COVID-19 Governor

Governor extends legal deadlines until June 15

Yesterday, Governor Edwards issued two executive orders implementing Louisiana’s movement to Phase 2 re-opening. The one this blog is concerned with, 75 JBE 2020, continues the suspension of most legal deadlines until Monday, June 15. These deadlines include all those set by the Louisiana Civil Code, Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure, Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Revised Statutes. Liberate prescription and peremption deadlines are extended to July 5, 2020. See § 3.H of 75 JBE 2020. To download a copy of the entire order, follow this link.

In a related order, 74 JBE 2020, Governor Edwards relaxed some restrictions on businesses that have been in place since the start of the COVID-19 emergency. To download that order, follow this link.

The governor’s latest order, like his past orders, directs the individual courts to “continue to use due diligence in communicating with attorneys, parties to proceedings with pending deadlines, and the public how the court ... will implement and interpret” the order. So as with past orders, we’ll probably see a series of orders from the Louisiana Supreme Court and the five courts of appeal adjusting their deadlines to line up with the governor’s order. Stay tuned.


Louisiana moving to Phase 2 re-opening

Earlier this afternoon, Governor John Bel Edwards announced the state’s movement to Phase 2 re-opening this Friday, June 5. To read the governor’s press release, follow this link. Today’s announcement does not include any information about legal deadlines that have been suspended since the onset of the COVID-19 emergency. We’ll probably find out about that on Thursday, when the governor plans to release updated executive orders officially moving the state to Phase 2. That, in turn, will likely dictate whether the Louisiana Supreme Court and courts of appeal continue their own suspensions of procedural deadlines.

Although the state is moving on to Phase 2, the City of New Orleans will remain at Phase 1 beyond June 5. That’s according to an announcement released today by Mayor Cantrell’s office, which you can read by following this link.


Governor extends legal deadlines to June 5

Yesterday, Governor John Bel Edwards signed another executive order (which I missed in last night’s 8:11 p.m. post). Yesterday’s second executive order, 59 JBE 2020 (May 14, 2020), includes an extension of legal deadlines through Friday, June 5, 2020. To download a copy of this executive order, follow this link.

Apologies for missing this one when I wrote last night’s post. I hope that didn’t cause anyone any heartburn.


Governor issues Phase 1 order

Governor John Bel Edwards has formally issued the order he announced last Monday. To download a copy of today’s order, follow this link to 58 JBE 2020 (May 14, 2020). To read the press release summarizing the order, follow this link. The order does not end the COVID-19 emergency. But as announced last Monday, it does ease the stay-home order, encouraging but not requiring people to “stay home as much as possible to avoid unnecessary exposure to COVID-19.” The order allows most (not all) businesses to reopen, subject to certain restrictions for social distancing: 25% occupancy, facemasks required for employees who interact with the public, etc.

While waiting for today’s proclamation, I’ve been monitoring the appellate courts in Louisiana. So far, there have been no new orders since the governor’s prior extension of the stay-home order through May 15. So it looks like a lot of deadlines that have been extended since the middle of March are going to be upon us this Monday, May 18 (or in the Louisiana Second Circuit, May 22 for non-expedited matters).

p.s. (15 May 2020) When I wrote this post, I missed the link to 59 JBE 2020 at the bottom of the press release. 59 JBE 2020 includes a further extension of legal deadlines through June 5. That will be the subject of another post later today.


La. stay-home order to be lifted

In a press conference this afternoon, Governor John Bel Edwards announced that Louisiana’s stay-home order will be lifted on Friday, May 15. He will issue a formal proclamation to that effect this Thursday, May 14. What this means, he said, is that many (not all) businesses will be allowed to re-open on May 16 as long as they can comply with social-distancing guidelines: six feet between persons, and facemasks for everyone. To enable social distance, the number of persons allowed into the place of business at one time cannot exceed 25% of capacity.

I’ll post the official announcement as soon as there is one; the same goes for the formal proclamation on Thursday.

____

p.s. Here’s a link to the official announcement.


Governor’s extension of stay-home order through May 15 now official

As promised last Monday, Governor Edwards has issued a proclamation extending the stay-home order through May 15. La. Proclamation No. 52 JBE 2020 (Apr. 30, 2020). This is a comprehensive order addressing several topics; everyone should read the whole thing.

