The EDTX judges met by videoconference earlier today and adopted the following revisions to the COVID-19 – related General Orders.
I just realized this post on the General Order establishing targeted visitor restrictions for EDTX courthouses through May 1, didn’t go up when it should have. Here it is, with my apologies.
The Plano courthouse is now closed as result of a visit by a person with a “presumptive positive” diagnosis for the COVID-19 virus.
This General Order provides additional guidance regarding EDTX operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The important take-away is that all jury trials which were scheduled to begin through May 1, 2020 are continued to a date to be reset by each presiding judge. But that continuance of the trial settings does not continue any pending deadlines other than the trial dates.
Similar to Judge Gilstrap’s prior order for his cases, attorneys should contact the presiding judges in their cases if they need to modify other deadlines. Individual judges may continue to hold proceedings as they deem appropriate, and counsel, again, are directed to seek relief from those matters by appropriate motions when necessary. “This order is intended to afford each presiding judge with maximum discretion to handle their respective dockets (aside from jury trials addressed above) as they deem best considering the totality of the circumstances.”
When your district gets two new judges in the same month you get – two new orders assigning civil & criminal actions, and not always just to the judges you’d expect.
Currently, EDTX jury wheels draw from lists of registered voters. Other courts, such as, for example the adjacent Northern District of Texas, draw from voter lists and drivers license lists, and eliminate duplicates. The EDTX proposes to change to a similar system including drivers licenses. If the Fifth Circuit Judicial Council approves, the change will take effect on January 1, 2020. (I know they don’t actually use rotating drums with slips of paper any more, but I’m fond of the old terminology).
Last December General Order 18-10 made a number of changes to the EDTX local rules. A significant one was amendment of the patent local rules dealing with expert disclosures in connection with claim construction. A recent opinion applies that change and provides some new guidance on what the requirements mean.
Whenever the makeup on a district court’s bench changes, though retirements or the addition of new judges, the docket is reallocated. Last week saw a significant reallocation of the Eastern District’s cases due to the arrival on the bench of Judge Jeremy Kernodle in Tyler and changes in Senior Judge Ron Clark’s docket. I wanted to go through the changes and what they mean in the affected divisions.
As readers know, the EDTX local rules were amended effective yesterday by a general order issued several weeks ago. The effective date was timed to make the changes concurrent with changes to the FRCPs. The important change in the rules this year deals with certificates of service, so I wanted to go over that briefly.
This afternoon saw entry of an order amending the local rules, including the patent local rules, effective December 1, 2018. As is usually the case, many of the changes or minor and don’t affect practice all that much, but this year there are several significant ones that I want to discuss.