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Did Coronavirus affect your court?

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I am wondering something. 

I read in the local news that the local county courthouse is changing policies due to Coronavirus.  Many cases that were heard in person will now be heard by phone.  Other cases will be postponed.  

Has anyone seen any effects on their local courthouses due to Coronavirus?

And, please everyone stay safe and healthy!

 

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If the courts do have to triage, then I am betting that civil cases will be continued over criminal as there is no speedy trial issue for civil cases.

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These are strange times.

I first came to this site, under a different name, during the financial meltdown.  I lost my rental properties, which were under water anyway.  My house was under water.  I had over $100k of unsecured debt.  I used this site to get through one of the worst times in recent memory.  

I am sure there will be quite a few people defaulting on their debts this year.  Things are very different now, but we have to keep up to date on the latest.  Things change day to day now.  So, for the next few months, Coronavirus will delay a lot of court and arbitration hearings.  That is how things work NOW.  Last week was different.  A few months from now might be a completely different ball game.  

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I came here looking for the same information. The courts in my states are closed for now.

The closures happen to fall when my Motion hearing was set, but due to reopen before the court date. I would imagine if they do reopen, the arb date would be pushed back until I can have a hearing but.. I'm really not sure how this will work out.

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Like the medical industry regarding elective procedures and visits, they are simply going to reschedule for a time when business can return to normal. You still will have your hearing, just not as quickly. I would not sweat it too much because they cannot collect until they get a judgement and if you answered and filed a motion, they cannot get a judgement until the process plays out.

That said, I think there are 2 instances where plaintiffs might be willing to low ball settlements. The first is where the defendant answered and the plaintiff is facing a huge time lag due the courts being closed, then the backlog of cases and mad rush to file new cases once the courts reopen. The 2nd is that judges might pressure plaintiffs and defendants to come to an agreement to clear out the backlog of cases.

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Here is the update for courts in Arkansas as of 3/18/2020 from Little Rock news station KATV:

 The Arkansas court system will remain open, but the Arkansas Supreme Court has suspended all in-person proceedings in all appellate, circuit, and district courts, with a few exceptions. The changes are a response to the spread of COVID-19.

The suspension will last from Wednesday through April 3, and might be adjusted by order of the court as circumstances warrant. The suspension of in-person judicial proceedings is subject to the following exceptions:

  • Proceedings necessary to protect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants and juveniles, including, but not limited to, criminal initial appearances; probable-cause hearings;
  • Speedy trial;
  • Cases in which victims are under fourteen years of age;
  • Juvenile probable cause hearings;
  • Juvenile detention hearings; and
  • Hearings on writs of habeas corpus.

Others include proceedings in which civil or criminal jury trials are already in progress as of March 17; cases pertaining to relief from abuse; proceedings directly related to the COVID-I9 public health emergency; oral arguments regarding time-sensitive matters; and others. Additional exceptions may be approved by the chief justice. Judges shall be responsible for ensuring that core constitutional functions and rights are protected.

The administrative judge of each judicial circuit is authorized to determine the manner in which the in-person exceptions are to be implemented. Any civil proceedings conducted in person shall be limited to the attorneys, parties, witnesses, security officers, a press-pool representative, and other individuals necessary to the proceedings as determined by the judge presiding over the proceedings.

covid19orderark31720696229450.pdf

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I would hate to be a process server under normal conditions, but I just cannot imagine many civil lawsuits are being served right now

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1 hour ago, WhoCares1000 said:

Like the medical industry regarding elective procedures and visits, they are simply going to reschedule for a time when business can return to normal. You still will have your hearing, just not as quickly. I would not sweat it too much because they cannot collect until they get a judgement and if you answered and filed a motion, they cannot get a judgement until the process plays out.

That said, I think there are 2 instances where plaintiffs might be willing to low ball settlements. The first is where the defendant answered and the plaintiff is facing a huge time lag due the courts being closed, then the backlog of cases and mad rush to file new cases once the courts reopen. The 2nd is that judges might pressure plaintiffs and defendants to come to an agreement to clear out the backlog of cases.

Expect a few unpredictable  things to happen because of overworked Banks,  debt collectors and attorneys as well.  
 

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I wonder if this will benefit debtors.  Maybe safety in numbers?  More consumer protection laws?

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Maybe but probably not. It will not benefit those who default and I think arbitration will remain as it always has. The benefit will be for those who answer as the courts will try to convince the overworked creditor attorneys to come up with deals (or maybe use some veiled threats such as slowing down on signing off on the default judgements).

