Clark County Washington Courts Update Pandemic Guidelines and Practices

Posted by Bradley Thayer | Aug 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

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On July 16, 2021, the Clark County Bar Association circulated court updates for Clark County's Superior and District Courts which went into effect on July 19, 2021 and effectively opened up the courthouse to a greater degree than it has been during the pandemic.

The Superior Court has updated the COVID-19 Mitigation Order for the Courthouses (GO 21-03) as well as the Emergency Order (GO 21-04).

Mitigation Order for the Courthouses

The COVID-19 Mitigation Order for the Courthouses (GO 21-03), highlights (from the perspective of our civil law practice) are:

- If you're sick or in quarantine—still don't come in;
- Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer still;
- Unvaccinated individuals are still required to wear a mask at all times unless instructed by the Court otherwise;
- Others need not wear a mask in the courthouse any longer, in the following groups:

o Fully vaccinated individuals;
o Children under 12;
o Physically disabled individuals unable to wear a mask;
o Deaf individuals reliant on facial and mouth movements to communicate;
o Individuals medically at-risk by wearing a face mask, so advised by their doctor;
o Individuals struggling to breathe, unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove their mask without assistance.

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The Emergency Order

The Emergency Order (GO 21-04) highlights (from the perspective of our civil law practice) are:

- All Civil Trials shall proceed in compliance with existing state and local rules;
- All Civil Motion Dockets (Friday) will be held via video conference, teleconference, or in person.  

The District Court updated Order (GAO 2021-11) highlights (from the perspective of our civil law practice) are:

- Civil motions may be noted and heard virtually, telephonically, or in person;
- All civil jury trials will be held in person with strict observance of current recommended public health measures.

Key Takeaway

The key takeaway from our perspective is that in-person civil jury trials may again be available to our clients.  This is great news!  Where we can create the risk to the at-fault insurance company that a jury might award our client a large verdict—this enables us to make a more meaningful recovery for our client.

What happens next where the delta variant of COVID-19 is presenting new challenges in containment and rendering our prior understanding of the virus moot?  We shall see.  

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About the Author

Bradley Thayer

Brad Thayer is a partner at the Schauermann Thayer firm. Brad is licensed in both Oregon and Washington. He has been practicing law since 2015. He was presented the 2018 Rising Star Award by the Clark County Bar Association. Brad's practice focuses on automobile collision, motorcycle, bicycle, pedestrian injury, dog bite, and myriad other types of injury and insurance cases. During his free time, Brad enjoys following the Portland Trail Blazers, playing basketball, going to concerts, and playing the drums. He especially enjoys hiking in the Columbia River Gorge and exploring other Northwest wonders.

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