Does COVID19 Warrant A 90-Day Extension Of a Case Pending More Than A Year?

The answer – No.

Plaintiff in a patent infringement matter concerning Plaintiff’s ceiling fan patents asked the court to delay all deadlines 90-days in light of the COVID19 crisis.  Plaintiff noted that the parties and attorneys are all located in states that imposed social distancing guidelines and other stay at home restrictions.  Due to this, the parties “are doubtful that any in person depositions may be taken at least for another sixty (60) days.”

While sympathetic to the ongoing crisis, the Court also needed to weigh its obligation to advance cases on its docket, so it granted the motion in part, encouraging the parties to use remote technology to advance the case:

While the Court understands the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court is not convinced that a three-month continuance is warranted. This case, which was filed in the District of Maryland in December 2018, has already been pending for well over a year. In addition, the parties still have more than three months for factual discovery, much of which can be conducted using remote technology. Nevertheless, out of an abundance of fairness, the Court will grant a 60-day extension of the case management and scheduling order. The parties are advised that the Court has an obligation to move its cases forward and will be disinclined to grant any further extensions of these deadlines. Therefore, in order to avoid any further delay, the parties are encouraged to utilize remote technology to conduct discovery until it is considered safe to meet in person.

Motion for continuance, granted in part.
Delta T, LLC v. Dan’s Fan City, Inc., Case No. 8:19-CV-01731 (M.D. Fla. April 9, 2020) (J. Covington)

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