Updated on March 27, 2020
In this blog post, we focus on 5 litigation traps that are important to know about and understand for potential and current lawsuits. Courts may be limiting access to the public during the pandemic we are currently facing, but court based deadlines are continuing and legal obligations remain. The law is just too important to shutdown.
Below, consider the following 5 litigation traps posed by the coronavirus:
1. Ignoring the Statute of Limitations. If you are about to file a claim or considering filing a lawsuit and near the end of the statute of limitations, the Coronavirus pandemic will not toll the statute of limitations. That means you can lose your claim if you do not file it in a timely manner. It can become time bared. Courts are still open, although in a limited capacity, and are accepting filings. Accordingly, if the time period for you to file your claim is about to expire, you still have to file your claim in a timely manner. The Coronavirus is not going to extend the time for you to bring your claim.
2. Ignoring Discovery Obligations. If you have outstanding discovery responses due or coming due, there is no reason to think that those deadlines are extended. The Los Angeles County Superior Court did close for three days and those three days the Court deemed to be “holidays”. Accordingly, deadlines were extended for those holidays, but that is it. There have been no other extensions or holidays for ordinary civil matters.
3. Not Completing Discovery. After we all return to work and the Courthouses resume in-person hearings, jury trials, and normal operations, there is going to a mad dash for trial dates. Courts will have to be resetting nearly all trials from at least March to June. That is 4 months of back up. Presumably getting a trial date in 2020 will be hard to do. We would not be surprised if courts first re-set for trial those matters that were previously on calendar and deemed ready for trial. The bulk of the remaining cases will be delayed. We suspect that only those cases that are actually ready for trial with discovery completed will be set for trial in 2020. Accordingly, if you want your case to have a higher likelihood of going to trial in 2020, then it is important to finish discovery as soon as possible. That way the attorneys will be able to report “ready” during a potential trial call. Written discovery is easy to complete during the current stay at home/shelter in place order. Depositions may be a bit more tricky; but, there is now widespread videoconferencing and the ability to depose parties and witnesses remotely with the help of videoconferencing.
4. Not Finding A Law Firm Equipped to Work Remotely. There are “dinosaurs” walking amongst us in the legal world. These are the attorneys who prefer to do things the old fashioned way, and are not necessarily up to speed with the new advances in technology. Right now, more than ever, it is important to have a firm that is mobile and able to adapt in remote working. Fortunately, while Schorr Law maintains its Century City physical office, it has always been remotely equipped. We are a cloud based firm that stores documents, emails, and related information securely in the cloud. We moved off paper copies years ago and have near 15 years worth of legal documents stored securely in the cloud. We also provide clients 24/7 access to their account, files, and calendar through a cloud based secure legal software at no cost. We will keep our clients informed no matter where we are or where they are.
5. Thinking The Court Is Closed or Not Accepting New Cases. We have been monitoring the legal system and the courts throughout California. While there are some temporary delays (most are 60 days), the courts are open for new filings, motions, etc. Courthouses are restricting who can come into the courthouses to file documents, but before the Coronavirus ever surfaced, Courts had largely transitioned to mandatory e-filing anyway. That means we were already filing cases electronically. Hearings and motions are already being re-set. The legal profession is far too important – with too much at stake – to think some pesky virus will keep us from protecting our clients’ rights in court.
These are just 5 litigation traps that the current pandemic may pose, and Schorr Law is doing anything and everything to combat this virus from keeping us from representing our clients to our best abilities. For more information on how we Schorr Law can help protect your legal rights, contact us today. We are offering free consultations, via phone call or videoconferencing, and look forward to the opportunity to learn more about your case and situation. You can call (310) 954-1877, or send us a message via our contact form.