic filing systems (EFS-Web or Patent Center) until further notice. Only registered users of the USPTO patent electronic filing systems may file follow-on documents into existing applications via the USPTO patent electronic filing systems.

All USPTO offices will be closed to the public beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 until further notice. USPTO offices will remain open for employees, contractors, and those with access badges. Unless otherwise notified, USPTO operations will continue without interruption. Patent and trademark application deadlines and other deadlines are not extended. Those with official business with the USPTO should reach out to their points of contact with any questions or through the contact information available on the USPTO website.

Until further notice, examiner and examining attorney interviews, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) oral hearings, and other similar in-person meetings with parties and stakeholders scheduled to take place at USPTO offices on or after Friday, March 13, 2020 will be conducted remotely by video or telephone.

The USPTO is waiving petition fees in certain situations for customers impacted by the coronavirus. The USPTO is also waiving the requirements of 37 CFR 1.4(e)(1) and (2) for an original handwritten signature for certain correspondence with the Office of Enrollment and Discipline and certain payments by credit card.

Press Release 20-05 extends certain patent and trademark-related filing deadlines, as detailed in the associated Patent and Trademark Notices. As detailed in the April 28 News Brief, some deadlines have been extended to June 1, and are also detailed in the updated Patent and Trademark Notices.

Commission employees will continue teleworking, except as required for necessary mission activities that require them to work in the USITC Building.

The USITC Building is closed to the public until further notice or until Phase Three. The Secretary’s Office will only accept electronic filings.

The commission has ordered Administrative Law Judges to postpone any Section 337 hearings until the Agency enters Phase Three. All discovery will continue and essential outside participation by staff will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Until Phase Three, no in-person preliminary phase Title VII (antidumping and countervailing duty) staff conferences will be held for new and ongoing investigations. All Title VII votes will be conducted by notation. Until Phase Three, final phase Title VII investigations, five-year (sunset) reviews, and those held under Section 332 and Section 131 will not be held in person, and, instead, interested parties will be invited to answer written questions issued by the commission with certified responses.

All scheduled in-person group meetings, seminars, and conferences are cancelled or postponed until further notice or until the Agency enters Phase Three.

The United States Tax Court building remains closed to visitors but is receiving and processing mail and deliveries. To accommodate continuing uncertainties relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, and until further notice, court proceedings will be conducted remotely.

Per the June 24 News Release, the clerk’s office will accept hand-delivered documents between the hours of 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.

Per Administrative Order 2020-02, the Tax Court adopted procedures for conducting court proceedings remotely.

As of November, about two dozen U.S. district courts have posted orders that suspend jury trials or grand jury proceedings, and scale back other courthouse activities in response to a sharp nationwide rise in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has a plan for dealing with the spreading coronavirus, which include maintaining “essential elements of prevention and maintaining essential services.” They are allowing the individual federal courts to coordinate with local authorities and to issue orders accordingly.

The Judicial Conference of the United States has temporarily approved the use of video and teleconferencing for certain criminal proceedings and access via teleconferencing for civil proceedings during the COVID-19 national emergency.

Per the December 7, 2020 Advisory from Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, beginning April 6, 2020, the Judicial Council began adopting a series of temporary emergency rules of court to assist courts in continuing to provide access to justice during the pandemic. The Pandemic Continuity of Operations Resource Guide was compiled by the Pandemic Continuity of Operations Working Group, with the support of Judicial Council staff, and includes information outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and best practices from the National Center for State Courts as well as other courts across the state and country. Accompanying the resource guide are many materials from federal and state agencies, the National Center for State Courts, and several superior courts.

For all emergency actions in criminal, civil and juvenile justice matters taken by the judicial branch, please see the link above.

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Various State Courts

In-person oral argument is suspended. Counsel will appear remotely via video, telephone conference, or other electronic means. All oral argument sessions will be held in the court's San Francisco courtroom. While oral argument sessions will continue to be open to the public, seating will be strictly limited to keep appropriate distancing. The court has ordered additional procedures for future oral arguments in their second order and third order. The Supreme Court of California has published its Oral Argument Calendar for 2021, which highlights the weeks currently reserved for oral argument sessions in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Los Angeles and includes the dates for the court’s weekly conferences and court holidays for 2021.

In light of the California Supreme Court’s amendment of the “Supreme Court Rules Regarding Electronic Filing,” rule 2, until further notice, all documents (including briefs) must be filed electronically on the “TrueFiling” platform, and paper copies should not be submitted. Under rule 4(a), pro per parties and trial courts remain exempt from mandatory electronic filing. Likewise, under rule 6 any party may seek to be excused from mandatory electronic filing.

Per the court’s site, all Civil proceedings are currently being conducted remotely via videoconference, unless the Court orders in-person proceedings. Beginning September 1, 2021, civil harassment hearings will be conducted in-person. Parties can contact the court to request remote appearances. Beginning October 18, 2021, the court will conduct some small claims hearings in-person. Parties can contact the court to request remote appearances. All civil jury trials, including jury selection, are being conducted remotely via Zoom, unless the court orders the trial to be conducted in-person.

Per the Memorandum re Civil, Family, and Probate Cases During the Covid-19 Closure Period, updated October 19, the court resumed holding jury trials in asbestos preference cases. In addition, court trials may be conducted remotely via videoconference. The court will provide additional procedural information to parties and counsel conducting remote court trials. With the exception of Appeals, which may not be submitted via drop box, the court is accepting all filings—including case-initiating documents—via mail, drop box, fax filing and in person.

Per the July 16 news release, effective Monday, July 19, 2021, all persons entering any court facility will be required to properly wear a face covering over their nose and mouth, regardless of their vaccination status.

Per the court’s Eighth Amended Emergency Local Rules: Civil (“Eighth Amended Emergency Local Rules”), effective June 1, 2021, all civil departments will reopen for in-person appearances. Litigants and attorneys will also have the option of appearing remotely and are encouraged to do so. Each civil department will post the remote access service (Zoom or CourtCall) available for each daily calendar on the civil Department webpage. The court will permit filings each day via drop box, excluding weekends and Court holidays. Two separate drop boxes will be provided at the Main Street entrance to the Wakefield Taylor Building, at 725 Court St., Martinez. The clerk’s office is open but subject to social distancing restrictions; the court encourages parties to use the drop boxes.

The Eighth Amended Emergency Local Rules states that the civil department has resumed a normal hearing schedule and will hear matters in person or remotely as set forth in its rules.

Per the July 19 news release, effective July 20, 2021, and until further notice, anyone entering publically-accessible court facilities – regardless of vaccination status – will be required to wear compliant facemasks at all times.

Per the February 11 general order, for civil unlimited cases, all civil unlimited mandatory settlement conferences, trial readiness hearings, and jury trials scheduled to occur from Tuesday, February 16, 2021, through Wednesday, March 17, 2021, inclusive, will be rescheduled to occur on later dates in 2021 and 2022. All of these cases will be re-noticed for Trial Setting Conferences to be held on Thursday, March 18, 2021, at 9:00 a.m., in Department 503. The new settlement conference, trial readiness hearing, and trial date will be assigned at that time based upon a case-by-case assessment. Court trials scheduled to occur from Tuesday, February 16, 2021, through Wednesday, March 17, 2021, inclusive, will remain on calendar but may be continued on a case-by-case basis. Effective February 16, 2021, civil unlimited law and motion will return to Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, at 3:30 p.m., in Departments 403, 501, 502, and 503.

Pursuant to the April 6 Order regarding courthouse entry, until further notice, access to any and all courthouses is restricted to those authorized persons required to appear in person for a court hearing, including judges, court commissioners, court staff, and other authorized persons such as parties, their attorneys, and witnesses subpoenaed to testify.

Pursuant to the May 8 Release, the court requires that all persons entering a Fresno County courthouse wear a facial covering. Failure to wear a facial covering is grounds for denial of entry.

Per General Order 2021-GEN-023-00, all persons entering any courthouse - regardless of vaccination status - shall wear a face mask over both the nose and mouth while in public areas of the courthouse, including courtrooms. Children under the age of two (2) are exempt from the order. Court employees must wear masks that meet the Cal/OSHA requirements.

Per General Order 2021-GEN-30-00, in the interest of safeguarding the well-being of court users, persons seeking services from the Clerk’s Office, court support services, and/or the Self-Help Centers are encouraged to schedule appointments. For telephone or video assistance, or to schedule an appointment, the telephone number for each courthouse is listed at the courthouse entry and posted on the court’s website, www.lacourt.org.

Per the January 29 news release, effective February 1, 2021, the court will resume hearing in-person jury trials. Three courtrooms at the Civil Complex Center and three courtrooms at the Central Justice Center have been designated to conduct in-person civil jury trials, as approved by the civil panel supervising judge. Small Claims calendars will also resume via video appearance. Other in-person hearings, such as name change matters and judgment debtor examinations, will also resume February 1, 2021, as noticed by the court. All other civil case related hearings will remain as scheduled unless specifically ordered otherwise by the court. Further details are available on the Civil COVID-19 website page.

Per the court’s Civil Limited, Unlimited & Complex Information & Appearance Process dated June 24, 2021, as of Monday, June 28, 2021, in-person counter services are available in the Civil Department Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Appointments are no longer required. All Civil Limited, Unlimited and Complex filings shall be submitted via eFiling through an approved eFiling Service Provider with the exception of filings by self-represented litigants. Unless specifically outlined in the June 24 release or ordered otherwise by the court, hearings Civil Limited, Unlimited, and Complex will continue to be heard via remote appearance.

Per the Second Amended Administrative Order No. 21/07, on June 4, 2021, the Superior Court of California, County of Orange implemented an online check-in pilot program to facilitate the use of Zoom for all hearings, including law and motion calendars, in four Civil Unlimited courtrooms: C12, C14, C15 and C31. Given the success of the use of Zoom in the limited pilot, the court orders the following: Effective July 19, 2021, the online check-in/Zoom pilot program will be expanded to three additional courtrooms. All hearings, including law and motion, scheduled in departments C19, C25 and C42 will also require online check-in to facilitate the use of Zoom, unless otherwise ordered by the court. The court will continue to expand the online check-in/Zoom pilot program and will post notice of any additional courtrooms on its website at https://www.occourts.org/media-relations/civil.html.

Per the July 16, 2021 announcement regarding Court Expansion of Online Check-in / Zoom Pilot Program and Courtroom Relocations, the court implemented an online check-in pilot program starting June 7, 2021 to facilitate the use of Zoom for hearings, including law and motion calendars, at zero cost to the public. Courtrooms participating in this program will be using Zoom in lieu of CourtCall for remote hearings. Given the success of the use of Zoom in the limited pilot, the court will expand the program to all Civil Unlimited courtroom per the implementation schedule in the announcement.

Per the update regarding Civil – Administrative Appeals dated June 24, 2021, administrative appeals are processed in Civil and heard by Department C66 at the Central Justice Center. Filings can be submitted in-person at the Central Justice Center, via electronic filing or by US Mail at 700 Civic Center Drive West, Santa Ana, CA 92701.

Per Fourth Amended Administrative Order No. 20/16, regardless of vaccination status, all persons entering any courthouse or court facility in the County of Orange, must wear a face mask at all times in the public areas, including courtrooms, and in any shared non-public areas of the courthouse. This Order applies to court employees, law enforcement officers, attorneys, parties, jurors and vendors.

Per Administrative Order No. 21/10, all persons entering the Harbor Justice Center, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a face mask at all times in the public areas of the Harbor Justice Center, including courtrooms, as well as, in any shared non-public areas of the courthouse. The order applies to court employees, law enforcement officers, attorneys, parties, witnesses, members of the public, jurors, and vendors. As stated in the July 28 news release, the mandatory use of masks/facial coverings for all those entering Harbor Justice Center regardless of vaccination status, will be extended through Wednesday, August 4, 2021.

Per the February 16 news release, jury trials will resume beginning on March 1, 2021.

Per General Order 2021-25, Riverside Superior Court clerk's office hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., excluding holidays, until further notice. Clerk's offices are open for in-person court services, however remote alternatives are still available, such as telephone, webchat, submission of filings and other documents online via the eSubmit Document Submission Portal, electronic filing for civil effective July 1, 2021, by U.S. mail, or by placement in a drop box. Documents via drop box by 4:00 p.m., and accepted for filing, will be filed the day received. Documents filed in-person or via drop box after 4:00 p.m., will be processed and filed the following business day. Drop boxes are available at the Banning Justice Center, Blythe Courthouse, Corona Courthouse, Hemet Courthouse, Larson Justice Center, Moreno Valley Courthouse, Palm Springs Comihouse, Riverside Family Law Courthouse, Riverside Hall of Justice, Riverside Historic Comihouse, Riverside Juvenile Courthouse, Southwest Justice Center, and the Temecula Courthouse.

