Pennsylvania Courts, Our Office, Your Case and COVID-19
Governor Wolf has declared that while law offices remain generally closed, lawyers and staff may access physical offices as necessary to render legal services that cannot practically be completed through the use of advanced communication technology and which are being rendered to comply with the court directive or deadline.
What does this mean for your case?
At van der Veen, O’Neill, Hartshorn and Levin, the attorneys and staff have been working remotely since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.
We have remained opened, 24/7 as always, to serve our clients. Our lawyers and staff interact daily with clients, opposing counsel, insurance claim adjusters and doctors’ offices. Nothing there has changed.
Depositions Go to Zoom
Depositions, statements the parties to a lawsuit give under oath, are being conducted via Zoom. It’s really quite simple. You need a home computer and your email address. Smartphones work fine as well. The lawyers, witnesses and court reporters participate through the Zoom app or Zoom link. Our lawyers have been conducting depositions via Zoom since the start of the COVID-19 crisis and can walk you through it in a few minutes. During Zoom depositions, attorneys can present exhibits to witnesses and witnesses can see the opposing party testify.
We are hopeful that in person depositions will resume in June as the courts reopen and current stay at home requirements are relaxed.
Court Closure Updates
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s latest Order, issued April 28, 2020, declared the courts throughout Pennsylvania courts will remain operational but will remain closed to in person access until June 1, 2020 subject to the individual county local orders.
In Philadelphia, the courts will remain closed to the public until Friday, May 29, 2020. All Philadelphia jury trials and arbitrations scheduled between March 18, 2020 and May 29, 2020 will be continued by the court to a date after May 29, 2020.
In the meantime, our attorneys are working with opposing counsel to conduct arbitrations using a neutral arbitrator via Zoom.
We are optimistic Philadelphia and surrounding county courts will reopen to the public starting Monday, June 1, 2020.
At van der Veen, O’Neill, Harshorn and Levin, we want you, your family and friends to practice social distancing and abide by personal safety procedures according to expert guidelines.
We remain open and here to help in all legal matters essential to you.