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  • Writer's pictureBrett Weiss

Federal/Bankruptcy Courts to Begin Reopening

This morning (May 22, 2020), Chief Judge Bredar of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland issued a new Standing Order 2020-11. The Order indicates that there will be a slowly phased reopening of the U.S. District Court in Maryland, with many hearings and proceedings to continue to be handled remotely by telephone and videoconference.

In the U.S. District Court, all civil and criminal juries scheduled for trial before June 30, 2020 are postponed. Some civil jury trials can begin after July 1, 2020, and some criminal jury trials can begin after August 1, 2020, at the discretion of the presiding judge. Otherwise, all existing hearings, trials, and proceedings will take place as currently scheduled.

Several paragraphs of the Order specifically deals with bankruptcy cases:

ORDERED that all bankruptcy hearings, trials, and proceedings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland currently scheduled to commence after June 5, 2020, shall continue as presently scheduled, unless otherwise ordered or rescheduled by the presiding judge. To the extent the parties jointly believe an existing schedule needs to be adjusted, they should submit their proposal to the presiding judge in writing; and it is further

ORDERED that the provision of Standing Order 2020-07, extending all filing deadlines originally set to fall between March 16, 2020, and June 5, 2020, by eighty-four (84) days, remains in effect without further extension, unless otherwise ordered by the presiding judge in an individual case or by administrative order of the Bankruptcy Court. In other words, unless the presiding judge entered a subsequent order setting a different deadline, or an administrative order established a different deadline, the filing deadline will be the originally scheduled date, plus eighty-four days. If counsel is unable to meet a filing deadline while remaining in full compliance with orders and public health guidance relating to COVID-19, counsel should seek an extension of time from the presiding judge. Existing discovery deadlines falling after June 5, 2020 will be enforced, unless otherwise extended by the presiding judge. In the District Court, civil discovery deadlines and procedures are addressed by separate order; and it is further

ORDERED that, although physical access to the Courthouses presently remains restricted, the Court remains open for all filings and for proceedings that may occur by audio and/or video teleconference...

We are awaiting clarification on how this Order will affect other aspects of proceedings in the Bankruptcy Court and expect Chief Judge Catliota to issue an Order shortly explaining how the Bankruptcy Court will be implementing it.

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