Houser LLP is monitoring the developments of COVID-19 to prepare for and handle any issues that impact our clients, firm, colleagues, and families. We have implemented a team of attorneys and legal staff to keep our firm and clients well informed.
Our firm is taking every precaution to flatten the curve and limit the spread of the virus by remote work from home for attorneys and support staff, while remaining fully operational for our clients.
We are ready to advise clients on how to best approach issues raised by this public health crisis. We will provide updates in real time to address COVID-19 related issues.
This website includes information as it develops at the Federal, State and Local levels across the Country with a focus on the States home to Houser LLP’s employees and offices.
Updated: June 30, 2020
Share of Mortgage Loans in Forbearance Decreases Slightly to 8.47%
The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey revealed that the total number of loans now in forbearance decreased by 1 basis point from 8.48% of servicers’ portfolio volume in the prior week to 8.47% as of June 21, 2020. According to MBA’s estimate, 4.2 million homeowners are in forbearance plans.
The share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans in forbearance dropped for the third week in a row to 6.26% – a 5-basis-point improvement. The forbearance share for portfolio loans and private-label securities (PLS) increased by 8 basis points to 10.07%. Ginnie Mae loans in forbearance remained unchanged at a share of 11.83%. The percentage of loans in forbearance for depository servicers dropped for the second week in a row to 9.09%, while the percentage of loans in forbearance for independent mortgage bank (IMB) servicers increased to 8.42%.
See the full article here: https://www.mba.org
Updated: June 23, 2020
CFPB Issues Interim Final Rule on Loss Mitigation Options for Homeowners Recovering from Pandemic-Related Financial Hardships
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) issued today an interim final rule (IFR) that will make it easier for consumers to transition out of financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and easier for mortgage servicers to assist those consumers.
The CARES Act provides forbearance relief for consumers with federally-backed mortgage loans. The mortgage industry has developed different options for borrowers to repay the payments that were forborne under the CARES Act. For example, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may permit some borrowers to defer repayment of the forborne amounts until the end of the mortgage loan. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has a similar program. These programs require the servicer to collect only minimal information from the borrower before offering the option. For full details see: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/cfpb-issues-interim-final-rule-loss-mitigation-options-pandemic-related-financial-hardships/
Updated: June 17, 2020
Moratorium on Foreclosures and Evictions are Further Extended
All FHA loans, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are further suspending foreclosure activities including sales and evictions through August 31, 2020. See the link here: https://dsnews.com/daily-dose/06-17-2020/fhfa-extends-foreclosure-and-eviction-moratorium
STATE NEWS (impacting Houser LLP jurisdictions)
Updated: July 2, 2020
- State of Emergency Declared: https://azgovernor.gov/sites/default/files/declaraton_0.pdf
- There has been no impact on the operation of the courts, and attorneys as they are deemed “essential services” so it does not prevent attorneys from continuing to practice.
- Courts remain open, but the Arizona Supreme Court issued an administrative order directing courts to “conduct business in a manner that reduces the risk associated with this public health emergency.” The Order then specifies eleven specific examples, including ordering that empaneling of petit juries scheduled for March 18, 2020 through April 17, 2020 be rescheduled, using video conferencing/teleconferencing “as much as possible,” amongst other guidelines.
- Maricopa County Superior Court has suspended Jury Trials through July 31, 2020.
- The moratorium on jury trials in the Flagstaff Courthouse has been extended until further notice.
- The Arizona Court of Appeals issued an order that all oral arguments will be conducted telephonically.
- Courts in specific counties and municipalities have issued various orders limiting services and operations, and permitted remote appearances. The universal theme is to promote telephonic appearances and reschedule hearings/appearances when possible.
- All non-case related activities in the federal courts have been canceled until further notice.
