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Amid COVID-19, Are Legal Disputes Still Moving Forward?

As COVID-19 unleashed a health crisis on an international scale, an economic crisis has also occurred and has impacted every single Californian/American. While COVID-19’s stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements are still in place in Southern California, questions concerning legal matters have continued well through March, April, and May, 2020. These are some of the most frequently asked questions:

Question: Are legal disputes still moving forward?

Answer: Yes, legal disputes have still continued well through the months of March, April, and May, 2020.  This includes our areas which includes business law, real estate law, and estate planning. All three of these areas have seen legal disputes continue throughout the last few months. Though stay-at-home orders has temporarily closed the local court houses, those matters have been placed on hold in the court process. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the case goes away. This pause has simply given disputing parties and their counsel the opportunity to privately negotiate settlements over the last few months. Legal offices have moved their operations remotely to assist with legal matters moving forward. If the parties have been unable to resolve their open dispute, the Court will resume operations shortly.

Not all disputes wind up in court. Some disputes, especially those based on a breach of contract and the like, may require mediation or arbitration. For those requiring these methods, communications between law offices have continued as normal during the last few months. In some cases delays have been experienced for various reasons – delays in communications, delays in mail delivery, delays in attorney-client correspondence – but legal matters have continued.

As of May 15, 2020, here’s the Court’s update: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Diego Superior Court has been closed for most non-emergency services from March 17 through May 22. More than 87,000 hearings from that timeframe and on the calendar for the coming months will need to be re-scheduled. In the interest of the health and safety of all Court visitors and employees, re-scheduled hearings will be handled remotely wherever possible. The process will vary for each case type and details for the manner of appearance will be included in the re-scheduling notices that will be sent to involved parties.” San Diego Court Opening Announcement. Visit the Court’s website for the most updated information.