Hawaii Courts and COVID-19

 

STATE OF HAWAII JUDICIARY

Hawaii's state courts in each circuit have implemented a variety of orders aimed to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes, COVID-19.  Certain courts have been closed, while access to other courthouses and courtrooms has been restricted.  Various procedures have been implemented to curtail interpersonal contact.  Many hearings have been postponed; most of the hearings that are going forward are being conducted via telephone. 

 

By order of the Chief Justice, jury trials in the First Circuit (County of Honolulu) may resume on December 14, 2020, and jury trials in all other circuits may resume on November 16, 2020. Non-jury trials may proceed in accordance with the mandates of the circuit.

Despite the limitations, civil actions in the circuit courts are still proceeding.  New lawsuits are being filed.  Discovery in existing lawsuits is on-going.  Motions are being filed, and some hearings are occurring.

Orders from Hawaii Courts:

(last update: 11/10/2020)

Chief Justice

Courts of Appeal

First Circuit 

Second Circuit

Third Circuit

Fifth Circuit

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, DISTRICT OF HAWAII

In light of the current status of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Hawaii, Chief Judge Michael Seabright issued an order on October 9, 2020 regarding operations at the Federal Courthouse for the District of Hawaii. (See below).  It provides that:

 

From October 9, 2020 through November 15, 2020, the courthouse will be closed to the public on all Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The courthouse will remain open on Mondays and Thursdays (other than holidays), but solely for in-person court hearings. The public will be permitted to enter the courthouse on Mondays and Thursdays to attend in-person court hearings and for no other purpose. If needed, the courthouse can be opened on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday for emergency matters. The first jury trial is scheduled to commence on November 16, 2020. No jury trial shall be held prior to that date.

All persons entering the courthouse will be required to wear a mask, and inside the building, are expected to socially distance.  Hearings conducted within the courthouse will be subject to six-foot social distancing requirements.  Access to the Courthouse is limited; the public and media are barred, although they make request access to attend a hearing. 

 

Judge Leslie Kobayashi has an additional requirement for parties and counsel appearing in her courtroom:

For court proceedings before Judge Kobayashi, counsel, parties, interpreters and anyone else who will be speaking during the proceedings are required to obtain and bring their own face shield, and to wear it when speaking in court.  The face shield is required to help make sure that the court reporter and others can hear and understand the person speaking.  To be clear, this requirement does not excuse anyone from the general rule that requires wearing a face mask when entering and being in the courthouse.  Once in Judge Kobayashi’s Courtroom, all counsel, parties, interpreters or anyone else who will be speaking during the proceeding may then replace their face mask with the required face shield.

Chief Judge Seabright and Magistrate Judge Mansfield created a video to explain how the USDC, District of Hawaii is functioning during this period of lockdown, which is available here.

Orders from USDC, District of Hawaii: 

(last update: 11/10/20)

Current Orders

Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic:

CARES Act:

Jury:

Additional Guidance: 

 

Previous Orders.  Previous orders can be found here.

  • LinkedIn - Black Circle

©2018 by Farm Benedict Sugihara

A Limited Liability Law Partnership LLP

700 Bishop St, Ste 1601

Honolulu, HI  96813