As the public health emergency continues to evolve, new information about court operations as well as LBA programming is becoming available on almost a daily basis. While we don’t want to overwhelm you, we’re committed to helping you stay abreast of the latest developments. Below are a few items worthy of note.
Please note: For the latest information on the novel coronavirus in Kentucky, please visit kycovid19.ky.gov.

 

Family Court Judges in Quarantine

Due to exposure to courthouse workers who recently tested positive for COVID-19, six of the ten judges of Jefferson Family Court, along with some of their staff, are currently in quarantine. The affected divisions are 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 10.  Provided there are no additional positive COVID-19 diagnoses, the quarantine period will end after July 29.

As a result, domestic violence and dependency dockets in the affected divisions are cancelled for this week. Other scheduled hearings may need to be cancelled as well. Attorneys with hearings scheduled in any of the affected divisions will be notified as to whether those hearings will be conducted remotely or continued to another date.

 

Supreme Court Provides Updates on how Courts will Expand Services

On May 29, the Kentucky Supreme Court provided additional guidance on how courts will expand services starting June 1. Six new orders offer direction to the legal community and the public on a variety of legal matters. Learn more HERE.

Jefferson District Reopening Protocol Announcend
General Order dated June 2 sets forth detailed procedures for both criminal and civil cases as Jefferson District Court prepares to expand dockets on June 15. Expressing a strong preference for proceedings to be conducted telephonically or by videoconference, the order establishes protocols to be followed for criminal cases involving both in-custody and out-of-custody defendants as well as for civil cases including evictions, small claims, mental inquests/guardianships, interpersonal protective orders, juvenile and probate matters. The order also specifies safety precautions that will be enforced for any in-person appearances. Updates to the protocol will be posted on www.JeffersonDistrictCourt.com.
 
An addendum to the General Order indicates that beginning June 15, 2020, Jefferson Probate Court will resume dockets remotely via Zoom. If you do not have a reliable phone or computer, or have trouble, email jeffcoprobate@kycourts.net
Zoom Meeting ID: 587 902 7704 and Password: hoj305
TO JOIN BY PHONE: Call 888-822-7517 and enter Conference Code 402038#
Please mute yourself until your case is called.
 
Beginning June 15, 2020, Eviction Court will be held by phone or Zoom. Click Here to view an informational sheet about Eviction Court.
 

In-Custody Arraignment for Saturday, June 20.
Please be advised that in-custody arraignment court for Saturday, June 20, 2020, will be held as normal, except that any person who wishes to appear remotely may do so. Judge Julie Kaelin, who will preside over the docket, will do so remotely and will NOT be in the courtroom. Please read on for important information.

  • Notice will be hung on the door of Courtroom 202 advising all attorneys or other persons who are lawfully appearing for arraignment to either call in or appear by video using the below Skype information. Please mute yourself upon entry and wait until your case is called.
  • Do not go to the courthouse expecting to be let into the courtroom. If you have neither a phone nor computer, email juliekaelin@kycourts.net to make other arrangements.
  • Proceedings will be broadcast/live-streamed to YouTube and the public may observe HERE
  • These procedures apply ONLY to the June 20, 2020 arraignment docket presided over by Judge Julie Kaelin.

Kentucky Courts to Expand Proceedings on June 1
In Administrative Order 2020-39 dated May 15, the Kentucky Supreme Court set forth guidelines under which courts across the Commonwealth will expand matters to be heard beginning June 1. The order directs judges to resume hearing all criminal and civil matters using available telephonic and video technology unless in their discretion they determine that a proceeding requires in-person attendance. This marks a significant change as previous Supreme Court orders had limited dockets mostly to certain emergency and time-sensitive matters through May 31.

The new order specifies health and safety precautions that must be followed for any in-person proceedings including:

  • Limiting courtroom attendance to attorneys, parties, witnesses and other necessary persons not to exceed 33 percent of a courtroom’s occupancy capacity
  • Permitting persons in certain high risk categories to participate remotely
  • Maintaining appropriate social distancing
  • Providing the public and media access to non-confidential proceedings by live audio/video or digital recording
  • Scheduling proceedings so as to reduce the number of persons entering, exiting or gathering at the same time
  • Cleaning and disinfecting microphones, tables, and other exposed surfaces after each proceeding or use

The order carries forward provisions from prior orders restricting in-person services and requiring all filings to be mailed, eFiled or filed conventionally using outside drop boxes.

