U.S. markets close in 4 hours 51 minutes

How courts are handling coronavirus outbreak

Stephanie Pagones

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox.  Sign up here.

The new coronavirus pandemic has caused most aspects of American life to come to a halt – with states across the country ordering residents to stay inside and keep their distance from others unless absolutely necessary.

As of Thursday afternoon, at least 76,514 COVID-19 cases were reported nationwide, resulting in 1,093 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.

UNEXPECTED ‘ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES’ IDENTIFIED AMID CORONAVIRUS

As officials, regardless of region, continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, many have instituted changes in their court system as one way of further curtailing the spread. Here’s how courts in some of the most populated states nationwide have responded:

CALIFORNIA

California was the first state to take the drastic measure of effectively shutting down, asking residents to shelter in place unless they need to attend to essential business or activities.

The state reported 3,247 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday afternoon, the third-worst in the nation, according to the Johns Hopkins data.

Courts fall within the description of “essential services,” according to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order, but California’s chief justice, Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, announced Monday the state’s court system would discontinue jury trials for at least 60 days, according to a press release posted to the court system’s website.

POLICING AMID CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC: HOW THESE BIG CITIES ARE RESPONDING

Cantil-Sakauye attributed the decision to the inability to ensure court officials could “meet stringent health directives,” such as those associated with social distancing and limiting the number of people who gather at once.

"Even if court facilities could allow for sufficient social-distancing, the closure of schools means that many court employees, litigants, witnesses, and potential jurors cannot leave their homes to attend court proceedings because they must stay home to supervise their children,” she said. “These restrictions have also made it nearly impossible for courts to assemble juries."

In addition to suspending jury trials, Cantil-Sakauye extended the period of time allotted for beginning criminal and civil matters.

TEXAS

Texas’ Judicial Branch has taken a number of steps amid the pandemic, which has sickened at least 1,439 people in the state, data shows.

On March 13, court officials were ordered to change or suspend all court deadlines to 30 days from the date that Texas’ “State of Disaster” has been lifted. Judges can also use their discretion in allowing such deadline extensions to also apply to statutes of limitations, according to the court's website.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE LATEST CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

Officials were also required to allow anyone involved in a case to call or video into the scheduled hearings and to allow any sworn statements gathered via teleconferencing or video conferencing to be accepted as evidence.

Days later, on March 18, judges were further barred from conducting nonessential court proceedings in person, per the governor’s executive order, which limited in-person gatherings to 10 people.

All eviction proceedings were prohibited until at least after April 19, 2020, the same date on which new eviction filings could be resumed.

The state’s Office of Court Administration recommended officials “delay in-person proceedings of any size until at least May 1.”

WHAT IS MARTIAL LAW? 

The court’s website provides a list of court closures – with the reason being listed as “Pandemic” – and dates when they expect to be reopened.

FLORIDA

Florida’s court system postponed all “non-essential” proceedings on March 18, 2020, until March 27, though the website does not include any information about what will happen at the conclusion of this week – whether nonessential matters will resume or if they will be further postponed.

The following types of proceedings were considered essential, according to the website:

  • “First appearance;
  • “Criminal arraignments as necessary;
  • “Hearings on motions to set or modify monetary bail for individuals who are in custody;
  • “Juvenile dependency shelter hearings;
  • “Juvenile delinquency detention hearings;
  • “Hearings on petitions for temporary injunctions relating to safety of an individual;
  • “Hearings on petitions for risk protection orders;
  • “Hearings on petitions for the appointment of an emergency temporary guardian;
  • “Hearings to determine whether an individual should be involuntarily committed under the Baker Act or the Marchman Act, and;
  • “Hearings on petitions for extraordinary writs as necessary to protect constitutional rights.”

Florida’s court system also allowed notaries and other accredited members to administer oaths remotely.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has been resistant to the execution of a statewide shelter-in-place order despite the urging of some local officials.

As of Thursday afternoon, at least 2,357 cases were reported in the Sunshine State, data shows.

NEW YORK

New York boasts the highest number of COVID-19 cases nationwide by far, with 37,678 people reportedly sickened as of Thursday afternoon.

The court system’s chief judge, Janet DiFiore, said New York City’s Criminal and Family Courts would be moving to a virtual model by Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, meaning all essential business would be conducted remotely.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SHELTER IN PLACE?

That said, New York state’s court system is open for critical, essential matters, while nonessential functions will be suspended until further notice. Similarly, nonessential filings will be accepted for the time being, excluding cases involving child protection and bail applications.

PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania has been hit with at least 1,691 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Thursday afternoon, data shows.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ordered all state courts closed to the public starting March 19, until at least April 3, 2020, barring any specified exceptions, according to an announcement posted to its website that declared a “General Statewide Judicial Emergency.”