Per the court’s site, clerk’s offices are open for in-person civil filings at the Banning Justice Center, Blythe Courthouse, Corona Courthouse Moreno Valley Courthouse, Palm Springs Courthouse, Riverside Historic Courthouse and Southwest Justice Center. Please note that the clerk’s office public service hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., excluding holidays until further notice. Customers may continue to file civil documents online via the eSubmit Document Submission Portal, by U.S. Mail or by placement in a drop box. As of July 1, eFiling is available for unlimited civil, including complex, limited civil, unlawful detainers and small claims cases.

Per the court’s website, all civil hearings are being heard remotely via telephonic appearance; these hearings include but are not limited to: law & motion, case management hearings, OSCs, MSCs and TSCs. Hearings on civil harassment restraining orders are being heard in-person. Civil bench and jury trials are being heard in-person unless otherwise indicated by the judicial officer. Unlimited and complex civil court and jury trials will be scheduled at Trial Setting Conference (TSC) hearings only. Litigants that would like to seek priority on a trial date may either stipulate or file an ex parte to shorten the time on the TSC. The court will not accept stipulations to set trial dates. The court has established guidelines for Informal Discovery Conferences (IDC) and Voluntary Settlement Conferences (VSC) in Unlimited Civil Proceedings to assist in facilitating settlements.

Per General Order 2021-29, all persons entering any courthouse shall wear a facial covering at all times while within the courthouse. Court employees, whose workplace safety is regulated by Cal/OSHA, are exempt from this provision. The order is effective August 9, 2021.

Per General Order 2021-24, fully vaccinated members of the public, including but not limited to law enforcement, attorneys, parties, and vendors, are not required to wear a face covering while inside a court facility. Members of the public who have not been fully vaccinated, including but not limited to law enforcement, attorneys, parties, and vendors, must wear a face covering. Children under the age of two are exempt from this order. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated and decline to wear a face covering will be denied entry to the courthouse or courtroom.

Per the August 24 public notice regarding access to court operations, the court’s current services are detailed and outlined on the COVID-19 webpage by division at the following link: https://www.saccourt.ca.gov/general/coronavirus.aspx. All civil filings are accepted by US mail or drop box. The main phone line is open to the general public: 916-874-5522. Civil Self-Help Services (SHS) continues to offer services via email, telephone and zoom. Additional information can be found at: https://www.saccourt.ca.gov/civil/self-help-services/self-help-services.aspx. Effective July 7, 2021, Case Management Program (CMP) Departments are reopening for management of civil cases and continued referral of cases to COVID-19 Trial Setting Process (TSP). Civil matters including civil harassment restraining orders, gun violence restraining orders, petitions for compromise of claims of minors with accompanying applications for appointment of guardian ad litem, complex civil departments, writ of mandate departments, civil law and motion departments, Presiding Judge law and motion, short cause civil trials, and mandatory and voluntary settlement conferences are being conducted via remote technology. Orders of Examination (OX) proceedings are being conducted in-person. Civil bench and jury trials are being conducted remotely or in-person on a case-by-case basis. The Civil Filing Guidelines for Civil Services located at Gordon D. Schaber Courthouse and Hall of Justice can be found at the following link: https://www.saccourt.ca.gov/civil/civil.aspx. All hearings will be conducted remotely via the interactive video conferencing application Zoom or by Court Call, unless specifically indicated otherwise. The civil calendars are posted weekly and indicate what matters are held remotely or in person and can be found at the following link: https://www.saccourt.ca.gov/criminal/hearing-livestreams.aspx.

Per the July 7 general order, for cases that were pending in CMP Departments as of March 17, 2020 and that are at-issue (i.e., at the time of the court's review), the court, through the assigned CMP Department, will begin referring such cases in groups and phases directly to the COVID-19 Trial Setting Process (TSP) for the parties' selection of MSC and trial dates. This category of cases will be directly referred to TSP and will not have rescheduled case management conferences in the CMP Departments unless requested by the parties and/or otherwise specifically ordered by the court. Each case that is referred directly to TSP for selection of MSC and trial dates will receive a case-specific referral order from the assigned CMP Department. Upon receiving their referral order, the parties shall follow the instructions therein and on the court's "COVID-19 Trial Setting Process" webpage. Parties shall not utilize the court's TSP webpage until receipt of their case-specific referral order. For all other cases, including (a) cases pending in the CMP Departments as of March 17, 2020 that are not at-issue (at the time of the court's review) and (b) cases filed after March 17, 2020, the assigned CMP Departments shall commence the resetting or initial setting of Case Management Conferences in such departments. The two CMP Departments will begin the process of sending notices of Case Management Conference for these categories of cases in groups and phases. Cases that have been pre-assigned to a judge for trial are excluded from this process and shall be subject to setting of trial and MSC dates pursuant to the pre-assigned trial judge's discretion, taking into consideration the anticipated status of court operations including the court's ability and capacity to hold civil trials at the Schaber Courthouse. The court's order applies to cases that are not scheduled for trial through other Court divisions (e.g., Probate trials).

Per the September 21, 2020 order, all persons must wear face coverings when inside the courthouse, entering the courthouse or when in line to enter the courthouse. This applies to any Sacramento Superior Court facility.

Per the court’s public notice on February 3, effective February 16, 2021, the court will begin to resume new jury trials due to the State of California lifting its regional-stay-at-home order on January 25, 2021.

The Fourth Amended General Order Limiting Filing at Clerk’s Office and Requiring Filing of Certain Case Types by Alternative Methods orders that beginning July 12, 2021 and continuing until further notice, the only documents that will be accepted for over-the-counter filing at the clerk’s office filing windows are those listed in the order. Any document or transaction that is not listed must be submitted by drop box, mail, facsimile, or through online options or in person by appointment.

Per the July 1 General Order regarding Reducing Clerk’s Office Hours, clerk’s office hours are returned to 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. until September 7, 2021 when hours will be restored to 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Per the Fourth Amendment to General Order regarding Face Coverings and Social Distance issued July 21, 2021, effective immediately, and continuing until further notice, all judicial officers, court employees, members of the public, members of the media, vendors, justice partners, law enforcement personnel, and any other person entering into any courthouse must wear a face covering at all times while in and on the courthouse premises, regardless of vaccination status.

The San Diego Superior Court is reinstating a facial covering requirement for all court visitors and employees, regardless of vaccination status. Those who are not feeling well or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to stay home and seek assistance online, by telephone or via mail.

Per the court’s news release on June 14, 2021, the court is restoring additional in-person access in the wake of updated state and local public health guidance that allows for the relaxing of certain COVID-19 safety protocols. Effective June 15, 2021, public access will generally revert to pre-pandemic levels while many of the recently introduced online and remote options will remain available. In accordance with state and local public health guidance, facial coverings are required for all people entering the courthouses, regardless of vaccination status.

Public access hours for business office services at all locations will be 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Jury service will gradually be brought back up to pre-pandemic levels. Beginning in mid-July, jurors called to serve in the Central Division in downtown San Diego will resume daily in-person reporting with plans to accommodate 4-5 trials per day. Jurors called to serve at the North, East or South County courthouses will continue to be on telephone standby, calling in for five days to learn if they will need to report in-person the next business day. Depending on the case type, virtual hearings may still be available for future dates and there may be other options for online resources or assistance outside-of-business hours. Select Civil hearings, including Small Claims hearings, will be available in person, virtual or in a hybrid format. Online scheduling of civil motion dates is available at racd.sdcourt.ca.gov.

Effective April 15, the court will require that filings submitted by attorneys for represented parties in all Limited and Unlimited Civil or Probate matters be filed electronically.

Per the court’s website, to schedule an ex parte hearing for cases assigned to a Civil Independent Calendar department, you must call the calendar clerk for the department in which your case is assigned; for Non-Independent Calendar departments, you must call the Civil Business Office in the location to which your case is assigned. For Civil Independent Calendar departments, ex parte hearings can be held in person or may be held remotely using MS Teams. When scheduling an ex parte, please inquire with the Independent Calendar Clerk on how to appear for your hearing. If appearing remotely, visit the Civil Independent Calendar Virtual Hearings page on the Court’s website for more information on how to appear via MS Teams. Reservations for most Civil Independent Calendar Department motions may be made using the Court’s Reserve a Motion Date application which can be accessed from sdcourt.ca.gov/Civil or using the “Reserve a Civil Motion Date” icon on the Court’s homepage under Online Services.

Per Order No. 010121-41(A), the Superior Court of San Diego County, Local Rules, rule 2.5.8 remains suspended as to all civil cases until further notice. All parties are directed to review the COVID-19 page on the court’s website for the process by which remote/virtual appearances will be conducted for all civil cases.

Per Order No. 072721-80(A), for the purposes of both setting trial dates and sending ready cases out for trial, all in-custody criminal jury trials will have priority over out-of-custody criminal and other case type jury trials until further order of the court.

Per Order No. 061421-74, effective June 15, 2021, the court rescinded orders 010121-39, 010121-45, 010121-37, 010121-38, and 010121-40.

Per Order No. 081821-84, regardless of vaccination status, all persons, including court staff and judicial officers, who enter any court facility must wear a face covering.

The San Francisco Superior Court is reopening the Clerk’s Offices effective February 1, now that the City and County of San Francisco and Department of Public Health have lifted its Shelter in Place order. The Civil Clerk’s Office, Room 103, Civic Center Courthouse, will continue to welcome walk-in service on Monday, June 28, 2021. Office hours are Monday-Friday, except holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Phone service will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The court’s main contact number is 415-551-4000.

For all law and motion matters, the court will post tentative rulings and follow the procedures set forth in San Francisco County Superior Court Local Rule 8.3 et seq. All hearings will be conducted remotely by CourtCall or by videoconference. No in-person appearances will be permitted. The moving party should confer with all other parties before scheduling and noticing a hearing, then may e-file and notice the hearing in accordance with Code of Civil Procedure section 1005 or other applicable requirements. The moving party need not obtain a hearing date or reservation number before filing the motion. Hearings are conducted via Zoom Videoconferencing, please see the Law and Motion webpage for further information.

The Complex Litigation Departments will continue scheduling telephonic conferences. Please continue to file opposition and reply briefs on the previously agreed upon schedule. If counsel need a continuance on their briefing deadlines, they shall meet and confer to adjust any briefing schedules, and then email the court on their agreed upon deadlines. Counsel should continue to meet and confer to prepare the statement and file these statements on the day their hearing would have occurred. Based on the filed statements, the court will set further dates.

Per the July 30, 2021 Calendar Memo Order, among other calendars and matters, all civil trials will be heard.

The San Mateo Superior Court Clerk's Offices in Redwood City and South San Francisco will open for limited counter and phone hours September 13, 2021. The Civil Clerk's Office will resume processing Ex Partes and parties will follow instructions onsite to enter the Clerk's Offices in Redwood City and South San Francisco outside of office hours.

Per Order Number 11, no individual who (a) has tested positive for COVID-19 or displays any symptoms of a COVID-19 infection as identified by the CDC; or (b) has been exposed within the past two (2) weeks to another person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or displays any symptoms of a COVID-19 infection as identified by the CDC, may enter a courtroom. Any individual who physically enters a courtroom must wear a facemask. Any individual who physically enters a courtroom must check in with court staff.

All civil jury trials scheduled between March 17, 2020 through October 2020 are vacated. Civil jury trials and their mandatory settlement conferences originally scheduled during this period have been re-scheduled to a trial setting conference. Discovery deadlines will be re-set with the new trial date. The court will provide notice of the trial setting conference date. When normal operations resume, the court will set new trial dates for all affected civil cases, taking into consideration the original trial date, the exigency of the subject matter, and any statutory priority.

Per the court’s March 2nd order, upon request of a party, or the court’s own motion, a case may be sent to a mandatory settlement conference prior to trial. Should the case not settle at this early mandatory settlement conference, the mandatory settlement conference the week before trial will still proceed, pursuant to Local Civil Rule 9.

Per the July 7, 2021 general order, the court rescinded paragraph 7 of the court’s May 6, 2020 general order. Remote appearances for complex civil matters are still permitted, but are no longer mandatory. The rest of the court’s May 6, 2020 general order remains in effect.

Beginning, August 17, 2020, the daily office and telephone hours at the courthouses in San Jose and Santa Clara will be 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Friday. The Self-Help Center and Restraining Order Help Center office hours are reduced to 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. In addition, the business offices at the courthouses in Palo Alto and Morgan Hill will be closed until further notice. Business previously conducted in Palo Alto and Morgan Hill will be conducted in San Jose at the Hall of Justice located at 190 W. Hedding Street, San Jose 95110.