The order also directs that onsite court personnel be limited to those whose physical presence is necessary for the performance of their duties and not exceeding 50 percent of ordinary staffing levels unless approved by the AOC’s Director of Human Resources. The order further requires that court officials and staff wear facial coverings when interacting in common areas although judges will not have to wear them while conducting court proceedings if doing so would impede their ability to make a clear record and no one is within a 10-foot radius.

Finally, the order encourages chief district and circuit judges to develop plans and rules regarding any additional restrictions or changes in local procedures consistent with the order. It remains in force until further order of the Supreme Court.

Jefferson Family Court Emergency Protocols Beginning June 1, 2020
In compliance with the most recent Supreme Court's Amended Order issued in response to the COVID-19 emergency, Jefferson County Family Court will implement the following protocols effective June 1, 2020. These protocols temporarily amend any local Jefferson County Family Court Rule of Practice.

Supreme Court Amends, Clarifies Prior Orders
The Supreme Court provided additional guidance this week on how court matters are to be handled during the pandemic. The two orders, issued April 23 and April 24, are in effect through May 31, 2020.

 
Administrative Order 2020-28, dated April 24, 2020, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-22, dated April 14, 2020. This order remains in effect through May 31, 2020, and does the following:
  • Clarifies that the suspension of evictions does not excuse an individual’s obligation to pay rent or comply with other obligations under tenancy.
  • Advises attorneys, to the extent possible, to continue to prepare and litigate cases to minimize delay upon expiration of the order.
  • Suspends grand jury proceedings through the expiration of the order.
  • Suspends the 60-day period in RCr 5.22(3) from March 16, 2020, until the expiration of the order.
  • Encourages judges to give priority in setting hearing and trial dates to cases where the defendant is in custody and proceedings have been suspended by the Supreme Court’s response to the COVID-19 emergency.
The Supreme Court also amended the emergency release schedule, which clarifies that the order applies only to new arrests and does not apply to drug court violations, probation violations, any violations of conditions of release, persistent felony offender charges or escape charges. Administrative Order 2020-27, dated April 23, 2020, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-25, dated April 14, 2020.
 

New Court of Appeals Protocol for Prehearing Conferences

Effective June 1, parties represented by counsel who desire a prehearing conference must file a motion requesting same and attach it to their prehearing statement. AOC Form 070 has been modified to reflect this change. Either party may file an objection to the motion within 10 days. If no objection is filed, a prehearing conference will be granted. Prehearing conferences will not be held in cases involving pro se litigants.

 

A fillable version of Form 070 will be posted on the Kentucky Court of Justice website – www.kycourts.gov – on June 1.  After June 1, all parties must file the new modified form. Failure to do so will result in the clerk returning the form with a deficiency notice. Please refer to the Appellate Practice Handbook for further guidance.


Family Court Mediations to be Conducted Remotely
A standing order entered May 8 specifies that all court-ordered mediations are to proceed using available technology such as Skype or Zoom whenever possible. The order applies to all mediations whether ordered prior to or during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and remains in force until further notice. By agreement, parties may participate in in-person mediations provided they observe social distancing and other safety guidelines.
 

Jefferson District Court Procedure for Criminal Matters Requiring Prompt Attention, Plea Agreement and Arrest Warrants
A Notice spells out how attorneys can get criminal matters they believe are emergencies requiring prompt attention before a Jefferson District Court judge. Attorneys in cases involving out-of-custody defendants may email a motion in PDF format (not to exceed two pages in length) and accompanied by an order, to JeffCoPromptAttention@kycourts.net explaining why a matter requires immediate court attention.
 
Such motions cannot be eFiled but must be emailed on weekdays between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Motions must include the email address and phone number of the defense attorney and must also be emailed to the Jefferson County Attorney at CountyAttorneyMotions@louisvilleky.gov. A contact number for the prosecutor assigned to the matter will be provided by the County Attorney’s office within 24 hours. Motions will be reviewed and an order either granting or denying a hearing will be emailed to all parties using addresses provided with the filing. If a motion is granted, a hearing will be scheduled within two business days.
 
In criminal cases, including traffic cases, where a plea agreement has been reached, attorneys should email the case number and defendant’s name to StephenYoung@kycourts.net and NicolePeters@kycourts.net to be placed on a docket.
 
In cases where there is an outstanding arrest warrant, attorneys should email the defendant’s name and ewarrant number (if available) to StephenYoung@kycourts.net and NicolePeters@kycourts.net to be placed on a docket.
 

