Chances are the COVID-19 pandemic has already affected your finances. It may also have wreaked havoc with your physical and mental health— either from getting the illness, or from so much anxiety caused by it, or even from sheer boredom brought on by the “shelter in place” laws in your state.
For many people, the pandemic has been absolutely devastating: it has interfered with their businesses, their jobs, their travel plans, their weddings and more.
While right now many of us are thinking only about when the “shelter in place” laws will be lifted, every day, the fact that the pandemic is going to have far-reaching impacts on all aspects of our lives is becoming more apparent.
For example, if you happened to be involved in a lawsuit before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, you may not be surprised to learn that the nation’s response to the disease may very have an impact on the future progress of your litigation.
In law, it is pretty much a given that litigation is expensive and time-consuming. Even a simple lawsuit can take months, if not years, to work its way through the courts. How long it will take is different in each case and depends on any number of factors, such as:
- How complex the case is
- How many parties are involved
- How much discovery is required
- How acrimonious the parties are.
In addition to the above, another major contributing factor to delays is the backlog of cases that most courts struggle with. Because our court system is generally overburdened, it takes a long time for any case to move its way through the legal system.
Litigation Delays caused by the Response to COVID-19
The recent pandemic is contributing significantly to delays in having legal matters heard and handled by the courts.
While the courts are not completely shut down, the courts are only open to the extent feasible, in order to provide “essential functions.” Primarily, these include the handling and processing of criminal cases or other cases that may affect a person’s health, safety or liberty.
After declaring an initial judicial state of emergency to April 13, Georgia’s Supreme Court recently extended the state of emergency to May 13. Because of the “social distancing” required due to the pandemic, for the first time in its history, the court will hear oral argument via teleconferencing.
Because all but essential functions have been suspended, most civil disputes (e.g., breach of contract actions, partitions, etc.) will take longer to process and will move much more slowly through the court system. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic also means that once the restrictions are lifted, the backlog of cases will be far greater than ever before.
While the current judicial state of emergency does not mean that your legal matter will “never” be resolved, it will, in all probability, mean that what was already a slow process will take far longer.
Real Estate Attorneys in Georgia.
For more than 30 years, the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein has focused on all aspects of real estate law and litigation. We are located in Cumming, Georgia, but we serve clients in and around Atlanta, Marietta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Kennesaw, Forsyth County, and a number of other counties in Georgia. Call us at 770-888-7707, or contact us here, or send inquiries by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.