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How will the coronavirus pandemic affect Your Court Case?
9 days ago
If you have a court case scheduled in the next few weeks, you are probably wondering how the coronavirus pandemic is going to affect your hearing. The short answer is that it depends on whether you have a hearing in state court or federal court. Here is what we know so far:
The Minnesota Supreme Court issued an order about court operations during the coronavirus pandemic. You can read the order for yourselves, but it basically says that trials already in progress where a jury is already empaneled will continue until conclusion. However, no new jury trials – for cases not classified as super high priority or high priority – will be scheduled for the next 30 days.
The state courts have classified cases into four different priority levels: super high priority, high priority, medium priority, and low priority. Super high priority and high priority cases are those that implicate a liberty interest , a public safety interest, or the protection of a constitutional right.
Here is the summary of the temporary procedures in place for processing cases from the court website:
All court facilities shall remain open. Service windows at court facilities will also remain open, and courts will continue to accept filings in all case types.
The Judicial Branch discourages the public from making any non-essential visits to court facilities
All jury trials currently underway should continue until the trial is complete, regardless of case type.
For case types designated “High Priority” or “Super High Priority” in the
Limited Court Service Case Priorities List
, all court proceedings should continue as normal. Courts will schedule new jury trials as needed in those case types. Wherever possible, courts should explore the use of ITV/remote technology to conduct these hearings. The order also eases restrictions on the use of these technologies currently in Court Rules.
For case types designated “Medium Priority” or “Low Priority” in
the Limited Court Service Case Priorities List
, all court proceedings (except jury trials currently underway, or cases where a speedy trial has been demanded) will be suspended for 14 days. No new jury trials in these case types should be scheduled for the next 30 days.
If your case is classified as medium or low priority, you can almost count on having your hearing rescheduled. As of today's date, I have had to medium priority hearings canceled, and there is an advisory on the court website to call the courthouse where your hearing is to see if your hearing has been canceled or rescheduled. That is a good idea, and probably the best advice: if you have a hearing coming up in the next few weeks, you should call the courthouse to see if your hearing is still on.
You can download the actual documents here:
However, that order applies to state courts, and the federal judiciary is covered by a different system. I recommend that you check the federal district court website at
or the bankruptcy court website at
for more information during this time.
I spoke with the the court administrator in Dakota County, and found out that hearings classified as medium or low priority will be
for a hearing at the end of the month, if the Minnesota Supreme Court does not extend the moratorium. Depending on the kind of case you have, I expect that your hearing will be scheduled in mid April
at the earliest
However, that said, you are better off filing a case that has medium or low priority now, so that your hearing will be scheduled sooner. In other words, by filing now, you ensure that your case will be one of the first one scheduled, and not at the end of the line – at least as far as scheduling goes.
The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation. Tim is licensed to practice law only in Minnesota, and the information contained in this blog post may not apply to jurisdictions outside of Minnesota. Further, reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog. To that end, please call (763) 290-0445 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.
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