Impact of COVID-19 on the United States Court System

Thousands of new coronavirus cases are being identified across the United States each day. Since March, America has seen hundreds of thousands of people testing positive, resulting in thousands of deaths, to date.

In response to public health guidance related to COVID-19 (coronavirus), many U.S. courts (state and federal) have been forced to adjust their operations.  Changes to court operations are being made on a rolling basis, with changes being made day to day, on a state by state basis, with different guidelines on a court by court basis within some states. Modifications that have been made by courts include closing courthouses, restricting courthouse access, adjourning trials, tolling deadlines and encouraging teleconference or videoconferencing of oral arguments.

Please also see Goldberg Segalla’s Coronavirus resource page for a more global picture which includes links for each state directing you to the most up-to-date information at any given time regarding general court operations, including Court Orders and communications issued to the public.

With regard to asbestos litigation, in particular, here at Asbestos Case Tracker we realize that the asbestos courts across America are developing their own protocols and procedures for handling this litigation, and often those policies and procedures vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, in NYCAL, per Administrative Order 78/20 from Chief Administrative Judge Marks, only essential filings as enumerated in his order can be filed.  Summons and complaints in NYCAL cases are not one of them.  As per Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.8, the statute of limitations on all actions has been stayed.  Discovery is still progressing, with depositions being conducted via telephone and video conference and trial readiness conferences before the Special Master being conducted via telephone. Likewise, in upstate NY, conferences with the Court and depositions are being conducted via telephone.

While we have tried to capture the most recent information, it is recommended that you check the links for your jurisdiction(s) daily to obtain the most up-to-date information.