The novel coronavirus outbreak has had a significant impact on courts and legal cases across the country, including those in North Carolina.
As COVID-19 developments continue to unfold, our team at Edwards Kirby hopes everyone stays safe and healthy, and would like to provide an update on our firm, North Carolina Courts, and the coronavirus’ impact on legal cases.
Our Firm is Fully Operational
Though Stay-at-Home orders and social distancing are shuttering businesses and slowing the progress of justice in many U.S. jurisdictions, Edwards Kirby remains fully operational.
Our firm will continue to serve existing clients and their cases by leveraging remote technology, secure platforms, and alternative means of communication. We also remain available to help new and potential clients who have questions about their serious injury, medical malpractice, civil rights, or employment law cases, and are offering free consultations via phone, e-mail, and video conferencing.
North Carolina Courts
While courthouses and most courts in North Carolina remain open for essential legal matters, officials must curtail trips to local courts to reduce community spread of COVID-19.
Other developments and directives are also impacting legal cases in the state:
On March 13, 2020, an announcement from Chief Justice Cheri Beasley directed local courts to postpone most superior and district court proceedings for at least 30 days (effective March 16, 2020) with some exceptions. The exceptions are as follows:
- Proceedings that can and will be conducted remotely;
- Proceedings necessary to preserve the right to due process of law (e.g., a first appearance, bond hearing, probation hearing, probable cause hearing);
- Proceedings for emergency injunctive relief;
- Proceedings that the senior resident superior court judge determines to be safe given it is conducted under conditions that protect the health and safety of all participants;
- Proceedings in which a jury has already been empaneled.
On March 15, 2020, Chief Justice Beasley issued a memorandum providing guidance to local judges, clerks and DAs to implement social distancing in the court system. For example, any motions or hearings that cannot be postponed, will be conducted via teleconference or through other remote technologies. Small claims proceedings must be postponed.
On March 19, 2020, Chief Justice Beasley issued an order extending filing deadlines and further curtailing court processes. The order states that documents due to be filed from March 16 to April 17 will be deemed timely filed if received before the close of business on April 17, 2020.
You can find additional COVID-19 updates affecting North Carolina Courts here.
Edwards Kirby: Committed to Clients & Cases Amid COVID-19
Although there is likely to be some disruption in pending cases, these restrictions do not affect any new claims coming in.
At Edwards Kirby, our legal team is still able to field and evaluate new cases, meet with new clients, investigate claims, and advocate for clients. Complaints can still be filed, defendants can be served, and our firm can communicate fully with any insurance providers that may be pertinent to the case. Additionally, we have the technological capability to conduct video consultations in lieu of face-to-face meetings for both new and existing clients.
Our firm is actively reviewing cases, and has staff available remotely to field any questions or concerns regarding incoming legal questions. If you have a potential case in Raleigh or the state of North Carolina, contact us to request a free and confidential consultation.