People have asked me many times over the last month what I think will happen with re-opening. I stand by my response of “I look to what the Courts are doing and make my plans and interpretations from that”. Should you choose to partake in my source of guidance and support, read on. As we begin to re-open next week, take care and stay well. The Tennessee Supreme Court has released a new Order Modifying Suspension of In-Person Court Proceedings and Further Extension of Deadlines today. The following is a summary of what the order includes:
- Modification of the suspension of in-person court proceedings, with appropriate safeguards. The provisions of the order remain in place through Sunday, May 31, 2020.
- Continuation of the suspension of jury trials through Friday, July 3, 2020, but allows for exceptions based on extraordinary circumstances if approved by the Chief Justice.
- Courts should continue to conduct as much business as possible by means other than in-person proceedings and encourages court to continue and even increase remote conferencing as the preferred option over in-person court proceedings.
- All courts within a judicial district are ordered to continue to operate under the Court’s March 25 order until the Chief Justice has approved a written plan for gradually beginning to conduct in-person court proceedings (other than jury trials) in some non-emergency matters in the judicial district. The order provides detailed instructions for judicial districts to develop their written plans.
- Suspension of rules that impede a judge’s or court clerk’s ability to utilize available technologies to limit in-person contact and addresses specific rules of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure.
- Allows judges’ offices and court clerks’ offices to continue to limit in person contact, but requires them to remain open for business. Instructions are provided for circumstances in which it is necessary to restrict access to these offices.
- Continues deadlines in rules, statutes, ordinances and other rules that are set to expire from Friday, March 13 through Sunday, May 31, extending them through Friday, June 5, 2020. There are limits on these extensions.
- Extends statutes of limitation and statutes of repose that would otherwise expire during the period from Friday, March 13 through Sunday, May 31, extending them through Friday, June 5, 2020.
- Encourages use of the “Online Public Notary Act” and the provisions of Executive Order No. 26 issued by Governor Lee. The order encourages the use of Rule 72 declarations as an alternative to a notary for court filings. The order also extends the use of electronic signatures to any pleadings or documents to be filed or served by conventional means during the time that the state of emergency for the Judicial Branch remains in place.
- Orders of protection and temporary injunctions that would otherwise expire during the period from Friday, March 13, 2020, through Sunday, May 31, 2020, are extended through Friday, June 5, 2020.
- Evictions are prohibited but the obligation to pay remains.
We are slowly returning to a new normal. Hang in there all. We continue to be here for your guidance and protection. Call us anytime at (615) 567-7300 or email Kelli directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take care and stay well.