On March 23, 2020, when much of the state of Maryland shut down due to the COVID-19 crisis, Governor Larry Hogan deemed law offices to be essential businesses. We are grateful for this decision, which has allowed us to continued serving the public during these extraordinary, challenging times. Though the courts have been physically closed to the public, accidents and injury on the road and at work do not take a break.
Throughout the pandemic, the Law Offices of Butschky and Butschky have continued to serve our clients with their Maryland personal injury claims. We have consulted with them by phone, email, and through virtual meetings to gather timely information and build their cases—including motor vehicle accidents and Maryland Workers’ Compensation claims.
Now, the Maryland courts have announced a plan to gradually open in five phases.
News of the plan comes as a result of the Amended Administrative Order on Remote Proceedings Held During the COVID-19 Emergency, filed on May 1, 2020 by Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera of the Maryland Court of Appeals.
Maryland Courts are currently in Phase 1 of the gradual plan to reopen. Beginning June 5, 2020, the courts will enter Phase 2 of the plan, remaining closed to the public except for those whose cases need to be heard. Phase 3 is expected to begin July 20, 2020, with clerks’ offices in the District Court of Maryland and circuit courts fully opening to the public, if they are able to do so. A broader range of court matters may be scheduled at this time.
Courts will put restrictions and safeguards in place to keep members of the public, court personnel, law enforcement, and others safe. According to the Maryland courts’ press release:
“The courts will require any individual, including employees, seeking access to a courthouse or court office location, to answer a set of COVID-19 screening questions, be subject to temperature checks, wear a facial covering or mask, and practice social distancing. If an individual is denied access to a court building or court office, the individual will be given information on the option to conduct the hearing remotely, in locations where this service is available, or how to have it rescheduled.”
Administrative judges at the local level may limit the number of people entering a courthouse or courtroom. In addition, the courts have worked to obtain Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face masks and gloves, as well as non-contact digital thermometers, sanitizing wipes and hand gel, Plexiglass screen guards, and signage to help people remain six feet apart.
With the Maryland courts gradually reopening, we will continue to advocate for our clients’ best interests and accomplish our work on behalf of their injury cases and claims. If you would like a free phone consultation to discuss your personal injury case, please contact us toll free at (800) 722-6616. Thank you and stay safe!
Maryland courts announce plan to gradually reopen through phased approach
MDCourts.gov May 22, 2020
Amended Administrative Order on Remote Proceedings Held During the COVID-19 Emergency (PDF)
MDCourts.gov May 1, 2020