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The Current State of Court Operations in Idaho
March 17, 2020


HOW IDAHO COURTS ARE REACTING

On March 13, 2020, Idaho Governor Brad Little declared a State of Emergency in response to COVID-19. In response, the Idaho Supreme Court https://isc.idaho.gov/  issued an order governing for civil matters pending in Idaho state courts as follows:

  • All in-person court appearances are excused except emergency matters, child protection hearings and domestic violence hearings.
  • All civil trials, hearings and motions are postponed and rescheduled for a later date, unless the assigned judge directs that the proceedings may be held telephonically or through video means. If in doubt as to your matter, contact the judge’s clerk.
  • Except in emergency matters and hearings required by statute or Court Rule to be held, small claims, eviction, probate and guardianship cases will be continued.
  • Any civil trial or hearing currently in progress will either be continued or will be completed at the discretion of the presiding judge.
  • Courtroom attendance is now limited to attorneys, parties, necessary witnesses and jurors.
  • A case involving an attorney or party who is ill or in a high-risk category will be rescheduled.
  • Individuals should not enter courtrooms or court services offices if they have:
  1. Visited China, Iran, South Korea, any European countries or any other high-risk countries identified by the CDC in the previous 14 days;
  2. Resided with, or been in close contact with, someone who has been in any of those countries within the previous 14 days;
  3. Traveled domestically within the United States where COVID-19 has sustained widespread community transmission;
  4. Been asked to self-quarantine by any doctor, hospital or health agency;
  5. Been diagnosed with, or have had, contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19; or
  6. Who has a fever, cough or shortness of breath.

This order is effective from March 16, 2020, to April 10, 2020, or until the Idaho Supreme Court issues a further order.

United States District Court for the District of Idaho:

The District of Idaho https://www.id.uscourts.gov/clerks/covid-19/Public_Information.cfm has asked persons who have traveled to China, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea or the Seattle/Tacoma area within the previous 14 days not to come to court. Otherwise, there are currently no changes to normal court operations within the District of Idaho. The Court is closely monitoring the national response to the COVID-19 and will post any future changes or updates on its website.

WHAT LITIGANTS CAN DO

Until the District of Idaho indicates otherwise, litigants can proceed as usual in federal court.

Litigants in state court cases may experience greater disruption. However, many aspects of civil litigation may still proceed as normal, including:

  1. Litigants can still file pleadings, motions and other documents with the court.
  2. Parties can still send out and answer written discovery, including requests for documents. If a responding party faces delays in accessing and gathering responsive documents due to business disruptions, the parties should, consistent with the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct, work to agree on reasonable extensions.
  3. Depositions can occur on a completely remote basis upon stipulation of the parties. This includes a court reporter administering the oath to the witness via video or telephone. Every person who would otherwise attend a deposition in-person can do so in a separate remote location. The deposition is deemed to have taken place where the deponent answers the questions. 
  4. Upon stipulation, depositions may also be taken via written questions pursuant to Rule 31 of the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure.

Despite the difficulties presented by COVID-19, Parsons Behle & Latimer’s Boise and Idaho Falls offices remain committed to providing our clients with exceptional service and legal representation. The firm is closely monitoring the impact of this situation on Idaho courts and will provide additional updates as needed. To speak to Jameson Rammell on this or other-related matters in the Idaho Falls area, call (208) 522-6700 or send an email to jrammell@parsonsbehle.com. In the Boise area, call (208) 562-4900 or send an email to Brook Bond at bbond@parsonsbehle.com