For readers of this blog, Section H(1) continues the suspension of legal deadlines, including prescription and peremption, under Louisiana’s codes and statutes until May 15, and § H(2) continues the suspension of “all other deadlines in legal proceedings in all courts, administrative agencies, and boards” for the same period. Sectio H(3) directs the courts, agencies, and boards to “continue to use due diligence in communicating with attorneys, parties, to proceedings with pending deadlines, and the public how the court, agency or board will implement and interpret the provisions of this Order.”

To download a copy of this order, follow this link.


News at 4 p.m. from the governor’s office

The governor’s office has this announcement on Twitter:

Today at 4 p.m., Gov. Edwards will make an important announcement about the COVID-19 Stay at Home order and provide an update on the state's response to the coronavirus. 

JBE announcement

We’ll find out then what happens when the current stay-home order expires at the end of this month. Most people assume that the order will continue with some of its provisions relaxed. That, in turn, will inform the courts’ decisions on when to re-open. Stay tuned.


Recapping where we are with COVID-19

Governor John Bel Edwards says that, early next week, he will announce the first phase of the state’s reopening. In anticipation of that announcement, I thought I’d recap our current situation with legal deadlines in the Louisiana Supreme Court and the courts of appeal. Why? Because, depending on the court, many filings that would have been due in March or April may need to be filed by Friday, May 1, or Monday, May 4.

In La. Proclamation No. 30 JBE 2020 (Mar. 16, 2020), the governor suspended “legal deadlines, including liberative prescription and peremptive periods applicable to legal proceedings in all courts” until at least April 13. The same suspension applied to “all other deadlines in legal proceedings in all courts ....” This proclamation directed the courts to “implement and interpret the provisions of this Order.” The suspension became effective at midnight on March 17, 2020. In La. Proclamation No. 41 JBE 2020 (Apr. 2, 2020), the governor extended these deadlines suspensions “until at least Monday, April 30, 2020.”

The word suspended may be important. Of course, I don’t claim any authority to interpret the governor’s order. With that caveat, I’m reminded of the Civil Code’s distinction between suspension and interruption of prescription. When prescription is interrupted, “the time that has run is not counted”; instead, prescription begins “to run anew from the last day of interruption.” La. Civ. Code art. 3466. In contrast, when prescription is suspended, “the period of suspension is not counted toward accrual of prescription,” and “[p]rescription commences to run again” when the suspension period ends. La. Civ. Code art. 3472. In other words, suspension merely stops the clock; it doesn’t reset the clock. I don’t know whether courts will refer to these Civil Code articles when interpreting suspended in the governor’s order, but it may be prudent to take the conservative approach and assume that the governor’s order merely stopped the clocks, as opposed to resetting them to zero, and that any legal delays will resume when 41 JBE 2020 ends.

Against that backdrop, the Louisiana Supreme Court has issued several orders implementing the governor’s orders. Most important to lawyers practicing in the Louisiana Supreme Court is the Court’s April 6, 2020 order suspending its own deadlines. Under this order, any filings due between March 12, 2002 through May 1, 2020 will be deemed timely if filed no later than Monday, May 4, 2020. 

Following the Louisiana Supreme Court’s lead, all five courts of appeal have issued their own orders adopting the same suspension of deadlines, with a few tweaks to the date filings are due once the suspension is lifted. Here are links to those orders:

Some of these deadlines may change, depending on the governor’s actions and the courts’ responses within the next few days. But as things stand now, a lot of stuff that’s been on hold during the COVID-19 emergency is going to be due next Friday or the following Monday.

p.s. One more wrinkle: In New Orleans, home of the Louisiana Supreme Court and Louisiana Fourth Circuit, the mayor has extended the stay-home order through May 15. While that order doesn’t address deadlines, it may affect the LASC’s and Fourth Circuit’s operations. To download a copy of that order, follow this link.


Governor’s stay-home order extended to April 30

As expected, Governor John Bel Edwards has extended the statewide stay-home order to April 30. To read the press release, follow this link. To download a PDF of the order itself (13 pages), follow this link. Here are just a few of the order’s provisions:

  • All state offices are closed, though “essential state functions shall continue.” Section 4.A.
  • Various legal deadlines, including prescription and peremption, are suspended until at least April 30. This includes all deadlines in the Civil Code, Code of Civil Procedure, Code of Criminal Procedure, and Revised Statutes. Section 5.H.1.
  • Under § 5.H.2, “all other deadlines in legal proceedings in all courts, administrative agencies, and boards shall remain suspended until Monday, April 30, 2020.”

After the March 16 stay-home order, the Louisiana Supreme Court and all five courts of appeal issued orders complying with the governor’s order. I’ll be looking for those over the next several days and will post them as soon as I find out about them.

Everyone stay safe.