Standing Order from Judge Olu Stevens

Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens has issued a Standing Order specifying that motion hour in Division 6 will be conducted via telephone conference and providing the number to call and conference ID number to enter to join the conference call.
 

Memo from Judge Brian Edwards
Jefferson Circuit Judge Brian Edwards has issued a Memo detailing how motion practice, oral arguments, pre-trial conferences and trial dates will be handled in Division 11. Among other things, he directs that requests for oral arguments and all other inquiries be made to his administrative assistant. He also specifies that any jury trials scheduled before July 1 shall be converted to pre-trial conferences.

General Order from Judge Charles Cunningham
Jefferson Circuit Judge Charles Cunningham has issued a General Order in respsonse to the Supreme Court of Kentucky's Amended Order 2020-22. 

Memo from Judge Annie O'Connell
Jefferson Circuit Judge Annie O’Connell has issued a Memo detailing how to get matters before her in Division Two. E-filing is Judge O’Connell’s preferred method but the traditional “clock and drop” method will also work although it may take longer for pleadings and motions to be processed. Pleadings, motions or proposed orders may not be submitted via email.

Message from the Jefferson Circuit Court Clerk's Office
Pursuant to Supreme Court Order 2020-16, the Kentucky Supreme Court outlined very limited exceptions where court dockets can continue, and otherwise noted that all judicial facilities will be closed to in-person services. It further noted that all filings shall be mailed, eFiled, or conventionally filed utilizing drop boxes. The Office of the Circuit Court Clerk (OCCC) is providing information for all regarding services being offered at this time. CLICK HERE to read more.

Appellate Filing Deadlines Extended
In an Order dated April 28, the Kentucky Supreme Court extended the time for filing of certain notices, motions and briefs in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals between May 1 and May 31 by 30 days. The order specifies that other deadlines previously extended by prior orders are not further extended and that any additional extensions shall be upon motion only.
 
In an Order dated April 1, the Kentucky Supreme Court extended the time to perform acts required or allowed to be done in filings with the Kentucky Supreme Court and the Kentucky Court of Appeals. The extension is for thirty (30) days and applies to filings between March 16 and May 1, 2020. The order further directs clerks of both courts to continue to receive filings by mail but grants them discretion to make arrangements with counsel to receive filings electronically.
 
Custody/Parenting Time Orders Subject to Modification
In an Order the Kentucky Supreme Court extended its prior order regarding modification of custody/parenting time orders (described below) through May 31.

In an Order dated March 27, the Kentucky Supreme Court clarified that although existing court orders regarding custody and parenting time control, reasonable accommodations must be made to account for extenuating circumstances related to the COVID-19 emergency. Existing court orders are to be temporarily modified for 14 days in certain specified circumstances and persons in those circumstances are required to immediately notify other parties. The order’s provisions are effective through April 24 or until further order of the Supreme Court.
 
Contact Info for Jefferson Circuit Court Staff
To assist with communication and scheduling during the current public health emergency, the Court Administrator’s office has provided contact information (email addresses, telephone/fax numbers) for the secretaries, clerks and staff attorneys for all 13 divisions of Jefferson Circuit Court.
 
E-Filing:
For attorneys who are not already certified to use e-Filing, the Administrative Office of the Courts has a free 90-minute online tutorial. For conventionally filed documents in civil cases, the Jefferson Circuit Court Clerk’s Office has placed drop boxes at the entries to both the Hall of Justice and Judicial Center in an effort to limit public interaction with deputy clerks.
 
Office of The Commonwealth Attorney
Effective Friday, March 20, The Office of The Commonwealth Attorney will accept neither faxed nor hand-delivered motions, responses or other correspondence. All pleadings should instead be e-mailed to motions@louisvilleprosecutor.com or sent via the US Postal Service.
 
In-custody Defendants
A March 17 order mandates the use of telephonic and video hearings for all in-custody criminal defendants. Chief Jefferson Circuit Judge Angela McCormick Bisig advises that all arraignments of in-custody defendants will be combined into one 12pm docket per day. Circuit judges will preside over the docket on a rotating basis. For a schedule of judges/courtrooms, 
CLICK HERE.
 
Evictions
All evictions are suspended indefinitely pursuant to Gov. Beshear’s Executive Order 2020-257

 

CLE Discount for LBA Members
Now through June 30, 2020, all CLE programs are 45% off for LBA members! That is only $25 per credit hour. No code necessary; discount is automatically applied. The discount does not apply to already discounted member categories or to MESA Live Ethics Webinars.
 