Pursuant to the court’s November 3 general order, all persons, including court staff and judicial officers, who enter the courthouses must wear a face covering in public and shared work spaces. Any person who refuses to wear the required face covering in compliance with this order may be ordered excluded from the courthouse for failure to comply with the order.

Pursuant to the General Order issued June 18, 2021, effective June 21, 2021, courthouse access will no longer be restricted except as otherwise restricted by law or court order – but access shall remain subject to all court ordered COVID-related protocols which remain in effect, including but not limited to face coverings indoors, until further court order.

Per Administrative Order 21.16, until further notice, all persons entering any courthouse, courtroom or other court facility – regardless of vaccination status – shall wear a mask that fits securely and snugly over his or her mouth and nose at all times within public areas of the courthouse or courtroom.

As of June 15, 2021, the Ventura Superior Court remains open with limited entry and capacity. Courtroom seating and the jury assembly room will be every other chair.

Per Administrative Order 20.20, the court is planning to resume many services on June 15, 2020. Access to any and all courthouses, courtrooms, clerk's offices, self-help centers and public areas shall be restricted at all times to judges, commissioners, court staff, persons seeking or participating in emergency services, persons required or permitted to appear for scheduled hearings or trials, persons with a scheduled appointment for the clerk's offices or self-help centers and other authorized persons. Beginning June 15, 2020, access to any and all court proceedings shall be limited to summoned jurors, parties, their attorneys, witnesses subpoenaed to testify, one support person statutorily permitted to accompany a person seeing a temporary restraining order and other authorized persons. The court’s Civil Reopening Plan states all future trial dates (i.e. on or after June 15, 2020) are vacated; without further notice, a trial setting conference will be heard in the assigned courtroom on the same date and time formerly set for trial.

Per Administrative Order 20.29, all Mandatory Settlement Conferences in civil cases, which are/were scheduled at a Trial Setting Conference held after re-opening on June 5, 2020, will be conducted remotely through the Zoom platform, as authorized by California Rules of Court, Emergency rule 3. The order incorporates therein and makes part of the order the “Mandatory Settlement Conferences Conducted Remotely” plan and “Remote Mandatory Settlement Conference Procedures Acknowledgement of Receipt and Stipulation” emergency form, which are both available on the court’s website and remain in effect until further notice.

Per Administrative Order 21.14, all fully vaccinated individuals are currently not required to wear a mask in any Ventura Superior Court courthouse, courtroom or other court facility. Prior to entering, fully vaccinated individuals that choose to not wear a mask will be required to self-attest that they are in compliance with the CDC and CDPH vaccination requirements. All individuals entering any courthouse, courtroom or other court facility that are not full vaccinated, are required to wear a mask that fits securely and snugly over the nose and mouth at all times, within public areas of the courthouse or courtrooms, (this order is not intended to apply to the internal offices of the District Attorney or Public Defender). A face mask with a valve, neck gator, bandana or handkerchief shall not be used. A face shield shall not be used without a mask, unless required by a physician.

The court is operating remotely, with few staff at the courthouse. The court continues to receive correspondence and filings both via paper and electronically.

The Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, will conduct oral argument via videoconference using BlueJeans. Counsel participating in oral argument will receive a specific emailed invitation to the appropriate oral argument.

Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, the court has been operating remotely with reduced on-site staff. However, beginning July 15, 2021, the Clerk’s Office in Los Angeles will open to the public by appointment only.

The court will continue to receive correspondence and filings via paper and electronically. Self-represented litigants can submit paper filings, including emergency writs, by placing them in a drop box located on the second floor at the entrance to the Clerk’s Office.

An order issued on March 16, 2020, suspended all in-person oral arguments in Los Angeles. Counsel will continue to appear remotely via video conference, telephone conference, or other electronic means as available and arranged by the Clerk’s Office for all divisions of the Second Appellate District.

These adjustments will remain in place until, by further order, it is determined to be prudent to resume pre-Covid-19 procedures.

The court has posted revised guidelines for telephonic oral argument. The court will conduct oral argument by videoconference using the BlueJeans Events application. Those participating in oral argument will receive a specific emailed invitation to the appropriate session of oral argument.

The court is operating remotely, with few staff at the courthouse. The court continues to receive correspondence and filings both via paper and electronically. Access to the court by phone is limited.

Effective August 2021, the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division One, is restoring in-person arguments in light of updated state and local public health guidance permitting the relaxing of certain COVID-19 safety protocols. In accordance with state and local public health guidance, face coverings in the courtroom will be required for all regardless of vaccination status. Those who are fully vaccinated may remove their masks only while presenting oral argument. While in-person argument will return as the default method of appearance, parties may request to appear remotely. Until further notice, the courtroom is open only to those parties presenting oral argument.

Effective September 20, 2021, the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three, is restoring in-person arguments considering updated state and local public health guidance. In accordance with state and local public health guidance, face coverings in the courthouse will be required for all visitors regardless of vaccination status. Those who are fully vaccinated may remove their masks only while presenting oral argument. Until further notice, the courtroom is open only to those parties presenting oral argument. While in-person argument will return as the default method of appearance, in extraordinary cases permission to appear remotely may be granted by the Presiding Justice.

In-person oral argument sessions are suspended. Telephonic appearances can be arranged at CourtCall.com.

The clerk's office window is currently closed. However, court operations are functional. Oral argument sessions are being conducted telephonically. Court proceedings will be open to the public and members of the press telephonically.

Commencing September 9, 2021, the Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District, will conduct oral argument via video conferencing using the BlueJeans platform. Counsel participating in oral argument will receive an invitation via email to the argument session for their case.

Due to the undertaking of a Bridgeport Superior Court building maintenance project, commencing Monday, August 9, 2021, the Bridgeport Law Library will be closed to walk-in patrons until further notice.

The Hartford Community Court at 80 Washington Street will resume operations and will be open to the public effective Monday, July 12, 2021.

No person is permitted to enter a Judicial Branch courthouse or facility without his/her mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face-covering.

By direction of the Chief Justice, the Judicial Branch will resume summoning jurors to courthouses throughout the state to restart the jury trial process as of June 1, 2021.

The Judicial Branch is expanding remote public access to virtual civil and housing court proceedings while continuing its efforts to protect the health and safety of the public during the pandemic. Beginning February 1, 2021, virtual on-the-record civil and housing court proceedings will be livestreamed on the Branch’s YouTube channel.

Beginning with the December 7, 2020 calendar, arguable motions will resume printing on Short Calendar 02 (Property/Foreclosure) in addition to non-arguable motions that have printed since the October 13, 2020 calendar. All motions will be available for marking

during the marking period.

Effective September 20, 2020, the Court will begin to act on defaults and nonsuits in civil (including housing and small claims) and family matters, after giving notice, where possible, of the resumption of the entry of defaults and default judgments to parties against whom a default or default judgment may enter. If you have not filed an Appearance, an Answer or other responsive pleading, or you have not complied with a court order for which you can be defaulted, a default may enter against you on or after September 20, 2020.

Beginning with the October 26, 2020 calendar, Short Calendar 01 (civil arguable matters) will resume, and all motions printing on the calendar can be marked during the marking period.

Beginning with the September 8, 2020 calendar, Short Calendar 03 (Special Proceedings/PJR) will resume in addition to Short Calendar 10 (Non-arguable calendar) and all IndiCal calendars. All motions on Short Calendar 3 that are marked “take papers” will be ruled on by the Court on the papers. Motions marked “ready” will be scheduled for a remote hearing at a later date.

Beginning with the October 13, 2020 short calendar, non-arguable motions will print to civil Short Calendar 02 (Property/Foreclosure) and will be available for a “take papers” marking during the marking period. Arguable motions will not print to Short Calendar 02 at this time.

Connecticut’s Supreme and Appellate Courts are hearing oral arguments remotely. As detailed in the May 28 notice, the Court has expanded its remote capabilities.

The court has expanded its protocols regarding criminal matters to accommodate the use of video conferencing, as detailed in the May 13 Notice.

As detailed in the May 14 Notice, the process for a Self-Represented Party to be approved to E-File their documents has been simplified so that a party no longer needs to print the request and bring or mail it to a courthouse to verify their identity. Instead, they can email the documents that verify their identity to a centralized e-mail.

Effective May 18, the Judicial Branch will resume its daily schedule of civil pre-trials, trial management conferences, and status conferences. These events will be conducted remotely, either by video link or telephone. Participating lawyers will receive an e-mail with a link providing access to the event immediately prior.

In family court, effective May 11, family pre-trials and status conferences will be held telephonically.

Effective with the May 18, 2020 calendars, arguable motions marked take papers on all initial calendars ruled on by the court. Matters marked ready will be marked off by the court and must be reclaimed.

As detailed in the April 30 Press Advisory, parties who have an agreement may have their family court cases resolved without having to come to court.

All deadlines contained in Civil Scheduling Agreements and Case Management Orders are suspended until such time as Judicial Branch operations are fully restored.

A Governor’s Executive Order temporarily eliminates the requirement that applicants seeking a temporary restraining order must swear under oath that the statement is true and eliminates the need for a notary public or other authority to take the applicant’s oath, while still legally obligating the applicant to make true statements.

Pursuant to Administrative Order No. 22, the judicial emergency for all State courts and their facilities in Delaware is extended until 8:00 a.m. on July 13, 2021, and will expire on that date and time.

Effective July 6, 2021, Phase 3 of the Reopening Plan will be modified to authorize courts to increase judicial branch staffing to 100%.

Per the August 11, 2021 administrative order, beginning on August 16, 2021, all persons entering any judicial facilities, regardless of their vaccination status, shall wear a face mask or covering that completely covers the nose and mouth. Visitors must wear a face mask or covering at all times except when speaking in a courtroom. Face masks will be provided for visitors who do not have one.

Effective June 1, 2021, Phase 3 of the Reopening Plan will be implemented, as modified in Administrative Order No. 19.

Deadlines imposed by court order continue to remain in place but may be extended, consistent with court practices, for good cause shown, including a COVID-19 related cause.

Delaware Courts have ended the judicial emergency as of July 13, 2021. Normal court rules and procedures, including amended speedy trial guidelines, are restored.

Effective July 6, 2021, Phase 3 of the Reopening Plan will be modified to authorize courts to increase judicial branch staffing to 100%.

Delaware Courts have ended the judicial emergency as of July 13, 2021. Normal court rules and procedures, including amended speedy trial guidelines, are restored.

With the lifting of the Judicial Emergency on July 13, 2021, the Courts will resume active collections on its remaining accounts effective immediately. In the coming days and weeks, persons who owe Court-imposed legal financial obligations and have not been paying per their payment plan agreements will receive a letter informing them of their payment obligation.

Effective July 6, 2021, Phase 3 of the Reopening Plan will be modified to authorize courts to increase judicial branch staffing to 100%.

On March 27, the Court issued a statement regarding scheduling, procedures, and remote video access.

Delaware Courts have ended the judicial emergency as of July 13, 2021. Normal court rules and procedures, including amended speedy trial guidelines, are restored.

Per the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware’s August 11, 2021 administrative order, beginning on August 16, 2021, all persons entering any judicial facilities, regardless of their vaccination status, shall wear a face mask or covering that completely covers the nose and mouth. Visitors must wear a face mask or covering at all times except when speaking in a courtroom. Face masks will be provided for visitors who do not have one.

Effective July 6, 2021, Phase 3 of the Reopening Plan will be modified to authorize courts to increase judicial branch staffing to 100%.

Justice of the Peace Court 20 will be moving to a new location effective September 7, 2021. Therefore, JP Court 20 will be closed for business from September 7-10, 2021. Court 20 will resume normal operations on Monday, September 13, 2021 at its new location on the 7th Floor in the Leonard L. Williams Justice Center. Court 20’s new phone number is (302) 574-1500.

On Monday, September 6, 2021, most Justice of the Peace Court locations will be closed in observance of the Labor Day holiday. Only Justice of the Peace Court 11 (New Castle County), Court 7 (Kent County), and Court 3 (Sussex County) will remain open.

Delaware Courts have ended the judicial emergency as of July 13, 2021. Normal court rules and procedures, including amended speedy trial guidelines, are restored.

Per the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware’s August 11, 2021 administrative order, beginning on August 16, 2021, all persons entering any judicial facilities, regardless of their vaccination status, shall wear a face mask or covering that completely covers the nose and mouth. Visitors must wear a face mask or covering at all times except when speaking in a courtroom. Face masks will be provided for visitors who do not have one.

Effective July 6, 2021, Phase 3 of the Reopening Plan will be modified to authorize courts to increase judicial branch staffing to 100%.

The Delaware State Courts will be closed on September 6, 2021 for Labor Day.

