We have been watching the developing news regarding the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic and monitoring closely the recommendations of health officials at both the State and Federal level. At Sloan Law Firm, our attorneys and staff are family and, like you, our number one priority is to keep our family safe and healthy. For that reason, beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, many of our attorneys and staff will be working remotely to the extent they are able while still accommodating necessary court appearances and client matters. Our offices are equipped with necessary technology to permit access to email and secure access to electronic client information so that we can continue to meet our clients’ needs. In the meantime, our offices will continue to operate daily from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., we will routinely disinfect high traffic areas in our offices, and will make hand sanitizer and hand soap available to anyone who needs them.
To the greatest extent possible, we ask that all communications be made via email or phone. We can also arrange for video teleconferencing and for document delivery and exchange as necessary. During this time, our Lawrence office will be accessible by appointment only and we ask that if you need to see someone in our Topeka office that you call in advance. Of course, if you are ill or are have reason to believe that you have been exposed to the Coronavirus, please reschedule your appointment or contact us about changing your appointment to a telephone or video conference.
We will continue to monitor for court closures and keep our clients apprised of scheduling changes. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all navigate this new and uncharted territory.
NOTIFICATIONS AND CLOSURES
**We will try our best to keep this updated with current information, however this is not intended to be comprehensive list of closures or restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You should also be mindful of local news coverage and if you have questions about your case in a particular jurisdiction, please contact your attorney.**
- On May 1, 2020, Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Marla Luckert entered Administrative Orders 2020-PR-44 (reissuing Administrative Order 2020-PR-36 under the re-issued Emergency Declaration), 2020-PR-45 (regarding two-way audio visual communication in court proceedings), 2020-PR-46 (suspending deadlines and time limitations relative to speedy trial requirements), 2020-PR-47 (suspending deadlines and time limitations in judicial proceedings), 2020-PR-48 (directing court operations in counties not under local stay-at-home orders) and 2020-PR-49 (directing court operations in counties under local stay-at-home orders).
- On April 30, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas and entered Executive Order 20-29, implementing the first phase of the Ad Astra plan.
- On April 30, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued Executive Order 20-28, which incorporates and re-issues previous executive orders.
- On April 18, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued Executive Order 20-25, extending the prohibition on mass gatherings in Executive Order 20-18 until May 1, 2020.
- On April 16, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued Executive Order 20-24, extending the Statewide Stay-at-Home Order as issued in Executive Order 20-16, through May 3, 2020
- On April 8, 2020, the Legislative Coordinating Council revoked Executive Order 20-18, nullifying the existing Statewide Stay-at-Home Order. On April 11, 2020, following oral argument, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the LCC did not have the authority to take its April 8 action.
- On April 7, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued Executive Order 20-18, which rescinds the Statewide Stay-at-Home Order in E.O. 20-14 and replaces it. Executive Order 20-18 extends the prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 to churches and religious services.
- Beginning April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships may apply for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The Treasury Department has issued guidance regarding who may apply, how, and the available benefits.
- On Friday, April 3, 2020, Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Marla Luckert entered Administrative Order 2020-PR-32, clarifying the Supreme Court's previous order regarding judicial function during the public health emergency. In particular, the order clarifies that the Court's order does not limit the conduct of litigation (including discovery and mediation) that does not involve the judge or a judicial employee; that essential court functions should, to the extent possible, be handled by phone or video and non-essential court functions may only be conducted by phone or video; and non-essential electronic filings may be delayed but will not be denied.
- Also on April 3, 2020, Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Marla Luckert entered Administrative Order 2020-PR-31, suspending certain deadlines in municipal courts.
- Effective April 1, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides up to 10 days of paid sick leave and up to 10 weeks of paid family leave to qualifying employees. The Department of Labor has issued preliminary guidance regarding the application of these new laws.
- On Tuesday, March 31, 2020, Governor Laura Kelly entered Executive Order 20-17 requiring all Kansas employers to notify employees of potential availability of unemployment benefits, waiving the one week waiting requirement and the requirement to actively seek work to be eligible for benefits.
- On Saturday, March 28, 2020, Governor Laura Kelly entered Executive Order 20-16, a statewide "Stay at Home" order. This order will be in effect beginning Monday, March 30, 2020 and continuing at least through April 19, 2020.
- Effective Monday, March 30, 2020, both the Johnson and Shawnee County Courthouses will be completely closed to the public.
- Effective Thursday, March 26, 2020, Shawnee and Franklin Counties in Kansas will be under a Stay at Home order for 30 days. Doniphan County is under a similar order for 14 days.
- Effective Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Sedgwick, Atchison and Morris Counties in Kansas will be under a Stay at Home Order for 30 days. Miami County, Kansas has entered a similar order effective for 29 days.
- Effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020, Johnson, Wyandotte, Leavenworth and Douglas Counties in Kansas will be under a Stay at Home Order for 30 days. These orders vary slightly but each exempts certain essential businesses and essential activities from the order.
- On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, Governor Laura Kelly entered Executive Order 20-15, which sets forth a standardized framework for "essential function" exemptions in local stay at home orders.
