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Volume X, Number 185

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Michigan Supreme Court Extends Filing Deadlines in the Face of COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant, unprecedented uncertainty to many aspects of our day-to-day lives. Yet in the face of these challenging times, legal disputes continue to arise. The Michigan Supreme Court recently issued several orders designed to ensure continuity of legal services. These measures are aimed at protecting the health of litigants, court employees and the public—such as prospective jurors—while also preserving the judicial process to the maximum extent possible and minimizing disruptions.

While current circumstances will likely result in some delays to many proceedings, the court has expressed its desire to ensure continued access to the courts. To that end, on March 23, 2020 the Supreme Court issued Administrative Order No. 2020-3 (Order), tolling the deadline for commencement of certain legal proceedings as well as the deadlines to file responsive pleadings during the crisis. Pursuant to the Order, any statutory prerequisites for filing a complaint or a responsive pleading are suspended during the state of emergency declared by Governor Whitmer. The filing timeline for such pleadings will resume when the state of emergency ends.

Notably, the Order does not preclude courts from ordering an expedited response to a complaint or motion in order to hear and resolve an emergency matter requiring immediate attention. Similarly, while many local courts have delayed legal proceedings, the Order does not prohibit litigants from commencing proceedings when they choose, and the Order encourages courts to conduct hearings and other proceedings remotely. Many courts are issuing their own guidelines for doing so. 

The Order has a significant impact on the deadlines for filing claims and asserting defenses in Michigan, and timing may be critical. 

© 2020 Varnum LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 86


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...