- General Order 20-6 was signed and entered on April 21, 2020 in regards to Amended Bankruptcy Rule 1020 and can be found here: http://www.azb.uscourts.gov/news/general-order-20-6-entered-regarding-amended-interim-bankruptcy-rule-1020
Updated: June 30, 2020
- State of Emergency Declared: https://www.gov.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/3.4.20-Coronavirus-SOE-Proclamation.pdf
- All Intake areas of the United States Bankruptcy Court will be open to accept in-person filings as of June 30, 2020. See link https://www.cacb.uscourts.gov/sites/cacb/files/documents/general-orders/GO%2020-04.pdf for further details.
- California Bankruptcy Courts have implemented new e-filing events for filing notices of mortgage forbearance under the CARES Act. Parties may electronically file notices of mortgage forbearance for any existing claims or hearings.
- Federal Central District civil and bankruptcy matters will be heard electronically through telephonic or videoconferencing systems. All civil jury trials are suspended indefinitely.
- Federal Eastern District and Eastern District Bankruptcy Courts are closed to the public indefinitely. All civil matters will be decided on the papers. Any necessary hearings will be heard telephonically.
- Northern Federal District and Northern District Bankruptcy Courts through September 30, 2020 are closed to the public. All civil matters scheduled through September 30, 2020 will be decided on the papers. Any necessary hearings will be heard telephonically. All jury trial dates currently scheduled through September 30, 2020 are vacated. Judges are permitted to conduct bench trials via videoconference.
- Federal Southern District and Southern District Bankruptcy Courts will remain open. Individual judges are granted discretion to conduct hearings and are encouraged to conduct hearings telephonically.
- In Los Angeles County State Courts only essential personnel are permitted in courthouses through June 22, 2020. All unlawful detainer matters continued indefinitely without determination.
- Orange County State Courts are open for limited matters, attorneys, judicial officers, and invited members of the public. All civil matters and trials are suspended through June 15, 2020 and will be re-noticed by the court. All civil matters will be heard electronically through telephonic or videoconferencing systems indefinitely.
- Parties in the Federal Southern District are excused from making personal appearances in court for civil hearings unless ordered to appear. Individual judges retain discretion to conduct hearings telephonically or continue hearings.
- In response to the Region 15 United States Trustee’s (“UST’s”) Notice RE: Section 341 Meeting of Creditors continuing all § 341 meetings, and the UST’s request that certain deadlines contained in the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (“Rules”) and 11 U.S.C. § 1308 be temporarily extended to accommodate logistical challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Administrative Order 20-3 can be found here.
- The guidelines previously issued have been amended to reflect changing conditions as the court gains experience with mandatory telephonic hearings. The amended guidelines can be found here.
- California has reached an agreement with Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, and nearly 200 state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers to address financial hardships incurred as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. California residential homeowners may be eligible for:
- 90-day mortgage forbearance;
- 90-day waiver of late fees and other fees;
- 60-day moratorium on foreclosures and evictions; and
- Relief from derogatory credit reporting.
- Additional information is available at:
- California’s Governor “requested” that all “financial institutions” voluntarily hold off on foreclosing or evicting those impacted by the COVID-19 threat. The request appears to only apply “when the foreclosure or foreclosure-related eviction arises out of a substantial decrease in household or business income or substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses, which were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or by any local state or federal government response to COVID-19.” https://wclp.org/joint-statement-on-governor-newsoms-march-16th-executive-order-regarding-covid-19-and-housing/
- There are 58 counties in California State Courts. Please refer to the following link for the dates and restrictions on each county or please contact our COVID-19 team. https://newsroom.courts.ca.gov/news/court-emergency-orders-6794321
- California Supreme Court and Appellate Courts have indefinitely suspended all in-person oral arguments. All oral arguments will be conducted via telephonic or videoconference. All electronic filings are permitted.