- On Monday, March 23, 2020, Governor Laura Kelly entered Executive Order 20-10 rescinding E.O. 20-06 and clarifying (1) that the temporary prohibition on mortgage foreclosures and evictions applies to all landlords; (2) that the temporary prohibition on mortgage foreclosures and evictions does not apply to those initiated prior to March 23, 2020; and (3) that the temporary prohibition on mortgage foreclosures and evictions only applies when the default or violation is substantially caused by financial hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This order remains in place until May 1, 2020 or until the statewide State of Disaster Emergency expires, whichever is earlier.
- On Monday, March 23, 2020, Governor Laura Kelly entered Executive Order 20-12, which extends the deadline for license renewal and vehicle registration in Kansas to 60 days following the expiration of the statewide State of Disaster Emergency.
- On Monday, March 23, 2020, Johnson County Chief Judge Thomas Ryan entered Administrative Order 20-06 further clarifying emergency court operations in Johnson County, Kansas, including the suspension of all Youth Court proceedings, code violation hearings, foreclosure sales, eviction dockets and marriage license issuance until further notice, the continuation of Veterans Treatment Court and mediation through remote means only, and instructions for reporting for court ordered probation.
- On Friday, March 20, 2020, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the deadline for filing income tax returns and making any tax payments without interest or penalties would be extended from April 15 to July 15. Kansas has similarly extended tax filings and payments by Executive Order 20-13.
- On Friday, March 20, 2020, Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Marla Luckert entered Administrative Order 2020-PR-24 which clarifies and expands Administrative Order 2020-PR-16 to permit district courts to include temporary protection orders and related extensions of protection orders as emergency operations.
- On Thursday, March 19, 2020, the Shawnee County District Court announced that it is now closed to the public and the court will operate on an emergency basis only. Because the court is now closed to the public, this will also impact the Shawnee County Register of Deeds who is currently only accepting deeds filed by mail or electronically.
- On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Marla Luckert entered Administrative Order 2020-PR-16 directing all district and appellate courts in Kansas to cease all but emergency operations until further order. The Supreme Court anticipates the order to remain in effect for at least two weeks, at which time it will be evaluated. Exempted from this order are certain criminal hearings, juvenile detention hearings, care and treatment emergency orders, protection from abuse/stalking orders, and child in need of care hearings and orders. The order also suspends collection of DNA, urinalysis testing, alcohol testing and home visits by Judicial Branch employees. This order also suspends all statutes of limitations and statutory time standard or deadlines upon publication of 2020 House Substitute for Senate Bill No. 102.
- On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed Executive Order 20-04, temporarily prohibit mass gatherings, defined as more than 50 people. The Order contains a number of exceptions, including for religious observances, governmental functions and certain business operations.
- Also on March 17, 2020, Governor Kelly signed Executive Order 20-05, temporarily prohibiting utility and internet disconnects for non-payment.
- Also on March 17, 2020, Governor Kelly signed Executive Order 20-06, temporarily suspending financial institutions from instituting foreclosure actions or any commercial or residential eviction actions until May 1, 2020 or until the statewide State of Disaster Emergency expires, whichever is earlier.
- On March 17, 2020, Douglas County Chief Judge James McCabria issued Administrative Order 20-17, continuing all pending matters in Douglas County until further order. Exempted from this order are Child in Need of Care temporary orders hearings, Juvenile offender detention hearings, criminal first appearances, protection from abuse/stalking cases heard on Fridays at 1:30 and Care and Treatment Hearings pursuant to Chapter 59. As part of this order, all small claims, traffic court, limited action first appearances (including evictions) and DCF dockets are postponed until at least June 1, 2020.
- On March 16, 2020, Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Marla Luckert entered Administrative Order 2020-PR-015, restricting access to the Kansas Judicial Center including to the Kansas Supreme Court, Kansas Court of Appeals, Clerk of the Appellate Courts and the Kansas Judicial Council. The Kansas Supreme Court has also canceled oral arguments scheduled in March.
- On March 16, 2020, Johnson County Acting Chief Judge Charles Droege entered Administrative Orders 20-04 and 20-05. A.O. 20-04 continues all in-person court hearings through March 27, 2020 and prohibits all visits to the Johnson County Courthouse except for court personnel and for business that cannot be otherwise conducted remotely, online or by mail. A.O. 20-05 creates a moratorium on all evictions in Johnson County for a period of at least 30 days.
- On March 16, 2020, Riley County District Court Chief Judge Grant Bannister entered Administrative Order 20-01. This order continues all jury trials scheduled through April 20, 2020; continues all limited action, small claims, traffic, first appearance and Monday criminal dockets through April 3, 2020; and postpones any marriage ceremonies until at least April 3, 2020 unless otherwise accommodated by a District Court Judge. The Court otherwise remains open for essential business.
- In Sedgwick County, traffic cases are continued until April 6, 2020; child in need of care and juvenile offender dockets are administratively continued but the court will continue to hear temporary custody and secure care hearings; and the Wednesday civil limited docket will be conducted by phone rather than in person.
- On March 16, 2020, the City of Lawrence Municipal Court canceled all non-essential dockets for two weeks.
- Effective March 13, 2020, all limited action, small claims, traffic, eviction, DUI and misdemeanor criminal dockets in Shawnee County District Court between March 16, 2020 and April 3, 2020 are continued. Child in Need of Care cases in Shawnee County will be subject to a modified schedule as set out in Division 15 Standing Order. Juvenile Offender cases will be subject to the restrictions set out in Division 4 Standing Order.
- Hearings are postponed at the municipal courts in Edgerton, Olathe, Overland Park, Merriam, Shawnee and Lenexa.