Articles Posted in COVID-19 & Businesses

covid-court-300x200In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State and Federal Court in California have become severely backlogged. For months, the courts were closed entirely, hearing only the most urgent cases (such as domestic violence, restraining orders and other protective order type cases). The courts have slowly expanded operations and started hearing other non-urgent matters by video conference. Unfortunately, jury tirals are still on hold and these limited operations have not begun to make a significant dent in the major backlog of cases to be heard. There is a reported backlog of over a thousand criminal trials in California courts. Criminal defendants have the right to a speedy trial, so these cases must generally be given priority over civil matters.

California Statutes That Create Civil Trial Preferences

Without any relief, the current backlog means that it could be months or even years before a civil case is scheduled for trial on a normal court docket. That being said, the California Code of Civil Procedure does create specific categories that allow a civil case to be given preference in trial scheduling. An experienced civil litigator can explain which, if any, of the following circumstances apply to an individual’s case:

AdobeStock_336124038-300x200The coronavirus pandemic has caused drastic changes in almost every facet of life in California. For instance, federal, state, and local courts are all facing a major backlog. Many courts were shut down entirely for months, open to only the most urgent cases (such as restraining orders). Now courts have reopened, but many are operating at reduced capacity, meaning they have been making slow progress through the serious backlog of cases. Litigants should be aware of how this backlog will affect their legal claims.

The Incentive to Settle

Parties have the option of settling their claims out of court before trial. Whether they choose to do so depends on a wide range of factors, including:

AdobeStock_359915477-300x200Existing employee safety laws can be applied to workers who are exposed to the coronavirus. While it is not yet clear exactly how insurance companies and courts will treat these claims, what is clear is that employers must take precautions to mitigate their liability for COVID-19 exposure in the workplace.

How to Minimize Your Liability for Exposure

In almost every type of civil case, the defendant’s conduct is measured against a standard of reasonable behavior. There are a few instances of strict liability, in which the defendant is liable no matter how reasonable their behavior, but these are limited to inherently dangerous scenarios that are clearly defined under existing torts law.

Flatten-Curve-COVID-300x115Is your business in compliance? The guidelines for operating your business while preventing the spread of COVID-19 are constantly changing. As your trusted business advisors, we would like to keep you updated with the most relevant information. It is imperative that you update your business’s Social Distancing Protocol to stay in compliance or your business could be fined by the County or forced to close.

Per the July 13th Statewide Public Health Officer Order, all bars, pubs, breweries and brewhouses whether indoors or outdoors must close. Indoor operations for the following businesses have also been restricted:

  • Dine-in restaurants must close indoor seating, but may continue operating outdoor dining, takeout and delivery.
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