Virginia Supreme Court Modifies and Extends Order Declaring Judicial Emergency

The Virginia Supreme Court recently modified and extended its previous Order declaring judicial emergency. The Order explicitly provides that this is the controlling Order and is in effect until June 7th. If you practice in Virginia or have a case pending, it is worth a close look. A couple takeaways:

  • No jury trials may be held during this period. Some circuit courts have interpreted this to apply to ALL jury trials (even those scheduled after June 7th).
  • Statutes of limitation will continue to toll during this period.
  • Discovery deadlines will not be extended after May 18th.
  • Arguably, a hearing by video does not require the consent of all parties. (Full consent was explicit in the prior Order, but not this one). Courts are encouraged to increase the use of video conferencing.
  • Starting on May 18th, courts have discretion to hear in-person non-emergency hearings as long as it is safe to do so and the court follows proper protocols.
  • This Order is unanimous, as was the first extension on March 27th. There is no such reference to unanimity regarding the Court’s extension on April 22nd. (Things that make you go, hmmm?).
  • The Order provides interesting statistics regarding the number of cases processed by the courts and the impact of a significant backlog on the pre-existing shortage of deputy clerks.
  • Continuances shall be liberally granted for any cause resulting from the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

If you have any questions about this Order or the impact that it may have on your claim, please contact us at your convenience. Merrick Brock is operating at full capacity!

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