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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Louisiana Supreme Court has released its 2019 Annual Report. For appellate lawyers, the report includes useful statistics about the Louisiana Supreme Court and the five courts of appeal (e.g. numbers of writ applications filed, numbers of writs granted, etc.).
Let’s say that a trial court renders a judgment dismissing only some of a party’s claims, without designating the judgment as final under La. Code Civ P. art. 1915(B). The aggrieved party appeals anyway, and the court of appeal renders a judgment dismissing the appeal for lack of jurisdiction because the judgment needs but lacks an art. 1915(B) designation of finality. Can the appeal be salvaged?
Yes, it can, if the appellant acts promptly. That’s according to the Louisiana Supreme Court’s decision today in Interdiction of Gambino, 2020-312 (La. 6/3/20). In that case, the court of appeal rendered judgment dismissing the appeal on December 11, 2019. Eight days later, the district court signed an order designating the judgment appealed from as final under art. 1915(B). The Louisiana Supreme Court found that the district court’s order was “issued prior to finality of the dismissal of the appeal,” presumably because the order was issued within the 14-day time to apply for rehearing. The Court therefore held that the district court’s order “cured any jurisdictional defect in the appeal.” The Court reversed dismissal of the appeal, directed the court of appeal to supplement the record with the district court’s 1915(B) order, and consider the merits of the appeal.
My original title for this post was “Never too late for a 1915(B) certification,” but that would have been overstating Gambino. Had the time expired to apply for rehearing in the court of appeal before the district court’s 1915(B) order, the result might have been different. Arguably “prior to finality” could include not only the 14-day time to apply for rehearing, but also the 30-day time to apply to the Louisiana Supreme Court for a writ. See La. Code Civ. P. art. 2166. But once the 14-day time expires, the court of appeal cannot change its judgment. So if you ever find yourself in a similar spot, better to act while the court of appeal still has the power to act. (Of course, the best course is to nail down appellate jurisdiction before taking the appeal.)
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.
As readers of this blog know, the Louisiana Fifth Circuit held its May 2020 oral arguments by video conference, using the Zoom platform. The court’s web site has a page with general information for those wishing to attend a Zoom oral argument, but it’s hard to find (I couldn’t find a link to it from the home page). Not to worry, though; here’s a direct link to the court’s e-conference web page.
Here’s a reflection for Memorial Day. The dates have changed, and the language is sexist by today’s standards. But the rest of this seems as true today as it was in 1863. Renewing our commitments to end racism and uphold our Constitution are the appropriate things to do on Memorial Day.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us:
—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion;
—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain;
—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom;
—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.