COVID-19 - Impact on Litigation
March 24, 2020
Coats Rose is dedicated to providing you with up-to-date information to help your business to run smoothly during this critical time. We are closely monitoring COVID-19 legal developments to keep you informed. As developments are occurring at a frequent pace, you may want to access the latest information on court administrative orders directly. We recommend the website for Texas Courts, Louisiana Courts , and this data visualization tool from the National Center for State Courts. As for non-courtroom based litigation events, specifically such as depositions, we will be conducting those remotely by video. We are also conducting mediations and arbitrations using that same remote technology, with great success.
Louisiana Supreme Court
 
As of March 16, 2020, all jury trials, both civil & criminal, scheduled between March 16, 2020-Arpil 13, 2020 are continued to a date no earlier than April 14, 2020.
 
Hearings and court appearances scheduled within the same time frame are continued and are to be set by local Order. Hearings related to the following are exempt and will proceed as scheduled, or will be scheduled as needed: civil protective orders, child in need of care proceedings, emergency child custody matters, proceedings for children removed from their home by emergency court order, proceedings related to emergency interdictions and mental health orders, matters of public health related to this crisis and other emergency matters necessary to protect the health, safety and liberty of individuals as determined by each court.
 
All filings which were or are due to this Court between Thursday, March 12, 2020-Monday, April 13, 2020, shall be considered timely if filed no later than Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Parties who are unable to meet this deadline due to the COVID-19 emergency may submit motions for extensions of time, supported by appropriate documentation and argument.
Eastern District of Louisiana
 
As of March 13, 2020, the Eastern District of Louisiana has suspended all non-case related public gatherings and events in the United States District Court House until further notice. All civil and criminal bench and jury trials scheduled to begin on March 13, 2020-May 1, 2020, have been continued and are to be reset by each presiding judge.
Middle District of Louisiana
 
As of March 13, 2020, all civil and criminal trials (bench and jury) to a date, to be determined by the presiding judge, on or after May 1, 2020. The Middle District of Louisiana has also suspended prescriptive, pre-emptive and statute of limitation deadlines until April 13, 2020.
Western District of Louisiana
 
As of March 13, 2020, all civil and criminal jury trials scheduled to begin on March 13, 2020-May 1, 2020, are continued, to a date to be reset by each presiding judge. Additionally, the Western District of Louisiana has suspended public access to the Clerk Offices in Alexandria, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, and Shreveport. All court filings or correspondence may be time stamped and placed in the drop box.
  Louisiana State Courts
 
All jury trials, both civil and criminal, scheduled to commence in any Louisiana state court between March 16, 2020 and March 27, 2020, are hereby continued to a date to be reset by local order no earlier than March 30, 2020. Civil and criminal jury trials that are in progress as of March 13, 2020 may continue to conclusion, in the discretion of the local court.
 
Except as otherwise provided herein, all civil trials, hearings and court appearances set for any date between March 13, 2020 and March 27, 2020 are hereby continued to a date to be reset by local order, except for hearings related to the following: civil protective orders, child in need of care proceedings, emergency child custody matters, proceedings for children removed from their home by emergency court order, proceedings related to emergency interdictions and mental health orders, matters of public health related to this crisis and other emergency matters necessary to protect the health, safety and liberty of individuals as determined by each court.
 
Criminal initial appearances for adults and juveniles, arraignments for incarcerated individuals and bond hearings shall continue as scheduled and shall be conducted with the use of telephone and video conferencing whenever possible.
 
All judges and court clerks are urged to limit in-person courtroom contact as much as possible by utilizing available technologies, including alternative means of filing, teleconferencing, email and videoconferencing.
 
The Order expressly does not prohibit any court proceedings by telephone, video, teleconferencing, or any other means that do not involve in-person contact. The Order does not affect courts’ consideration of matters that can be resolved without in-person proceedings.
 
Given the public health concerns and the necessity of taking action to slow the spread of the disease, the continuances occasioned by this Order serve the ends of justice and outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial. Therefore, the time periods of such continuance shall be excluded from speedy trial computations pursuant to law, including but not limited to those set forth in the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure and the Louisiana Children’s Code, and presumptively constitute just cause.
Texas Supreme Court Order
 
Subject only to constitutional limitations, all courts in Texas may in any case, civil or criminal—and must to avoid risk to court staff, parties, attorneys, jurors, and the public—without a participant’s consent:
 
a. Modify or suspend any and all deadlines and procedures, whether prescribed by statute, rule, or order, for a stated period ending no later than 30 days after the Governor’s state of disaster has been lifted;
 
b. Allow or require anyone involved in any hearing, deposition, or other proceeding of any kind—including but not limited to a party, attorney, witness, or court reporter, but not including a juror—to participate remotely, such as by teleconferencing, videoconferencing, or other means;
 
c. Consider as evidence sworn statements made out of court or sworn testimony given remotely, out of court, such as by teleconferencing, videoconferencing, or other means;
 
d. Conduct proceedings away from the court’s usual location, but in the county of venue, and only with reasonable notice and access to the participants and the public;
     
e. Require every participant in a proceeding to alert the court if the participant has, or knows of another participant who has, COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms, or a fever, cough or sneezing;
     
f.  Take any other reasonable action to avoid exposing court proceedings to the threat of COVID-19.
 
All courts in Texas may extend the statute of limitations in any civil case for a stated period ending no later than 30 days after the Governor’s state of disaster has been lifted.
 
The Order is effective as of March 13, 2020, and expires May 8, 2020, unless extended by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
 
The following link will direct you to the current closure details for Texas Courts :
CONTACT
Elizabeth Haecker Ryan
504.299.3085
Nancy Hamren
713.653.7362
Rick Reed
210.451.6920
Alan Harlan
972.788.1600
Commercial Litigation
Our litigation attorneys meet the challenges of litigation and mitigate potential future issues. We have handled high-profile, complex litigation matters on behalf of clients ranging from global corporations and start up businesses. We approach commercial litigation as an extension of the client’s business, taking care of matters with the full strength of our firm’s resources. READ MORE
ABOUT COATS ROSE, P.C.
Coats Rose, P.C. is a transactional and litigation law firm focused on development: the development of real estate, affordable housing, special purpose districts, business and private wealth. We provide legal counsel to businesses, governmental entities corporate and high-net worth clients across the U.S. and internationally. For over 30 years, the firm has leveraged its vast legal experience to fulfill clients’ needs spanning real estate law, affordable housing and community development, public finance, construction/surety law, commercial litigation, government relations, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, securities law, tax, wealth transfer planning and wealth preservation planning.
Houston    |    Austin    |    Dallas    |    San Antonio    |    New Orleans    |    Cincinnati
Copyright © 2020 Coats Rose, P.C. All rights reserved.
This communication is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Transmission is not intended to create and receipt does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Legal advice of any nature should be sought from legal counsel.Advertisement Notice. This e-mail may constitute a commercial electronic mail message subject to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. If you do not wish to receive further commercial electronic mail messages from the sender, please UNSUBSCRIBE at the link below.