Finley Law

COVID-19: Prepared & Informed (Updated 4.28.2020)

April 28, 2020

Like all of our clients, Finley Law Firm is closely monitoring COVID-19. We are committed to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace and are prepared to respond quickly to any challenges which may arise as COVID-19 continues its spread. As such, Finley Law Firm has implemented disaster response and business continuation plans, which are consistent with current recommendations provided by state and federal agencies, including the CDC and Iowa Department of Public Health. These plans allow us to continue operations and provide ongoing, high-quality service to our clients without interruption.

To ensure the health and safety of our colleagues, clients, and the public, we will have restricted access to our offices and have restricted non-essential travel and in-person meetings. Attorneys and staff working remotely have access to all critical systems via a secured, remote connection consistent with our data privacy and security initiatives. Our attorneys remain available by phone, email, and video conference to the Court and clients. Direct dial numbers for our attorneys can be found on our Attorneys page and will allow you to contact the attorney directly. Please be confident that these plans will allow us to continue to timely and effectively serve our clients’ needs. 

As all we move forward, Finely Law Firm also stands prepared to help you understand, prepare, and respond quickly to the challenges arising in this complex and unprecedented environment, including managing your workforce, workplace, and business operations during this uncertain time. Please do not hesitate to contact one of our attorneys with any COVID-19 policy/planning related questions, or any other legal needs.

Finally, we are also committed to keeping our clients informed about developments impacting Iowa’s court systems and litigation in this state. Recent Supervisory Orders impacting the court systems in Iowa include:

-April 28, 2020 Order: The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa has extended its prior orders, continuing all civil and criminal jury trials scheduled to commence on or before May 31, 2020. The court advises it is preparing for the resumption of jury trials beginning June 1, 2020. The Court anticipates modifications to the jury selection process and other aspects of trial to incorporate social distancing and other health precautions.

-April 8, 2020 Order: The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa has continued all civil and criminal jury trials scheduled to commence on or before May 11, 2020, extending the date of April 24, from the Court's prior order. 

-April 2, 2020 Order: The Iowa Supreme Court has issued an Order replacing all previous supervisory orders relating to COVID-19 in their entirety. With respect to civil case proceedings, all non-jury trials are continued to a date no earlier than June 15. All civil jury trials set to commence before August 3, 2020 are continued to a date no earlier than August 3. The statutes of limitations, repose, or other deadline to commence an action are tolled from March 17 to June 1 (76 days). 

-March 24, 2020 Notary Guidance: Beginning March 22, 2020 Governor Reynolds declared that the in-person requirement for notarizing documents in Iowa is temporarily waived for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, subject to guidance provided by Secretary of State Paul Pate. On March 24, 2020, Secretary of State Pate issued guidance which can be found here and notaries must register at https://sos.iowa.gov/remotenotary before providing any remote notarization services. 

-March 20, 2020 Order: The courthouses for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa (Sioux City and Cedar Rapids) will be open to the public on on reduced hours from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Mon.-Fri., until further notice. To the limited extent that in-court proceedings are still taking place, they will be scheduled during those hours. 

-March 17, 2020 Order: The Iowa Supreme Court has issued a supplemental order, addressing developments since its March 14 Order. With respect to civil cases, the Iowa supreme court has ordered all civil non-jury trials and other hearings set to commence before May 4 to be continued or held by phone; all mediations set at a courthouse shall be continued or conducted by phone or video conference; and all eviction proceedings set before May 4 are continued. Perhaps most significantly, however, any statute of limitations, statue of repose, or similar deadline for commencing an action in district court has been extended (tolled) from March 17 to May 4 (48 days). 

-March 16, 2020 Order: The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa has continued all civil and criminal jury trials scheduled to commence on or before April 24, 2020. Non-jury proceedings, including bench trials and hearings, shall proceed as scheduled unless continued by the presiding judge, but may be conducted by telephone or video conferencing.

-March 16, 2020 Order: The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa has continued all civil and criminal jury trials scheduled between March 16 and May 4, 2020 are continued pending further order. Non-jury trials and other hearings may be conducted at the discretion of each judge.

-March 16, 2020 Order: All Iowa Judicial Branch clerk of court offices remain open even though several Iowa county offices have closed to the public in response to coronavirus COVID-19.

-March 14, 2020 Order: Iowa district court civil jury trials scheduled to take place between March 13, 2020 and May 4, 2020 are continued to a date to be determined at a future time. 

 

 

 

 

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