CLE Deadline Extended
With the COVID-19 emergency limiting the ability of attorneys to attend live continuing legal education programming, the Supreme Court has issued an order allowing more time to complete the required credits for the 2019-2020 educational year. The order, dated March 31, 2020, does the following:

  • Moves the 2019-20 CLE deadline to June 30, 2021, when 24 credits, including 4 ethics credits, must be completed and certified.
  • Moves the 2019-20 CLE reporting deadline for credits timely earned to August 10, 2021.
     

KBA Convention Cancelled
In a message to members on April 6, KBA President J. Stephen Smith advised that the annual convention scheduled to take place June 24-26 in Covington is cancelled due to ongoing concerns related to COVID-19 public health emergency. “For everyone’s safety and due to all the unanswered questions, cancellation is necessary,” Smith said.

“Be sure we did not take this decision lightly,” Smith added. “We are listening to the people with the data and training and doing what we are able to flatten the curve.” He encouraged everyone to plan to attend the annual convention in Lexington in 2021.

 

CLE OnDemand
Attorneys needing CLE credit are encouraged to visit the LBA’s OnDemand Library for pre-recorded programs that can viewed anytime. LBA members will receive a 25 percent discount by using the promotion code LBACLE25 at checkout.

 

Live Ethics Webinars
There are a number of ethics webinars available for attorneys to participate in remotely. Check out the LBA’s CLE Calendar.

 

Online Video Platform
As it is unclear how long social distancing practices will be necessary, the LBA is working to establish an online video platform for delivery of CLE programs going forward. More information about this will be forthcoming as it becomes available.

Bar Center Closed
Based on the latest recommendations for protecting community health, the Bar Center is closed until further notice.
 

LBA Mail
While the Bar Center remains closed, all mail directed to our 600 W. Main Street address – including any intended for the Louisville Bar Foundation or Kentucky Lawyer Referral Service – is being forwarded to a post office box.  It may take an extra day or two to reach us but we’ll still receive it. Time sensitive mail may be sent directly to P.O. Box 161387, Louisville, KY 40256 for more immediate delivery.


LBA Staff Working Remotely
Since March 18, LBA staff members have been working remotely to do our part in protecting public health. The best way to reach us is by email. CLICK HERE for a staff directory. Thank you for hanging in there with us as we navigate this challenging time together.
 
No Leadership Academy in 2020
The ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency has caused the LBA to cancel its planned Leadership Academy this year. Designed for attorneys practicing between 3-10 years, the Leadership Academy helps develop a corps of leaders for the bar and wider community. More than 200 attorneys have completed the Leadership Academy since its inception in 2006. Look for its return in 2021.  
 
Summer Law Institute Cancelled
The Summer Law Institute – a week-long residential “law camp” for high school students interested in legal careers – is being cancelled out of concern for the safety and well-being of participants, volunteers and staff. While we regret the inconvenience to those who have applied or may be in the process of applying, we felt this was the most prudent decision given the gravity of the ongoing public health crisis and uncertainty surrounding its duration.

 

Free LBA Webinars
During the COVID-19 public health crisis, the LBA has produced a series of free webinars about local court operations and more. In case you missed them, they were recorded and are available for viewing below.

Complimentary Remote Access to Westlaw Edge
In the uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, Thomson Reuters wants to ensure you that they are here to support you. Now through June 30, 2020, LBA members are eligible to receive complimentary remote access to Westlaw Edge. Click here for detailed instructions on how to get started.

Healthy at Work: Reopening Your Law Office
On Tuesday, May 19, the LBA hosted a free panel to discuss how to reopen your practice under the “Healthy at Work” guidelines set forth from Governor Andy Beshear. Watch a recording of the panel hereBelow are links to a few helpful resources discussed in the panel.

IRS Extends More Tax Deadlines
In a Notice dated April 9, the Internal Revenue Service extended key additional key tax deadlines for individuals and businesses. The IRS had previously announced that taxpayers generally have until July 15, 2020, to file and pay federal income taxes originally due on April 15. No late-filing penalty, late-payment penalty or interest will be due. This relief also applied to first quarter 2020 estimated tax payments due April 15, 2020.
The new notice expands this relief to additional returns, tax payments and other actions. As a result, the extensions generally now apply to all taxpayers that have a filing or payment deadline falling on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020. Individuals, trusts, estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers qualify for the extra time.
Besides the April 15 estimated tax payment previously extended, the notice also extends relief to estimated tax payments due June 15, 2020. This means that any individual or corporation that has a quarterly estimated tax payment due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, can wait until July 15 to make that payment, without penalty.
Administrative Deadlines, Statutory Timelines, and Statutes of Limitations Extended
The Kentucky General Assembly inserted a provision in the Judicial Branch budget bill (HB 356) that extends deadlines for administrative actions as well as statutory timelines and statutes of limitations for court filings and proceedings. The extension is effective for 30 days after the end of the state of emergency declared by the Governor or a judicial emergency declared by the Chief Justice, whichever is later. The provision reads as follows:
 
