California Courts Call a “Time Out” During COVID-19 –New Emergency Court Rules on Civil Litigation

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To say that there is no playbook is a gross understatement of the situation.

May 4, 2020
Tara C. Dudum - Newmeyer Dillion

“We are at this point truly with no guidance in history, law, or precedent. To say that there is no playbook is a gross understatement of the situation.”
-Chief Justice and Chair of the California Judicial Council, Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye

Seeking to sustain essential court services while balancing weighty considerations, including litigants’ due process rights, access to justice, and stringent health and safety orders, the California Judicial Council has adopted Emergency Rules in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

While many of the Emergency Rules focus on criminal and juvenile dependency matters, this update highlights the Emergency Rules immediately impacting civil litigation in California state courts. The following Emergency Rules remain in effect until 90 days after the Governor lifts the state of emergency or the rule is amended or repealed by the Judicial Council:

Tolling of Statutes of Limitation in Civil Actions

Effective April 6, 2020, the statutes of limitation (the time period in which to bring a claim) for all civil causes of action is tolled until such time as the rule is no longer in effect. The impact of this rule is that it provides plaintiffs with more time to bring claims and extends the time period that defendants may face legal action for alleged violations of the law.

Ms. Dudum may be contacted at


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