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News & Press: COVID-19: Santa Clara County Superior Court

COVID-19 Related Information from the Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Benito Superior Courts

Thursday, June 18, 2020  
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In an effort to keep our members informed, we will post COVID-19 related updates received from the Courts in this special news section.

From the California Judicial Council

From the Santa Clara County Superior Court

  • June 18, 2020: Santa Clara County Superior Court Jury Trials to Resume with Enhanced Social Distancing Protocols
  • May 13, 2020: Santa Clara County General Order Regarding Face Face Coverings Required in Courthouses
  • April 14, 2020: Santa Clara County Probate Court Update
    Source: Thomas E. Rossmeissl, SVBA President

    I have been in contact with Judge Emede and Jonathan Kahn, and I have passed on a number of questions from members. Here is a further update from the Probate Court.

    Practice and procedures may change in the coming days/weeks, and the court is gradually getting things back on-line with increased remote work capacity. The probate examiners are now beginning to work remotely, as are the court investigators. The San Andreas Regional Center is also generating reports again (at least for limited conservatorships, as I understand it). This means that more conservatorships may be in a position to be completed than was true a couple of weeks ago. The court is working to identify matters that can be processed during the shelter-in-place orders and will continue to work through those.

    Some of you have raised questions on the Probate Court’s procedures on issuing certified copies of Letters and the like under the current COVID-19 emergency environment. First, in order to get originally-executed documents to the Court (signed Letters, etc.), the only way to do it is through the Court’s drop-box. If you want certified copies of Letters, or similar documents, the court will need the payment in order to process the request. If you like, submit the request for a certified copy (or copies) along with a check when you submit the Letters. Including a self-addressed stamped return envelope will also make it easier for the court to send them back to you.

    Dropbox documents are usually processed once per week, most often on Tuesdays, but the court is seeking to allocate resources so this can happen more than once per week.

    For emergency temporary conservatorships, Jonathan Kahn will try to also email copies of the orders to counsel when the orders are signed.

    Also, when you have received notification of the continuance of one of your matters, if you are the noticing party, please send out a notice of hearing to reflect the new hearing date.

  • April 9, 2020: General Order Re: Appearances of Conservatees and Involuntary Patients
  • April 3, 2020: General Order Re: Implementation of Emergency Relief - Presiding Judge Deborah A. Ryan Orders an Extension of Deadlines
  • April 3, 2020: Santa Clara County Probate Court Update
    Source: Thomas E. Rossmeissl, SVBA President

    Judge Emede has shared the following informal update on how cases will be handled through May 3, subject to change as circumstances change.

    The Probate Department (Department 13) will continue to run only the Tuesday afternoon Conservatorship calendar, which is the only calendar that has been deemed essential. Even on those conservatorship matters, however, if a matter is incomplete due to a missing Court Investigator’s report or a missing San Andreas Regional Center report (where required), then the matter will be continued and the parties will be notified. There has been very limited ability to review new Court Investigator or SARC reports, but they are working on improving that so that all conservatorship matters can be processed.

    All other matters will be continued. New dates will be reflected through the court’s public portal. The work is in process, but not yet complete. You should check the online calendar to determine the new dates for your matters.

    The court will continue to process emergency conservatorships, special administrations, and other urgent matters. These types of matters can be sent to Jonathan Kahn, but they must be truly emergencies or urgent matters. Mr. Kahn is also reviewing the general ex parte matters that are submitted to him through email. There has as yet been no way to process the ex parte petitions and orders, but the Court is moving forward on developing and implementing a solution.

    The Court is beginning to move the e-filings through the e-filing queue, which has not been done so far on most filings up until now. They will start with filings that do not require a hearing date or fee and process those first. As future scheduling becomes more clear, the Court may then be able to start clearing the queue of other filings.

    Please keep in mind that this has been incredibly difficult for the court and its staff. Judge Emede asked me to reiterate that they recognize the importance of every single case, but that the safety of the court staff, all of the court users, the attorneys and their staffs, and members of the community remain the court’s number one concern.

    We will provide further updates as we receive them from the Court. In the meantime, stay healthy, stay safe, stay patient, and stay cooperative as we all work to navigate these turbulent waters.

We have clarified with the Probate Court about how members should approach efiling during the current disruptions caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Practitioners may continue to submit efilings, but due to limited personnel, the filings will not be processed until the Probate Court returns to its normal operations.  Do not put a hearing date on your documents in new filings.  Instead, leave the filing date blank, and in the comments section of your submission, you can ask for the hearing to be set at the next available date and you can indicate dates that are not convenient as well.  The efilings will be added to a queue and will be processed in the order received, as time and staffing permit.

