The civil courts closed from about March 16th to mid-June. The courthouses closed, and the courts did not permit the filing of new lawsuits.
Although the courts are technically open as of mid-June, in reality, they are operating at one tenth capacity. There are no court conferences or other appearances in court. Some court conferences are being conducted by Skype with the judge and attorneys’ video-conferencing the case from their separate locations. As for jury trials, they are out of the question. Some estimate that 2021 is the earliest date to expect jury trials to resume.
Statutory hearings (pre-lawsuit) as well as examinations before trial are being done remotely by either Skype or Zoom. We must pick and choose whether the client should appear for a remote deposition. We have done so with some clients, and we have decided to wait for other clients who would be better served by an in-person deposition. Of course, both sides must agree to a remote video hearing or deposition.
As a result of the courts shutting-down, all cases in the courts are backed-up. The courts are trying to catch-up and get back to date.
Many of our clients have asked when the courts will get back to speed again? We cannot estimate. We cannot get our clients’ cases pushed ahead of the others. Everyone is in the same boat, waiting, waiting, and hoping. We assure our clients that we are closely monitoring the situation in the courthouse.
On the positive side, lawsuit statutes of limitations have been tolled. As of this writing, the statute of limitations is tolled to September 4, 2020. That means that if you had a statute of limitations deadline from about mid-March to September 4th, you have extra time to file a lawsuit.
Also, on the positive side, as for new accidents and claims, both we and the insurance companies have been up and running. New cases are being processed quickly. Cases are being mediated and settled. This is all being done outside of the court system.
If you have any questions as to the status of your case, please call us. Again, we reassure you that everything is being done to push your case.