In San Diego County Superior Court, every day is Christmas – for scheduling purposes anyway.
By order of the presiding judge, Honorable Lorna A. Alksne, San Diego Superior Court has deemed every day from April 6th to April 30th a “holiday” for purposes of calculating deadlines. Click here for copy of the order. Every filing due during that period – whether a motion, opposition, jury fees, CMC statement, anything – is now due on the first weekday after April 30th.
The reason? COVID-19.
The global pandemic prompted the court a few weeks ago to close its doors except for a list of specified emergencies, mostly involving protecting public health and forestalling evictions. (For example: Although the court will accept emergency filings from tenants resisting evictions – which are banned at the moment – it will not hear pleas from landlords trying to evict. At this point, it’s better for landlords to work with tenants.)
For litigants waiting for their day in court, this extended April “holiday” can be a boon or a curse. For some litigants, it’s a time to prepare by drafting motions, locating documents, or preparing witnesses for depositions so that when the court reopens and starts accepting filings again, they can hit the ground running. For others – like commercial property owners who’ve been sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act – this is the time to fix architectural problems, assuming they can do the work without violating social distancing and other local, state, or federal guidelines, of course.
Importantly, federal courts and the California courts of appeal are still open. In those courts, the clock is still ticking. All papers have been filed electronically for years in the courts of appeal and U.S. District Courts, and they’ve issued no such “every day is a holiday” orders. In-person hearings have been canceled, but deadlines so far remain the same.
The situation changes daily as the Superior Court issues new orders to deal with the pandemic. We’ll stay on top of these developments and release updates like this when circumstances change. If you know anyone who’d benefit from these updates, please feel free to forward this update to them.