As the world is battling the coronavirus outbreak, the general public along with courts and the legal community, have been forced to adapt in their own unique ways. State courts in New York are closed for all but emergency filings, while other federal and state courts around the country have postponed jury trials, in-person hearings, and shifted to telephonic or video appearances as necessary. Courts around the country are operating with limited staff and skeleton crews. Many federal judges have issued standing orders detailing their own unique policies and procedures.
Recently, Judge Seeger of the Northern District of Illinois issued an order reprimanding a plaintiff who filed multiple emergency motions in a case involving alleged counterfeit unicorn drawings and knock-off elves which the plaintiff argued infringed on its trademarks. Denying plaintiff’s motions for emergency relief and hearings, he noted “[i]f there’s ever a time when emergency motions should be limited to genuine emergencies, now’s the time.” Judge Seeger stated “[t]he world is facing a real emergency. Plaintiff is not” and quipped “one wonders if the fake fantasy products are experiencing brisk sales at the moment.”
Other courts have taken a proactive approach in encouraging settlement without requiring judicial intervention. In an order issued to all civil cases assigned to Judge Totenberg of the Northern District of Georgia, Judge Totenberg gave the following directive: “Be kind to one another in this most stressful of times. Remember to maintain your perspective about legal disputes, given the larger life challenges now besetting our communities and world. Good luck to one and all.”
We join Judge Totenberg in wishing good luck and good health to all.