Mar. 17 2020

Supreme Court Issues Fifth Order Modifying and Extending Declaration of Judicial Emergency

This Order shall be in effect from June 8, 2020, through June 28, 2020.

  1. As provided in the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Clarification Orders, for all cases in district and circuit courts the statutes of limitation and, except as otherwise provided in this Order, all other case-related deadlines, excluding discovery deadlines, shall continue to be tolled during the ongoing Period of Judicial Emergency (currently March 16, 2020, through June 28, 2020) pursuant to Va. Code § 17.1-330. Consistent with this Court’s Fourth Order, in all civil cases, including jury trial cases that are currently suspended, deadlines and obligations arising out of Part Four of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia are not tolled and, upon notice to the parties or their counsel, courts may impose and enforce case related pre-trial deadlines. Litigants are encouraged to resolve as many pretrial matters as possible with or without the assistance of the courts.
  2. Courts should continue to conduct as much business as possible by means other than in-person court proceedings. In all civil and criminal matters, courts are encouraged to continue and even increase the use of video conferencing, teleconferencing, email, or other means that do not involve in-person contact. These methods are preferred over in-person court proceedings.
  3. Notwithstanding the ongoing preference for conducting hearings by video conferencing or telephone, all courts may hear in-person non-emergency matters and non-jury cases if they determine it is safe to do so, and provided they comply with the guidance for transitioning from emergency to routine operations provided by the Office of the Executive Secretary in order to minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19 from in-person court proceedings. Whether criminal or civil, whether the case is one that is handled in person or by video or telephone, it is not necessary for a party to obtain the agreement of any other party to bring a pre-trial motion before the court or set a non-jury trial. The parties are not relieved of notice requirements or other duties under pre-trial orders and compliance with applicable rules and statutes.
  4. All courts and security personnel shall take reasonable measures to prohibit individuals from entering the courthouse if they have, within the previous 14 days: traveled internationally; been directed to quarantine, isolate, or self-monitor; been diagnosed with, or have had contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with, COVID-19; experienced a fever, cough, or shortness of breath; or resided with or been in close contact with any person in the above-mentioned categories.
  5. In order to further minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19 in addition to recommended social and physical distancing, all persons aged 10 or over entering the courthouse must wear a face covering that covers the nose and mouth.
  6. It is ORDERED that, without exception and without regard to when any scheduling order was entered, all civil and criminal jury trials are suspended and shall be continued, and no jury trials shall occur in the Commonwealth for the duration of this order. Notwithstanding this suspension, upon notice to the parties or their counsel, courts may impose discovery deadlines, and other pre-trial deadlines in jury trial cases that are currently suspended. All jury trials scheduled for a date after June 28, 2020, are subject to a further period of suspension if the Declaration of Judicial Emergency is extended for additional periods as provided in Va. Code § 17.1-330(E).

The 6-1-20 Order is located here.

The 5-6-20 Order is located here.

The 4-22-20 Order is located here.

The 3-27-20 Order is located here.

The 3-16-20 Order is located here.

Appellate and local court information is located here.

Questions? Contact one of MGC’s litigation attorneys.

This legal update is published as a service to our clients and friends. It is intended to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice regarding any specific situation. Past success does not indicate likelihood of success in any future legal representation.