- Courts may not issue summons, enter default, or set trial for unlawful detainer actions unless it is necessary to protect public health and safety until 90-days after the Governor has lifted the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- All judicial foreclosure actions, including any action for a deficiency judgment, are stayed unless it is necessary to protect public health and safety until 90-days after the Governor has lifted the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- California Appellate Courts have extended the deadline 30-days for any action whose deadline falls within the following time periods:
- 1st District – 3/18/2020 through 5/18/2020
- 2nd District – 3/20/2020 through 5/18/2020
- 3rd District – 3/20/2020 through 5/18/2020
- 4th District – 3/19/2020 through 5/18/2020
- 5th District – 3/23/2020 through 5/18/2020
- 6th District – 3/18/2020 through 5/18/2020
Updated: June 4, 2020
- State of Emergency Declared: https://portal.ct.gov/Office-of-the-Governor/News/Press-Releases/2020/03-2020/Governor-Lamont-Submits-Request-for-Presidential-Major-Disaster-Declaration
- All Law Days are rescheduled from June 6, 2020 to July 7, 2020.
- Foreclosure sales cancelled through July 18, 2020
- Appellate and Supreme Court: Appellant briefs can be electronically filed but paper filings are suspended.
- Federal Courts: All in person appearances between now and June 15, 2020 are continued.
- All Jury trials scheduled between now and end of June 2020 are continued.
- Parties are permitted to electronically file documents.
Updated: June 30, 2020
- State of Emergency Declared: https://archives.lib.state.ma.us/bitstream/handle/2452/824410/ocn456714827-2019-eo591.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
- Beginning May 26, 2020 (June 1st for Boston), offices may reopen with restrictions. Specifically, offices should restrict workforce presence to <25% maximum occupancy.
- The Supreme Judicial Court’s (SJC) has issued its Third Updated Order Regarding Court Operations Under The Exigent Circumstances Created By The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic (July 1 Order), which, effective July 1, 2020, will repeal and replace the Second Updated Order Regarding Court Operations Under The Exigent Circumstances Created By The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic, which became effective June 1, 2020 (June 1 Order). Per the order:
- Massachusetts state courthouses will physically reopen to the public on July 13. Persons seeking to enter will be subject to screening to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and entry will be limited to persons (1) attending in-person proceedings, (2) conducting business with a clerk’s, register’s, or recorder’s office, (3) meeting with probation, or (4) conducting business at other offices that are open to the public in the courthouse
- Courts will continue to conduct most business virtually. Until at least September, courts will continue to address most emergency and non-emergency matters virtually (i.e., by telephone, videoconference, email, or comparable means, or through the electronic filing system), in both civil and criminal cases.
- Until July 13, 2020, courts shall continue to address emergency and non-emergency matters virtually and in-person proceedings shall be conducted only where entry to a courthouse is required to address emergency matters that cannot be handled virtually because a virtual proceeding is not practicable or would be inconsistent with the protection of constitutional rights. Trial Court departments shall thereafter begin, in two initial phases, to conduct in-person proceedings in emergency and non-emergency matters that either can be handled more effectively or efficiently in person, or cannot be handled virtually because a virtual proceeding is not practicable or would be inconsistent with the protection of constitutional rights.
- The first phase of additional in-person proceedings will begin on July 13, 2020, and in-person proceedings will be further expanded in a second phase beginning on August 10, 2020.
- Until July 13, clerks’, registers’, and recorder’s offices will continue to conduct business virtually, except when filing in an emergency matter cannot be accomplished virtually. Beginning on July 13, all of these offices will physically reopen to the public, while still endeavoring to conduct business virtually as much as possible. Drop-boxes may be provided at courthouses for the hand-delivery of pleadings or other documents for filing.
- There will continue to be no criminal or civil jury trials until at least September 8.
- Civil bench trials are generally continued until a date no earlier than July 13, unless the trial judge determines that the trial can be conducted virtually before that date. There will be no further general continuance beyond July 13 and judges will begin to schedule civil bench trials. Civil bench trials may be conducted virtually in the discretion of the trial judge.
- Unless otherwise ordered by the judge presiding over the case, all deadlines established by a court in a particular case prior to March 17, 2020, that expired at any time from March 17, 2020, through June 30, 2020, were tolled until July 1, 2020. No further tolling is anticipated.
