Guide to the Court's Emergency Orders (updated)

22
Jun 2020
Guide to the Court's Emergency Orders (updated)

During the COViD-19 pandemic, Chief Justice Beasley exercised the emergency powers granted to her in N.C.G.S. §7A-39(b)(1) and 7A-39(b)(2) following Governor Cooper’s declaration of a state of emergency across the state.  This response included:

 

On 13 March 2020,

  • the Chief Justice directed that local courts postpone most cases in district and superior court for at least 30 days. EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE ONE
  • All counties were required to post a notice at all court facilities directing any person who has likely been exposed to COVID-19 to not enter the courthouse.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE TWO

Set to expire on 12 April 2020.  Amended and extended on 2 April 2020.  ORDER OF 2 APRIL 2020  Directive 2 was extended on 30 May 2020.  EXTENSION ORDER OF 30 MAY 2020  Emergency Directive 1, which required the rescheduling of most trial court hearings was allowed to expire.  EXTENSION ORDER OF 30 MAY 2020

 

On 15 March 2020, the Chief Justice and NCAOC Director McKinley Wooten issued a memo clarifying the directives limiting operations of the North Carolina court system.  UPDATE MEMO

 

On 19 March 2020, the Chief Justice issued an emergency order pursuant to N.C.G.S. §7A-39(b)(1) extending deadlines and periods of limitation, thereby

  • ordering that all pleadings, motions, notices, and other documents and papers that were or are due to be filed in any county of this state on or after 16 March 2020 and before the close of business on 17 April 2020 in civil actions, criminal actions, estates, and special proceedings shall be deemed to be timely filed if they are filed before the close of business on 17 April 2020; and 
  • ordering that all other acts that were or are due to be done in any county of this state on or after 16 March 2020 and before the close of business on 17 April 2020 in civil actions, criminal actions, estates, and special proceedings shall be deemed to be timely done if they are done before the close of business on 17 April 2020.

ORDER OF 19 MARCH 2020.  Set to Expire on 17 April 2020.  On 13 April 2020, these were extended to 1 June 2020.  ORDER OF 13 APRIL 2020  These were extended on 1 May 2020 to expire on 30 May 2020.  ORDER OF 1 MAY 2020

 

On 27 March 2020, the Supreme Court issued an order extending all deadlines falling between 27 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 for 60 days.  SUPREME COURT ORDER  Allowed to expire on 30 April 2020.

 

On 2 April 2020, the Chief Justice issued an order further extending deadlines and adding additional emergency directives:

  • All superior court and district court proceedings, including proceedings before the clerks of superior court, must be scheduled or rescheduled for a date no sooner than 1 June 2020, unless it meets an exception.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE ONE EXTENDED
  • The notice concerning COVID-19 was further defined. EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE TWO AMENDED
  • Authorization for Judicial Officials to conduct proceedings by remote audio and video transmission, with consent of the parties.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE THREE
  • Restricting unnecessary visits to the Courthouses.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE FOUR
  • Allowing use of a sworn statement under penalty of perjury in lieu formal verification in Court filings.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE FIVE
  • Allowing service by email by consent.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE SIX
  • Extending for 90 days the payment of money owed in a criminal judgment and allowing additional compliance period before reporting to the DMV through 1 May 2020.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE SEVEN

Set to expire on 30 April 2020.  These were extended on 1 May 2020 to expire on 30 May 2020.  ORDER OF 1 MAY 2020  Directives 2-7 were extended on 30 May 2020.  EXTENSION ORDER OF 30 MAY 2020  Emergency Directive 1, which required the rescheduling of most trial court hearings was allowed to expire.  EXTENSION ORDER OF 30 MAY 2020

 

On 13 April 2020, the Chief Justice extended an emergency order issued on 19 March 2020 extending deadlines and periods of limitation, thereby

  • ordering that all pleadings, motions, notices, and other documents and papers that were or are due to be filed in any county of this state on or after 16 March 2020 and before the close of business on 1 June 2020 in civil actions, criminal actions, estates, and special proceedings shall be deemed to be timely filed if they are filed before the close of business on 1 June 2020; 
  • ordering that all other acts that were or are due to be done in any county of this state on or after 16 March 2020 and before the close of business on 1 June 2020 in civil actions, criminal actions, estates, and special proceedings shall be deemed to be timely done if they are done before the close of business on 1 June 2020; and
  • ordered any motion to set aside or any objection to a motion to set aside in proceedings for forfeiture of bail bonds for which disposition by entry of final judgment or by grant of a motion to set aside is due to occur on or after 14 April 2020 and before or on 29 September 2020 be deemed to be timely filed if it is filed before the close of business on 30 September 2020.