As for rules, right now I doubt debt collection will be able to do much beyond calling someone's phone. Even if they file a case, it will not be heard for a while. There might be some temporary measures too, especially under the emergency powers. As for anything lasting, it will probably depend on who control the federal government come 2021.

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By consumer protection laws, I did not just mean at the federal level.  In Ohio, probably in response to the 2008 recession, the SOL was shortened for written contracts.  The BK/judgment exemptions were raised to bring the state into the 21st century (from the 19th).  And the Ohio Supreme Court put teeth into the borrowing statute.

When everyone is feeling the pain, there is political will to relieve it.

 

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On 3/21/2020 at 2:53 PM, nobk4me said:

I wonder if this will benefit debtors.  Maybe safety in numbers?  More consumer protection laws?

I can tell you a little bit about what happened after the financial meltdown a little over a decade ago --

It helped in some situations, but not others.

For example, at one point some courts were so swamped with foreclosures that some foreclosures were waiting many months, or even years, to be heard.  But eventually the backlog wore off.

In some cases attorneys were so swamped they simply weren't filing cases.  I had one case sit in the drawer of a law office for a long time.  I sent in a DV with a demand for arbitration, and the lawyer left the firm.  Eventually the new attorney found the case just before SOL.  I did a preemptive arbitration to demand the Delaware SOL, and they eventually gave up the case right before the arbitration hearing.  

Lesson -- the court proceedings will be delayed, but not stopped.  Some will get to live in their homes a while longer.  In a few cases, the SOL might pass on debts, in others the Delaware SOL might pass, so watch choice of law provisions.  

 

Other examples -- many of the debt collectors were just swamped.  I had over $60k in various debts to a large American bank.  It kept bouncing around from CA to CA.  The bank was too busy for debt validation, so I played a game a whack-a-mole with DV letters.  That might have been due to bad records, see below.  

In some cases, they got swamped and made careless mistakes that hurt their cases.  I won a few that way, even against a bank that NEVER loses, except to me.   

Lesson -- careless, stupid mistakes are random events, and cannot necessarily be predicted.  I expect far fewer of them this time, since they learned a lot from last time.  However, look at the Midland/suicide thread to see that unbelievably stupid stuff still happens on rare occasions.  Stressed out situations may increase the number of stupid mistakes.  

 

 

There are some two things that helped some of us enormously back in the old days, but the banks learned their lessons.  So don't count on this.

Big change #1 -- bad records.  In the old days, some banks just had plain crappy records.  I won a case in court due to bad records, between $10-15k. I had other banks simply give up because of bad records. It is possible the American bank that walked away from over $60k did so because their records were really bad.

One poster on CIC beat a foreclosure case because of bad records.  Kept his house.  

My current job makes me one of the people insuring that this doesn't happen again.  Federal regulators are incredibly strict these days.  I know of cases where banks have spent millions of dollars to fix holes costing them thousands.  I even know of a recent case where a bank walked away from over $100 million because their records were bad.  I cannot tell you details, but I know this for a fact because I worked on the case.  

Lesson -- do NOT count on the bank's records being bad.  These days they are almost always solid gold.  They rarely make mistakes, and they are very proactive about fixing the mistakes.

 

Big change #2 -- arbitration.  In the old days, the arbitration landscape was changing month by month. It went from a total pro-bank scam to complete chaos to the weird system we have these days.  I was able to win some cases in the chaos period.  Also, I had some law firms give up cases just because I used the "A" word in my replies.  They avoided arbitration like the plague, until the figured it out.

Lesson -- the banks and their lawyers know the system a lot better than you do these days.  It used to be the other way around.  When I was in my 3rd or 4th arbitration against lawyers who had never seen arbitration before, I had an advantage.  These days you are the newbie, and they are the professionals.  

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16 hours ago, nobk4me said:

By consumer protection laws, I did not just mean at the federal level.  In Ohio, probably in response to the 2008 recession, the SOL was shortened for written contracts.  The BK/judgment exemptions were raised to bring the state into the 21st century (from the 19th).  And the Ohio Supreme Court put teeth into the borrowing statute.

When everyone is feeling the pain, there is political will to relieve it.

 

Except that you can be sure the other side will use their money and clout to ensure that the changes are not so onerous as to render them impotent.

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Yes, already seeing that.  Under Ohio's stay at home order, collection agencies are considered essential business.

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I just called one court in the neighboring county where I used to live.  they are shut down to everyone but the bare minimum criminal cases until April 1st so far.

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18 hours ago, Casper said:

I just called one court in the neighboring county where I used to live.  they are shut down to everyone but the bare minimum criminal cases until April 1st so far.

I am not shocked, I think right now, most courts are doing just enough to avoid a criminal walking because of a constitutional issue. Everything else is on hold.

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