The ruling also suspended Superior and Commonwealth Court functions and, in turn, extended deadlines until after the fact.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related Articles

  • Billionaire Steven Cohen Picks up These 2 Stocks on the Dip
    Business
    TipRanks

    Billionaire Steven Cohen Picks up These 2 Stocks on the Dip

    The Point72 Chairman and CEO has earned a reputation as one of the most successful stock pickers, with his firm relying on a core hedge fund strategy that features stock market investments. Less frequently, Point72, which is based in Stamford, Connecticut, will make plays based on macro trends, placing global wagers on several asset classes at the same time. With Cohen earning an estimated $1.3 billion in 2019 after the firm's main hedge fund posted a 14.9% gain, it's no wonder market watchers follow his moves religiously.

  • ‘The worst is behind us’ — the most attractive risk-reward in years means it is time to buy stocks, Morgan Stanley says
    Business
    MarketWatch

    ‘The worst is behind us’ — the most attractive risk-reward in years means it is time to buy stocks, Morgan Stanley says

    The worst may be very much ahead when it comes to the virus but Morgan Stanley's chief U.S. equity strategist Mike Wilson says that for stocks and investors the worst was behind us. Wilson said Sunday bear markets end with recessions and that stocks had reached a good entry point for investors. “With the forced liquidation of assets in the past month largely behind us, unprecedented and unbridled monetary and fiscal intervention led by the U.S. and the most attractive valuation we have seen since 2011, we stick to our recent view that the worst is behind us for this cyclical bear market that began two years ago, not last month,” Wilson said in a note.

  • Trump’s personal stake in the malaria-drug maker Sanofi could be as small as $99
    News
    MarketWatch

    Trump’s personal stake in the malaria-drug maker Sanofi could be as small as $99

    As President Donald Trump has persistently discussed the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, critics have wondered about his motivation, given the drug's far-from-certain performance on the global stage as a treatment for coronavirus, and the Food and Drug Administration's refusal so far to approve it as a treatment for COVID-19. The New York Times says Trump has a “small personal stake” in Sanofi, the French drug manufacturer that produces the drug. The report doesn't say how small, but it notes that his three family trusts have investments in a Dodge & Cox mutual fund whose largest holding is Sanofi.

  • Business
    TheStreet.com

    The Average 401(k) Balance by Age

    Average 401(k) Balance by Age Here are the average 401(k) balance by age range as of the second quarter of 2019, according to data released by Fidelity Investments. Ages 20-29 The average 401(k) balance was $11,800 The median 401(k) balance was $4,300 The average contribution rate was 7% of compensation Ages 30-39 The average 401(k) balance was $42,400 The median 401(k) balance was $16,500 The average contribution rate was 7.8% of compensation Ages 40-49 The average 401(k) balance was $102,700 The median 401(k) balance was $36,000 The average contribution rate was 8.5% of compensation Ages 50-59 The average 401(k) balance was $174,100 The median 401(k) balance was $60,900 The average contrib...

  • Business
    TheStreet.com

    The Average Doctor Salary by State and Specialty

    A career as a physician, whether you're a primary care doctor or a specialist, is a noble calling. Doctors adhere to the Hippocratic Oath, which stems from Greek medical history, and calls for physicians to swear to uphold the highest ethical standards in the service of medicine. It depends on what skills a good doctor brings to the table.

  • Gilead Generates Street Skepticism Ahead of Covid-19 Results
    Business
    Bloomberg

    Gilead Generates Street Skepticism Ahead of Covid-19 Results

    Results from a study of Gilead Sciences Inc.'s experimental Covid-19 medicine are top-of-mind for Wall Street as cases surpass 1.35 million and deaths approach 76,000. With a potential vaccine more than a year away, Gilead's antiviral remdesivir offers one of the nearest-term hopes for a treatment in the pandemic that's sweeping across the globe and putting many countries, including most of the U.S., on lockdown. After the company's valuation surged more than $20 billion from late January to early March, some Wall Street analysts are cautioning there may not be much more room for shares to gain.

  • Business
    U.S.News & World Report

    10 Cheap Dividend Aristocrats to Buy on the Dip

    Investing in a company that pays you no matter how the market performs sounds like exactly what investors need right now, and recent market volatility means that many dividend aristocrats are cheaper than they've been in years. Here are 10 cheap dividend aristocrats to buy -- each one is well-positioned to survive a recession while paying you a healthy dividend. If you're looking for defensive stocks to protect your portfolio, why not turn to the defense industry?

