Law360 (March 12, 2020, 11:19 PM EDT) — UPDATED May 26, 2020, 2:05 PM EDT | As courts across the country take measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, some are restricting access and altering their procedures.
FEDERAL APPEALS COURTS
U.S. Supreme Court
After postponing oral arguments scheduled for the April session, the high court announced April 13 that it would hear oral arguments remotely in May for a limited number of previously postponed cases. The court will proceed with the resolution of all cases argued this term. Opinions will be posted on the court’s website.
The high court said on April 30 that it will provide a live audio feed of arguments to Fox News, which is the network pool chair, The Associated Press and C-SPAN.
The court closed to tourists on March 12 until further notice, but the building will remain open for official business.
The deadline to file any petition for a writ of certiorari due on or after March 19 is extended to 150 days from the date of the lower court judgment, order denying discretionary review or order denying a timely petition for rehearing. The court said it will generally grant motions for time extensions if parties have difficulties related to the coronavirus.
Federal Circuit Court of Appeals
All cases scheduled for argument in May will be conducted remotely and no in-person hearings will be held. All existing deadlines in cases are still in effect. All requirements to provide paper copies of documents submitted electronically are suspended for all documents filed on or after March 2 until further notice. Pro se parties are permitted to submit case-initiating documents by fax or email.
The public is prohibited from entering the National Courts Building complex unless preauthorized by court staff and only as necessary to conduct or support essential court functions, effective March 16. Those who have tested positive for the coronavirus or had possible exposure to the virus are prohibited from entering the courthouse.
D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
The court of appeals for the D.C. Circuit has suspended all in-person onsite oral arguments until further notice.
The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is limiting access to its courthouse to “judges, court staff, members of the media, and visitors with official business with the courts,” effective Friday. The court asked that those who have tested positive for the coronavirus, have had contact with someone who has been exposed to the virus, been asked to self-quarantine or are experiencing flu-like symptoms not enter the courthouse. Pro se litigants may email filings to ProSeFilings@cadc.uscourts.gov as PDF files and should not send duplicate paper copies to the court. Individuals who enter the courthouse or annex must have a face mask covering their nose and mouth.
First Circuit Court of Appeals
The clerk’s office will not accept in-person case filings at its intake window until further notice. Those filing paper documents can use the drop box located by the main entrance on the first floor of the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse in Boston. The court has temporarily suspended a requirement that appendices to briefs must be filed only in paper form. Appendices should be filed electronically, and after an appendix is accepted for filing, the court may set a deadline for paper copies.
Second Circuit Court of Appeals
All filing dates and other deadlines between March 16 and May 17 are extended by 21 days. The court will hear all oral arguments through teleconference.
Those who do not have business with the court will not be admitted until further notice.
Lawyers or pro se parties scheduled to argue before the court should contact the clerk of court if they: visited or have been in contact with someone who was in China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea in the past two weeks, have been asked to self-quarantine, have tested positive for the coronavirus or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, or if they have a verifiable health condition.
Third Circuit Court of Appeals
Oral arguments will continue as scheduled pending further order of the court. The merits panel will determine the manner of argument. Parties may file a motion requesting to appear by audio conference. The majority of staff in the clerk’s office will be working remotely. The three-day time limit for requesting extensions is relaxed until the clerk’s office resumes normal operations. The filing of paper copies of briefs and appendices is deferred until further notice.
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
The court temporarily suspended its oral argument requirement for published opinions. There will be no in-person oral arguments in the court in May.
The Powell Courthouse in Richmond, Virginia, is closed to the public. Papers may be filed in the courthouse lobby, but those who have tested positive for the coronavirus, those with symptoms of COVID-19 and those who may have been exposed to the virus are prohibited from entering the building.
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
All requirements to file paper copies are suspended until further notice. Extensions with justification may be requested from the clerk’s office. All outstanding deadlines for incarcerated and nonincarcerated pro se filers are extended for 60 days after their due dates. Oral arguments may be conducted remotely.
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
All nonessential court functions are postponed until further notice. Judges, parties, attorneys and some court staff are allowed to appear via video conference. The requirement that nonprisoner pro se litigants file exclusively in paper format is temporarily suspended until May 30.
Those who have tested positive for the coronavirus or come into contact with someone who has tested positive are barred from entering any courtroom. That restriction also applies to those who have been asked to self-quarantine, are exhibiting cold or flu symptoms, have visited Italy, Iran, China or South Korea in the past two weeks, or have had close contact with someone who has visited those countries in the past two weeks.
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
All cases scheduled for oral argument through June 30 will be argued remotely. Audio from oral arguments will be livestreamed on YouTube and recorded and posted on the court’s website. The courtroom in Chicago will be closed to the public, and the court is operating with reduced staff. Arguments will be recorded and posted on the court’s website. If all parties agree among themselves to waive oral argument, they may jointly file a motion with the court seeking permission to do so.
Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
The public is not being admitted to the Eighth Circuit Clerk’s Office. Those who come to the Burger Courthouse in St. Paul, Minnesota, or the Eagleton Courthouse in St. Louis to file may leave their documents at the front door to the office. The court is conducting oral arguments remotely in certain cases.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Ninth Circuit courthouses are closed to the public during noncourt weeks until further notice. The court is evaluating scheduled arguments and will give orders to the cases individually. Panels may exercise their discretion to submit cases without argument, postpone argument to a later date or hold argument via telephone or video. Arguments will be livestreamed for the public.
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
The Tenth Circuit closed its sole courthouse to the public from March 17 until further notice. The Denver courthouse will be restricted to judges, court staff, court security officers and service providers with official business with the court. All filings should be made electronically or via mail until further notice.
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
In the Eleventh Circuit, only judges, court staff, members of the media and visitors with official business with the court will be allowed into the two Eleventh Circuit buildings. Paper filing requirements are temporarily waived. Panels can hear oral arguments remotely, and those hearings will be livestreamed for the public when feasible. Recordings of oral arguments will also be available on the court’s website. Anyone who is experiencing flu-like symptoms or who has had a known contact with a person who tested positive for the coronavirus will not be allowed inside.