COVID-19 And The Law
COVID AND THE COURTS
We all know that so much has changed over the last month. The impact of the Covid-19 has affected every part of our lives. This change has also affected the way our area courts are operating. As with every other business, most of the courts are closed; however there are some limited exceptions, as the courts are mandated to maintain a docket for certain cases. In Cuyahoga County and Lakewood, updated information can be found on their websites. Each court has issued its own directives, and each continues to maintain a strong online presence. An outline of some of the important directives are as follows:
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court:
By Order dated March 16, 2020, the Common Pleas Court, through its Presiding Judge Brendan Sheehan, adopted the March 9, 2020 Executive Order from Governor DeWine “Declaring a State of Emergency”. Based on the governor’s order, the Court created a set of rules by which the court would be operating. Judge Sheehan outlined that the court would be “Open with Restrictions,” meaning that the Court would implement a reduced docket and only operate with essential personnel. For the time being, the focus would be on cases involving incarcerated individuals and emergency matters before the Court.
The Order suspended all civil and criminal jury trials, and also suspended all in-person civil proceedings, continued all foreclosure proceedings, sheriff sales, and the Cleveland Municipal Housing Court has continued all eviction proceedings and execution of writs of possession (no move-outs will be enforced).
By Order dated March 31, 2020, the above orders and the suspension of most cases were continued until at least May 8, 2020.
In short, this means that the Common Pleas Court is not closed, but its docket is very limited. Attorneys and litigants are encouraged to conduct court business by telephone and/or audio-visual equipment. Of course, filings can still be made via fax or regular mail.
If you have any questions about your particular case, civil or criminal, you would be best advised to contact your attorney for guidance.
Lakewood Municipal Court:
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: April 8, 2020
In Lakewood Judge Carroll has issued a directive modifying operations as well. The court will only be open from 8 a.m. until 12 noon from 3/23 through 5/3.. Any civil, criminal , and/or traffic case can be continued with the filing of a Motion to Continue with the court. The Judge advised litigants to contact their attorney for any additional help or information. If you do not have an attorney, the Court will accept a written Motion for Continuance from you, and will work to accommodate any requests necessary on your matter.
The Court noted that all Civil cases, including eviction proceedings, will be continued until after June 1, 2020.
In addition to the updated court schedule, Judge Carroll outlined the precautions that all members of the public should take. As with the state and federal guidelines, residents need to exercise caution when entering the Lakewood court. This includes following all health guidelines, but informing court personnel if you have any Covid symptoms or have come in contact with someone who has virus related symptoms.
Hopefully this information will help as we continue in the foreseeable future with our shelter at home rules, and also deal with current legal issues or cases.
Publisher, Lakewood Observer, Inc.