  • Bankers to small businesses: Don't do these things if you want to qualify for SBA loan relief program (PPP)
    Business
    American City Business Journals

    Bankers to small businesses: Don't do these things if you want to qualify for SBA loan relief program (PPP)

    A borrower can ask the SBA to forgive the loan and the interest if workers are not laid off. While community banks account for the majority of the 1,900 lenders that have processed PPP applications, interest from big banks customers are setting new records. Steve Jones, chief executive officer of Dogwood State Bank, one of North Carolina's newest community banks, said the bank has processed about 300 applications since Friday totaling about $80 million for an average of about $267,000 per borrower.

  • Carnival Shares Get Some Relief After Saudi Fund Buys Stake
    Business
    SmarterAnalyst

    Carnival Shares Get Some Relief After Saudi Fund Buys Stake

    Carnival Corp. s (CCL) shares climbed 21% after Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), on Monday disclosed an 8.2% stake in coronavirus-hit Carnival Corp. PIF made the offering for Carnival's 43.5 million shares worth about $369.3 million on March 26, according to the SEC filing.

  • ‘It would be unusual and unprecedented for a bear market to only last 30 days’: Wells Fargo Investment Institute President
    Business
    Yahoo Finance Video

    ‘It would be unusual and unprecedented for a bear market to only last 30 days’: Wells Fargo Investment Institute President

    Darrell Cronk, President of the Wells Fargo Investment Institute, joins Yahoo Finance's Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi to discuss how the markets are faring amid the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Luckin Coffee’s alleged fraud has some silver linings (and even more bad news too)
    Business
    TechCrunch

    Luckin Coffee’s alleged fraud has some silver linings (and even more bad news too)

    Chinese coffee chain super-brand Luckin Coffee has been in the spotlight the past week after the company revealed in an SEC filing that it has undertaken an internal investigation into an alleged $300 million fraud on the part of its former COO. The stock is down another 15% today as investors continue to comprehend the company's disclosure and its positioning in the competitive Chinese coffee market, where the company displaced Starbucks as the retail and delivery leader in just a few short years. On Monday, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said a group of lenders is putting 76.3 million of Luckin's American depositary shares up for sale, after an entity controlled by Luckin Chairman Charles Zhengyao Lu defaulted on the terms of a $518 million margin loan.

  • Exclusive: U.S. grants GE license to sell engines for China's new airplane
    Business
    Reuters

    Exclusive: U.S. grants GE license to sell engines for China's new airplane

    The Trump administration on Tuesday granted a license to General Electric Co to supply engines for China's new COMAC C919 passenger jet, a spokeswoman for the company said. Early this year, the United States was weighing whether to deny GE's latest license request to provide the CFM LEAP-1C engine for the narrow-body COMAC jet, which is expected to go into service next year. But in February, President Donald Trump intervened, blasting U.S. proposals that would prevent companies from supplying jet engines and other components to China's aviation industry.

  • Sprint deal comes with big payout for outgoing T-Mobile CEO
    Business
    American City Business Journals

    Sprint deal comes with big payout for outgoing T-Mobile CEO

    There was no question T-Mobile CEO John Legere would see a big payoff for closing the company's acquisition of Sprint – the question was how big it would be. SEC documents show that Legere was granted more than $50.52 million in stock at $85.13 per share, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents. His stock holdings in the company now total nearly 2.5 million shares.

  • Recent rally could be a 'bear market trap:' Miller Tabak strategist
    Business
    Yahoo Finance

    Recent rally could be a 'bear market trap:' Miller Tabak strategist

    The recent rallies on the Dow (^DJI) and S&P 500 (^GSPC) have some investors wondering if the worst of the market declines amid the COVID-19 pandemic are over. The Dow, which rose more than 1100 points on Monday, is trading around 20% above its' 52-week intraday low from March. The S&P 500 is up around 16% from its' March 23rd low.

  • Business
    Financial Times

    Can I cut our mortgage costs by negotiating a lower rate? 

    Interest rates remain very competitively priced with two-year fixed rates available below 1.30 per cent and five year deals from around 1.50 per cent at 65 per cent LTV. p Although there will be rates on offer that can undercut the current deal there will be some crucial elements in deciding whether a remortgage is a sensible option.

  • Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway sells off airline stocks, airline industry hit hard by virus
    Business
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway sells off airline stocks, airline industry hit hard by virus

    Warren Buffett's company Berkshire Hathaway sold off millions of dollars in shares from airline companies Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines, after the coronavirus pandemic slammed the airline industry. Yahoo Finance's On The Move panel breaks down the latest.

  • Only 9 of the world’s top 100 billionaires have gotten richer during the coronavirus pandemic — and all of them are Chinese
    Business
    MarketWatch

    Only 9 of the world’s top 100 billionaires have gotten richer during the coronavirus pandemic — and all of them are Chinese

    The world's ultrarich are probably not the first financial victims your thoughts go out to as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on the global economy. China's mercurial stock markets help explain this group of outliers. “China has been the relative winner, with its stock markets weathering the virus better than its U.S. and European counterparts,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher.