- Unless otherwise ordered by the applicable court, all orders in a particular case that were issued prior to March 17, 2020, after an adversarial hearing (or the opportunity for an adversarial hearing), that enjoined or otherwise restrained or prohibited a party from taking some act or engaging in some conduct until a date at any time from March 17, 2020, through August 31, 2020, shall remain in effect until the matter is rescheduled and heard. To the extent they are not already doing so, Trial Court departments shall reschedule and hear these matters. If such an order issued on or after March 17, it may issue for the full period allowed by the applicable statute.
- On April 20, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed H.4647 (the “Massachusetts Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium Act” or the “Act”) into law.
- The Massachusetts Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium Act establishes a temporary moratorium on all but “emergency” evictions and foreclosures in response to Governor Baker’s Executive Order Number 591 issued on March 10, 2020.
- The Act’s moratorium extends for 120 days after April 20, 2020, the date the Governor signed the Bill, or forty-five (45) days after the emergency order is terminated, whichever is sooner. The Governor may extend the moratorium, but each extension may be no longer than ninety (90) days and the moratorium may not extend later than forty-five (45) days after the emergency order is terminated.
- The Act limits the moratorium to “non-essential evictions” of residential and certain small business tenants. The moratorium prohibits evictions of residential tenants and tenants in a “small business premises unit” due to (i) failure to pay rent, (ii) foreclosure, or (iii) causes that are not “emergency causes of action,” defined as any eviction that involves allegations of criminal activity or lease violations that are detrimental to the health and safety of other residents, health care workers, emergency personnel, anyone who is lawfully on the property, or the general public.
- During the moratorium, for non-essential evictions, landlords and owners may not terminate a residential tenancy, or send a residential tenant a notice to quit or any other notice requesting or demanding that the tenant vacate the premises.
- The Act’s moratorium also applies to non-essential evictions of residential and small business premises units in all Massachusetts courts with jurisdiction over summary process actions under M.G.L. chapter 239. Except for emergency evictions, courts may not (i) accept a writ, summons, or complaint, (ii) enter a judgment, default judgment, or execution for possession, (iii) issue an execution for possession, (iv) deny a tenant’s request for a stay of execution or continuance of a summary process case, or (v) schedule any court event, including a summary process trial. All deadlines and time periods related to any non-essential eviction of a residential or small business premises unit summary process action (e.g. date to answer a complaint, appeal a judgment, etc.) are tolled during the moratorium. Indeed, no sheriff, constable or any other person may enforce a non-essential eviction of a residential or small business premises unit during the moratorium.
- The Act’s moratorium also prevents lenders, creditors, and mortgagors of residential property from (i) publishing a foreclosure sale, (ii) exercising a power of sale or right of entry, (iii) initiating any foreclosure procedures, or (iv) filing a complaint to determine a mortgagor’s military status.
- Residential borrowers who submit a request to their lender during the moratorium stating that they experienced “financial impact from COVID-19” will be granted a reprieve from all fees, penalties, and interest beyond their scheduled and contractual payments for up to 180 days.
- The Act does not cover borrowers or lenders of any commercial property.
- Lenders may not report negative mortgage payment information to a consumer reporting agency.
- The Act’s moratorium also allows for mortgage counseling by video conference, rather than in person, during the moratorium.
- As with rent payments and collections, the Act explicitly states that no borrower is relieved of its obligation to pay its mortgage, and no creditor or mortgagee is restricted from ultimately recovering mortgage payments.
- In a summary process case that was filed for “cause” prior to the effective date of the Moratorium Legislation, a plaintiff(s) may (a) seek to advance the case for trial; or (b) seek post-judgment relief, where a trial has been held or after an agreement for judgment had been filed, provided that the plaintiff (1) files in the respective case an appropriate motion; and (2) files an “Affidavit for Cause,” as identified in paragraph three (3). The court shall schedule a trial or motion hearing on the merits if the court is satisfied, based upon the judge’s review of the motion and affidavit without hearing, that there is a likelihood that at the trial or motion hearing the plaintiff will be able to establish that the conduct or behavior giving rise to the original filing of the “cause” summary process action is ongoing and falls within the type of case allowed to be heard or acted upon under the Moratorium Legislation.
