The Louisiana Supreme Court issued two new orders dated April 29 in its continuing response to the evolving government mandates regarding COVID-19. Throughout this pandemic, the Louisiana Supreme Court has intentionally operated to contribute to slowing the Coronavirus by practicing social distancing, and following stay home mandates whenever possible throughout the state’s courts. Recently Governor John Bel Edwards indicated that these actions and those of other levels of government are proving effective in slowing the spread in Louisiana. “While we cannot return to complete normalcy at this time, this news is encouraging,” Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson said. “We will continue to proceed in alignment with the state, with measured, cautionary progression, prioritizing our citizens’ safety while keeping the fairness of justice at the forefront.”
Acting under the authority of Article V, Section 1 and 5 of the Constitution of 1974, and the inherent power of this Court, and considering the continuing spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards’ declaration of public health emergencies in Proclamation Numbers 25 JBE 2020, 27 JBE 2020, 30 JBE 2020, 33 JBE 2020, 41 JBE 2020 and Governor Edwards’ extension of emergency provisions announced on April 27, 2020, President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on March 13, 2020, the Order of this Court dated April 6, 2020, as amended on April 22, 2020, and in consideration of ongoing public health recommendations to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus and slowing the spread of the disease while balancing the need to protect the constitutional rights and public safety of the citizens of the state by maintaining access to Louisiana courts, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued the following two orders.
The first Order addresses statewide court operations to extend the prohibition on in-person proceedings until May 18, 2020 and reads as follows:
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
Prior Order: All provisions of the April 6, 2020 Order of this Court, as modified on April 22, 2020, shall remain in place, except as expressly modified herein. To the extent that proceedings can be conducted by remote conferencing, judges are encouraged to conduct all court matters.
In-Person Proceedings: The prohibition on in-person proceedings (except as expressly permitted in the April 6, 2020 Order) is hereby extended until May 18, 2020.
The second Order extends filing deadlines for the Louisiana Supreme Court and reads as follows:
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
All filings which were or are due to this Court between Thursday, March 12, 2020 through Friday, May 15, 2020 shall be considered timely if filed no later than Monday, May 18, 2020. Parties who are unable to meet this deadline due to the COVID-19 emergency may submit motions for extensions of time, supported by appropriate documentation and argument.