Delaware Courts have ended the judicial emergency as of July 13, 2021. Normal court rules and procedures, including amended speedy trial guidelines, are restored.

Per the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware’s August 11, 2021 administrative order, beginning on August 16, 2021, all persons entering any judicial facilities, regardless of their vaccination status, shall wear a face mask or covering that completely covers the nose and mouth. Visitors must wear a face mask or covering at all times except when speaking in a courtroom. Face masks will be provided for visitors who do not have one.

Effective July 6, 2021, Phase 3 of the Reopening Plan will be modified to authorize courts to increase judicial branch staffing to 100%.

As of March 23, Delaware Family Court will continue to handle emergency and essential hearings. Specifically, Family Court will continue to address emergency requests for Protection from Abuse Orders and emergency child welfare, custody, visitation, and guardianship matters. Family Court also anticipates conducting limited adult criminal and juvenile delinquency matters. To the fullest extent possible, all necessary hearings will be held telephonically.

Effective Wednesday, August 4, 2021, all employees and visitors to the Nathan Deal Judicial Center are required to wear a mask covering the nose and mouth while in the building and when interacting with others.

On March 27, 30, and 31 of 2020, this Court issued orders temporarily clarifying and amending video conferencing rules of the Superior Courts, Juvenile Courts, Magistrate Courts, Municipal Courts, and Probate Courts. As of June 22, those temporary amendments are hereby extended and shall remain in effect through June 30, 2022.

Per the Fifteenth Order Extending Declaration of Statewide Judicial Emergency, the Fourteenth Order Declaring Statewide Judicial Emergency, which would have expired on Monday, June 7, 2021 is further extended until extended until Wednesday, June 30, 2021, at 11:59p.m.

Trial courts may now conduct jury trials as local conditions allow. Please see the Thirteenth Order for additional details.

The Chief Judge of each superior court, in his or her discretion after consulting with the District Attorney, may resume grand jury proceedings in person or remotely (where consistent with law), if doing so can be done safely and in compliance with public health guidance based on local conditions.

Per the Seventh Order, The Chief Judge of each trial court is authorized, in his or her discretion, to summon new trial jurors and to resume jury trials. Deadlines for jury trial proceedings (including statutory speedy trial demands), deadlines for grand jury proceedings, and deadlines calculated by reference to the date of a civil or criminal jury trial or grand jury proceeding shall remain suspended and tolled.

Per the Fifth Order, all courts should continue to use and increase the use of technology to conduct remote judicial proceedings as a safer alternative to in-person proceedings, unless required by law to be in person or unless it is not practicable for technical or other reasons for persons participating in the proceeding to participate remotely. Courts should understand and utilize the authority provided and clarified by the emergency amendments made to court rules on videoconferences and teleconferences. Courts may compel the participation of litigants, lawyers, witnesses, and other essential personnel in remote judicial proceedings, where allowed by court rules. Such proceedings, however, must be consistent with public health guidance, must not impose undue burdens on participants, and must not be prohibited by the requirements of the U.S. or Georgia constitutions or applicable statutes or court rules. In civil, criminal, juvenile, and administrative proceedings, litigants may expressly consent in the record to remote proceedings not otherwise authorized and affirmatively waive otherwise applicable legal requirements. Courts have discretion to conduct in-person judicial proceedings, but only in compliance with public health guidance and with the requirements of the United States and Georgia constitutions and applicable statutes and court rules. No court may compel the attendance of any person for a court proceeding if the court proceeding or the court facility in which it is to be held is not in compliance with this order. Courts are also prohibited from compelling in-person participation in any court-imposed alternative dispute resolution session that is to be conducted in a manner inconsistent with applicable public health guidelines. Nothing in the Order as extended and modified limits the authority of the Chief Judge of a superior court judicial circuit to add to the restrictions imposed, if such restrictions are constitutional, necessitated by local conditions, and to the extent possible ensure that courthouses or properly designated alternative facilities remain accessible to carry out essential judicial functions. However, no court may disregard the restrictions imposed by the Order as extended and modified.

Per the Georgia Court Reopening Guide, certain general practices are to be applied to all courts and adjusted where necessary to meet the unique needs of each court. The Reopening Guide outlines the following seven policies to meet the challenges of resuming operations in the wake of the public health emergency caused by COVID-19: 1) general infection control measures; 2) provide notice to the public of increased health and safety measures; 3) provide healthy and safe access to the courtroom; 4) maintain a healthy and safe courtroom; 5) healthy and safe court employees; 6) healthy and safe jurors and potential jurors; and 7) healthy and safe inmates and detainees. Please see the Georgia Court Reopening Guide for more information.

Per the Guidance on Grand Jury Proceedings dated May 11, the provision in the Second Order Extending Declaration of Statewide Judicial Emergency authorizes a district attorney, upon his or her own initiative or at the request of the foreperson of an existing jury, to assemble an existing grand jury if the district attorney: (1) determines that it is necessary for the grand jury to consider a matter that is essential to the administrative of justice, the public health and welfare, the continuity of government, or the maintenance of civil order; (2) determines that a delay of such consideration by the grand jury until after the resumption of regular jury proceedings would pose a substantial risk of harm to the public interest; and (3) determines that after consultation with the chief judge of the superior court and the sheriff that the grand jury can be assembled safely and in compliance with all applicable public health guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Georgia Department of Public Health, and the county public health department, including any guidelines for social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment. This provision is intended to be a limited exception to the general stay of all grand jury proceedings, and it is not intended to authorize an assembly of a granny jury to consider routine bills of indictment and other unexceptional matters.

Per the April 9, 2020 Extension Order, any purported requirements under the laws of Georgia that a notarial act performed pursuant to Chapter 17 of Title 45 of the Official Code of Georgia must occur in the physical presence of the notary public is suspended, and may be performed remotely if certain requirements are met.

On behalf of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Chief Justice Harold D. Melton asks that all attorneys, parties, and visitors to the Nathan Deal Judicial Center who have a fever or symptoms of a respiratory illness, or who have been exposed to a person with coronavirus, flu, or any other communicable disease, to reschedule their hearings, tours, or appointments. In addition, the Court asks that all visitors routinely follow the best practices for preventing the spread of infectious disease.

The Council of Superior Court Judges has drafted an amendment to Uniform Superior Court Rule 9.1 that would authorize civil non-jury trials to be conducted by video conference. This rule would remain in effect for 180 days past the expiration of the Chief Justice’s Judicial Emergency Declaration and any extensions or modifications thereto.

Per the Notice dated May 20, effective May 28, parties in pending cases will have the same amount of time to submit their filings as they had remaining at the time the March 14 emergency order went into effect. Parties will be required to submit a “Certificate of Timeliness” with each filing to show the calculation of the new filing deadline. Parties may file a motion for reconsideration or seek extensions of time for good cause related to the pandemic or otherwise. Second, a specific order will be issued in almost all new cases docketed in the court on or after May 28, 2020, directing that normal deadlines under the court’s rules will be in effect and will not be subject to tolling or extension under the emergency order, although parties may seek extensions of time for good cause related to the pandemic or otherwise.

Per Rule 11.1, effective May 28, for appeals, petitions for certiorari, applications, motions, disciplinary proceedings, and other proceedings for which any filing deadlines have been suspended by any order declaring a statewide judicial emergency, as extended by subsequent orders, or by a local judicial emergency order entered by the chief judge of a superior court, parties shall, when submitting any filing so affected, attach to the end of such a filing a separate “Certificate of Timeliness.” Such certificate shall not be counted toward the applicable page limitation, and shall state the following: (a) the date the filing was due before the deadline for the filing was suspended (without regard to any non-emergency-related extensions previously granted, and without the application of OCGA §1-3-1(d)(3) where the filing deadline would have fallen on a weekend or legal holiday; (b) the number of days that remained before the date specified in (a), as of suspension of the deadline; and (c) that the filing being submitted is timely because it is being filed within the number of days calculated under (b), counting from the date the suspension is lifted (subject to OCGA §1-3-1(d)(3) if this new filing deadline falls on a weekend or legal holiday). In the event a party’s filing deadline has been affected by any local judicial emergency order entered by the chief judge of a superior court or by any case-specific trial court order, a copy of each such order shall be attached to the party’s Certificate of Timeliness. This rule will expire in 180 days unless extended.

Executive Order 2021-14 and 2021-15 reissues various executive orders.

The M.R. 30370 Orders/Amended Orders delineate the Illinois Courts Response to the Covid-19 Emergency, including the Supreme Court of Illinois’ efforts to reduce unnecessary in-person court appearances and to promote remote court appearances.

As detailed in General Administrative Order 20-9 (which supersedes Law Division General Administrative Orders 20-6, 20-7 and 20-8), in the circuit court of Cook County, Illinois Law Division, all jury trial dates set from March 17, 2020 through June 30, 2021, are converted to “Trial Setting” dates. The setting of jury cases for trial is suspended until such time as jury trials can safely resume, given public health directives. When jury trial settings can safely be resumed, a minimum of 60-days’ notice will be sent to all parties and counsel of record, providing the date jury trial settings will resume, and the date, time and manner of the court call setting new jury trial dates.

For civil matters, circuits may choose to utilize remote jury selection consistent with the guidelines established by the Court Operations During COVID-19 Task Force, and adopted by the Court on October 27, 2020, available at: http://illinoiscourts.gov/CircuitCourt/Remote_Jury_Information.asp

Certain orders have been vacated per the Supreme Court’s August 28 Order.

Masks or face coverings should be worn at all times while in the courthouse unless the person is (1) otherwise instructed by court personnel; (2) under the age of 2; or (3) incapacitated, having trouble breathing, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. If available, masks should be provided to individuals who do not have them.

Effective June 4, the court’s corrected order of April 29, 2020 regarding Illinois Courts Response to COVID-19 Emergency/Impact On Discovery is amended to add a committee comment concerning the temporary amendment of paragraph (h)(3) of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 206 as detailed in the June 4 Order regarding discovery.

The Supreme Court’s May 22 Order details changes to procedures in eviction hearings.

Effective June 1, 2020, the court’s order of March 17, 2020, is modified so that each circuit may return to hearing court matters, whether in person or remotely, according to a schedule to be adopted for each county by the chief judge in each circuit. The circuit courts shall continue, to the extent possible, to allow for appropriate social distancing and attempt to reduce the number of persons appearing personally for court appearances.

The Supreme Court’s April 29 Order modifies paragraph (h) of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 206 regarding remote depositions.

The Illinois Supreme Court will hold oral arguments via the Zoom videoconference platform when it hears cases in May.

Several courts have updated their procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as detailed on the judiciary’s Information page.

The court’s March 20 Order and April 3 Order are amended as follows: The Chief Judges of each circuit may continue trials until further order of this court. The continuances occasioned by this Order serve the ends of justice and outweigh the best interests of the public and defendants in a speedy trial. Therefore, such continuances shall be excluded from speedy trial computations contained in section 103-5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS 5/103-5 (West 2018)) and section 5-601 of the Illinois Juvenile Court Act (705 ILCS 405/5-601 (West 2018)). Statutory time restrictions in section 103-5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 and section 5-601 of the Juvenile Court Act shall be tolled until further order of this Court.

 

As detailed in the court’s April 7 Order, the Chief Judges of each circuit may continue trials until further order of this court. Statutory time restrictions in section 103-5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 and section 5-601 of the Juvenile Court Act shall be tolled until further order of this court.

The court’s April 24 Order affects certain Post-Judgment Proceedings against garnishees or citation respondents.

All people entering court-controlled areas must wear face covering. This requirement applies regardless of a person’s vaccination status. Judges, in their discretion, may permit the removal of face coverings by participants or take other measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in court proceedings.

All jury trials set to commence as of November 16, 2020 and that are scheduled to begin before February 1, 2021 shall be continued to a date no earlier than February 1, 2021. The court, parties, and attorneys are strongly encouraged to conduct civil court business when feasible using videoconference and telephone. District Courts may conduct civil nonjury trials by video conference or telephone with the parties consent. All grand jury proceedings is suspended until February 1, 2021.

The court has temporarily amended the Iowa Rule of Electronic Procedure to allow a person in civil court to sign documents electronically.

All Judiciary personnel, including, but not limited to, judges, magistrates, clerks, administrative and contractual staff, and interns, whether compensated by the State or by a local jurisdiction, who have received vaccinations as required by the COVID-19 vaccination protocols, shall provide proof of vaccination by September 27, 2021.

On August 6, 2021, five orders were revised with regard to judiciary operations, health measures in Courthouses, jury trials and grand juries, foreclosures, and tolling of statutes of limitations.

