The Allen Superior Court Civil Division continues to carry out its caseload, with operational adjustments having been made in order to provide proper social distancing, during the COVID-19 emergency. Judges David J. Avery, Craig J. Bobay, Nancy E. Boyer, and Jennifer L. DeGroote today provided the attached update on the current status of operations in the Superior Court Civil Division.
ALLEN SUPERIOR COURT CIVIL DIVISION OPERATIONAL UPDATE
March 31, 2020
- The Courts Are Open: As Governor Holcomb’s March 23, 2020 Executive Order 20-08 (“Directive For Hoosiers To Stay At Home”) states, judges and court personnel perform “Essential Government Functions,” and are exempt from the Governor’s “Stay at Home” Order. The Allen Superior Court Civil Division and its employees are working. All e-filed motions, pleadings, claims, complaints, notices, stipulations, proposed orders, and other documents filed with the Court continue to be regularly reviewed and processed by the Allen Superior Court Civil Division.
- Jury trials: No jury trials will be held as long as the COVID-19 health emergency exists. The Judges of the Civil Division have entered, and will be entering appropriate orders concerning the use of juries in individual cases.
- Other Civil Division Hearings: With the exception of jury and bench trials, the Civil Division of the Court is generally conducting the regular business of the Court by remote telephonic appearance. Orders have been entered in civil cases, informing the parties and counsel that they must arrange to appear at hearings by telephone. The Court is issuing specific orders for telephonic court appearances and procedures in each individual case.
- Protection Orders: The Small Claims Court in the Courthouse Annex (located at 1 W. Superior St. in Fort Wayne) is open to accept new petitions from individuals who are seeking Orders for Protection. However, the Court strongly encourages individuals who are seeking Orders for Protection to e-file those petitions, if possible. The website for individuals to e-file those petitions is: https://public.courts.in.gov/porefsp#/ All in-person court appearances in those cases will adhere to strict social distancing standards.
- Civil Mediation: All civil mediation may be conducted by telephone or video conference, as directed by the assigned mediator. All in-person mediations will adhere to strict social distancing standards.
- Probate and Guardianship: Probate and guardianship hearings are generally conducted by remote telephonic appearance. The Court is issuing specific orders for telephonic court appearances and procedures in each individual case. Emergency guardianship cases may be conducted in the Courthouse. All in-person court appearances in those cases will adhere to strict social distancing standards.
- Small Claims Court Trials: Most trials in the Small Claims Court in the Courthouse Annex will be continued. The Small Claims Court is issuing specific orders for continuances, telephonic court appearances, and procedures in each individual case.
- Collection: Orders have been entered stating that parties and attorneys involved in collections cases are being informed that they may arrange for remote appearances by telephone.
- Garnishment: Garnishment reduction, exemption, and release of bond hearings are being conducted by telephone remote appearance. Questions regarding Small Claims cases can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Residential Foreclosures and Evictions:
On March 19, 2020, Governor Eric Holcomb issued Executive Order EO 20-06 regarding the temporary prohibition on residential foreclosure and residential eviction cases. As a result, the Allen Superior Court Civil Division issued an order today taking the following steps:
– All residential foreclosure proceedings are stayed.
– All Sheriff’s sales of residential property are stayed.
– The mortgage foreclosure settlement conference process, including preliminary telephone conferences, settlement conferences and status hearings will continue.
- Commercial Foreclosures and Evictions:
Executive Order 20-06 does not apply to commercial foreclosures or commercial evictions, and there is not currently a stay in effect for these cases. Consistent with the March 17, 2020, Indiana Supreme Court’s Order granting the petition of the Allen County Courts for emergency relief pursuant to Indiana Administrative Rule 17, the processing of commercial foreclosure or commercial eviction cases is at the discretion of the Court. The Court is issuing specific orders for procedures regarding commercial evictions in each individual case.
- The Court retains its discretion to proceed in manners other than as set out above, as justice requires.