ORDER OF 13 APRIL 2020.  This order was extended by EXTENSION ORDER OF 21 MAY 2020  for criminal matters and civil periods of limitation, but orders were allowed to expire on 1 June 2020 for all other deadlines in Civil Actions, Estates, and Special Proceedings.

 

On 16 April 2020, the Chief Justice ordering magistrates to continue to perform marriage ceremonies statewide in accordance with appropriate social distancing practices and allowing for local officials to limit the number of attendees, require appointments, and limit the hours in which these services are performed.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE EIGHT.  This was extended on 1 May 2020 to expire on 30 May 2020.  ORDER OF 1 MAY 2020

 

On April 30, 2020, the Court of Appeals held its first session of oral argument remotely using Cisco Webex. INFORMATION

 

Also, on 30 April 2020, the Chief Justice announced formation of a COVID-19 task force for the Judicial Branch, which will recommend emergency directives and policy changes related to the COVID-19 health emergency.  TASK FORCE ANNOUNCEMENT

 

On 1 May 2020, the Chief Justice issued an order further extending the prior issued Emergency Directives 1-2 (issued 13 March 2020, amended/extended 2 April 2020), Emergency Directives 3-7 (issued 2 April 2020) and Emergency Directive 8 (issued 16 April 2020) through 30 May 2020.  

  • EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE 3 was amended to authorize judicial officials to conduct proceedings by remote audio and video transmission, without the consent of the parties.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE THREE AMENDED

ORDER OF 1 MAY 2020  Set to Expire on 30 May 2020.  Directives 2-8 were extended on 30 May 2020.  EXTENSION ORDER OF 30 MAY 2020

 

On 14 May 2020, the Supreme Court issued an order which altered rules shortening notice for hearings to two weeks, allowed 3 secured leave period for attorneys between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2020, and allowed remote CLE for Judges.  SUPREME COURT ORDER OF 14 MAY 2020

 

On 21 May 2020, the Chief Justice issued additional emergency directives, which were necessary to reduce the risk of infection and ensure the continuing operation of essential court functions:

  • No session of court may be scheduled if doing so would result in members of the public sitting or standing in close proximity and/or for extended periods of time in contravention of current public health guidance.  Remote hearing technology is recommended.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE NINE
  • No jury trials convened for 30 days; order will be extended through the end of July.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE TEN
  • A COVID-19 Coordinator required for each facility by senior resident superior court judge.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE ELEVEN
  • Senior resident superior court judge shall assure that intervals of 6 feet are marked, that maximum occupancy of courtrooms with social distancing is established, that maximum occupancy is posted, that hand sanitizer is available, and that areas cleaned daily with high touch areas cleaned throughout the day.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE TWELVE
  • Before a court calendar is published, the COVID-19 coordinator must determine each session can be conducted according to social distancing and that court personnel have a facemask.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE THIRTEEN
  • Clerks of Superior Court are allowed to use secure dropboxes and appointments for access to public records.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE FOURTEEN
  • Litigants are encouraged to use mail to submit documents and pleadings and other documents delivered by the United States Postal Service to the clerk of superior court shall be deemed timely filed if received within five (5) business days of the date the filing is due.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE FIFTEEN
  • COVID-19 coordinator to determine provisions for accommodations of Jury trials by 30 June 2020/1 July 2020.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE SIXTEEN

Provisions set to Expire on 20 June 2020.

 

Also on 21 May 2020, the Chief Justice entered an order regarding extensions of time and periods of limitation:

  • For Civil Actions, Estates, and Special Proceedings: All deadlines for filing documents and papers and all deadlines for other acts that were due to be filed or done between 16 March 2020 and 1 June 2020, inclusive of those dates, remain extended until the close of business on 1 June 2020;
  • For Civil Actions, Estates, and Special Proceedings: All periods of limitation that were set to expire between 16 March 2020 and 31 July 2020, inclusive of those dates, are hereby extended until the close of business on 31 July 2020; and
  • For Criminal Actions: All deadlines for filing documents and papers and all deadlines for other acts that were due to be filed or done between 16 March 2020 and 31 July 2020, inclusive of those dates, are hereby extended until the close of business on 31 July 2020.

