No Federal Jury Trials in Atlanta before 2021

By on September 30, 2020

The US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia entered a general order providing that there will be no criminal or civil jury trials before January 3, 2021. The court compared the public health situation now to that existing on March 16, 2020, when it issued its first coronavirus order at the beginning of the shut-down phase. The court observed that “the prevalence of COVID-19 within the District is far greater than it was on March 16, 2020.” The court further observed that the total number of deaths continues to rise, no vaccine or cure is available and there has been no change to the president’s declaration of national emergency. Interestingly, those observations are true of nearly every judicial district. Further, they will likely be true well past January 2021.

The court also notes:

Capabilities provided by technology, while helpful, are inadequate to offset the impediments currently confronted by counsel in this District. Other aspects of case preparation have been similarly impacted. As a result of Georgia’s level of COVID-19 infections and test positivity, witness travel has been problematic due to quarantine regulations in effect in many states that apply to persons traveling to and from Georgia. These circumstances and others have severely impeded if not prevented counsels’ ability to prepare for trial.

Look for this language to be cited in motions to continue trials in other districts.

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