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Remedies for Economic Effect of Judicial System Closure

Apr 01, 2020 | Ben Boscolo

Dear Leaders: We write to you as the owners of a firm that is dependent on the judicial system for economic survival. We urge you to immediately implement policies designed to allow the judicial system to rapidly recover when it is safe to do so.

CHASENBOSCOLO has been in existence for thirty-fours years. We try cases in State and Federal courts and before the workers’ compensation agencies in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia We employ nearly 100 women and men. These people and their families count on us for financial support. Our ability to survive economically depends on access to the judicial system.

We represent citizens of this state who, by no fault of their own, were injured and in financial peril before the Covid-19 crisis. Our clients and their families depend on our firm to help them recover from the financial hardship their injuries caused. Our ability to protect our clients from financial hardship depends on access to the judicial system.

We support social distancing. We support the aggressive actions taken by our leaders to keep us safe. We fear the health risks to our families, loved ones and team. Beyond that, we worry about the severe financial risks we face. A vibrant judicial system is essential part of the return to economic normalcy.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The judicial system is basically closed to the public. We urge the that some simple actions be taken to allow the judicial system to function during the shut down and be ready to rapidly recover. First, the Court should Order lawyers and their clients to use the time they have at present to prepare their cases remotely. This means requiring all forms of preparation to be done remotely and that all deadlines remain in place. The Courts can modify the Rules of Procedure to make clear that the shut down will not impact deadlines. Second, plans should be made to recall retired judges to hear cases that have been continued during the first 90 days that the Courts reopen.

Third, lawyers should be ordered to prepare to present the cases that were postponed by the Covid-19 interruption within 90 days of the reopening of the judicial system. We recognize that there are many, many details and people required to execute this strategy. We realize that it will challenge all of us who are part of the judicial system. However, this virus presents an unprecedented challenge to our society. Bold, unprecedented action is required to respond to and overcome this challenge. Our firm stands ready to assist in any way in planning for and executing a system to jump-start the judicial system when it is safe to do so.

WORKERS COMPENSATION

The workers’ compensation systems are essential to the economic well being of disabled members of our communities. The money benefits to which injured workers are entitled help them care for their families and pay their bills. Bill paying is essential to economic recovery. The workers’ compensation systems are also basically closed to the public. There is a simple action that can be taken now to correct this. The workers’ compensation systems are administrative. Commissioners and Administrative Law Judges decide cases. An executive Order requiring the resumption of all hearings by videoconference will immediately put many people back to work. This will not violate any social distancing Orders. Most importantly, citizens who are dependent on workers’ compensation benefits for financial support will have access to the system. This system is already in place in the State of New York. Our firm stands ready to assist in any way in planning for and executing a system to jump-start the judicial system when it is safe to do so We hope that you will consider these proposals and reach out to our firm for support. We appreciate your leadership in facing this unprecedented generational health crisis. We look forward to working with you to help rapidly restore a vibrant, functioning judicial system. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Very truly yours,
Benjamin T. Boscolo