August 12, 2020

Volume X, Number 225

August 12, 2020

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August 11, 2020

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August 10, 2020

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Litigating in Michigan: A Guide for General Counsel on Court Closures and New Orders

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused every one of us to face delays, cancellations and postponements in our daily lives. During this period of unprecedented disruption, those with matters pending before the courts face additional uncertainties. As the response to the pandemic and government restrictions on business operations and public gatherings continue to evolve, the courts have had to balance the importance of protecting public health and safety with the need to conduct their essential functions that have profound effects on the rights, property and liberty of the citizens within their jurisdiction.

On March 18, 2020 the Michigan Supreme Court issued Administrative Order 2020-2, which requires Michigan trial courts to limit access to courtrooms and offices, as well as restrict court activity to essential functions. While that order superseded previous orders issued by Michigan trial courts, the trial courts have continued to issue individual orders and announcements with varying instructions as to how they will carry out their essential functions, and how litigants and their attorneys should operate during the crisis. Many courts have adjourned all non-emergency civil, criminal, domestic relations and probate matters, while other courts are making efforts to conduct business, including trials, via video or teleconference technology.

This summary outlines the instructions provided by the Michigan Supreme Court, Michigan Court of Appeals, circuit courts and probate courts regarding their operations during the COVID-19 emergency. It further outlines the operations of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. This list will be updated as courts provide additional instruction in response to this evolving crisis. 

© 2020 Varnum LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 93


About this Author

Timothy P. Monsma, Varnum, contract litigation attorney, supply chain dispute lawyer, corporate governance legal counsel

Tim is a partner on the firm's Litigation and Trial Services Team. His practice focuses on helping clients resolve business disputes, including complex commercial tort and contract litigation, supply chain disputes,  trade secret and unfair competition matters, and corporate governance issues. He has represented clients in a broad range of industries including automotive, banking, energy, construction, manufacturing, trucking and logistics, and health care. This diverse experience allows Tim to tailor his approach to each case with the client's particular business objectives in mind. He...

Michael J. Roth Litigation Attorney Varnum Grand Rapids, MI

Mike focuses his practice on commercial litigation and trademarks. He also serves as a federal mediator. He has tried and arbitrated numerous commercial cases. 

Mike’s experience encompasses a range of business matters, including contract disputes with vendors, employment disputes, membership and shareholder disputes regarding asset and stock purchase agreements, ERISA claims and real estate disputes. He has particular experience representing clients in the Michigan automotive industry as well as manufacturing and professional services, including physician’s groups.

Rather than simply discussing the litigation process, Mike first consults with clients regarding their business goals. This approach allows Mike to develop practical legal strategies that have earned him the respect of clients who regularly seek him out not only for litigation, but also for litigation avoidance, general business counsel, and risk mitigation.

Prior to joining Varnum, Mike served as the president of the Law Weathers law firm. He currently serves as chair of Varnum's Litigation and Trial Practice Team.

Practice Areas

  • Business and Corporate
  • Coronavirus Task Force
  • Employment Litigation Defense
  • Litigation and Trial
Regan Gibson Litigation Attorney Varnum Law Firm

Regan is a member of the Litigation and Trial Team. She represents clients in a variety of civil and criminal litigation matters and internal investigations. Her experience includes RICO, FCPA, securities, criminal antitrust, civil and criminal forfeiture, and shareholder fiduciary and appraisal actions. She has conducted internal investigations related to antitrust, FCPA, immigration and public integrity compliance issues.

Prior to receiving her law degree, Regan was a paralegal specialist in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, where she served in the Violent...

Chloe N. Cunningham Litigation and Corporate Attorney Varnum Grand Rapids, MI

Chloe is an associate currently working in Varnum’s litigation practice. She also provides support to the firm’s corporate and health care practices. Chloe has experience drafting organization and entity formation documents, performing due diligence in M&A matters, and providing research on commercial litigation and health care law matters.

With a strong interest in health law, Chloe previously served as an intern to the American Medical Association Office of General Counsel. She also provided legal research for a private practice physician focusing on communicable diseases and...

Olayinka A. Ope Litigation Attorney Varnum Grand Rapids, MI

Ola is an associate attorney on the litigation team. She has experience in a variety of litigation issues related to property disputes and toxic tort claims. Ola also has experience in corporate matters, including issues related to startup entity formation and employment benefit packages. She previously provided support to the immigration practice team, drafting work verification and petition letters for work employment visa applications.

Practice Areas

  • Litigation and Trial


  • Autonomous and Connected Vehicles