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COVID-19: Several States Toll Statutes of Limitations on Legal Actions

Maurice Wutscher Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource CenterA number of states have tolled the statutes of limitations on legal actions in response to COVID-19.

The Iowa Supreme Court announced a toll on statutes of limitations in a March 17 order regarding court procedures. According to a March 23 operations summary from the Iowa Judicial Branch: “The March 17th order is intended to toll the statute of limitations or similar deadline for commencing an action in district court by 48 days. Tolling means you add that amount of time to the statute of limitations. So, for example, if the statute would otherwise run on April 8, 2020, it now runs on May 26, 2020 (48 days later).” The Judicial Branch Operations Summary is available here.

In Louisiana, Proclamation Number JBE 2020-30 tolled the statutes of limitations “at least until Monday, April 13, 2020.” All other deadlines in all courts were also “suspended” to April 13.

On March 13, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana entered Administrative Order 2020-1 under which “[p]rescriptive, preemptive and statute of limitation deadlines are hereby interrupted until April 13, 2020.”

On March 13, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts issued Standing Order 2-20 which tolled all statutes of limitations from March 17 through April 21, 2020. “Unless otherwise ordered by a judge in a specific case, all deadlines set forth in statutes or court rules, standing orders, or guidelines that would otherwise expire before April 21, 2020, are extended to that date.” In addition, orders after an adversarial hearing before March 17, which are set to expire before April 21, 2020shall remain in effect until the matter is rescheduled and heard.” The standing order is available here.

By order of the Supreme Court of New Hampshire “[d]eadlines set forth in court rules, court orders, statutes, ordinances, administrative rules, administrative orders or otherwise that are set to expire between March 16 and April 6, 2020 are hereby extended to April 7, 2020. Statutes of limitations and statutes of repose that would otherwise expire during the period between March 16 and April 6, 2020 are hereby extended to April 7, 2020.” A copy of the order is available here.

On March 17, the New Jersey Supreme Court ordered that “[i]n the computation of time periods under the Rules of Court and under any statute of limitations for matters in all courts, for purposes of filing deadlines, March 16 through March 27, 2020 shall be deemed the same as a legal holiday.”

On March 20, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tolled the statute of limitations for “any legal action, notice, motion or other process” from March 20, 2020 to April 19, 2020. Executive Order 202.8 is available here.

On March 16, the Oklahoma Supreme Court entered Order SCAD No. 2020-24 which “extended” the statute of limitations in “any civil case” for 30 days from the date of the order. In addition, the order also suspended “all deadlines and procedures whether prescribed by statute, rule or order in any civil, juvenile or criminal case,” subject to constitutional restrictions, for 30 days from the date of the order and “applies to appellate rules and procedures for the Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, and the Court of Civil Appeals.”

On March 16, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued an order allowing individual judicial districts to “suspend time calculations for the purposes of time computation relevant to court cases or other judicial business, as well as time deadlines, subject to constitutional restrictions.” Both the Commonwealth Court and the Superior Court have since issued orders suspending or tolling various filings. Please refer to the Unified Judicial System’s website for these orders.

The Supreme Court of Tennessee entered an order suspending non-essential, in-person proceedings and extended deadlines set forth in court rules, statutes, and administrative rules, including statutes of limitations, that are set to expire during the period from March 13 through May 5, 2020, through May 6, 2020. Deadlines, statutes of limitations, and statutes of repose that are not set to expire during the period from March 13, 2020, May 5, 2020, are not extended or tolled by this order. A copy of the order is available here.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas entered Special Order No. 13-5 on March 13, under which “[a]ll deadlines are suspended and tolled for all purposes, including the statute of limitations, from today through May 1, 2020.”

On March 16, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia entered an order declaring a judicial emergency in the district and circuit courts, stating “all deadlines” are “hereby tolled and extended, pursuant to Va. Code § 17.1-330(D),” for a period of 21 days. “This order tolls and extends the time limit for filings related to appeals under Part 5 of the Rules of Court, including but not limited to the deadline for filing the notice of appeal under Rule 5:9 and all filing deadlines pertaining to transcripts and written statements of fact as set forth in Rule 5:11, and for filing the petition for appeal under Rule 5:17.

The tolling and extension referenced in the March 16 order applies to all filings related to appeals to the Court of Appeals that are filed in a circuit court. All deadlines in the Court of Appeals that run from the filing of the record in that court remain unaffected; however, parties remain free to seek extensions of time in the Court of Appeals.” The order is available here.

UPDATES:

On March 19, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont entered Executive Order No. 7G suspending “all statutory (1) location or venue requirements; (2) time requirements, statutes of limitation or other limitations or deadlines relating to service of process, court proceedings or court filings; and (3) all time requirements or deadlines related to the Supreme, Appellate and Superior courts or their judicial officials to issue notices, hold court, hear matters and/or render decisions. . .” In addition, EO No. 7G suspended “Non-Critical Court Operations.” Hat-tip to Russell London, Esq., London & London, Newington, CT.

HB 197 passed both chambers of the Ohio legislature on March 25. A provision tolls causes of action “set to expire between March 9, 2020, and July 30, 2020” in civil cases “as provided under any section in Chapter 2305. of the Revised Code, or under any other provision of the Revised Code that applies to the cause of action.” Hat-tip to Trudy Craig, Esq. of Unifund for providing background on the bill.

We are continuing to review orders, legislation, and proclamations and expect this list to grow. Please share with me any you find at dmaurice@mauricewutscher.com and I’ll add them to the list.

For additional updates on the impact of COVID-19 on the financial services industry, click here.

Maurice Wutscher LLP will present a webinar, “Don’t Let COVID-19 Take Control of Your Business,” on Friday, April 3 at 4 pm ET. Click here to register.

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Donald Maurice provides counsel to the financial services industry, successfully litigating matters in the state and federal courts in individual and class actions. He has successfully argued before the Third, Fourth and Eighth Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeals, and has represented the financial services industry before several courts including as counsel for amicus curiae before the United States Supreme Court. He counsels clients in regulatory actions before the CFPB, and other federal and state regulators and in the development and testing of debt collection compliance systems. Don is peer-rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell, the worldwide guide to lawyers. In addition to being a frequent speaker and author on consumer financial services law, he serves as outside counsel to RMA International, on the governing Board of Regents of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers and on the Governing Committee of the Conference on Consumer Finance Law. From 2014 to 2017, he chaired the ABA's Bankruptcy and Debt Collection Subcommittee. For more information, see https://mauricewutscher.com/attorneys/donald-maurice/

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