Answers to top questions from “Courts in the time of COVID” webinar

Catch up on answers to how courts are reacting to the pandemic after the Courts in the time of COVID webinar from Legal Up Summer Sessions 2020.

We are thrilled to share that Week 1 of Legal Up Summer Sessions was a huge hit! Thanks to our presenters, Vanessa Davis, Vice President of Product at One Legal, and Richard Heinrich, Senior Director of Sales & Marketing at One Legal, as well as the more than 600 attendees who made this webinar a fun and informative deep dive into how California courts are reacting to the pandemic.

With such an important topic, it’s no surprise that there were more questions than we had time to answer during the live webinar. So, Richard and Vanessa have taken time to share additional answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Where to watch?

Missed the webinar? Not a problem! You can watch a recording and download a copy of the slides on the Legal Up Week 1 page. We’ll make it available until September 18. Watch now>>

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Frequently asked questions

If you joined us on the live webinar or are caught up after watching the recording, here are some follow-up answers to the most frequently asked questions.

What will happen next?

Many of your questions involved what we should all expect in the coming months and years. Will these circumstances cause the courts to rethink their current processes and adjust for good? Will we see a shift in how many cases get dismissed? Will existing technology be replaced in the long term?

These are great questions, but the only real answer is that we don’t know. No one does. So we will all get to find out together what long term impact this pandemic will have on our courts, as well as on our society.

What would I cite regarding the rule for mandatory electronic service?

Vanessa: Electronic service was made mandatory on April 17th in Emergency Rule 12 from California State. This rule states that “A party represented by counsel, who has appeared in an action or proceeding, must accept electronic service of a notice or document that may be served by mail, express mail, overnight delivery, or facsimile transmission.”

You can find Emergency Rule 9 and 13, which we also referenced, also at the below link.

Read the Emergency Rules>>

Does the mandatory eService apply to eDiscovery as well?

Vanessa: The rule does not specify filings, and so could be interpreted to apply to any documents that could be served via physical methods.

How long were statutes of limitations extended for under Emergency Rule 9? And does this apply to all case types?

Vanessa: Under Emergency Rule 9, statutes of limitation and repose for civil causes of action that exceed 180 days are tolled from April 6 to October 1, 2020. For those civil causes of action that have statutes of less than 180 days, those statutes are tolled from April 6 to August 3, 2020.

How long is the moratorium on evictions?

 Vanessa: As of August 13, 2020, the Judicial Council voted to end temporary emergency rules on evictions and foreclosures.

Keep in mind that more than 100 California cities and counties have also enacted their own moratoria so the answer in your area will also depend on what the controlling law there is. If there are different deadlines among the governing state, county, and local law in your jurisdiction, it seems like the most tenant-favorable deadline will control.

Is the Judicial Council of California looking at how other states are handling the crisis? Are all states experiencing the same issues without clear solutions?

Richard: Yes, they absolutely are. During recent meetings of the Council, there has been frequent discussion of how other states have been handling the crisis. The state courts also frequently cooperate and share information through organizations such as the National Center for State Courts.

What is defined as a backlog for courts?

Richard: In the presentation, we talked about a “backlog” in two senses.

First, the short-term backlog of filings that had been submitted while the courts were closed and which needed to be processed. For example, San Diego Superior Court shut down its eFiling system from late March until late May, meaning that any filings that were submitted during that time simply built up in a queue to be processed later.

Second, we discussed the state’s backlog of civil cases. This backlog is simply the number of cases that have been initiated but have not yet been disposed. The proportion of newly created cases that are disposed is called the Case Clearance Rate. When more cases are disposed than are initiated (as was the case in 2017 and 2018) the backlog decreases in size. When more cases are initiated than are disposed, as is happening right now, the backlog grows.

Even if the courts are backlogged, do documents get filed with date received?

Richard: Documents that have been filed electronically are filed with the date submitted, as long as they are accepted. Physically filed documents are filed with the date the clerk processes them.

What can I do if I have a document waiting to be processed in Orange County?

Richard: If you have specific questions about your filing, please direct them to the clerk. The Court has provided an online portal to accept filing-related questions:

Visit the Court’s portal>>

How are the courts and One Legal handling courtesy copies?

Vanessa: Some courts and judges still require physical courtesy copies to be delivered after you have submitted your filing, although some have changed their rules in response to the pandemic. Most haven’t specified one way or the other. It’s important to review your local and departmental rules to ensure you are aware of any changes. One Legal continues to deliver courtesy copies to courts when you order them.

How can I contact the presenters?

Find us on LinkedIn and Twitter! Feel free to reach out!

Vanessa Davis



Richard Heinrich




Join us for more Legal Up Summer Sessions in the coming weeks. Learn more and sign up>>

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