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Seeking Haven in the Sunshine State

With the weather in Washington turning cool and miserable, we look to the Sunshine State of Florida, where we thought we saw signs of reopening. The US District Court for the Southern District of Florida is following the local school systems, announcing: “In light of the announced reopening of public schools in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Monroe Counties, the United States District Courthouses in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Fort Pierce and Key West, including Bankruptcy and Probation, will reopen on Tuesday, November 10, 2020.” But, but, but…Chief Judge K. Michael Moore issued Administrative Order 2020-76, which provides, among other things: “All jury trials in the Southern District of Florida scheduled to begin on or after March 30, 2020, are continued until April 5, 2021. The Court may issue other Orders concerning future continuances as necessary and appropriate.” The April 2021 date is significantly further in the future...

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The Same Story: Jury Trials Suspended Again in Florida Circuit Court

As COVID-19 cases spike in most states, we’re seeing a familiar story, exemplified by Escambia County in Florida. WEAR-TV reports: “Jury trials have come to a halt in the [First Judicial Circuit Court of Florida] in Escambia County after a spike in COVID-19 cases. Jury trials had only restarted just a few weeks ago. However, the court was able to complete only five trials, as Chief Judge John Miller is ordering a suspension of trials for the next two weeks.” These stories tend to focus on state courts, because most federal courts never reopened at all.

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 McDermott’s litigation team monitors US courts as they reopen amid the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis.