Expect a Wave of Unlawful Detainer Actions Post-Pandemic

One question out there is about the timeline of when the courts will be conducting regular business again once the emergency rules (which shut them down earlier this year) expire.  

But first, what were these California Judicial Counsel Emergency Rules? The key provisions of the Emergency Rules related to civil cases are outlined below:

Unlawful Detainers: Suspending the issuance of a summons or the entry of default in unlawful detainer cases except as needed for the health and safety reasons; and continuing all such trials at least 60 days.  This rule continues for 90 days after the Governor ends the COVID 19 emergency unless otherwise amended  (Emergency Rule 1).

Judicial Foreclosures: Suspending judicial foreclosure actions except as needed to further public health and safety, including any action for a deficiency judgment; tolling any applicable statute of limitation period for filing any new foreclosure action; and extending time periods by which a party must exercise any rights, including rights of redemption. This rule continues for 90 days after the Governor ends the COVID 19 emergency unless otherwise amended    (Emergency Rule 2).

Remote Proceedings: Allowing courts to require judicial proceedings and court operations to be conducted remotely through video or telephone where available technology exists, including remote appearances, electronic exchange of documents or e-service, and remote reporting (Emergency Rule 3).

Emergency, Temporary or Protective Orders: Extending the timeframes for specified temporary restraining orders set to expire during the state of emergency related to COVID-19; and providing means for ex parte requests for temporary restraining orders (Emergency Rule 8).

Statute of Limitations/Time to Bring Case to Trial: Tolling the statutes of limitations governing civil causes of action from April 6, 2020; extending the time to bring an action to trial, including where new trials have been granted, by six months for cases filed prior to April 6, 2020 (Emergency Rules 9 and 10). Litigants on both sides of a dispute should carefully review the applicable statute(s) of limitation in their case and determine the new deadline under these new emergency rules.

Depositions: Allowing electronic depositions where the deponent and court reporter are not in the same room (Emergency Rule 11). Many attorneys are successfully using Zoom to conduct depositions remotely to keep their cases moving forward.

Electronic Service: Requiring represented parties to accept electronic service of legal documents, rather than insisting on service by mail. (Emergency Rule 12).

Most would agree that the California court system was overburdened before this pandemic. And it’s likely that everything will take a bit longer than usual. Many commercial disputes will arise as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including parties seeking refunds on canceled events, landlords pursuing evictions due to defaulting tenants, foreclosures, contract cancellations, etc. 

Yes, the post-pandemic world will be filled to the brim with disputes. You’ll find them everywhere! And when those nasty things affect YOU And YOUR business including landlord/tenant matters, unlawful retainer actions, contract issues, nuisance ADA claims and even collections, call in the good guy business litigator Dean Sperling who will resolve YOUR matter with YOUR best interests in mind!

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