COVID-19

Many deadlines extended to July 6

On June 9, 2020, Act No. 162 of the Louisiana Legislature’s 2020 Regular Session became effective with the governor’s signature. This legislation enacts La. R.S. 9:5858 through 5830. To download a copy of Act No. 162, follow this link.

Section 9:5828 ratifies Governor Edwards’s various executive orders extending prescription, peremption, and other legal deadlines in Louisiana. Section 9:5829 continues the suspension of prescription, peremption, and abandonment through July 5, 2020, with expiration on July 6. But the suspension applies only to deadlines that otherwise would have expired between March 17 through July 5, 2020. 

Section 9:5830 continues the suspension of all “deadlines in legal proceedings that were suspended” by the governor’s executive orders until July 6. But like § 9:5829, § 9:5830 applies only to deadlines that otherwise would have expired between March 17 and July 5, 2020.

Within the last few days, at least four of the five Louisiana courts of appeal have issued orders conforming their deadlines to Act No. 162. Under these orders, any filings that otherwise would have been due from the beginning of the COVID-19 emergency through July 5, 2020 will be timely if filed by July 6, 2020. Here are links to those orders:

 As I was writing this post, the Louisiana Supreme Court and Louisiana Fifth Circuit had not yet posted orders responding to Act No. 162. If and when they do, I’ll write a follow-up post on this blog. Stay tuned.


U.S. 5th Circuit announcement on June 29 – July 2 arguments

Passing by the U.S. Fifth Circuit’s web site, I spotted this announcement:

The Court will not conduct in person arguments for the week of June 29 – July 2, 2020, and the Clerk’s Office will advise counsel how panels will handle their cases. Updated calendars will be posted at http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/clerk/calendar/int-cal.htm. If panels use video and/or audio conferences as permitted by General Order 3 COVID-19, a News Item will be posted before argument with links to the audio feed.


La. 4th Circuit extends deadlines to June 16

Like the Louisiana Supreme Court and other Louisiana courts of appeal, the Louisiana Fourth Circuit just issued an order extending its deadlines to June 16. Filings in that court that otherwise would have been due between March 12 and June 15, 2020 will be timely if filed by June 16. To download a copy of today’s Fourth Circuit order, follow this link.

It looks like June 16 is going to be a busy day in the Louisiana appellate world. Barring yet another extension of legal deadlines, that’s when a lot of stuff held up by the COVID-19 emergency is going to be due in the Louisiana Supreme Court and the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Circuits. In the Fifth Circuit, litigants will have until June 19.


La. 2nd Circuit extends deadlines to June 16

Today the Louisiana Second Circuit issued an order following yesterday’s executive order by Governor Edwards. Like the Louisiana Supreme Court’s order earlier today, the Second Circuit order extends deadlines in that court to June 16. Filings that otherwise would have been due from the start of the COVID-19 emergency through June 15 will be deemed timely if filed by June 16. The order further says that the Second Circuit intends to hold oral arguments scheduled for June 22 and 23 and July 20 and 21, either in person or by video conference. To download a copy of the Second Circuit’s order, follow this link.


La. 1st Circuit extends deadlines to June 16

Today the Louisiana First Circuit issued an order following Governor Edwards’s latest executive order extending legal deadlines. Under today’s order by the First Circuit, filings that otherwise would have been due between March 12 and June 15, 2020 will be timely if filed by June 16. To download a copy of the First Circuit’s order, follow this link. There’s also an announcement about the order on the First Circuit’s web site, which you can read by following this link.

The order and announcement have some additional information about the First Circuit’s current operations:

The First Circuit Courthouse is open, but with restricted access. Electronic filings and mail-in filings are encouraged. In-person filings are limited to drop off only. The First Circuit continues to process all filings and all cases with filed briefs will proceed to docketing and disposition. 


LASC’s June 5 orders on COVID-19

The Louisiana Supreme Court just issued a pair of orders in response to yesterday’s executive orders by the governor.

In one order, the Court extended its own deadlines: any filings that otherwise would have been due between March 12 and June 15, 2020 will be timely if filed by June 16. To download a copy of this order, follow this link.

In the other order, the Court continued its prior orders for other Louisiana courts. This order continues to allow Louisiana courts to conduct in-person proceedings if they comply with social-distancing guidelines; it also encourages courts to hold proceedings by video or telephone conference when possible. To download a copy of this order, follow this link.

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p.s. (3:47 p.m.) Here’s a link to the Louisiana Supreme Court’s press release about today’s orders.


La. 5th Circuit extends deadlines to June 19

In response to the governor’s order 75 JBE 2020, The Louisiana Fifth Circuit issued an order today extending its deadlines. Under today’s order, filings that otherwise would have been due between March 12 and June 15, 2020 are now due on June 19. To download a copy of today’s order by the Louisiana Fifth Circuit, follow this link.

Be wary, though, about what law establishes your deadline. In a prior letter, Chief Judge Chehardy cautioned that her court can only extend deadlines set by court rules, and that the court does not have power to extend statutory deadlines. My take is that the governor’s order applies to deadlines set by statutes, and the court’s order applies to deadlines set by court rules.

Where does that leave deadlines to file applications for supervisory writs? I’m not sure. My suggestion would be to play it safe and either file by whatever valid return date you have or file a timely motion to extend the return date. 


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.