- During the time that this Order is in effect, the Land Court will not process non-emergency or routine Servicemembers case filings, whether submitted on paper or by eFiling through the eFilema.com website. This measure, which applies to future Servicemembers case filings as well as to any filings that already have been submitted to the court, is due to the limited Land Court personnel present at the courthouse available for processing Land Court business, and is consistent with the emergency moratorium enacted by the legislature, see Chapter 65 of the Acts of 2020.
- The Land Court Title Examination Department will continue to process remotely emergency or urgent requests regarding Subsequent to Registration (SBQ) cases and Condominium document approvals. All other non-emergency registered land matters remain suspended until further notice of the court.
Updated: June 4, 2020
- State of Emergency Declared: https://www.leg.state.mn.us/archive/execorders/20-01.pdf
- Federals courts in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth and Fergus Falls will remain open.
- All civil jury trials are continued through July 5, 2020.
- All civil hearings that can’t be conducted using video or telephone conference are continued through July 5, 2020.
- Requirement for personal service under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(c)(3) or 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1915(d) is suspended from March 23, 2020 through July 5, 2020.
- The Clerk’s office, the Probation and Pretrial Services Office, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and all other court services will remain open pending further order of the court.
- Minnesota District Court closed the window to the public, but they are accepting electronic filings (and paper filings in a locked drop box in St. Paul). They have also centralized mail at the Minneapolis courthouse.
- Check www.mnd.uscourts.gov for the latest news.
Updated: June 16, 2020
- State of Emergency Declared: http://gov.nv.gov/News/Press/2020/Governor_Sisolak_Declares_State_of_Emergency_in_Response_to_COVID-19
- State in Phase 2 of COVID-19 reopening.
- Essential businesses and most non-essential businesses are reopen with protocol limitations, with updated restrictions as to large groups and public gathering events/businesses.
- Courts are operational with necessary hearings and matters conducted with protocol limitations. Federal and state courts are conducting most hearings, settlement conferences, mediations etc. remotely. State court hearings are also subject to continuance or may be decided on the papers. Depositions are to follow protocol limitations or may be conducted virtually subject to continuances. Trials at this time are subject to a hybrid of the above and on a case by case basis. Court e-filing remains the primary method with limited in-person filings.
- Moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures continue based on federal GSE mandates, other for PLS per individual client, and government/court limitations.
Updated: July 2, 2020
- State of Emergency Declared: https://www.governor.state.nm.us/2020/03/11/updated-governor-department-of-health-announce-first-positive-covid-19-cases-in-new-mexico/
- Most New Mexico courts will remain open, but have implemented protocols to take to curtail exposure to COVID-19.
- On May 28, 2020 the state Supreme Court issued an order permitting jury trials between June 15, 2020 and July 15, 2020 in each judicial district pursuant to individualized plans submitted by the chief judge in each district.
- The Supreme Court’s order will add 30 days to the payment deadline imposed by a magistrate, metropolitan, district or municipal court for fines and fees that must be paid between March 19 and May 29, 2020. The extension does not apply to amounts past due. People with questions about their payment deadline should contact the court that imposed the penalties.
- On June 16, 2020, the Supreme Court issued an order requiring plea and settlement agreements no later than five days before the selection of a jury or the start of a non-jury trial before a judge in a criminal or civil case.
- The public can find information about court operations and coronavirus precautionary measures on the website of the New Mexico judicial branch of government (nmcourts.gov) and on websites of each of the state’s 13 district courts.
Updated: July 2, 2020
- State of Emergency Declared: https://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-103.pdf
- As of June 22, 2020, some in-person court services have resumed with only a small number of judges and court staff on-site.
