Earlier today, Judge Toor issued a standing order in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. With the duties of competence and communication in mind, lawyers practicing in Chittenden Civil would be well-served to understand the order and to communicate with clients as to its imparct on their matters.
The order is here.
Judge Toor’s accompanying message:
“Greetings all. I hope you are all hunkering down safely at home. Attached is a standing order effective today in this county. We continue to hope that some state-wide guidance will be forthcoming on some of these matters and others, but until then the trial judges are trying to address these issues in our own counties. Please let me know if other problems arise that might be within trial judges’ authority to address, or if these orders create problems we have not foreseen and perhaps should be revised. You will note that the order does not extend trial-ready dates. This is because of the administrative burden it would create for our staff to determine what those dates are in each case and take the time now to reschedule them. The reality is that we are not going to be scheduling any trials in the immediate future anyway, and will be backed up on older cases when we do start setting them again.
I do not have the authority to order you to stop any filings. However, I ask you to consider whether what you are filing is urgent, or whether perhaps it could wait until after the current crisis has abated. We are working with half our staff at the moment, and that number could grow even smaller.
In addition, although we are allowing email filings to accommodate the fact that almost all of you are working from home, please try to avoid filing anything by email that is hundreds of pages long right now (you know who you are!), as staff have to print those out themselves now and it just adds to their stress. We’d appreciate such large filings being done by mail. If they are not urgent enough to justify you going to the post office, they can probably wait.
As always, for issues not relating to specific cases, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay home and stay safe.
Helen M. Toor”
Again, here is Judge Toor’s Standing Order of March 30, 2020.