Judge James P. Flannery, Presiding Judge of the Law Division of the Cook County Circuit Court (which hears civil matters alleging at least $50,000 in damages), issued a comprehensive 37-page order Thursday (July 2, 2020) that will ensure that those cases can continue to be prepared for trial or settlement during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Keith A. Hebeisen, partner at Clifford Law Offices and past President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association says, “The entire country has been affected by this pandemic. Certain activities, including live court appearances, are just not safe yet. For that reason, the judges of the Cook County Circuit Court Law Division have been working remotely since March, just like the lawyers and millions of other Americans. Everyone wants cases to move forward, and it will take everyone working together to ensure that justice is not denied or unduly delayed. Since March, the courts have done the best they can to confront this unprecedented crisis. The courts are open to business as usual, with jury trials remaining as the only exception. I have no doubt that in time, jury trials will resume in a modified manner to limit any risk to participants, including jurors.”
Judge Flannery ordered that all court operations of the division shall resume with the caveat that until further order of the court all proceedings will be conducted by remote means without appearing physically in the courthouse. That means that almost all court proceedings (statuses, motions, and hearings) will be conducted by video, teleconference, or email submission. Non-jury trials also will be proceeding remotely. Lawyers are also expected to proceed with depositions remotely if necessary to avoid unsafe exposure of witnesses, lawyers, and court reporters to the virus.
Jury trials that have been or are set for this year are being given “Trial Setting” dates for 2021 while the court system adjusts to hundreds of people congregating at the Daley Center and still honoring social distancing policies in place in the state.
To speak to at attorney at Clifford Law Offices about your case filed in the Cook County Circuit Court please contact Clifford Law Offices’ Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909 (cell).