  • March 16, 2020: Ex Parte Matters and E-Filing

    Source: Jonathan Kahn, Probate Staff Attorney, Santa Clara County Superior Court

    During this time of a public health crisis, the Court is having to adjust usual workflows to accommodate a minimal staff presence in Court. Therefore, ex parte matters should now be emailed directly to me at jkahn@scscourt.org I will review the documents, contact you if any supplemental declarations or consents are needed, then notify you once the judge has reviewed the request.  If the request is granted, you will be notified to e-file the ex parte petition and supporting documents. We will then process filing of the petition and order. This may take longer than the usual e-filing turnaround due to limited staff.

    Even with the necessary limited availability for hearings, we are attempting to keep urgent and ex parte matters moving to the extent possible.  This ex parte process is offered to accommodate urgent matters only. Petitions to modify trust, Heggstad petitions, and the like will be reviewed once the court returns to normal hours and functionality. A declaration as to the urgency of any ex parte petition would be helpful.

    Please pass this email along to any probate attorneys who may not be SVBA members and please stay well in these challenging times.

  • March 16, 2020: Information from Judge Emede
    Source: Jeannie Tran, SVBA Judicial Liaison

In keeping with the Order of the Health Officer of Santa Clara County, we are taking significant measures at the entire Santa Clara County Superior Court.  For our Probate calendars, the following will be in place, effective immediately:

1.     All matters on the Monday morning, Wednesday morning, Thursday morning, and Friday morning regular calendars (9:00am and 9:01am) set for the period March 17th through April 6th will be continued.  For matters set this week, probate examiners will attempt to reach the parties to notify them of the new dates.  For matters set next week and after, notices will be sent with the continuance dates.  All continuance dates (once entered) will also be available on the Public Portal at https://portal.scscourt.org/.

2.     The Conservatorship calendars on Tuesday afternoons at 1:30pm will continue to be heard, but only urgent or emergency conservatorship matters will be heard.  All other matters will be continued.  For the matters that will be heard, any parties appearing should appear by telephone, and the appearance of conservators and conservatees will be waived.  If at any hearings that do go forward, it is determined the conservator and/or Conservatee need to be personally present, that matter will be continued to a date when personal appearance can be accommodated.   

3.     At this time, we expect to still be able to process ex parte requests.  We will be setting up an email process for submitting those requests.  More information will be forthcoming on that issue shortly.

I recognize that this will cause a hardship for many of you and your clients.  Please know we do not take this action lightly.  We will continue to work hard to prepare for the resumption of regular activity and for a return for the hard-fought gains we had been making on reducing the wait time for hearings. 

I will continue to update all of you as things evolve.  Please be safe and I look forward to seeing you all in person again in court soon.

Julie A. Emede
Santa Clara County Superior Court, Probate Judge, Dept. 13
191 N. First Street, San Jose, CA 95113

From the San Mateo County Superior Court

  • March 17, 2020: Estate Planning/Probate Court
    Source: Jennifer M. Stier, SVBA Judicial Liaison

    The Courts are unable to take e-file ex parte matters. However, the mail may still be used as a means by which to file uncontested ex partes. With respect to conservatorship actions, the court will be willing to waive appearance in light of the current crisis.

  • March 17, 2020: Emergency Order re: COVID-19
  • March 16, 2020: Note from the San Mateo Co. Superior Court Probate Department
    Source: Jennifer M. Stier, SVBA Judicial Liaison

    For tomorrow (March 17), hearings on the morning calendar will be held and it will be business as usual excepting the fact that we are now requesting that parties appear telephonically to the extent possible.  No more than 10 people will be allowed in the courtroom at any given time.  Any parties appearing are requested to stay at least 6' apart from all other persons in the courtroom. With respect to conservatorship actions, the court will be willing to waive appearance in light of the current crisis.


    Going forward, all actions will be dropped from the calendar excepting conservatorship appointments (and exigent conservatorship issues), LPS hearings, and elder abuse TROs. All other matters will be dropped from the calendar and may be re-noticed after May 1. 

    We will continue to hear exigent LPS, non-appearance Conservatorship, Conservatorship appointments, and Elder Abuse TRO matters at regular hearings and ex parte, until we are precluded from doing so.  With respect to regular ex parte matters, as long as filings are made electronically, they will be reviewed and granted or denied in the order received. Ex parte orders will be filed by the court with the clerk and can be accessed online on Odyssey.  If there are questions regarding the documents, counsel will be called for additional information. Issues which are not normally heard ex parte or which are not exigent will be refused and may be filed for a noticed hearing after May 1. 

    For Writs and Receivers:  All matters will be dropped and may be re-noticed for after May 1. Exigent matters will continue to be heard on an ex parte basis and we ask that all filings be made electronically whenever possible.

    We appreciate everyone's patience during this time and will make every effort possible to ensure the safety and well-being of the parties involved as well as court staff. All of these procedures are unfortunately subject to change as health concerns permit.

From the San Benito County Superior Court


more Calendar

10/8/2020
October 8th Webinar: Tips for (Successfully) Filing Limited Conservatorship

10/22/2020
October 22nd Webinar: Cross-Border Issues for California Trust & Estate Planning

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