Excerpted from Law.com by ALM Staff

Judicial systems across the nation have implemented a patchwork of policies to deal with the virus, including canceling in-person hearings or requiring litigants to alert the court if they feel ill.

A patchwork of courts across the nation are acting in different ways to protect staff and visitors as concerns over COVID-19 spreads throughout the legal community.

In New York, a key federal trial court announced it is prohibiting guests who have visited certain affected countries from entering its Manhattan building. On the opposite coast in Seattle, which is also dealing with the outbreak, all proceedings requiring in-person hearings have been suspended.

The policy announced by the Southern District of New York Monday followed news that two local attorneys during the past week have been diagnosed with the illness, also known as coronavirus.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, where one of the lawyers works, closed its New York City offices as a precaution this week and implemented a work from home policy. The other lawyer works at Lewis and Garbuz, a small Midtown Manhattan law firm.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit also acted late Monday afternoon, sending out calendar notices to litigants slated to appear for oral arguments from March 17-20. The notice asks lawyers to notify the court if they have a fever, cough, shortness of breath or if they have been exposed to anyone in the past 14 days who may have COVID-19. “This will enable the Court to reschedule an argument that might otherwise risk spreading the Coronavirus,” the notice said.
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