This week on the MDK News Break, we will be reviewing the latest COVID-19 updates and restrictions for the states within MDK’s footprint. We begin our series in Ohio and Kentucky with continuing coverage in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida and Indiana. For all jurisdictions, please note that federal foreclosure moratoriums may be in effect.
In March of 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued an Execution Order declaring a State of Emergency as an official response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ohio. The governor also signed into law Am.Sub.H.B. No. 197, which immediately and retroactively to March 9, 2020 tolled statutes of limitation, time limitations, and deadlines in the Ohio Revised Code and Ohio Administrative Code until July 30, 2020.
In response to both, the Ohio Supreme Court issued an Administrative Action establishing temporary measures to promote uniformity amongst Ohio courts and to ensure the continued operation of the judicial system. According to its terms, time limits imposed by the Rules of Court, including the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure, were tolled until July 30, 2020. Additionally, the Ohio Supreme Court waived in-person requirements and issued guidance to local courts to temporarily continue evictions, scheduled move-outs, and execution of foreclosure judgments (i.e., foreclosure sales). That said, neither the Court’s Administrative Action nor guidance ordered a stay of foreclosure filings or pending foreclosure actions.
Notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s Administrative Action and supplemental guidance, variances occurred at a local level. Notably, we saw foreclosure stays in certain Ohio counties such as Cuyahoga, Lucas, Stark, and Adams, to name a few. These counties continued to accept foreclosure filings but typically delayed issuing formal rulings until their stays lifted in May.
Currently there remain few counties across Ohio with pending foreclosure stays, although there are exceptions. However, we have seen little disruption caused by these counties. Rather, the significant issue in Ohio is the Court’s growing impatience with delays and extensions related to COVID-19. They are eager to see cases proceeding within the 12-month timeframe contemplated by the Ohio Rules of Superintendence. With that in mind, our bank and non-bank clients will likely see cases being dismissed by the Courts due to moratorium holds.
In March of 2020, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear entered an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency as an official response to COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. Thereafter, the Supreme Court of Kentucky issued its first Response in the form of General Order 2020-08 followed by Amended Order 2020-16 and 2020-22.
The crux of the General Orders was a partial closure of judicial facilities to in-person services and cancellation of civil and criminal dockets until May 31, 2020. Additionally, at that time eviction actions were stayed and new filings not accepted until June 30, 2020. The Supreme Court issued several amended Orders which allowed for virtual appearance at hearings, but continued to postpone criminal and civil jury trials.
The stay on evictions, brought about through Executive Order 2020/323, continued until August 25, 2020, when Executive Order 2020-700 was issued lifting that stay. Further, on November 20, 2020, the Kentucky Supreme Court issued Administrative Order 2020-72. This Order allowed for eviction actions to proceed in court, subject to the provisions of the CARES Act.
The most recent Orders of the Supreme Court were issued on January 6, 2021. Amended Order 2021-01 continues the requirement that all hearings must be virtual, save for emergency circumstances. Amended Order 2021-02 extends the postponement of civil and criminal jury trials to April 1, 2021 while still allowing for the prosecution of eviction actions, subject to the same provisions of the prior Order.