As the COVID-19 crisis continues, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has continued to issue General Orders adjusting its practice rules to accommodate the competing interests of public health safety and the Constitutional rights and other interests of parties in civil and criminal litigation. Among other things, the Court has signaled a move toward broader use of videoconferencing for in-court hearings (though that term is perhaps a misnomer), while attempting to facilitate the continued access to court proceedings to which the public has a right. All of the Court’s general orders may be accessed through the Court’s website here.
The Court issued General Order 2020-12 on Friday, April 10, 2020. The main effect of General Order 2020-12 is to extend the time period for the suspension of all non-critical and non-emergency in-person proceedings through June 10, 2020, unless that date is amended by further order of the Chief Judge. This extends the suspension of such in-person appearances through May 1, 2020, that was set forth in General Order 2020-07. The Court chose the June 10 date because that is the date through which Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s “stay home” order currently lasts.
An important note about General Order 2020-12 that sets it apart from the orders issued by some other state courts is that it expressly does not extend filing deadlines beyond the 14-day extension provided in General Orders 2020-03 and 2020-07. In General Order 2020-12, the court notes that any further extensions will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the presiding judge in each case. The order encourages parties to continue to file submissions as needed, and notes that the court will resolve motions without hearings where it is possible to do so.
David Deitch leads the White Collar Defense and Corporate Compliance practice at Berenzweig Leonard. David is an experienced white collar trial lawyer who has tried more than 100 jury trials to verdict in federal and state courts around the nation. He can be reached at [email protected]