Phase V of the Judiciary’s phased resumption of operations will be implemented as outlined in the Second Amended Administrative Order. In addition, per the Eighth Administrative Order, all judicial employees, including judges, and visitors over the age of two who are fully vaccinated may enter courthouses and judiciary facilities without face masks, unless the administrative judge or state court administrator determines there are certain settings that may require them.  Those who have not been vaccinated must continue to wear face masks and maintain social distancing. 

On March 15, 2021, the Maryland Judiciary began Phase IV of its COVID-19 five-phased progressive resumption of operations plan. Phase V full operations resume on April 26, 2021, including jury trials.

Per the Amended Administrative Order dated February 16, jury trials scheduled to commence between November 16, 2020, through April 23, 2021, shall be postponed and rescheduled in accordance with the date established by the Seventh Amended “Administrative Order Clarifying the Statewide Suspension of Jury Trials and Maintaining Grand Juries,” also filed February 16, 2021.

The Eighth Administrative Order restricts statewide judiciary operations. On Monday, November 30, the Maryland Courts returned to Phase II of the Maryland Judiciary’s reopening plan. During Phase II, Clerks’ offices in the District Court of Maryland and circuit courts throughout the state will remain open to the public for emergency purposes and by appointment for other matters.

Per the Order Clarifying COVID-19 Health Measures, effective immediately and for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency period: (a) in all courthouses and judicial facilities, masks or face coverings shall be worn at all times, including court proceedings, except as noted in (e), (f), and (g), by all judges, Judiciary personnel, and any other person over the age of 2 years, with masks and face coverings to cover both the nose and mouth completely; (b) in instances in which members of the public of personnel arrive at a courthouse or judicial facility without an adequate face covering or mask, they shall be provided with a disposal mask, if available, or given alternative means for remote access, if appropriate and possible, (c) barriers, including clear personal barrier shields, are not a substitute for masks or face covers and shall not fulfill the masking requirement in (a); (d) social distancing of six feet or more shall be maintained throughout the courthouses and judicial facilities, including offices and courtrooms, but will not be a substitute for the masking requirement; (e) with appropriate social distancing, masks or face coverings may be lowered to eat, drink, or take oral or nasal medications, but shall be replaced upon completion; (f) throughout courtroom proceedings, all participants shall wear masks or face coverings as required in (a) unless, for good cause shown, the presiding judge or magistrate may require any participant, when speaking, to use a disposable mask or wear a personal barrier shield in lieu of a mask to ensure that the participant can be heard, with due consideration given to social distancing and other public health guidelines; (g) where judiciary personnel are assigned to single-occupancy enclosed offices, masks may be lowered when the occupant is alone and the door is closed; however masks shall be worn as described in (a) when any other person enters the office or the occupant leaves the office; and (h) where judiciary personnel are assigned to common area workspaces, including cubicles, masks shall be worn as described in (a). Any person who does not comply with this emergency order shall be subject to removal from the courthouse or judicial facility and disciplinary action as appropriate. This Order shall be modified as appropriate. This order shall not be construed to prohibit additional health measures that have been or may be adopted in compliance with new or enhanced guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maryland Department of Health, and local health departments.

On July 20, the Maryland courts have moved into Phase 3 of the Maryland Judiciary’s reopening plan. Clerk’s offices in both the District Court of Maryland and circuit courts have reopened throughout the state. In Phase III, courts will schedule and hold a broader range of matters, including certain non-jury trials in the District Court and attorney disciplinary matters in the circuit courts, with limited in-person services to be offered as determined by the administrative judge and posted electronically and in the court facility. Court and clerk activities shall proceed with continued restrictions to limit the concentration of individuals and allow social distancing.

Until further notice, the courts will continue using technology for remote proceedings, either by video or telephone, but please note that this will vary by court location. The courts are requiring any individual, including employees, seeking access to a courthouse or court office location to: 1) answer a set of screening questions; 2) be subject to temperature checks; 3) wear a facial covering or mask; and 4) practice social distancing.

To facilitate filing papers with the Court of Appeals through Phase IV of the Progressive Resumption of Full Function of Judiciary Operations Previously Restricted Due to the COVID-19 Emergency for non-e-fliers in MDEC cases and filers in appeals from non-MDEC jurisdictions, the Clerk is providing two alternative means of filing papers in the Court of Appeals: (1) e-filing through the MDEC system, or (2) drop box at the basement entrance of the Courts of Appeal building.

All attorneys and self-represented litigants who are or become registered users are permitted to file petitions for writ of certiorari, briefs, motions and other papers via the MDEC system in all appeals regardless of which circuit court the appeal comes from. This includes Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County.

The Court of Appeals has placed a drop box at the front entrance of the Courts of Appeal building. All filings being delivered to the Court of Appeals in paper form may be placed in the drop box for filing. For the duration of this emergency, the date of filing will be considered the previous business day. In addition to the drop box, filers may continue to file via U.S. mail, and the date of filing will be considered the date a mailed filing has been postmarked.

Per the Amended Administrative Order dated May 1, 2020 (rescinding the Administrative Orders dated March 20 and April 14), courts are authorized to conduct remote proceedings using communication platforms consistent with the Administrative Order dated June 18, 2018. The requirement for approval of the State Court Administrator for communications platforms being utilized for remote proceedings is waived during the COVID-19 emergency. The court shall notify all participants necessary to the proceeding. Proceedings shall be on the record using existing capacity or, to the extent necessary, the capacity offered in the communication platforms utilized.

Per the Administrative Order dated May 1, the application of time standards shall be suspended for cases reaching a conclusion in the circuit courts and the District Court of Maryland from March 16, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

Per the Revised Policy on Interim Orders, the commissioners shall provide a notice with all paperwork to petitioners and respondents advising them that the court may contact them with a different hearing date. Administrative Judges, or a Judge designated by the Administrative Judge, have the discretion to review each Interim Order. Commissioners are encouraged to request as much contact information from the parties as possible as any temporary hearings may occur remotely via video, audio or electronic means. Commissioners are encouraged to provide an explanatory cover sheet to petitioners to assist in explaining the status of the courts and any potential delay in hearing dates. Furthermore, courts will notify the parties of any scheduled hearing date through any means available. If the courts continue to function only on a limited basis as of June 8, 2020, further advice will be given.

Per the Administrative Order dated May 18, all other cases previously designated by the Court to be argued in the June Session of the 2019 Term, but not yet scheduled are designated to be heard in the September Session of the 2020 Term. All cases which have been previously designated by the Court to be heard in the September Session of the 2020 Term, but not yet scheduled are designated to be heard in the October Session of the 2020 Term. Furthermore, all cases that have been previously designated by the Court to be heard in the October Session of the 2020 Term, but not yet scheduled are designated to be heard in the November Session of the 2020 Term. Finally, the court will entertain requests pursuant to Maryland Rule 8-523(a)(2) by parties involved in cases that have either been postponed or rescheduled by this Order to submit those appeals for consideration on brief.

Beginning at 5:00 p.m. on June 5, the Maryland courts began implementing their reopening plan, which guides courts across the state of Maryland. There are five phases in the plan and each phase will represent an increase in the level of activity within each courthouse and court office. The general public, members of the media, and attorneys should reference the COVID-19 webpages for the latest information on individual court operations.

The courts are requiring any individual seeking access to a courthouse or court office location to: 1) answer a set of screening questions; 2) be subject to temperature checks; 3) wear a facial covering or mask; and 4) practice social distancing.

Per the Administrative Order as amended on June 3, on August 31, 2020, jurisdictions shall proceed to Phase IV, where courts will resume non-jury trials and contested hearings in criminal, civil, family, and juvenile matters. On October 5, 2020, jurisdictions shall proceed to Phase V, where courts will resume full operations, including jury trials.

Per the Administrative Order as amended on June 3, through the end of Phase IV, the courts are authorized to conduct remote proceedings using communication platforms, consistent with the Administrative Order dated June 18, 2018, and the Amended Administrative Order dated May 1, 2020. Regardless of Phase, this Administrative Order permits and encourages the courts’ consideration or resolution of: 1) matters that can be addressed without a hearing; or 2) matters requiring a hearing or trial, to the extent that an individual court has the capacity to hear such matters, either in person or on a remote basis, with access to the public as justice requires.

Per the Revised Communication dated June 3, effective immediately, no District Court shall process Affidavit Judgments until such time as the District Court is authorized to expand emergency operations. Any Affidavit Judgment entered on a case with a trial date or affidavit judgment date of March 16, 2020 or after shall be vacated by the court. A motion to vacate judgment filed regarding an Affidavit Judgment entered by the court during this time shall be treated as an emergency matter and heard by the Court in an expedited manner. When the District Court is authorized to expand emergency operations, such cases will be scheduled for affidavit judgment with notice to all parties.

The Seventh Order repeals and replaces the Sixth Updated Order Regarding Court Operations under the Exigent Circumstances Created by COVID-19, which was issued on April 15, 2021 and took effect on May 1, 2021. The Sixth Updated Order detailed Phase 3 of the resumption of jury trials in Massachusetts state courts.

Phase 2 of the resumption of jury trials in Massachusetts state courts will commence on March 1, 2021. Per the Fourth Updated Order, dated September 17, 2020, replacing the Third the Third Updated Order, dated June 24, 2020, Courthouses will continue to be physically open to the public for certain purposes, as generally outlined in this Order, and operated with diligent regard for the health and safety of court users and personnel, in accordance with protocols established by the Trial Court or the relevant appellate court, as applicable. To limit the number of persons entering courthouses, all courts will continue to conduct most court business virtually (i.e., by telephone, videoconference, email, or comparable means, or through the electronic filing system), in both civil and criminal cases. In cases with one or more self-represented litigants (SRLs) where a court is scheduling a videoconference, courts will recognize the possibility that SRLs may have limited access to the technology needed to conduct videoconferences or limited experience with it, and will either assist the SRL in being able to conduct a videoconference or offer an alternative to videoconferencing for the virtual hearing.

Trial Court departments shall continue to conduct in-person proceedings in emergency and non-emergency matters that either can be handled more effectively or efficiently in person, or cannot be handled virtually because a virtual proceeding is not practicable or would be inconsistent with the protection of constitutional rights. Each Trial Court department shall post notices to the "Court System Response to COVID-19" webpage (https://www.mass.gov/guides/court-system-response-to-covid-19) (COVID-19 webpage) (see paragraph 16) that provide clear department-wide guidance to the public and members of the bar identifying the categories of matters that it will address in person. Courts will conduct all other emergency and non-emergency matters virtually, except as provided in the paragraph below.

The Chief Justice of a Trial Court department, after consultation with the Chief Justice of the Trial Court, for reasons of public health and safety may order that a court division or location conduct all business virtually and/or may transfer some or all in-person matters to specified courts within the department. If any such action is taken, the applicable Trial Court department shall post notices to the COVID-19 webpage (see paragraph 16) that provide clear guidance to the public and members of the bar.

Entry into a courthouse is limited to personnel who work in the courthouse and persons who are present for one or more of the following purposes: attending in-person court proceedings (see paragraph 5); conducting in-person business with a clerk's, register's, or recorder's office (see paragraph 6); reporting for jury service (see paragraphs 9 and 13); meeting with a probation officer or probation staff person; or conducting business at other offices that are open to the public and housed in the courthouse.

All court clerks', registers', and recorder's offices will be physically open to the public to conduct court business. To continue to limit the number of persons entering courthouses, clerks', registers', and recorder’s offices will still endeavor to conduct business virtually to the extent possible.

No jury trials, in either criminal or civil cases, shall be conducted in Massachusetts state courts until on or after October 23, 2020, at which time courts shall resume in-person trials on a limited basis, in general accordance with the recommendations for Phase 1 contained in the report issued by the Jury Management Advisory Committee (JMAC) on July 31, 2020, as clarified by the memorandum issued by the JMAC on September 1, 2020. Specific provisions regarding limitations of the number of jurors and other jury related restrictions in civil cases during Phase 1 is further detailed in the order.

Per the Memorandum dated August 7, the Virtual Courtroom Task Force was formed in March 2020 in response to court closures due to the coronavirus pandemic and the spread of COVID-19. The Virtual Courtroom Standards and Guidelines, as recently amended have been posted to the Virtual Courtrooms webpage. Please click the link for more information and documents.

Pursuant to Prior SJC Orders, all jury trials scheduled to commence in Massachusetts state courts at any time from March 14, 2020, through September 4, 2020, were continued to a date no earlier than September 8, 2020. Civil bench trials may be conducted virtually in the discretion of the trial judge.

Unless otherwise ordered by the applicable court, all orders in a particular case that were issued prior to March 17, 2020, after an adversarial hearing (or the opportunity for an adversarial hearing), that enjoined or otherwise restrained or prohibited a party from taking some act or engaging in some conduct until a date at any time from March 17, 2020, through August 31, 2020, shall remain in effect until the matter is rescheduled and heard on a date on or before October 13, 2020.

