A summary of local court statuses as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown
Illinois courts acted quickly in an effort to curtail the COVID-19 outbreak. Even before Governor Pritzker’s issuance of a shelter-in-place order, courts issued orders around their operations in response to the crisis. As a result, a significant portion of civil litigation will be on hold for the time being. Below is an up-to-date list of Chicago-area courts’ statuses as they relate to civil cases.
United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
On March 17, 2020, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered Amended General Order 20-0012 (the Order), which is effective through Friday, April 3, 2020. Pursuant to the Order, all trials, hearings and settlement conferences scheduled through April 3 are stricken and will be reset by the presiding judge on or after Monday, April 6, 2020. Further, any deadline set by rule or court order through April 3 is continued for 21 days. Note, however, that the deadline to file a notice of appeal remains in effect. Importantly, electronic filing remains accessible and the local rule on emergency motions remains in effect; any hearing on an emergency motion would be by video or phone conferencing. On or before April 3, the Order will be vacated, amended or extended.
United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois
On March 19, 2020, the United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois, entered Amended General Order 20-03 (the Order), which is effective indefinitely. The Bankruptcy Court will be open during normal business hours but all hearings will be conducted telephonically using Court Solutions, LLC. Each judge will conduct hearings in accordance with a new schedule set forth in the Order. With respect to trials and evidentiary hearings, they may be continued and reset at the discretion of each judge. Deadlines set by rule or court order are unaffected. Electronic filing remains accessible.
Also, on March 16, 2020, the United States Trustee issued a notice for the United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois – Eastern Division (only), continuing all in-person Chapter 7, 12 and 13 section 341 meetings scheduled through Friday April 10, 2020. However, any section 341 meeting during this period may proceed by phone conferencing.
Illinois Supreme Court
On March 17, 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court ordered all Illinois courts to scale back operations to “essential mandated services” only. In general, civil litigation matters are not considered “essential” unless there is a situation that meets the particular court’s narrow definition of an “emergency.” In general, an “emergency” is a “sudden and unforeseen circumstance that may cause injury, loss of life or damage to property and that requires an urgent response and remedial action.”
Cook County Law Division
On March 17, 2020, the court’s motion section postponed all case management conferences and deadlines for eight weeks. The commercial and tax sections have postponed all case management conferences for approximately 30 days and all deadlines are postponed to the 30-day case management date (excluding current briefing deadlines on contested motions).
Cook County Chancery Division
On March 17, 2020, the court ordered that all hearings were postponed through April 15, 2020. All matters currently pending are continued for 30 days pending further order of the court. All mortgage foreclosures, evictions, orders of possessions or judicial sales are stayed for 30 days.
Cook County Municipal Department
On March 17, 2020, all hearings were postponed through April 15, 2020.
For 2nd Municipal (Skokie): All matters pending are reset for the specific date noted on the website.
For 3rd Municipal (Rolling Meadows): All matters must be reset by agreement or are continued for 60 days for pro se parties.
For 4th Municipal (Maywood): All pending matters are reset for the specific date noted on the website.
For 5th Municipal (Bridgeview): All pending matters are reset for the specific date noted on the website. Evictions are stayed until after April 15, 2020.
On March 18, 2020, the court generally continued all matters for 30 to 60 days. All hearings, pre-trial conferences and trials will be rescheduled by the court clerk. In the Law and Chancery Division, all contested motions scheduled during this time period will be decided without oral argument unless specifically requested by either party or the court hearing the matter. All foreclosures and evictions are continued through April 20, 2020.
On March 17, 2020, the court ordered all civil hearings cancelled through April 17, 2020, which will thereafter be reset automatically by the Circuit Clerk’s office with notice to be sent out to the parties of the new date. Generally, hearings will be reset for 35 days from the original date, unless otherwise set by the judge. For cases that are automatically continued, all Rule 218 and briefing schedule deadlines are automatically extended by 35 days without further court order.
Effective March 18, 2020, and until April 30, 2020, all civil cases will be continued automatically to a date after June 1, 2020, with notice to be sent out to the parties of the new date. Discovery in civil cases will continue as scheduled.
Hearings are being continued on a case-by-case basis, but are generally being postponed for 60 days. Previously scheduled judicial foreclosure sales have not been cancelled.
Hearings are being continued on a case-by-case basis for at least 35 days starting March 18, 2020. Eviction orders are stayed until April 20, 2020, and judicial sales are postponed until at least April 27, 2020.
Client Alert authored by:
Francisco E. Connell, Principal and leader of the Banking group
Edmond M. Burke, Principal
Brandon R. Freud, Principal
Michael W. Debre, Associate
Paulina Garga-Chmiel, Associate
Christopher A. Pellegrini, Associate
Aaron D. White Jr., Associate
This Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. communication is intended only to provide information regarding developments in the law and information of general interest. It is not intended to constitute advice regarding legal problems and should not be relied upon as such.