March 18, 2020

First things first: As we navigate the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, our primary concern is for the health and safety of you, your families, and those with whom you work. We have all received, in one form or another, sound advice as to hand washing, social distancing, and other recommendations that will contribute to stemming the tide of the virus. If we all follow these recommendations, we will be in the best position to meet the challenges we face.

If your case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (that sits in Chicago):

  1. All deadlines are automatically extended by 21 days from the current schedule.
  2. All hearings, trials and settlement conferences scheduled from March 17, 2020 to April 3, 2020 are stricken from the court calendar and will be rescheduled after April 6, 2020. The only exception is a deadline concerning an appeal from a decision of the District Court. We anticipate that given the current public health concerns, the appellate court will be amenable to granting motions to extend the time within which appeals must be filed.
  3. We can still seek emergency relief where necessary (e.g., a temporary restraining order) but the courts are likely to highly scrutinize any such request to make sure it is, indeed, a true emergency.
  4. Filings of complaints, answers, and motions will continue to be made electronically.
  5. The discovery process in pending cases will continue. This includes the exchange of documents and information between the parties. Depositions will likely not occur until things settle down.

If your case is pending in state court in Cook County, Illinois:

  1. All matters are rescheduled and continued for 30 days.
  2. All judges and court employees have been advised to work remotely, and to conduct court business telephonically.
  3. Judges will still be available to handle true emergency matters.
  4. Until further notice, no final judgments or execution of judgments will be entered in mortgage foreclosure proceedings.
  5. The discovery process in pending cases will continue. This includes the exchange of documents and information between the parties. Depositions will likely not occur until things settle down.
  6. Filings of complaints, answers, and motions will continue to be made electronically.

Similar rules are now in effect for other counties in Illinois and in other states where your cases are pending.

All these new rules are subject to change. We will continue to monitor and update you as we receive new information.

Given the uncertainty with how and when this crisis will resolve, and its impact on you and your business, determining next steps for your case will remain in a short-term holding pattern. That said, it is always a good idea to ask the following questions:

  1. What is my end goal for the litigation? Has it changed since I decided to sue or were required to defend the case?
  2. Have any of the facts or circumstances changed such that your litigation strategy requires a different focus and direction?
  3. Are you still in a financial position to continue to prosecute or defend the case?
  4. Has the potential recovery in the case increased, decreased, or stayed the same?
  5. Has the potential damages exposure in the case increased, decreased, or stayed the same?

While these are questions that we always ask during a litigation matter, the current times in which we live require even more critical analysis.

Your Much litigator stands ready to discuss these issues or any others that you may have as we all work together to weather this storm.

This article contains material of general interest and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. Under applicable rules of professional conduct, this content may be regarded as attorney advertising.