We are updating frequently.

While courts may be limited, our team here at Goodman McGuffey is still available and have full contingency plans in place to ensure our clients and cases are being taken care of. We are taking the precautionary measures as a firm in regard to the spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19. However, we understand the need to provide our clients with steady and undisturbed legal services, communication, and trust, so we wanted to update you on our plan to function throughout the ever-changing situation with COVID-19.

We have always stayed abreast of the latest technology which provides us the ability to support our clients throughout this critical time.

For the sixth time, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton has extended the Statewide Judicial Emergency Order until Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. All Georgia courts shall continue to operate under the restrictions set forth in that Order as extended; the provisions of this order below are identical to the August 11 extension order except for Section I, which has been substantially revised, and a minor corresponding revision in Section II (A) (1). Where this Order refers to “public health guidance,” courts should consider the most specific current guidance provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), and their local health departments.

More information is available HERE. Chief Justice Melton’s Sixth Order Extending Declaration of Statewide Judicial Emergency filed September 10th, 2020, means recalculation of deadlines is imperative.

Our team here at Goodman McGuffey has compiled a short series of relevant Judicial Orders for the state of Georgia pertaining to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We will be continuously updating as we learn more information. They are available here:

  1. Chief Justice Melton’s Order Declaring Statewide Judicial Emergency;
  2. Chief Judge Bagley’s Amended Order Declaring Judicial Emergency;
  3. Chief Judge Bagley’s First Extension Order Declaring Judicial Emergency;
  4. Chief Judge Bagley’s Second Extension Order Declaring Judicial Emergency;
  5. Forsyth County State Court Administrative Order No. 20-4;
  6. United States District Court Northern District of Georgia’s General Order 20-01
  7. United States District Court Northern District of Georgia’s General Order 20-02
  8. Chief Justice Melton’s Second Order Extending Declaration of Statewide Judicial Emergency
  9. Chief Justice Melton’s Third Order Extending Declaration of Statewide Judicial Emergency
  10. Chief Justice Melton’s Fourth Order Extending Declaration of Statewide Judicial Emergency
  11. Chief Justice Melton’s Fifth Order Extending Declaration of Statewide Judicial Emergency
  12. Chief Justice Melton’s Sixth Order Extending Declaration of Statewide Judicial Emergency

The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation posted a notice on its website in response to the Honorable Harold D. Melton, Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, issuing a Fourth Order Extending Declaration of Statewide Judicial Emergency which extends the judicial emergency through August 11, 2020. Consistent with the Chief Justice’s order, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation hereby issues this order with directions and instructions for Board proceedings. https://sbwc.georgia.gov/

ATLANTA, GA – Governor Brian Kemp has issued a new executive order that goes into effect at 12 a.m. Tuesday, June 16 and lasts until 11:59 p.m. June 30, for the fight against COVID-19 within the state of GA. The executive order outlines the following:

Starting June 11, 2020:
•  Gatherings of more than 50 people in a single location are allowed if six feet of space is maintained between each person. (This rule does not apply to critical infrastructure entities, incidental or transitory groupings, or cohabiting individuals.)
•  In restaurants and dining rooms, there is no longer a party maximum for the number of people who can sit together. There is no longer a limit on the number of patrons allowed per square foot. Workers at restaurants, dining rooms, banquet facilities, private event facilities, and private reception venues are only required to wear face coverings when they are interacting with patrons. Additional guidelines and requirements on restaurants and private event facilities are available here.
•  In a bar, 50 people are now allowed (increased from 25) or 35% of total listed fire capacity – whichever is greater. Additional guidelines and requirements are available here.

Starting June 16, 2020:
•  At indoor movie theaters and cinemas, there is no longer a limit on the number of people who may sit together in a party. Additional guidelines and requirements are available here.
•  Walk-ins are now allowed at body art studios, barber shops, hair salons, their respective schools, massage therapy establishments, and tanning facilities subject to specific requirements. Additional guidelines and requirements are available here.

You can access more information about the most recent executive order HERE.

Here are the current extensions of time for North Carolina courts (subject to change):

District and Superior Courts: Chief Justice Beasley issued an order yesterday, April 13, 2020, further extending filing and other court-related deadlines. The order states that documents due to be filed from March 16 to June 1 will be deemed timely filed if received before the close of business on June 1, 2020, and that any actions required to be done during that time can also be postponed until June 1, 2020.

Business Court: Pursuant to an order issued today by Chief Business Court Judge Louis Bledsoe, the Chief Justice’s order also applies to pending actions in the North Carolina Business Court. 

Please visit the Judicial Branch’s COVID-19 webpage for the latest updates and announcements. Read Chief Justice Beasley’s April 13 Order for more information.
Appellate Courts: No current extensions
Important note: The extension of time order does not extend deadlines (filings or statutes of limitation) for administrative proceedings (e.g., Industrial Commission).

North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley issued an order on Friday, March 13, stating that all superior and district court proceedings be postponed for at least 30 days, with some exceptions. The Supreme Court order can be found here, https://www.nccourts.gov/assets/news-uploads/COVID-19-13-March-2020-7A-39%28b%29%282%29-Order_0.pdf?sCe0Me_YaLJBPjYl4doVvi4r_4Sm1Zbn=.

North Carolina May 2020 Cases Continued (Except Medical Motions): In order to protect public health and safety, and in light of Chief Justice Beasley’s April 2, 2020 Order requiring local courts to schedule or reschedule most cases in district and superior court for a date no sooner than June 1, 2020, all Deputy Commissioner hearings scheduled to be heard in May 2020 will be continued to be reset on a future docket, with the exception of hearings on medical motions arising under G.S. §97-25(f). All Full Commission oral arguments are to be conducted by conference call as are all informal telephonic hearing conducted by the Executive Secretary’s Office.

Florida Chief Justice Charles Canady has issued an order on Wednesday, March 11th outlining a first set of guidelines within the state courts system as it confronts COVID-19, which can be found here: https://www.floridasupremecourt.org/News-Media/Court-News/COVID-19-Administrative-Order-March-11

In Florida, Judge Langham and The Florida Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims has ordered all state workers’ compensation mediators to conduct mediations telephonically through March 27, 2020 while the conduct of hearings remains at the discretion of the assigned judge.  Accommodation for telephonic appearance or continuance must be sought from the assigned judge. Rule 60Q6.115. More information is available here: https://e-jccupgrade.blogspot.com/2020/03/covid-19-all-ojcc-mediations.html

The South Carolina Supreme Court has issued Orders so far postponing all jury trials in Richland County and putting limitations on attendance at hearings. The Supreme Court has postponed all trials. Hearings may still be held.  There is not a time limitation stated in the order. The SC Workers’ Compensation Commission issued this Notice today.  All hearings remain on. More SC court information can be found here: https://www.scbar.org/bar-news/covid-19-information-and-resources/

We are keeping a close eye out for any upcoming announcements from the Supreme Court on possible statewide court closures or limitations.

We are continuously monitoring the decisions of the courts and the CDC’s Guidelines to ensure the safety of our staff and clients across all offices and states.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have. Stay safe and stay well.