Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered deadlines to initiate a civil or probate case in court to be extended beyond the state of emergency related to the coronavirus outbreak.
Executive Order 2020-58, signed Wednesday, April 22, follows a Michigan Supreme Court ruling from last month that prevents days falling within the declared state of emergency from being counted for the purpose of computing deadlines pertaining to civil and probate care initiation or filing of responsive pleadings.
“These measures are well designed to protect both court staff and the public from the spread of COVID-19 without unduly sacrificing the proper administration of justice,” reads the governor’s order.
Civil cases involve disputes between people or businesses. Probate cases involving the transferring of titles to property from a deceased person to persons entitled to it.
Nothing in Wednesday’s order prevents a court from ordering an expedited response to a complaint or motion in order to hear and resolve an emergency matter that requires immediate attention.
The order does not alter the power of the court to entertain a motion, extend any deadline or implement additional policies as needed.
Michigan has been in a state of emergency since March 10, when the state’s first two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 were reported. The state of emergency was extended April 8 through the end of the month.
Courts around the state have suspended activities that are not necessary to protect or sustain life during the state of emergency. They continue to conduct emergency hearings and essential functions, but most non-emergency matters scheduled before April 30 have been adjourned.
COVID-19 has infected more than 33,966 residents since early March. Efforts to reduce its spread to keep health care systems from being overwhelmed have disrupted the state’s economy, education and everyday life.
You can read Whitmer’s order in full, here.
CORONAVIRUS PREVENTION TIPS
In addition to washing hands regularly and not touching your face, officials recommend practicing social distancing, assuming anyone may be carrying the virus. Health officials say you should be staying at least 6 feet away from others and working from home, if possible. Carry hand sanitizer with you, and use disinfecting wipes or disinfecting spray cleaners on frequently-touched surfaces in your home ( door handles, faucets, countertops) and when you go into places like stores.