EXTENSION ORDER OF 21 MAY 2020  This extends the ORDER OF 19 MARCH 2020, and the ORDER OF 13 APRIL 2020 for criminal matters and civil periods of limitation, but allows those orders to expire on 1 June 2020 for all other deadlines in Civil Actions, Estates, and Special Proceedings.

 

On 30 May 2020, the Chief Justice issued additional emergency directives, which were necessary to ensure the continuing operation of essential court functions:

  • All evictions pending in the trial divisions, whether summary ejectment or otherwise, are hereby stayed until 21 June 2020. Sheriffs shall not be required to execute pending writs of possession of real property or make due return of such writs until 30 June 2020. EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE SEVENTEEN
  • In all summary ejectment proceedings filed on or after 27 March 2020, no writ of possession for real property shall issue unless a finding is made that the property which is the subject of the complaint is not a covered property as defined by Section 4024(a)(1) of the CARES Act.  Compliance shall be shown by a form affidavit, accompanying all complaints filed after 1 June 2020.  Previously filed actions, shall require a completed affidavit before final judgment.  EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE EIGHTEEN
  • A voluntary mediation program is instituted for summary ejectment actions. EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE NINETEEN

 

Also on 30 May 2020, the /Chief Justice issued an order resolving confusion by ordering “In any matter in which the deadline to file a notice of appeal fell between 13 March 2020 and 1 June 2020, the deadline for filing such appeal and making any required payment or bond is hereby extended to 30 June 2020.”  CLARIFYING ORDER OF 30 May 2020

 

Finally, also, on 30 May 2020, the Chief Justice issued an order further extending the prior issued Emergency Directive 2 (issued 13 March 2020, amended/extended 2 April 2020, extended 1 May 2020), Emergency Directives 3-7 (issued 2 April 2020, extended 1 May 2020) and Emergency Directive 8 (issued 16 April 2020, extended 1 May 2020) through 29 June 2020.  Emergency Directive 1, which required the rescheduling of most trial court hearings was allowed to expire.  EXTENSION ORDER OF 30 MAY 2020

 

On 1 June 2020, the extension of the deadlines for filing documents and papers and all deadlines for other acts Civil Actions, Estates, and Special Proceedings was allowed to expire.  Therefore, 

  • For Civil Actions, Estates, and Special Proceedings: All deadlines for filing documents and papers and all deadlines for other acts that were due to be filed or done between 16 March 2020 and 1 June 2020, inclusive of those dates, remain extended until the close of business on 1 June 2020;
  • For Civil Actions, Estates, and Special Proceedings: All periods of limitation that were set to expire between 16 March 2020 and 31 July 2020, inclusive of those dates, are hereby extended until the close of business on 31 July 2020; and
  • For Criminal Actions: All deadlines for filing documents and papers and all deadlines for other acts that were due to be filed or done between 16 March 2020 and 31 July 2020, inclusive of those dates, are hereby extended until the close of business on 31 July 2020.
  • For all appeals: In any matter in which the deadline to file a notice of appeal fell between 13 March 2020 and 1 June 2020, the deadline for filing such appeal and making any required payment or bond is hereby extended to 30 June 2020.

 

On 20 June 2020, the Chief Justice issued an order Emergency Directive 9 through 16 (issued 21 May 2020) [see ORDER OF 21 MAY 2020] for an additional 30 days, EXTENSION ORDER OF 20 JUNE 2020

 

On 20 June 2020, the Chief Justice issued additional emergency directives, which were necessary to ensure the continuing operation of essential court functions.  While EXECUTIVE ORDER 142 issued by the Governor on 31 May 2020 extended the moratorium on residential eviction for 21 days, and placed restrictions on commercial self-help evictions.  This residential eviction moratorium was allowed to expire on June 20 (while certain restrictions remain in place for 6 months).  As a result of its expiration, the Chief Justice issued EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE TWENTY to allow the Court to process the backlog of 10,500 evictions pending in the state court system.  This Directive extended the timing of the required hearing from 10 days to 30 days after issuance of the summons.  

 

 

If you have a questions about court deadlines or issues affecting your business in this crisis, contact Allen Stahl + Kilbourne

By James Kilbourne

 

Updated: June 22, 2020

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