We are experiencing an unprecedented situation with the ongoing Corona Virus pandemic. As soon as we form a plan, new information is released causing necessary change to be implemented. Although the landscape remains fluid, we want to assure you that we are working hard to keep channels of communication open to you. We understand that you are relying on us to represent your interests and we will continue to do just that by all means available to us.
As it stands today, the Orange and Osceola Courthouses are closed to the public with few exceptions. All of our pending hearings in Seminole County in in the next two seeks have been cancelled and will be rescheduled. We are on alert for changes which could literally occur at any moment, as new information unfolds. The exceptions to the Courthouse closures for the moment consist of permitting self-represented litigants and attorneys to enter the courthouse to hear “Emergency Motions.” Judges will exercise their discretion in deciding what constitutes a true emergency; however, at this time given the directives of the CDC that would mean that in order to set a hearing on an “Emergency Motion” the judge must find that “the issue is of such an essential nature that it warrants putting court staff and the general public’s health at risk to hold the in-person hearing.”
The Courts are considering many other alternatives to in-person hearings, which include:
- “Waivers of hearing” with electronic submissions when prudence allows to conclude a matter or resolve conflict;
- Proffers by attorneys waiving live testimony and simply proffering evidence and testimony. This way a video conference call might be held with two attorneys to present competing positions to obtain a ruling without an in-person hearing; and
- Other considerations: The Courts are “open” in the sense that the employees are coming to work and are open for electronic business.
As such, we can file new cases, motions, calendar events and keep the flow of matters moving forward to a great extent. The Courts have assured us that they are working behind the scenes to do what is possible to create options and opportunities on a case by case basis.
Jury Trials, bench Trials, and Mediations at this time are canceled due to the risk of public contagion. Private Mediations are still being conducted in attorneys’ offices when those can be limited to the attorneys and their clients to maintain appropriate social distancing. If you are scheduled for a Pre-Trial Conference within the coming weeks the Court will be in touch with specific options for each case. Although for some questions there might not be an immediate answer, we will do everything within our power to explore every option and assist you, on a daily basis.
The Sanders Firm, P.A. has and will remain open for business. We stand ready to assist you and all of your legal needs daily. We will continue to update you as changes unfold which impact the administration of justice in the upcoming weeks.
Most importantly we are committed to you and your family’s health and safety and the safety of our employees. Although we will remain in the office and available to you, we will be screening anyone coming to the firm and ask that anyone who is sick, has been sick, or traveled anywhere in or out of the country to refrain from visiting the office. We are fortunately blessed with state-of-the-art technology and are ready to meet with you via videoconferencing as needed, on either Zoom, Skype or WhatsApp. All or our documents are digitized and available remotely. We are able to work electronically and, of course, review and file all legal documents electronically; therefore, there is no reason for us to go to the courthouse or for you to come to our office for these purposes. New rules allow the use of electronic notaries. If you do not wish to travel at this time, we can arrange for documents to be notarized electronically. Much of what needs to be conducted to move your case forward can also be done behind the scenes, electronically and telephonically, so that when we regain full access to the courthouse we will be prepared and ready!
We realize this is adding a daunting layer of stress to an already stressful time for you and your family. We welcome your questions and remain ready to address all of your concerns compassionately and creatively. We pledge to do our best for you always. We will get through this together. Please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance. Stay healthy and safe.
Tristan Sanders, Esquire
Silvia Sanders, Esquire and
Chari Roberts-Singleton, FRP