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Travel Form, all individuals over the age of 18 and unaccompanied minors entering Massachusetts, who are not coming from a COVID lower-risk state and do not fall within certain, limited exemptions, must complete this form upon or prior to entry to the state. To determine whether you are required to complete this form, please review the list of exemptions here. Failure to submit a completed Massachusetts Travel Form, when required, or failure to comply with the quarantine requirement, if applicable, may result in a $500 fine per day.

All individuals arriving in Massachusetts by any means or mode, including Massachusetts residents who have left the state for anything more than transitory travel, are covered by the Massachusetts travel rule. Accordingly, even travelers not required to complete the form should act in compliance with the rule. The rule requires that you MUST quarantine for 14 days unless you: (1) are coming from a lower-risk state or (2) can produce, on request, proof of negative test result for COVID-19 from a test administered on a sample taken no longer than 72 hours before your arrival in Massachusetts, or (3) meet the exemption criteria.

Per the Third Order regarding Public Access to State Courthouses and Court Facilities (repealing the July 7 Order), effective August 3, the following persons shall not enter or remain in any courthouse: (1) persons not wearing a mask or cloth face covering as set forth in §6. Visitors should go to the courthouse with their own mask or face covering; (2) persons who have tested positive for, or been clinically diagnosed with, COVID-19 within the last 14 days; (3) persons who are currently experiencing, or have experienced within the last three days, symptoms of COVID-19; (4) persons who have been advised to self-quarantine by a doctor or other health care provider or a public health agency within the last 14 days; (5) persons who are required to quarantine under the Governor’s Order Instituting a Mandatory 14 Day Quarantine Requirement for Travelers Arriving in Massachusetts (COVID-19 Order No. 45) or any updates of that order; (6) persons who reside with someone who has tested positive for, or been clinically diagnosed with, COVID-19 within the last 14 days; (7) persons who reside with someone who has tested positive for, or been clinically diagnosed with, COVID-19 within the last 14 days; (8) persons awaiting COVID-19 test results after experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or having been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, and persons who reside with someone who is awaiting such COVID-19 test results; and (8) persons who fail or refuse to engage in the screening process.

Furthermore, all persons seeking entry to a courthouse will be subject to a screening process that may include: (1) answering questions designed to determine whether the person is prohibited from entering a courthouse. Any person whose answer(s) indicate that s/he falls into one of the categories listed above will not be permitted to enter; (2) having their temperature taken. A person with a temperature reading of 100 degrees or higher will not be permitted to enter the courthouse. While in the courthouse, all persons must comply with the following rules. All persons over the age of two are required to wear masks or cloth face coverings that cover their nose and mouth at all times. Visitors should go to the courthouse with their own mask or face covering. All persons must engage in physical distancing, by standing or sitting at least six feet away from other individuals whenever practicable and abiding by markings on floors and benches indicating places to stand or sit. The presiding judge or clerk-magistrate may modify these rules in a courtroom or hearing room during a judicial proceeding as justice requires.

Moreover, all persons are strongly encouraged to engage in frequent hand-washing and/or frequent application of hand sanitizer while in a courthouse. All persons are encouraged to bring their own pen with them to court for completing and signing pleadings and other documents.

The Order regarding Remote Depositions authorizes remote attendance at depositions in civil cases without stipulation or court order. Any deposition taken in a civil case pursuant to Mass. R. Civ. P. 30 and 30A, and pursuant to Court Department rules and standing orders, may be conducted remotely. Neither a stipulation of the parties nor a court order is required. The desire of counsel, a part, or a deponent to appear in person shall not alone be sufficient grounds to quash a notice for a remote deposition or to refuse to make a witness available for a remote deposition. A remote deposition may be conducted by a video-conferencing platform, or by another means agreed to by the parties. An officer or other person before whom the deposition is to be taken is authorized to administer oaths and take testimony without being in the presence of the deponent, so long as the officer or other person before whom the deposition is to be taken can both see and hear the deponent for purposes of positively identifying the deponent. Any person who views or listens to a remote deposition, at any time during the deposition, shall be identified for the record. A remote deposition shall be considered taken in the county and at the place where the deponent is located. Depositions may be conducted by telephone by leave of court or by written stipulation of all parties under Mass. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(7). Where an audio-visual recording of a deposition is conducted pursuant to Mass. R. Civ. P. 30A, although the court reporter may be in a remote location, the operator/videographer must be physically present with the witness unless otherwise agreed to by the parties.

As of July 2, processes have been updated for the Continuation of Alternative Procedures for Landlord/TenantCases, per Amended Order 2020-17.

As of June 21, all courts have advanced to Phase 4.

Per Memoranda dated March 22 and April, the Supreme Court set forth new procedures for Landlord-tenant cases.

Per the Memorandum dated August 7, the Virtual Courtroom Task Force was formed in March 2020 in response to court closures due to the coronavirus pandemic and the spread of COVID-19. The Virtual Courtroom Standards and Guidelines, as recently amended have been posted to the Virtual Courtrooms webpage. Please click the link for more information and documents.

Per the Memorandum dated July 28, Executive Order 2020-158 temporarily suspends the strict requirements of the Michigan Law on Notarial Acts through August 31, 2020, and permits the notarization of documents outside the physical presence of a notary or required witnesses within certain parameters.

Per Order 2020-19, Order 2020-2 is rescinded, with the expectation that courts shall continue to process those cases listed as essential functions in addition to other cases as court return to full capacity under the terms of Order 2020-13. Courts that have progressed to Phase 3 shall begin holding jury trials using trial standards approved by the State Court Administrative Office. Courts that are not yet at Phase 3 may proceed with jury trials upon approval from the State Court Administrative Office. Courts must continue to provide a method or methods for filers to submit pleadings other than by personal appearance at the court. Courts shall continue to expand the use of remote participation technology as much as possible. To enable the greatest participation possible for judicial officers, Order 2012-7 is suspended until further order of the Court.

Per Order 2020-19, the time deadlines in rules regarding post judgment motions filed in the trial court (including motions for appointment of appellate counsel) as well as circuit court appeals and appeals of agency determinations are extended for 76 days, consistent with Order 2020-16.

Per Order 2020-19, Order 2020-13 has generated some confusion. To clarify that the form for collecting information (but not the information itself if it is contained elsewhere in a public portion of the file) is nonpublic, Order 2020-13 is amended as follows: The contact information form used under this administrative order to collect the information shall be confidential.

Per the Memo regarding the CESF Grant, the Michigan State Police (MSP) recently posted a $4.5 million Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) grant for eligible trial courts to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Per the Return to Full Capacity Guide, readiness to enter each phase is dependent on whether gating criteria have been satisfied. In consultation with local health professionals, courts will determine whether criteria involving exposure or symptoms in the court facility, number of community cases, and local health system capacity have been met. Before entering any phase, courts must demonstrate that all of the following criteria have been satisfied. First, no COVID-19 confirmed or suspected cases in the court facility have occurred within a 14-day period; or confirmed or suspected cases have occurred in the court facility, but deep cleaning of exposed areas and applicable employee self-quarantine actions have been taken. Second, there is a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period; or there is a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period (flat or increasing volume of test). Third, there is a rescission of local and state restrictive movement and/or shelter-in-place orders and local and regional health care facilities are able to treat all patients without crisis care. For all phases, courts should still ensure that appropriate policies are in place, direct employees too self-monitor for indicative symptoms, implement policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing, monitor the status of public infrastructure, and work with the regional administrator as the court plans to move into each phase of expanded operations. The courts must continue to practice good hygiene, and people who feel sick should stay home. Each court must utilize screening procedures that identify the presence of COVID-19 symptoms, COVID-19 exposure, and international travel.

The Michigan Supreme Court has the authority to direct trial courts to “adhere to the phased return of operations as determined by policy guidelines established by the State Court Administrative Office” pursuant to 1963 Const., Art VI, Sec. 4.

As courts return to full capacity service, they will pass through phases as they meet certain criteria. At each phase, the court must submit a local administrative order (“LAO”) for approval. The list of LAOs, by county and court, reflects the phase a particular court is at, and allows you to access the court’s LAO by clicking on the LAO number, e.g., 2020-04J.

Trial courts are ordered to limit access to courtrooms and other spaces to no more than 10 persons, including staff, and to practice social distancing and limit court activity to only essential functions, as detailed in the March 18 Order 2020-2.

As detailed in Order 2020-6, the Court authorizes judicial officers to conduct proceedings remotely (whether physically present in the courtroom or elsewhere) using two-way interactive videoconferencing technology or other remote participation tools.

Deadlines for numerous reporting requirements are suspended as detailed in the Memorandum dated April 8, with exceptions for drunk driving reimbursement and jury fees.

Per Order 2020-13, a court may collect contact information, including mobile phone numbers and email addresses, from any party or witness to a case to facilitate scheduling of and participation in remote hearings or to facilitate case processing. A court may collect the information using a SCAO-approved form. An email address for an attorney must be the same address as the one on file with the State Bar of Michigan. This order is effective until further order of the Court. For more information on which forms to use and for assistance with completing the forms, please refer to the Memo re Order 2020-13 – Collections of Contact Information, and Notice of Remote Hearings.

Per the Memorandum dated April 29, courts are allowed to affix their seal to electronic document, including summonses, warrants, and judgments of sentence.

Per the Memorandum dated May 5, friends of the court (FOCs) have requested a list of mandated functions FOC offices perform to ensure they can make plans to address those functions. FOC office have also requested a more concise list of mandated functions they can share with their funding unit to ensure they remain funded. For more information, please see FOC Mandated Duty Checklist and FOC Abbreviated Mandatory Checklist.

Per Order 2020-14, on order of the Court, pursuant to 1963 Const., Art. VI, Sec. 4, courts must adhere to the phased return to operations as determined by policy guidelines established by the State Court Administrative Office. Such policies will include but may not be limited to: continued use and expansion of remote hearings; continued limited access to courtrooms and other spaces; and limited in-person court activity to essential functions that cannot be conducted remotely.

Per Order 2020-16, effective June 8, 2020, Order 2020-4 that tolled the filing deadlines in the Michigan Supreme Court and Court of Appeals is rescinded, and the periods for all filings, jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional, in those Courts shall resume. For time periods that started before 2020-4 took effect, the filers shall have the same number of days to submit their filings on June 8, 2020, as they had when the tolling went into effect. For filings with time periods that did not begin to run because of the tolling period, the filers shall have the full periods for filing beginning on June 8, 2020.

Per Order 2020-18, effective June 20, 2020, Order 2020-3 is rescinded, and the computation of time for those filings shall resume. For time periods that started before Order 2020-3 took effect, the filers shall have the same number of days to submit their filings on June 20, 2020, as they had when the exclusion went into effect on March 23, 2020. For filings with time periods that did not begin to run because of the exclusion period, the filers shall have the full periods for filing beginning on June 20, 2020. Staff Comment – note that although the order regarding computation of days entered on March 23, 2020, it excluded any day that fell during the State of Emergency declared by the Governor related to COVID-19, which order was issued on March 10, 2020. Thus, the practical effect of Order 2020-3 was to enable filers to exclude days beginning March 10, 2020. This timing is consistent with the executive orders entered by the Governor regarding the tolling of statutes of limitation.

Per the Notice dated July 30, as on August 2, the Judiciary will resume 75% on-site court presence in all state court locations. As of September 7, the Judiciary will increase to 100% on-site staff presence in all state court locations.

Per the Notice dated July 16, all state court locations will reopen to the public as of August 2, 2021, thus concluding the temporary restrictions on public access to the courthouses implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of August 2, 2021, individuals may be present in court locations regardless of their involvement in a scheduled court proceeding and without the need for an appointment.

All individuals who enter or occupy court facilities for now must continue to (1) wear face masks; and (2) maintain six feet of social distance when possible. Those requirements remain in effect in Judiciary areas occupied by attorneys, parties, jurors, and other external court users, subject to specific exceptions, including for individuals who require an ADA accommodation. Additional exceptions also apply in courtrooms.

Pursuant to an Order, dated May 11, 2021, the Supreme Court has authorized the resumption of in-person grand jury sessions effective June 15, 2021. Grand juries may resume in person as of that date with appropriate health protocols, including face masks and social distancing. As of August 1, 2021, all counties are to have at least one in-person grand jury panel in place. Based on current limits to on-site presence and in-person court events in court and other locations – specifically the need to maintain social distancing and to preserve court space for in-person criminal jury trials – grand juries also may continue to convene temporarily in a virtual format.