  • Investors should prepare for a coronavirus-induced ‘vicious spiral’ more than twice as bad as the financial crisis, says J.P. Morgan
    Business
    MarketWatch

    Investors should prepare for a coronavirus-induced ‘vicious spiral’ more than twice as bad as the financial crisis, says J.P. Morgan

    There is a widespread view on Wall Street that the stock market hit its lowest level of the bear market last month, and that a combination of an ebbing of the coronavirus in late spring and unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus will set the stage for a sharp rebound in corporate profits later this year. What's particularly troubling to Matejka is that the current recession has been triggered by a shock to the consumer — which makes up 70% of GDP in Western economies — as workers around the globe are prevented from earning a living by the closures of nonessential business. This dynamic has led J.P. Morgan economists to predict “only a gradual bottoming out in activity, such as seen after the Great Financial Crisis, and not a V-shaped one that we see, for example, after natural disasters.”

  • Gold Spreads Blow Out Again as Traders Withdraw in Fear
    Business
    Bloomberg

    Gold Spreads Blow Out Again as Traders Withdraw in Fear

    Gold traded in New York and London -- two markets that used to move in lockstep before the coronavirus crisis -- have diverged. An ounce of gold sold on the Comex was about $50 more expensive than in London on Tuesday. The same thing happened two weeks ago, when traders panicked that logistical disruptions and flight cancelations would create a shortage of gold bars in New York.

  • Zoom Video Communications Poses New Risk Parameters for Longs
    Business
    TheStreet.com

    Zoom Video Communications Poses New Risk Parameters for Longs

    For his first Executive Decision segment of "Mad Money" Monday, Jim Cramer spoke with Eric Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom Video Communications Inc. , an online meetings provider that has come under scrutiny for recent security issues. Yuan said over the past few weeks Zoom has experienced a surge in new users. Yuan said only in rare cases should meeting traffic go through China.

  • Business
    Barrons.com

    Big Luckin Coffee Investor Sells Entire Stake

    Luckin's (ticker: LK) American depositary receipts plunged on April 2 on news that Chief Operating Officer Jian Liu, along with several employees reporting to him, allegedly fabricated as much as $310 million in transactions from the second quarter to the fourth quarter of 2019. Luckin had recently surpassed (SBUX) (SBUX) in terms of locations in China. Lone Pine Capital had been a buyer late last year.

  • Is this the retirement apocalypse?
    Business
    MarketWatch

    Is this the retirement apocalypse?

    Retirement Weekly reached out to financial planners and we've culled what we regard as the best advice from 15 of them from across the country and present them here in two parts. Every single one of them, of course, advised people to get a financial plan. I agree, but since this is their livelihood and doesn't give specific advice to readers who don't have a plan, I'll mention that here and then move on.

  • Is Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) A Good Stock To Buy?
    Business
    Insider Monkey

    Is Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) A Good Stock To Buy?

    In these volatile markets we scrutinize hedge fund filings to get a reading on which direction each stock might be going. With billions of dollars in assets, smart money investors have to conduct complex analyses, spend many resources and use tools that are not always available for the general crowd. With this in mind, as the current round of 13F filings has just ended, let's examine the smart money sentiment towards Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE:RCL).

  • China's Ucar, in which Luckin chairman is top shareholder, halts shares
    Business
    Reuters

    China's Ucar, in which Luckin chairman is top shareholder, halts shares

    China's Ucar Inc, in which Luckin Coffee Chairman Charles Zhengyao Lu is the biggest shareholder, suspended trading of its shares on Tuesday after regulators questioned the car service provider about how the alleged fraud at Luckin would impact it. Ucar, in which Lu is chairman and CEO, said in a statement late on Monday that the company applied to halt trading in its shares to avoid abnormal price fluctuations and protect investor interest amid media reports on the company. Chinese media reports have linked the firm with Luckin, which said last week an internal investigation revealed sales fabrication of about 2.2 billion yuan ($310.80 million).

  • Hedge Funds Are Selling Invesco Mortgage Capital Inc (IVR)
    Business
    Insider Monkey

    Hedge Funds Are Selling Invesco Mortgage Capital Inc (IVR)

    Hedge fund activity in Invesco Mortgage Capital Inc (NYSE:IVR) At the end of the fourth quarter, a total of 15 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long this stock, a change of -21% from the third quarter of 2019. The graph below displays the number of hedge funds with bullish position in IVR over the last 18 quarters. With hedge funds' sentiment swirling, there exists an "upper tier" of key hedge fund managers who were adding to their holdings significantly (or already accumulated large positions).