- Pending motions subject to telephonic conferencing/ video conferencing.
- Filings still accepted online.
- Nonjury proceedings will be staggered to prevent large crowds.
- As of June 5, 2020 and until further notice, there are no in-person Superior Court proceedings (except for extremely limited emergent matters and certain ongoing trials). As many matters as possible (including case management conferences, motions, and hearings) will be handled by telephone or video conference. See https://njcourts.gov/.
- Federal courts – Still conducting jury trials for those pending, but no new trials before August 31, 2020.
- 45 day extension on all filing and discovery deadlines.
- Scheduled conferences controlled by the presiding judge.
- See njb.uscourts.gov for further information on Bankruptcy Courts.
Updated: June 24, 2020
- State of Emergency Declared: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-202-declaring-disaster-emergency-state-new-york
- Starting June 10, 2020, state courts in New York City begin in-person courthouse operations. See https://www.nycourts.gov/LegacyPDFS/press/pdfs/PR20_23.pdf for more information.
- On June 3, 2020, Upstate Courts Began Phase 2 of Return to In-Person Operations
- Beginning May 25, 2020, new actions can be filed in all New York courts as long as they are e-filed.
- All eviction judgments shall not be enforced for 90 days.
- Foreclosure proceedings remain stayed indefinitely with only a few exceptions: 1) virtual settlement conferences can occur in cases where both parties are represented by counsel; 2) a motion for judgment can proceed on a vacant/abandoned property; and 3) foreclosure matters may be discontinued. The order also provides new, COVID-specific requirements for commencing actions and directs that no motions in these cases (other than a discontinuance) shall be entered or decided until the stay is lifted. See the directive here https://www.nycourts.gov/LegacyPDFS/admin/opp/Foreclosure-Proceedings.pdf
- NYSB -Forbearance of Mortgage Debt: Any creditor (mortgage holder or servicer) who provides a temporary suspension of mortgage payments to a debtor in this Court shall file with the Court a Notice of Temporary Forbearance, which is attached as Exhibit A to this Order. Communication by a creditor to a debtor regarding forbearance and any statement that follows during the forbearance period shall not be considered a violation of the automatic stay. A loss mitigation order is not needed for a debtor to enter a forbearance agreement; 3 however, any party that requests a forbearance agreement but is unable to come to a consensual resolution within 14 days of the request may come before the Court, under the Court’s Loss Mitigation Program Procedures, and ask the Court to supervise such request.
- Pending civil and criminal trials will proceed to their conclusion. No new ones will commence.
- Any necessary hearings to be held by video conference or telephone.
- Individual judges will post their own orders regarding civil matters.
- Find updated operating procedures in response to COVID-19 at http://www.nysb.uscourts.gov/general-orders-and-guidance-created-covid-19.
- Any deadlines, hearings and conferences are at the discretion of the presiding judge.
- Civil Litigation Generally: The prosecution of-pending civil matters (including discovery) in a manner that requires in-person appearances or travel, or otherwise requires actions inconsistent with prevailing health and safety directives relating to the coronavirus health emergency, is strongly discouraged.
- Civil Discovery generally: Where a party, attorney or other person is unable to meet discovery or other litigation schedules (including dispositive motion deadlines) for reasons related to the coronavirus health emergency, the parties shall use best efforts to postpone proceedings by agreement and stipulation for a period not to exceed 90 days.
- 1st Dept- Future appeals are adjourned.
- 2nd Dept- See http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courts/ad2/pdf/ADM_2020-0506.pdf
Updated: July 1, 2020
- State of Emergency Declared: https://www.oregon.gov/gov/Documents/executive_orders/eo_20-03.pdf
- Oregon Governor signed two bills passed by the state legislature: House Bill 4202 (Effective and retroactive March 8, 2020 – September 30, 2020, further extendable on order of the Governor before September 1, 2020), concerning defaults and foreclosures on loans, and House Bill 4213 (Effective April 1-September 30, 2020), concerning evictions by landlords.
