Because of Covid-19, Florida, like most states, suspended jury trials and closed the courthouses. Yesterday, Judge Patricia Stonebridge of the Ninth Circuit (which covers Orange and Osceola Counties), told an audience of attorneys that the court closings and suspensions of trials is already resulting in cases being postponed to 2022. With the recent announcement that Orange and Osceola County Courts were moving back to Phase One, there is no set schedule to return to jury trials but it is not expected that civil trials will return this year.
We are recommending that all clients examine their current contracts, looking at the arbitration clauses. Any contracts without one should be amended if possible to add provisions for private dispute resolution (as opposed to arbitration and mediation through the court system). Any new contract should include similar provisions. Reach out to us to learn more about how we can help you draft these contracts and amendments, and click here to learn more about our business law practice.
The backlog is likely to have a ripple effect for several years, especially in those counties, such as Orange, Osceola, Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, which are seeing upticks in infections. However, no county is currently holding jury trials and no court is expected to be authorized to start before August.
We continue to monitor this situation, in order to determine how it affects our clients and we are available to answer any questions that you may have. Please call us at 407-504-9725 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how these trial delays can affect you.