Yesterday, the TN Supreme Court extended and revised its March 13, 2020 Order which extending court deadlines, curbed in-person court hearings, and limited jury trials (among other items). The Court provided a framework for the trial courts to get back to business. Although it is important to note that court staff and judges have been working all along helping to provide essential judicial services while providing for the safe and health of litigants, court personnel, and the general public.
The order is not on their website yet. If you want the entire order, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll send it to you! In the meantime, here are some highlights:
- Jury trials will resume with six (6) person juries (in most cases), using social distancing and masks, after July 3, 2020.
- Courts will continue to conduct as much business as possible “by means other than in-person court proceedings.” Video conferences, teleconferences, email, etc … are the preferred options over in-person court proceedings.
- Any Tennessee state statute, local rule that impedes a court’s ability to conduct remote proceedings are suspended.
- Judges and court personnel should make certain they are not abridging the constitutional rights of anyone.
- “Deadlines set forth in court rules, statutes, ordinances, administrative rules, or otherwise that are set to expire during the period from Friday, March 13, 2020, through Sunday May 31, 2020, remain extended through Friday, June 5, 2020, pursuant to the terms of paragraph 7 of the Court’s April 24, 2020 order. The Court anticipates that there will be no further extensions of these deadlines.”
- The Court encourages the use of the “Online Notary Public Act.” Permissive use of electronic signatures for court filings is extended.
- The moratorium on evictions is lifted as of June 1, 2020. All persons seeking an eviction must file a declaration that the property at issue is not subject to the restrictions of the CARES Act to protect residential renters during the pandemic.
- Temporary injunctions and orders of protection which would have expired by May 31, 2020 are extended to June 15, 2020.
The previous orders for sanitation, social distancing, mask wearing, and other protective measures remain in force in this Order. Presumably, some of those provisions may remain in place for quite some time.