EDNY Joins SDNY In Banning Those Exposed To Coronavirus

Law360, New York (March 10, 2020, 11:48 AM EDT) -- The Eastern District of New York has joined its colleagues across the East River in restricting access to courthouses in response to the coronavirus outbreak, while the chief judge of the Ninth Circuit said Tuesday the federal appeals court is making adjustments to allow attorneys to argue their hearings remotely in light of the illness, known as COVID-19.

The Brooklyn federal court on Monday said it was barring people who have recently traveled to the hardest-hit countries or those who have come in contact with coronavirus.

Chief U.S. District Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf said in an administrative order that anyone who has traveled to China, Italy, Iran, Japan or South Korea within the last 14 days is banned from entering EDNY courthouses. The list of countries may be updated as further guidance is received, the judge said.

Also prohibited are people who have come into close contact with anyone who has traveled to the aforementioned countries within the past two weeks; people who have been asked to self-quarantine; and those who have either been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have come into contact with someone who has been diagnosed.

The standing order closely tracks a similar order handed down Monday by Chief U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon of the Southern District of New York, meaning all federal courts in New York City, Long Island and six other counties north of the city are now under coronavirus restrictions.

"These restrictions shall remain in place temporarily until it is determined to be safe to remove them," Judge Mauskopf wrote.

In a separate order, Judge Mauskopf also directed that all detainees being held in six federal, state and private lockups in the area have their body temperatures taken prior to any court appearances. If a detainee has a temperature of 100.4 or above, they will not be allowed in court.

That ruling is in line with a similar order handed down by Judge McMahon on Friday.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus outbreak. As of Tuesday afternoon, he said 173 people have tested positive for COVID-19 statewide. 

Meanwhile, after a hearing in San Francisco Tuesday, Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas told attorneys arguing over the Trump administration's border wall that his court will be making adjustments to let attorneys argue their hearings remotely in light of the coronavirus.

The hearing that day had been rescheduled in order to accommodate traveling issues that arose due to the illness, according to the judge.

--Additional reporting by Dorothy Atkins and Frank G. Runyeon. Editing by Marygrace Murphy.

Update: This story has been updated with comments from the Ninth Circuit's chief judge.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.

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