|EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, public access to courthouses is restricted to authorized persons only and measures to enforce social distancing in courthouse hallways and courtrooms will be strictly enforced as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surge in Los Angeles County, Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile announced today.
The General Orders the Court issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic prompted lawsuits from civil litigants seeking to have the Court adjudicate their cases. While some attorneys sought jury trials, other attorneys objected to coming into court during a pandemic.
Recently, despite mandatory and previous General Orders (See General Orders filed June 5, 2020, July 6, 2020, and October 13, 2020) requiring the use of face masks and social distancing and ubiquitous signage in each courthouse reiterating the face mask and social distancing mandates, attorneys, litigants, and others routinely remove their masks, wear their mask improperly, and/or fail to observe social distancing while in courthouses. Non-compliance with the basic protective measures that this Court has repeatedly required by way of prior General Orders to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus may increase COVID-19 infections.
Under General Order (2020-GEN-25-00) issued today:
- Public access to courthouses is limited at all times to judicial officers, court employees, co-lessees, Judicial Council staff, vendors, jurors, mediators, authorized persons (including news media representatives and news reporters), attorneys, litigants and witnesses with matters on calendar, and individuals with confirmed appointments.
- In the interest of enforcing social distancing and to reduce the number of people in courthouses, effective Monday, November 30, 2020, members of the public, not otherwise referenced above, who wish to attend a court proceeding may do so upon advance request and at the discretion of the judicial officer presiding over the matter. Instructions on how to make such a request are available on the Court’s website at the Here for You | Safe for You page. All persons attending remotely must comply with applicable California Rules of Court, including Rule 1.150. There shall be no recording by anyone of the court proceeding, hearing or trial.
- Attorneys, litigants, witnesses and authorized persons are prohibited from gathering with or speaking to anyone outside their household in courthouse hallways or public areas of the Court unless they can do so at least six feet apart from each other and while wearing masks over their nose and mouth.
- To enforce social distancing, each court department shall schedule only the number of matters during each session as it can accommodate consistent with social distancing requirements in courtrooms and outside hallways of the courthouse.
- Eating in courthouse hallways and courtrooms by the public shall be prohibited at all times.
- Sheriff’s Department personnel are directed to enforce the mandatory face mask requirement and social distancing protocols in courthouses (2020-GEN-016).
Since the resumption of court services on June 15 and phased resumption of hearings began on June 22 in all 38 courthouses, the Court:
- Equipped all 600 courtrooms across the county with remote courtroom appearance technology;
- Required masks (without valves) be worn over the nose and mouth inside courthouses, unless medically certified as an exception;
- Posted social distancing signs to limit the number of people allowed in hallways, courtrooms and elevators;
- Provided hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes in key traffic areas, and increased cleaning of restrooms and high-touch surfaces;
- Installed over 5,600 plexiglass barriers at security screening stations, public counters and courtrooms;
- Provided drop boxes outside each courthouse; and
- Required advance appointments for in-person service at the Clerk’s Office and Self-Help Centers. Call centers at each courthouse are available to reserve appointments for in-person service and get answers to questions. Contact the call centers at this link: http://www.lacourt.org/newsmedia/ui/pdf/CALLCENTERPHONENUMBERSfinal.pdf.
The Court is operating under its Here For You | Safe For You initiative to provide a safe courthouse environment while offering services that allow court business to be conducted remotely. Whether appearing by phone, from home, the office or coming to the courthouse, the Court provides safe, efficient options to access justice. The Court’s remote courtroom appearance technology options promote social distancing by reducing the number of people appearing in person.
Information on Here For You | Safe For You can be found here and on the Court’s Twitter page (@LASuperiorCourt).
View the full notice here.