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Barone Defense Firm COVID-19 Announcement

Mar 25th, 2020 Covid-19 Barone Defense Firm COVID-19 Announcement

First and foremost, throughout this difficult time, the Barone Defense Firm is hopeful that all our clients, present, past and future, are safe and healthy and remain able to take care of themselves and their loved ones. The world, our Country and each of our communicates have changed so much in the past few weeks.  Nevertheless, our main priorities remain the same:

  1. Protect the health and safety of our community, and;
  2. Minimize disruptions in our handling of your case.

As we all know, the impact of the Covid-19 Virus has been widespread on a global, state, and local scale, and recently, Michigan joined a growing number of States that have issued stay at home orders. In this midst of all of this uncertainty, we want to assure you that we at the Barone Defense Firm are continuing to work hard protecting your legal rights while simultaneously implementing policies to protect your health.  As circumstances seem to rapidly change, our offices will persist in responding, which will include our monitoring the applicable orders, rules and policies of our local district and circuit courts for changes that may directly impact our clients.

For example, in accordance with the recommendations of the CDC and the Administrative Orders of the Michigan Supreme Court (MSC), we are taking every precaution to protect the health of our clients, our firm, and all the employees of the judicial system, and this includes limiting in-person communications and court appearances. Per the MSC Administrative Order;

All other criminal matters, including all non-emergency matters where the defendant is not in custody, shall be adjourned. All criminal jury trials shall be adjourned until after April 3, 2020.

The MSC has also ordered the state’s trial courts to “limit access to courtrooms and other spaces to no more than 10 persons, including staff, and to practice social distancing and limit court activity to only essential functions.”  The MSC’s order also indicates that “all trial courts must take immediate action to protect the public and court personnel by limiting activity only to essential functions.” In this regard, MSC Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack said that “the Supreme Court speaks with one, decisive voice: Courts must respond so that the policy is uniform all across Michigan.”

Essential court functions outlined in the Court’s administrative order include:

  • Arraignments for in-custody defendants
  • Review and determination of requests for search warrants and personal protection orders
  • Certain child protective proceedings
  • Critical issues regarding child support and child custody

The MSC order remains in effect until the close of business Friday, April 3, 2020, or as provided by subsequent order.

Many of you have already received adjournment notices that were issued pursuant to this administrative order. If you have not, and have an upcoming court date, then please contact us so that we can further advise you in this regard.  You may also check online for specific information about the court where your case is pending by viewing Local Court Administrative Communications Regarding COVID-19.

Additionally, effective March 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-21 requires all Michigan businesses, including law firms, to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. More specifically, the Order directs that the directives of the Order “must be construed broadly to prohibit in-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life.” However, relative to lawyers and their clients, the exceptions section of the Order indicates that individuals may leave their home or place of residence, and travel as necessary to attend legal proceedings or hearings for essential or emergency purposes as ordered by a court.” It is important therefore that we have and maintain the ability to stay in close contact with our clients during the pendency of this order.  If your contact information has changed, then please be sure to notify us so that we can continue to reach you as needed.

Furthermore, we have designated certain Law Firm staff members as falling within another exception to the Order, which applies to critical infrastructure workers. Consequently, our office will remain open and available to you while the stay at home order remains in effect.  However, clients should be aware that the Landlord at our Birmingham Office has advised that all buildings will be locked down and secured 24/7 with access available only to tenants with card access.  Therefore, it may still be difficult to interact directly with Firm members unless we have advance notice and have made specific arrangements for your visit.  If you wish to visit us at one of our other locations, such as Grand Rapids, then similar arrangements must be made.

Finally, and also pursuant to Ex. O. 2020-21, the Barone Defense Firm has adopted social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect our clients and staff which include for example, implementing enhanced technologies applicable to more frequent phone conferences, email communication, and video conferencing via secure and confidential apps such as Zoom. This way, our diligent efforts in representing you will continue uninterrupted and collectively we will be making every effort to continue to update you and advise of the changing procedures and their impact on your case.

We also ask that you keep us updated regarding any health concerns for you or your family members so that we may better protect and serve you, particularly keep us advised regarding how you believe these concerns may impact your cases and/or our representation of you moving forward.  In the meanwhile, we wish you well and as this all plays out over the coming weeks and months, we look forward to continuing to serve you in the future. As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.