Civil Procedure

    COVID-19 Venue Issues and Relevant Practical Problems

    Posted by Anne B. Hemenway on March 16, 2021 at 10:09 AM

    Anne B. Hemenway—Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

                The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many state courts around the country to either have closed down during parts of 2020 and 2021 or dramatically curtailed operations. In many jurisdictions, jury trials have been canceled or postponed for months. The pandemic has resulted in a plethora of federal court cases regarding requests by federal inmates to be released from federal custody and other court-related issues. See Fern L. Kletter, COVID-19 Related Litigation: Effect of Pandemic on Release from Federal Custody, 54 A.L.R. Fed. 3d art. 1 (2020 & Westlaw updated weekly).

                In a case of first impression in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Clarke v. Medical Facilities of America, Inc. , No. CL20-4379, 2020 Va. Cir. LEXIS 493 (Va. Cir. Ct. City of Norfolk Dec. 30, 2020), the court reviewed whether pandemic-related issues were material to a venue dispute. In that case, defendants in a wrongful death action sought to transfer venue from the circuit court in the City of Norfolk, one of the largest cities in Virginia, to a small rural circuit court closer to the rehabilitation center where the plaintiff decedent had been treated.

    Read More

    Topics: Anne B. Hemenway, COVID-19, court venue issues, too speculative, pandemic's disparate impact, relevant practical problems

    Maritime Law—Could COVID-19 Cruise Ship Passenger Litigation Sink the Cruise Line Industry?

    Posted by Charlene J. Hicks on February 17, 2021 at 10:51 AM

    Charlene Hicks—Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

                The COVID-19 pandemic has proven disastrous for cruise lines and passengers alike, with multiple coronavirus outbreaks and lengthy quarantine periods imposed. The resulting lawsuits have met with mixed results.

                In Weissberger v. Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd., No. 2:20-CV-02328-RGK-SK, 2020 WL 3977938 (C.D. Cal. July 14, 2020), plaintiffs claimed that Princess Cruise Lines was negligent and/or grossly negligent because it had knowledge that a disembarking passenger had symptoms of COVID-19 but it made the conscious decision to continue sailing with 3,000 passengers aboard. The Weissbergers claimed emotional distress damages arising from the ship's quarantine and the associated trauma from fear of developing the virus.

    Read More

    Topics: Charlene Hicks, emotional distress, recovery for emotional distress, maritime law, COVID-19, liability of cruise line

    Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on Discovery Deadlines

    Posted by Paul A. Ferrer on May 12, 2020 at 12:20 PM

    Paul Ferrer—Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

         Based on the exceptional circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, many state and federal courts have entered general orders altering deadlines for a wide variety of matters, including deadlines for filing appeals, the most notable example being the U.S. Supreme Court's extending the period to seek review of a lower court decision by writ of certiorari from 90 to 150 days. Counsel should be aware, however, that in the absence of an order of general applicability, deadlines will not be extended without a specific order from the court in a particular case. To the contrary, judges are loath to allow "all litigation to grind to a halt in many cases," as "allowing that to happen will only exacerbate, in many cases, the detrimental effects of this crisis." Horning v. Resolve Marine Group, No. 19-60899-CIV, 2020 WL 1540326, at *1 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 30, 2020) (Scola, J.).

    Read More

    Topics: Paul A. Ferrer, discovery deadlines, specific order requirement, extension of time, COVID-19

    New Call-to-action
    Free Hour of Legal Research  for New Clients
    Seven ways outsourcing your legal research can empower your practice