Public Health Emergency: For the duration of the Governor’s declaration of a State of Emergency in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Chief Justice of the Commonwealth is authorized to declare a Judicial Emergency to protect the health and safety of court employees, elected officials, and the general public. A Judicial Emergency shall extend any administrative actions deadlines, and statutory timelines and statutes of limitations for court filings and proceedings, including but not limited to KRS 446.030, 500.050, and Chapters 342, 376, 403, 413, 456, and 620. The extensions provided herein shall be effective until 30 days after the emergency order of the Chief Justice or the Governor ends, whichever is later. This provision shall apply both prospectively and retroactively. 
 
New Law Aids Remote Law Practice
A provision in a COVID-19 relief bill recently passed by the Kentucky General Assembly specifies that individuals in different locations are deemed to be in each other’s physical presence for legal purposes as long as they can communicate in real time via video teleconference in the same manner as if they were together. This can prove beneficial to attorneys practicing remotely, e.g., those facilitating execution of documents like wills where witnesses are required to be present for the testator’s signing. The provision is effective immediately and can be found in section 11 (on page 9) of SB 150.
 
Message from the Jefferson County Public Law Library
Though the law library is closed to the public at this time and will be as long as the courts are on a restricted schedule, the staff wants to help anyway that they can. If they can retrieve something through Westlaw (with citation or name of document) they will email the document to you free of charge while they are closed.

If you are a current member of JCPLL and would like to check out books, or if you have a copy account and need copies of something from the law library, they will attempt to make arrangements for pick up at the Old Jail Building. You can contact them by phone at 502-574-5943, through their website at jcpll.net or by email at jcpll@bluegrass.net
 

 

Free Webinars
ActionCOACH is offering free webinars to help businesses navigate the coronavirus crisis. CLICK HERE to view their calendar and to register. ActionCOACH also offers COVID-19 related business blogs, which can be viewed HERE.
 
Attorney Volunteers Needed to Advise Nonprofits
The LBA is seeking attorneys willing to volunteer on a pro bono basis to provide advice to nonprofits in our community that are trying to navigate the SBA loan process and other considerations relating to COVID-19. If you have experience with lenders, financing or employment issues and are interested in providing pro bono advice to area nonprofits, please email Scott Furkin at sfurkin@loubar.org to have your name added to the panel of volunteer attorneys.
 
Online Pro Bono Portal
Legal Aid Society is excited to announce an online pro bono portal, Kentucky Justice Online. The portal is accessible on the statewide Legal Aid website www.kyjustice.org. Users answer a series of eligibility questions and are screened for income eligibility and a conflict check. If eligibility is established, they become a client of Legal Aid and will be able to post a legal question. Interested volunteer attorneys can sign up at www.kyjustice.org to volunteer and then can review legal questions at times convenient to them and pick questions to which they are qualified to respond. Volunteer attorneys can make a difference while also maintaining safe social distancing. Contact Tracey Taylor at ttaylor@laslou.org for more information.
 

Domestic Violence Advocacy Program
Domestic violence does not stop for pandemics. Work with Legal Aid’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Program (DVAP) to assist victims of domestic violence during this difficult time. The courts are still hearing protective order cases and Legal Aid needs volunteers to both advise clients over the phone and/or appear via video conferencing at these hearings. Interested volunteers should email Beth Robinson-Kinney, Senior Attorney of Legal Aid's Personal Safety Unit, at 
brobinson-kinney@laslou.org. Beth will provide volunteers with the training and tools needed to volunteer.

Law School Student Emergency Fund
Many University of Louisville law students are encountering increased financial strain due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Law School Student Emergency Fund is available to students facing loss of employment, medical bills and other non-academic obligations (e.g., rent, utilities, food) during the current public health crisis. Click here to make a one-time or recurring gift to this fund. Checks payable to the University of Louisville (with Law Student Emergency Fund in the memo line) can be mailed to Wendell R. Clark III, Brandeis School of Law, Wilson Wyatt Hall Room 208, Louisville, KY 40292