Pursuant to a separate Order, dated May 11, 2021, the Supreme Court has authorized the resumption of in-person criminal jury trials, and some in-person civil jury trials, effective on or after June 15, 2021. Criminal jury trials will be conducted in person and will be the priority, with cases that involve detained defendants continuing to receive the highest priority. Most civil jury trials at present will continue to be conducted in a virtual format.

Pursuant to an Order, dated April 9, 2021, the Judiciary will continue to operate in a blended format-primarily remote with some in-person options until COVID-19 trends support the expansion of on-site presence and in-person court events. For jury selections starting on or after June 15, 2021, counties will continue to use modified summons documents that inform prospective jurors (1) that the jury selection process will begin in a virtual format; and (2) that their service may continue virtually or may involve reporting in person to a courthouse with safety precautions. Jurors who have been summoned to report for service between May 17, 2021 and June 14, 2021 will be assigned to panels for virtual civil jury trials. Jurors summoned to report for service on or after June 15, 2021 may serve virtually or may report in person to a courthouse for hybrid jury trials.

Pursuant to an Order, dated January 7, 2021, for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and until further Order, virtual civil jury trials are authorized during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as set forth in the Order. The Court may modify the protocols for conducting virtual civil jury trials based on updated public health recommendations, including recommended changes in occupancy limits for indoor gatherings. Consent to proceed remotely will be required during Phase 1 (starting in a limited number of vicinages on or after February 1, 2021, as detailed in the Order). Consent to proceed remotely will not be required during Phase 2 (starting statewide on or after April 5, 2021) because of the expected length of the continued dire public health threat posed by COVID-19.

Pursuant to a Notice, dated December 8, 2020, the Supreme Court of New Jersey has reinstated the suspension of requirements for healthcare professionals involved in responding to COVID-19 to appear for depositions or court proceedings, except for appearances and depositions (i) that are requested by the doctor, nurse, or healthcare professional; or (ii) that are for matters related to COVID-19.

Megan’s Law proceedings should be conducted remotely by video or telephone for public safety and notification to the public about sex offenders. Directive 16-20 details guidance for judges to consider when deciding which Megan’s Law proceedings can be handled remotely by video or telephone during this COVID-19 crisis.

By Order dated May 14, 2020, the Supreme Court authorized empaneled grand juries to reconvene in a virtual (video) format, subject to modified protocols. The pilot program will begin in Mercer and Bergen Counties.

On May 5, 2020, the Supreme Court confirmed that the Judiciary Electronic Document Submission (JEDS) system launched in early April is an approved electronic filing system, and that all documents submitted through JEDS are filed upon receipt and deemed electronically signed. Attorneys are required to file in eCourts where eCourts is available, as detailed in the Supreme Court’s May 11 notice.

The Supreme Court issued a May 4 order temporarily allowing attorneys licensed in another United States jurisdiction to provide needed pro bono legal services to individuals and small businesses affected by the public health crisis.

The Supreme Court has approved updated Guidelines on Media Access and Electronic Devices in the Courts, as detailed in the April 28 Notice to the Bar. Directive No. 12-20 implements the Supreme Court’s April 20, 2020 Order and establishes guiding principles for when and how remote court events will be conducted during the COVID-19 crisis.

As of March 25, the provisions of Rule 1:6-4 are relaxed and supplemented so as to eliminate the requirement that, in addition to filing all Civil motion papers, orders to show cause, and orders, attorneys must also simultaneously submit to the judge a copy of all motion papers. The requirement of submitting paper “courtesy copies” of motion papers to the judge is modified so as to suspend the requirement of submitting courtesy copies in Civil matters so long as the total submission (including appendices and attachments) does not exceed 25 pages. Where the submission is more than 25 pages, courtesy copies still must be mailed or delivered to the court and postmarked within two days of the electronic filing.

Per the August 9 message from the Chief Judge, all Unified Court System judges and non-judicial employees who have not been vaccinated must be tested regularly for Covid-19. Judges and court staff who have been vaccinated, and who have enrolled in the program certifying their vaccinated status, will not have to undergo Covid-19 testing. The new protocols will go into effect on Tuesday, September 7th.

As of June 14, the Unified Court System will implement a voluntary Revised Mask Policy Program (“Program”) for fully vaccinated judges and non-judicial personnel in certain areas of our court facilities.

Effective Monday, May 24th, all judges and court staff will be required to physically return to work in their assigned courthouses. As of March 1 and an update on March 8, the state court system is planning to resume some in-person operations, including a limited number of jury trials in courthouses across the state (jury summonses are being mailed out in preparation for jury selection to begin March 22). 

On Monday, August 10th, grand juries resumed hearing cases in New York City. They join the other 57 Counties outside of New York City that began hearing cases on July 13th.

Per the Memo dated June 30, commencing July 6, visitors to any Unified Court System facility will be required to submit to temperature screening and questioning upon entry into the facility and prior to magnetometer and x-ray security screening. The number and location of screening stations shall be determined by the local command. A uniformed officer shall take the visitor’s temperature by infrared thermometer without physical contact to the visitor. The officer will ask whether, within the last 14 days, the visitor (1) has had fever, cough, shortness of breath or any flu-like symptoms; (2) has tested positive for COVID-19 (or been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19); or (3) has returned from travel abroad or from a state covered by Executive Order 205. If the visitor’s registered temperature is less than 100.0ºF, and the visitor answers “no” to the questions, the visitor shall be permitted to proceed to the magnetometer/x-ray machine.

Per the Memo dated June 30, if a visitor’s registered temperature is equal to or greater than 100.0ºF, or the visitor answers “yes” to any of the questions, the visitor shall be asked for the following information for the court’s records: (a) visitor’s full name; (b) case name, index number, and judge; and (c) reason for court visit. The visitor shall not be obligated to provide this information. The visitor shall then be instructed (1) to leave the court facility immediately; (2) if a represented party, to notify her/his attorney of the incident; and (3) if an unrepresented party, to contact the clerk’s office (at a number provided) and seek further instructions. Similar instructions should be provided if the visitor is a witness, attorney, or other necessary participant on a matter on that day’s calendar. Whenever a court visitor registers a temperature of 100.0ºF or higher or answers “yes” to a screening question, uniformed personnel shall maintain a record of the information described above (if voluntarily provided by the visitor), together with a brief description of follow-up events. This daily record shall be filed as a single unusual occurrence report (UOR) at the close of each day. Uniformed personnel shall wear appropriate PPE (face mask, face shield, disposable gloves) when taking temperatures of court visitors; and shall dispose of gloves and perform hand hygiene following the taking of visitors’ temperatures and prior to performing other duties.

Per Administrative Order AO/121/20, effective June 10, in courts and case types approved for electronic filing through NYSCEF, represented parties must commence new matters or proceed in pending matters exclusively by electronic filing through NYSCEF, and must file and serve papers in such matters (other than service of commencement documents) by electronic means through NYSCEF or, where permitted under NYSCEF court rules, by mail. Unrepresented parties must file, serve and be served in such matters by non-electronic means unless they expressly opt in to participate in NYSCEF. To the extent that NYSCEF electronic filing in unavailable in courts or case types in the trial courts, represented parties must commence new matters exclusively by mail, except where otherwise authorized by the Chief Administrative Judge. Following commencement of a new matter, and in pending matters, represented parties must file papers through the Unified Court System’s EDDS or by mail, and must serve papers by electronic means or by mail. Unrepresented parties must file, serve, and be served in such matters by non-electronic means unless they provide written notification to the court and all parties that they wish to file, serve, and be served electronically. This order shall not affect procedures for the filing and service of papers in essential matters. The court shall not request working copies of documents in paper format.

Commencing with the April 2020 Term and until further notice, all calendared matters will be heard on submission or oral argument by appearance through Skype.

In the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the Second Judicial Department, all perfection, filing, and other deadlines set forth in any order of that Court, the Practice Rules of the Appellate Division (22 NYCRR part 1250), the Rules of Practice of that court (22 NYCRR part 670), or Electronic Filing Rules of the Appellate Division (22 NYCRR part 1245), are suspended indefinitely and until further directive. All motions and applications for an extension of time to perfect or file that are pending as of March 17, 2020, are adjourned pending further directive of the Court. All other pending motions are adjourned without date until further directive of the Court.

The New York State Court system has also issued Q&A Guidance for Joining Skype Calls with the Court.

Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.17 directs that anyone “who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance,” effective 8 p.m. on Friday, April 17, 2020. Pursuant to this Order, for the safety of all court users and court personnel, all people who enter courthouses must wear a mask or face covering while inside the courthouse. Persons without such a mask or face covering will not be permitted to enter.

Per Administrative Order AO/87/20, documents filed through the EDDS system shall be served by electronic means. Problem-solving courts may conduct virtual court conferences with counsel, court staff, service providers, and, where practicable, clients. Judges may refer matters for virtual alternative dispute resolution, including to neutrals on court-established panels, community dispute resolution centers, and ADR-dedicated court staff. The court shall not request working copies of documents in paper format.

Per the Supreme Court of the State of New York’s Order in the Matter of the Rescission of Temporary Suspension Order dated May 8, the Court’s March 17 order temporarily suspending perfection, filing and other deadlines set forth by Court order or practice rules is rescinded. The deadlines for the remaining 2020 terms of the Court are reinstated. The deadline for the filing of responding and reply papers that have not yet been filed on motions which were returnable between March 16, 2020 and May 4, 2020, is now May 22, 2020. Furthermore, the parties shall comply with any other filing deadlines set by the Clerk of the Court or her designee, or by order of this Court, in the manner so directed or ordered. Finally, the requirement that hard copy briefs, records, appendices and motions be filed continues to be suspended until further directive of the Supreme Court of New York.

Per Administrative Order AO/98/20, the Unified Court System Program for the consensual/voluntary and mandatory use of electronic means for the filing and service of documents (“e-filing”) is continued and extended as follows – all civil matters in Supreme Court in all counties listed in Exhibit A shall, unless approved for mandatory (or mandatory in part) electronic filing by prior administrative order, henceforth be accepted for consensual/voluntary electronic filing. Mandatory (and mandatory in part) electronic filing shall continue in those counties as authorized in AO/245/19.

Per the Notice – NY’s Surrogate’s Courts’ Action for COVID-Related Cases dated May 15, the following actions are being implemented by the New York County Surrogate’s Court, effective May 18, 2020. The court is addressing all essential matters as well as certain non-essential matters. Most operations are being handled virtually or remotely. All urgent and essential matters, as well as all uncontested matters (in which waivers and consents have been fully executed and for which no citation need be issued), are being accepted for filing. Parties with urgent matters may contact the Chief Clerk’s Office at dsanabri@nycourts.gov or at (917) 509-7218, or they may contact the court attorney-referee to whom the matter has been assigned, if any. Only essential personnel will be in the courthouse. No one should visit the courthouse without first contacting the Chief Clerk’s Office.

Per the Notice dated May 15, until further notice, petitions and other papers must be filed by mail (USPS or any express mail service) or, if authorized by court personnel, by electronic mail at NYSURRFILING@nycourts.gov. Please provide your contact information, including an email address, with your filing. If papers are brought to the courthouse in person after consultation with the Chief Clerk’s Office, they are to be left in a box outside Room 303. Court personnel may contact petitioners or their counsel as needed once filed papers are reviewed. Court attorney-referees may contact the parties in a matter for a conference, which will be conducted virtually.

Per Administrative Order AO/115/20 dated May 28, notwithstanding the terms of any prior administrative order, in the counties and on the dates set forth in Exhibit A, in courts and case types approved for electronic filing through the New York State Courts Electronic Filing System (NYSCEF), represented parties must commence new matters or proceed in pending matters exclusively by electronic filing through NYSCEF, and must file and serve papers in such matters (other than service of commencement documents) by electronic means through NYSCEF or, where permitted under NYSCEF court rules, by mail. Unrepresented parties must file, serve and be served in such matters by non-electronic means unless they expressly opt in to participate in NYSCEF.

Per AO/115/20, to the extent that NYSCEF electronic filing is unavailable in courts or case types in the counties and on the date set forth in Exhibit B, represented parties in pending matters may submit for filing digital copies of (1) motions, crossmotions, responses, replies and applications, (2) notices of appeal and cross appeal, (3) stipulations of discontinuance, stipulations of adjournment, and other stipulations; (4) notes of issue, and (5) such other papers as the Chief Administrative Judge may direct, to courts and clerical officers of the Unified Court System (including County Clerks acting as clerks of court) through EDDS or such other document delivery method as the Chief Administrative Judge shall approve. This order shall not affect procedures for the filing and service of essential matters, and, on the dates that it becomes effective, supersedes administrative orders AO/87/20 (pars. A-C) and AO/114/20.

