Tolling Order Time Requirements in Light of COVID-19

COVID-19
March 30, 2020
 

On March 27, 2020, the Supreme Court of Ohio issued an order tolling the time requirements established by all rules promulgated by the Court, in light of Governor DeWine’s declaration of emergency concerning the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, In re Tolling of Time Requirements Imposed by Rules Promulgated by the Supreme Court and Use of Technology, 2020-Ohio-1166 (“Order”). The Order works in conjunction with Am. Sub. H.B. 197, which the Governor also signed on March 27, 2020.

Tolling retroactively applies from March 9, 2020, until the expiration of the Order. It expressly applies to the filing of all pleadings, appeals, and all other filings; time limitations, including statute of limitations as applied to civil cases; deadlines, including discovery deadlines; and other directives related to time, including non-constitutional jurisdictional deadlines. Id. The Order is set to expire on the earlier of either: (1) the date the Governor’s declaration of emergency ends or (2) July 30, 2020. Id. When vetoing certain language in the underlying bill, the Governor made clear that the Order does not apply to Ohio tax-related deadlines.

The Order essentially freezes time. Once the Order expires, all time requirements tolled by the Order resume. Thus, it is not an enlargement of time, but rather, an interruption of time. "For example, if a deadline were set to expire on March 19, 2020 (10 days after the effective date of the Order), the deadline will now expire 10 days after this tolling order is lifted” (Tolling Order FAQs). Notably, any scheduling orders issued on or after March 9, 2020, remain in effect. Trial courts are advised to reconsider any scheduling orders issued before March 9, 2020. The Order, however, does not apply to matters that require immediate attention if the court can receive filings due to local accommodations. Further, the Order does not close any courts. However, any requirement that a party must appear in person or requiring in-person service may be waived by allowing appearance or service by use of technology.

As a result of the Supreme Court’s March 27, 2020 Order, the Court seeks to promote uniformity amongst Ohio’s courts. One outcome of the Order is certain – it will lessen the number of requests for extension that would have otherwise been made to Ohio’s courts absent the Order.


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