In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, California courts are adopting temporary measures in an effort to protect the public and stem the potential spread of the virus. For litigants participating in these courts, the uncertainty of court procedures can be vexing. Below for your reference is a summary of the current temporary measures, which we will update periodically as significant changes occur.

Federal Courts:

Northern District of California

  • No criminal or civil jury trials will be commenced before May 1, 2020. Any trial dates currently scheduled are vacated.
  • Courts are accepting filings electronically and through the intake desks.
  • All civil matters will be decided on the papers, or if the assigned judge believes a hearing is necessary, the hearing will be by telephone or videoconference.

Central District of California

  • All courthouses are be closed to the public except for hearings on criminal matters.
  • Intake sections in each courthouse are closed to the public. You can call the court to post a bond or submit an emergency, time-sensitive filing such as a temporary restraining order.
  • No hearings will go forward except for emergency time-sensitive matters such as requests for temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions. Any hearings on emergency civil matters will proceed telephonically only.
  • Courts are accepting filings electronically.

Southern District of California

  • All jury trials in civil and criminal cases are continued until April 16.
  • Courts are accepting filings electronically.
  • Judges retain discretion to schedule criminal and civil proceedings, except for convening jury trials.
  • The Court has adopted visitor restrictions to all courthouses and pretrial services offices.

Eastern District of California

  • All courthouses are closed to the public.
  • Courts are accepting filings electronically.
  • Civil matters will be decided on the papers, or by telephone or videoconference if a hearing is deemed necessary.

Ninth Circuit

  • Arguments currently scheduled in March, April, and May 2020 are being evaluated one at a time and orders will issue in those cases giving direction to the parties.
  • Panels may exercise their discretion under the rules to submit cases without argument; to postpone argument to a later date; or to hold argument via telephone or video. When argument is held, it will be live-streamed to facilitate public access.
  • Courthouses are closed to the public during non-court weeks.
  • The Ninth Circuit is accepting filings electronically.
  • Parties may obtain an automatic 60-day extension by filing a notice of logistical issues related to the COVID-19 virus.

California State Courts:

Although each County in California has different procedures, in general most superior courts in California have limited access to courthouses and provided for some extension of filing deadlines related to the closures.  Courts continue to accept electronic filings where otherwise available.  Several of the most high-volume jurisdictions are described below.

Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • The court is open only for emergency and essential matters.
  • Access to the courthouse has been restricted to only authorized parties through June 22, 2020.
  • Until further notice, all clerk's offices are closed at all 38 courthouses.
  • All civil and criminal trials are suspended until further notice, at least until June 22, 2010.

San Francisco County Superior Courts

  • All civil trials currently set between Tuesday, March 17, and Wednesday, April 15, 2020, will be continued on a rolling basis for 90 days from the currently scheduled trial date.
  • The Court is currently hearing motions, however, all attorneys and parties are required to appear by telephone.
  • The Clerk’s Office will be closed during the period of Tuesday, March 17, through Wednesday, April 15, 2020, however, a dropbox is available for new and subsequent filings.

First Appellate Division

  • The Court has extended all deadlines by 30 days.
  • All in-person oral argument sessions in the Court of Appeal, First District, are suspended. Any oral argument will be telephonic.

Second Appellate Division

  • The Court has extended all deadlines by 30 days.
  • All hearings will be conducted telephonically.

California Supreme Court

  • The Court has extended all deadlines by 30 days.
  • All hearings will be conducted telephonically.

The Firm is continually monitoring for any further court changes in light of the Covid-19 outbreak. For questions concerning COVID-19 issues in any variety of subject matters, please contact your McKool Smith attorney.