COVID-19 and the Statute of Limitations

How has the pandemic, COVID-19, affected a person’s ability to file a lawsuit?  Governor, Gavin Newsom issued shelter-in-place orders on March 19, 2020.  And from those orders, some counties shut down their courthouses, and some did not.  Our local court, Kings County Superior Court, remained open throughout the spring and summer.  But since, some courthouses closed, the California Judicial Council imposed Emergency Rule 9,which suspended the statute of limitations for civil actions from March 6, 2020, until ninety (90) days after the governor lifted the state of emergency.  Emergency Rule 9 was subsequently amended and clarified that cases that have a statute of limitations less than six (6) months or one hundred eighty (180) days, the statute of limitations is tolled (or on hold) until August 3, 2020.  For cases that have a statute of limitations that is more than six (6) months or one hundred eighty (180) days, then the statute of limitations is tolled (or on hold) until October 1, 2020. 

This emergency rule is intended to apply broadly to any civil action – including family law, probate law, employment law and any special proceedings.  For a plaintiff who missed a statute of limitations deadline after April 6, 2020, he or she may have an extended opportunity to file a lawsuit.  For a defendant, it may mean that he or she may have to fight a lawsuit that would have otherwise been time barred.

Let the knowledgeable attorneys at Dias Law Firm, Inc. assist you with your legal matter.  Call us for a consultation today!

By: Sarah M. Hacker, Esq.

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