- This House Bill 4202 statute precludes all judicial and non-judicial foreclosures, regardless of the reason for or length of the default, during the emergency period defined from March 8, 2020 to September 30, 2020. The statute also voids all foreclosure sales that have occurred, forbids execution sales on a previously obtained judgment, forbids entry of judgment and entry of writs of execution on a previously obtained judgment, and requires dismissal of any new foreclosure action filed during the emergency period. The statute also requires lenders follow rules regarding missed payments and requires lenders to give notice to borrowers of their rights under the statute. The statute allows a borrower suffering an ascertainable loss as a result of a lender’s failure to comply to sue the lender, and recover attorney fees in connection with the suit.
- The House Bill 4213 statute impacts landlords with renters who fail to pay rent and other fees related to a rental agreement, and will only impact parties who attempt to evict following foreclosure if those parties have somehow become a landlord.
- Federal Court locations closed to public only, but available by telephone.
- E-filing continues – conventional filings must go in specified drop boxes rather than the filing window.
- Civil jury trials scheduled before July 1, 2020 shall be postponed until after July 1, 2020, and possibly longer, depending on whether the court eases restrictions on the number of people who can gather and if local courts have sufficient staff to hold a trial and can enforce social distancing measures.
- Civil bench trials may be scheduled by remote means or in person as deemed appropriate if the Court has sufficient staff and social distancing can be enforced
- Multnomah County, which is the only county that has not yet entered Phase 1 of reopening, will generally continue to postpone its trials
- For all Forcible Entry and Detailer cases, the first appearance required in those cases is continued without a motion, and all trials scheduled before July 1, 2020 are continued without a motion. Landlords can file a motion for an order requiring the tenant to pay rent while the case is pending.
- All in person hearings/ trials postponed and nothing new will be scheduled during level 3 status.
- Motion hearings are being held remotely and in person, depending on whether Court has sufficient staff and social distancing measures can be enforced.
- Applies to Circuit, Appellate, and Supreme levels.
Updated: July 2, 2020
- State of Emergency Declared: https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-issues-covid-19-emergency-proclamation
- On May 4, Governor Inslee announces “Safe Start Washington” which is a four-part, data-driven plan to reopen, county by county: https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/SafeStartWA_4May20.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery
- See the Essential Businesses still operating here: https://coronavirus.wa.gov/whats-open-and-closed/essential-business
- Ban on evictions through August 1, 2020: https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/20-19.2%20Coronavirus%20Evictions%20%28tmp%29.pdf
- Most counties are continuing in-person hearings as provided here: http://www.courts.wa.gov/index.cfm?fa=home.courtClosures
- All Washington Superior Court civil jury trials suspended through July 6, 2020. All non-emergency civil matters “shall be” continued through June 1, 2020. All emergency civil matters may be heard telephonically. http://www.courts.wa.gov/content/publicUpload/Supreme%20Court%20Orders/Supreme%20Court%20Emergency%20Order%20re%20CV19%20031820.pdf
- King County is no longer accepting service of process in person.
- Western District of Washington Courts are closed through July, 2020 unless they concern emergency matters. This does not affect motions that can be resolved without oral argument.
- See further Western District Court updates here public website
- On June 30, 2020, the Court issued Facility Security Committee Order 20-08, extending the Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) and closing the William O. Douglas Federal Building to public access through July 17, 2020 effective June 30, 2020.
- The Richland United States Courthouse is closed to public access through July 31, 2020 effective July 1, 2020.
- See further Eastern District Court updates here https://www.waed.uscourts.gov/news
- Court issued the Richland Courthouse and Federal Building Order 20-05, to close its Courthouse to the public through July 31, 2020 effective July 1, 2020.
- U.S. District Court for Western Washington: All civil hearings and jury trial are postponed until after July 1, 2020.
- All notices of appeal due on or after March 27, 2020 are suspended until further notice.
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