Per Order Nos. 531 and 532, the general, statewide judicial emergency declared and maintained via the Court’s Orders on March 16, March 18, March 24, April 1, and April 28 shall cease as of June 1, 2020. Those Orders shall expire according to their own terms. Intermediate appellate courts have issued various administrative orders, and nearly all local courts have utilized the procedures specified in Rule of Judicial Administration 1952 and/or this Court’s prior Orders to declare local emergencies. Those order remain in full force and effect. Extant administrative orders issued by the intermediate courts and local emergency orders and directives, including any provisions of these affecting time calculations or deadlines, shall remain in full force and effect until they expire or are rescinded.

For more information, contact your local court or visit their website.

Per the March 19 Order, the April 30, 2020 CLE compliance deadline applicable to Compliance Group 1 is extended to August 31, 2020. All other 2020 annual compliance deadlines remain unchanged and on standard schedule.

The risk posed by the coronavirus has decreased, and in-person trials and hearings, including jury trials and grand jury proceedings, have resumed under guidance issued by the Chief Justice.  Therefore, this Court has determined that many of the provisions in the June 15, 2021, order are no longer necessary, and issued a complete revision of the prior order on August 31.

Per the Order dated July 30 (superseding the Order dated May 26), all persons employed in, conducting business in, or otherwise visiting on present for any reason in county and municipal courthouses statewide are required to wear a protective mask or other facial covering while inside the courthouse, subject to the following provisions: (1) during courtroom proceedings, the judge may require the removal of masks or face coverings for a brief period of time for the fair presentation of the case. In such instances, social distancing should be observed; (2) judges and court reporters may remove their masks while in the courtroom in order to fulfill their duties. In such instances clear face shields should be work if available and social distancing should be observed to the extent practicable; (3) face coverings need not be worn by judges and courthouse personnel while in private work areas where the person is not likely to come within six feet of other staff; (4) persons may be required by judges, courthouse staff, or law enforcement to briefly remove their mask when necessary for identification purposes.

Per Order dated July 30, all persons employed in, conducting business in, or otherwise visiting or present for any reason in county and municipal courthouses statewide shall be screened for fever by courthouse staff using an infrared or temporal thermometer. Anyone who registers a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above shall not be admitted. To ensure that proper social distancing may be maintained, and that there are sufficient supplies for those who must be present in courthouses. Clerks of Court and Chief Judges for Administrative Purposes or presiding judges may limit the number of non-litigants allowed inside courthouses. Any person who refuses to comply with these directives is subject to contempt for violation of this order. This order does not prohibit anyone from wearing other PPE, including but not limited to gloves, in addition to their mask or other facial covering.

Per the Order dated June 15, documents may no longer be delivered to ODC or OCC. Documents may be filed utilizing the U.S. mail, fax, or email. The fax number for ODC is (803) 734-1964. The fax number for OCC is (803) 734-0363. The general email address for ODC is ODCmail@sccourts.org. The general email address for OCC is OCCmail@sccourts.org. A lawyer may sign documents utilizing an electronic form of the lawyer’s signature in accordance with part (f) of the Order. Lawyers may also utilize OneDrive for Business. Where an affidavit is required to be filed or submitted, the requirement of an affidavit may be satisfied by a signed certification of the maker stating, “I certify that the foregoing statements made by me are true. I am aware that if any of the foregoing statements made by me are willfully false, I am subject to punishment by contempt.”

All jury trials in the Supreme Court of South Carolina are postponed, except grand juries, as outlined in the Order regarding County Grand Juries dated May 29. Non-jury trials and other hearings may continue at the trial judge’s discretion, but only attorneys, their clients, and necessary witnesses will be allowed to appear. To the extent possible and circumstances warrant, hearings that can be held by video may be held remotely. Telephonic hearings may be held remotely as a last resort. All oral arguments currently scheduled before the Appellate Courts are cancelled.

Effective April 6, 2020, the Supreme Court, John C. Calhoun and Edgar Brown Buildings, are closed to the public.

Per the Order dated April 22, the appropriate judge responsible for scheduling matters may authorize a non-jury trial to occur if the parties consent, or the matter involved an emergency or other circumstance warranting immediate resolution. If an in-person non-jury trial is conducted, only attorneys, the parties, and necessary witnesses will be allowed to appear. A hearing on a motion or other matter may be conducted using remote communication technology. If, upon reviewing a motion, a judge determines that the motion is without merit, the motion may be denied without waiting for any return or other response from the opposing party or parties.

Per the Order dated April 22, where the order authorizes a hearing, trial, or other matter to be conducted using remote communication technology, any oath necessary during that hearing, trial or other matter may be administered by the same remote communication technology. Notaries who are authorized to administer oaths may administer oaths utilizing remote communication technology in the case of depositions.

Per the Order dated April 22, all deadlines under all existing scheduling orders are hereby stayed, retroactive to March 13, 2020. Forty-five days following the date on which the Governor lifts or rescinds the emergency orders relating to the coronavirus emergency, this stay shall end. The due dates for all trial court filings due on or after the effective date of this order are extended for thirty days. Counsel may agree to further extensions of time without seeking permission from the court, and parties are strongly encouraged to do so upon request. The time extensions, forgiveness of procedural defaults, and extensions by consent provisions do not extend or otherwise affect the time for the serving of a notice of appeal under the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules, or the time to appeal from a lower court to the circuit court.

Per the Order dated April 22, clerks of the trial courts may, at their option, permit documents to be filed by electronic methods such as fax and email. These optional filing methods shall not be used for any document that can be e-filed under the South Carolina Electronic Filing Policies and Guidelines.

Per the Order dated May 1, an attorney may participate in and supervise the closing of a real estate transaction by way of a video conference. Necessary persons to a real estate transaction may, under the direction of the supervising attorney, similarly participate in the real closing by way of a video conference, provided any necessary person so consents. The supervising attorney shall ensure that the attestation of a recordable instrument is accomplished, which may be satisfied by use of real-time audio-visual communication technology, provided the identity of any necessary person is confirmed and a notary attest the signature of any necessary person. The supervising attorney shall consult with any lender(s) and any participating title insurance company to ensure that the real estate closing measures taken are acceptable to the applicable lender) and title insurance company. This Order is effective immediately and remains in effect until August 1, 2020, unless earlier modified or rescinded by order of the court.

Per the Order dated May 12, the Certification of Compliance with the CARES Act in Foreclosures (SCCA 256A) bearing a revision date of May 12, 2020, is approved for use in the Circuit Courts and Master-in-Equity Courts of the State of South Carolina, effective immediately. This revised form replaces the original version issued by the previous Order dated May 6. The form is available at www.sccourts.org/forms.

Per the Order regarding County Grand Juries dated May 29, section (d)(2) of the Operation of the Trial Courts During the Coronavirus Emergency Order dated April 22 is amended. County grand juries may convene in person beginning June 1, as long as grand jurors can be safely distanced and equipped with protective gear, and meeting rooms and courtrooms sanitized. All other provisions of the April 22 Order remain in place unless modified by a subsequent order. Furthermore, the Solicitor of the Attorney General may still present an indictment to the county grand jury using remote communication technology such as video conferencing and teleconferencing when necessary to minimize the risk to the members of the county grand juries, witnesses, lawyers, and court employees. Any necessary oath may be administered using this same remote communication technology.

Per the Order regarding Operation of the Appellate Courts during the Coronavirus Emergency as amended on May 29, for oral arguments that would normally be open to the public, the Supreme Court will either live stream the arguments and/or post a recording to the video portal on the South Carolina Judicial Branch website. As the risk to participants diminishes, the Appellate Courts will return to conducting arguments and hearings in a courtroom, with appropriate limitations on the number of persons permitted to be present.

Per the Order regarding Operation of the Appellate Courts as amended on May 29, until further notice, persons desiring to hand deliver documents to the Supreme Court must utilize a drop box located at the rear doors of the Supreme Court Building. Parties are warned that deliveries sent by private carriers may not be accepted for delivery if it becomes necessary to completely close the Supreme Court building. Documents delivered to the court will be subject to a quarantine period of 48 hours once they are physically received by the court. Rule 262(a)(2) allows for a document to be filed by electronically transmitted facsimile copy so long as a copy is immediately sent by U.S. Mail. While this order remains in effect, the requirement for a copy to be sent by U.S. Mail is suspended. Lawyers who are licensed to practice law in South Carolina may utilize OneDrive for Business to electronically submit documents for filing and are strongly encouraged to do so. During this emergency, filings may be made by e-mail. For the Supreme Court, the e-mail shall be sent to supctfilings@sccourts.org; for the Court of Appeals, the e-mail shall be sent to ctappfilings@sccourts.org. In the event the document requires a filing fee, a check or money order for the fee must be mailed to the Appellate Court within 5 days of the filing. A document transmitted and received by e-mail on or before 11:59:59 p.m. EST shall be considered filed on that day.

Per the Order as amended on May 29, a document filed with the Appellate Courts need not be accompanied by any additional copies. While this order remains in effect, a lawyer or self-represented litigant may sign documents using “s/[typed name of person],” a signature stamp, or a scanned or other electronic version of the person’s signature. The methods that may be used to serve documents on opposing counsel or a party are as follows: (1) service by delivery (discouraged during this emergency); (2) service by mail; (3) service using AIS e-mail address (for a lawyer to serve a document on another lawyer, both of whom are admitted to practice in this state); and (4) service in actions under Rule 245.

Per the Order as amended on May 29, while the order remains in effect, no filing fee will be required for a motion for an extension. The due dates for all Appellate Court filings due during the period of March 20 through June 8 are automatically extended for 20 days. This extension does not extend the time to serve a notice of appeal under rules 203, 243, and 247. The extension is inapplicable to due dates after June 8. In the event a party to a case or other matter pending before an Appellate Court was required to take certain action on or after March 13, but failed to do so, that procedural default was forgiven, and the required action was required to be taken by April 9. If a dismissal order was issued based on this default, the clerk of the Appellate Court shall rescind that dismissal order. This forgiveness does not apply to the failure of a party to timely serve the notice of appeal under Rules 203, 243, and 247. The Court of Appeals may issue an order supplementing this order, but the supplemental order is not effective until approved by the Chief Justice.

On Monday, September 6, 2021, all courts will be closed.

On Thursday, November 11, 2021, all courts will be closed.

On Thursday, November 25, 2021 and Friday, November 26, 2021, all courts will be closed.

Pursuant to Emergency Order 40, subject only to constitutional limitations, all courts in Texas may in any case, civil or criminal without a participant’s consent, except as provided in paragraph 4, modify or suspend any and all deadlines and procedures, whether prescribed by statute, rule, or order, for a stated period ending no later than October 1, 2021. Furthermore, the court may allow or require anyone involved in any hearing, deposition, or other proceeding of any kind to participate remotely, such as by teleconferencing, videoconferencing, or other means.

Emergency Orders 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35, 37, and 39 establish eviction procedures for tenants and landlords under a statewide housing-assistance program intended to avoid evictions for tenants behind on rent.

Emergency Order 14 amends and extends the 10th Emergency Order regarding the collection of consumer debt. Emergency Order 16 is effective upon expiration of Order 14.

Emergency Order 12 clarifies and amends Emergency Orders 1-3, 5, 7-9, and 11.

Superior courts may schedule and hold individual jury trials in criminal proceedings and civil proceedings after January 1, 2021, only with the authorization of the Chief Superior Judge and the Court Administrator. Judges with the discretion to conduct non-evidentiary hearings in nonemergency matters remotely and the Supreme Court may hold oral arguments remotely by telephone in summary and full-Court proceedings. The order further addresses court ordered mediation, email filings, and work location for court staff.

Individuals entering the courthouse must wear cloth masks covering the mouth and nose. The courthouse restricts access to visitors with symptoms, who have been diagnosed with or in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, who have been asked to self-quarantine, or who have recently visited high risk areas.

Chief Justice Rhys S. Hodge signed an administrative order suspending all non-essential Judicial Branch services effective Monday March 23, 2020 and adopting interim procedures for matters before the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands and the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands. The suspension of non-essential services was taken in response to additional guidance issued by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health authorities, as well as the request of Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. to suspend all non-essential services throughout the Government of the Virgin Islands.

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DISCLAIMER:

To keep our clients informed, Paul Hastings created this webpage with information from publicly-available sources regarding COVID-19-related restrictions in U.S. state and federal courts and agencies. The date and time of the last update are indicated above. The description provided for each court is only exemplary. We have endeavored to make this list as comprehensive as possible, but it may not be complete. If you have a matter before a specific court or agency, we recommend that you read the entire linked communication, contact the court or agency directly, and check the provided link to the court’s website for the most up-to-date information.