Ohio Federal Courts Amend General Order Extending the Closure of Federal Courthouses and the Suspension of Jury Trials

Robert D. Boroff By Robert D. Boroff

On April 20, 2020, Judge Patricia A. Gaughan, Chief Judge for the Northern District of Ohio, amended her General Order No. 2020-5-2, which closed all federal courthouses in Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown, and Toledo and suspended all jury trials until at least May 1, 2020. In Amended General Order No. 2020-5-2, Judge Gaughan recognized that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other public health officials have continued to advise that precautions should be taken, including social distancing, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Chief Judge ordered that all federal courthouses located in the Northern District of Ohio remain closed and that all civil and criminal jury trials continue to be suspended until at least June 12, 2020 in an effort to avoid large public gatherings and unnecessary travel. Judge Gaughan’s Amended General Order No. 2020-5-2 can be found here.

Judge Gaughan’s Amended General Order is consistent with an Amended General Order entered by Judge Algenon L. Marbley, Chief Judge for the Southern District of Ohio. Judge Marbley recently entered Amended General Order No. 20-8, which closed all federal courthouses located in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton and suspended all criminal and civil jury trials until at least June 1, 2020 due to similar concerns pertaining to the spread of COVID-19. Judge Marbley’s Amended General Order No. 20-8 can be found here.

State courts in Ohio too have entered similar orders that have closed courthouses and suspended jury trials until later dates.

We will continue to monitor this issue as we expect additional guidance in the coming months from the federal and state courts, and welcome any questions.