A Capehart Scatchard Blog

New Jersey State Courts Gradually Reopening

By on June 12, 2020 in Other with 0 Comments

The New Jersey Supreme Court has approved the first part of the New Jersey Courts Post Pandemic Plan for transitioning from fully remote court operations (Phase 1) to the gradual return to courthouse and court facilities (Phase 2). The courts will begin the implementation of Phase 2 starting on June 22, 2020.

Up until June 21, 2020, the courts have essentially been in remote operation with buildings closed to attorneys and the public. Starting on this date, 10-15% of judges and staff will be onsite. Certain matters that cannot proceed remotely may be conducted onsite. As part of this plan, all who enter public areas of the courthouse are required to wear masks.

Remote operations will continue though as required during the public health emergency (extended through July 5, 2020). The courts are monitoring COVID-19 and will adjust reopening plans based upon COVID-19 trends.

The Plan includes Phase 3 and Phase 4. Under Phase 3, there will be ongoing remote operations with gradually increasing onsite events, including new jury trials; 50-75% of judges and staff onsite (with staggered schedules).

Phase 4 does not occur until either a vaccine is available and/or herd immunity is established with 75-80% of judges and staff onsite.

During Phase 2, subject to social distancing and other requirements, in the absence of consent to proceed remotely, bench trials and hearings may be conducted in person if especially complex (at a minimum, involving numerous parties or witnesses or significant evidence in a format that cannot be handled remotely, such as physical evidence or videos.)

No information was provided as to when the court would transition into Phase 3 and beyond.

As of now, civil jury trials remain suspended. The bar has been told by various judges that when trials do resume, that criminal trials will start first due to the criminal backlog and speedy trial law. Realistically, the bar is not expecting civil trials to start until later in the fall or next year.

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Betsy G. Ramos

About the Author

About the Author:

Ms. Ramos is an Executive Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Litigation Department at Capehart Scatchard, P.A. located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She is an experienced litigator with over 25 years experience handling diverse matters. Practice areas include tort defense, business litigation, estate litigation, tort claims and civil rights defense, construction litigation, insurance coverage, employment litigation, shareholder disputes, and general litigation.

For the years 2020 and 2021, Ms. Ramos was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the practice area of Litigation - Insurance. The attorneys on this list are selected based upon the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area. A complete description of The Best Lawyers in America© methodology can be viewed via their website at: https://www.bestlawyers.com/methodology.

In 2021, Capehart Scatchard and Ms. Ramos received the “Best Law Firm” ranking in the area of Litigation – Insurance (Metro, Tier 3) published by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®. Law firms included on the list are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have at least one attorney who has been included in the current edition of Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top five percent of practicing lawyers in the United States. Betsy Ramos (Litigation – Insurance) was recognized for this prestigious award in the 2021 edition. For a description of the “Best Law Firm” selection methodology please visit: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx.

“Best Law Firms” is published by Best Lawyers in partnership with U.S. News & World Report. For a description of the selection methodology please visit: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx.

*No aspect of this advertisement has been submitted to or approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

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