Eighth Judicial District Court Outlines Management of Civil Matters During Pandemic

On Friday, March 20, 2020, the Eighth Judicial District Court issued Administrative Order 20-09 regarding court operations of civil matters in response to COVID-19. The court intends to process civil matters to the degree possible while balancing the safety of attorneys, litigants, and court staff.

  • Statutes of Limitation; Medical Malpractice Cases: The district court is unable to waive jurisdictional requirements, including statutes of limitation, to file complaints and requests for trial de novo as well as the expert affidavit requirements in medical malpractice cases. Complaints and expert affidavits in medical malpractice cases should be drafted as best as can be managed under the circumstances. Motions to amend complaints may be an available remedy to request correction of issues when information is unavailable due to current circumstances.
  • Service of Process and Subpoena Issues: Accomplishing personal service may pose a significant challenge at this time. Motions to extend service of process must be filed prior to the expiration of the time to serve. Properly documented service issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic will be considered good cause for a timely motion to extend service of process. For the 30 days following the entry of order 20-09, no subpoena may be issued by an attorney under NRCP 45 without advance approval of the discovery commissioner.
  • Rule 16.1 Conferences and Rule 16 Conferences by Alternative Means: In order to facilitate and encourage just, speedy, and inexpensive discovery in civil legal actions, NRCP 16.1 Early Case Conferences and Rule 16 Conferences regarding pretrial scheduling will still take place when possible. Conferences are to be conducted by telephone, teleconference, videoconference or other alternate means. During the next 30 days, if a conference cannot be accomplished by alternate means, it should be rescheduled.
  • Discovery: Any deposition pursuant to NRCP 30 that is scheduled to be conducted within the next 30 days, may be conducted by telephone, teleconference, videoconference or alternate means.  Upon agreement of the parties and deponent, the in-person requirement of NRCP 28 and 30(b)(5), which requires a deponent to appear before an officer appointed or designated by NRCP 28 to administer oaths and take testimony, may be modified, adjusted for social distancing requirements, or waived.  However, if no stipulation or other agreement can be reached by the parties, there shall be no in-person deposition conducted within 30 days from the date of this order. All pending, unexpired discovery deadlines pursuant to NRCP 31, 33, 34, and/or 36 shall be stayed for 30 days from the date of this order. This stay shall serve to extend the 30-day deadline for serving responses to written discovery, pursuant to NRCP 31, 33, 34 and 36, by 30 days, unless the time to respond to the written discovery expired on or before March 13, 2020. Parties shall vacate and reschedule any in-person NRCP 35 examination that is to be conducted within 30 days from the date of order 20-09.
  • Stay of Cases: A complete stay of any civil case will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Settlement Conferences Vacated: Judicial settlement conferences are non-essential. All judicial settlement conferences scheduled through the District Court Judicial Settlement Conference are vacated. The parties in those cases should confer with one another and submit five agreeable dates after June 1, 2020 to Department 30 so conferences can be rescheduled. Parties who have settlement conferences set through the Senior Judge Program should contact the Senior Judge Program to reschedule their settlement conference or inquire whether it will go forward by alternative means.
  • Response Time for Offers of Judgment Suspended: The time to respond to any offers of judgment submitted pursuant to NRCP 68 is suspended. This applies to any offer of judgment submitted on March 13, 2020 or after. After this order is lifted, parties will have ten days to respond to any pending offer of judgment.
  • Non-Jury Trials May Proceed by Alternate Means; Five Year Rule for Trials; Continuances: Any scheduled non-jury trials are considered non-essential. Non-jury trials may be conducted by alternative means or rescheduled.
  • Writs of Execution and Writs of Garnishment Stayed: Any writs of execution or writs of garnishment ordered by the court prior to this order will be stayed.

For more information, see the the Eighth Judicial District Court’s blog.