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OAH Statement on COVID-19

OAH Statement on COVID-19

On March 25, 2020, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-20 and announced that Minnesota will join Wisconsin, Illinois, several other states around the nation, and many countries around the world in a stay at home order from Friday, March 27 at 11:59 p.m. until Friday, April 10

OAH is committed to the continuation of our critical court services while also providing a safe environment for both the people we serve and our employees. 

Following guidance from Governor Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health, we are taking aggressive steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including requiring our staff to work remotely whenever possible, utilizing social distancing, and implementing certain procedural changes described below. 

Continuances for in-person hearings

Judges will contact parties with in-person hearings scheduled from Monday, March 30 through Friday, April 10, 2020.

Decisions on continuances will be made on a case-by-case basis, recognizing that in some situations hearings can effectively occur by telephone and some priority situations may require an in-person hearing for the protection of personal financial resources or other priority legal services described in Executive Order 20-20.

For Workers' Comp cases, judges will also use their authority to grant continuances on a case-by-case basis without requiring signatures by both parties as provided in Minn. Stat. 176.341, subd. 4.

Room capacity for in-person hearings 

For priority matters that are not continued and cannot effectively take place by telephone, we will use a larger hearing room that will accommodate social distancing of 6 feet between participants. Extra seating has been removed from all hearing rooms. Each remaining chair’s location is marked by blue tape. This provides a visual cue on seating areas that are 6 feet away from one another. Signs are posted outside each room with room capacity identified. Conference rooms are also available for an attorney and their client to confer in private while maintaining a distance of 6 feet.

Telephone proceedings

The following proceedings will continue to be held by telephone: mediations; asbestos conferences; settlement conferences; 239 conferences; 106 conferences; pretrial conferences; motion hearings; and attorney fee hearings

Exhibits

All Workers' Comp exhibits must be be eFiled at least one day in advance of the proceeding, regardless of the proceeding's location. This applies to all hearings: motion hearings, attorney fee hearings, and in-person and video evidentiary hearings. This supersedes any other order that requires paper filings.

Stipulation Status Conferences

All Workers' Comp Stipulation Status Conferences continue to be suspended until further notice. 

What to do if you're sick 

Please do not come to court if you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, have a fever, are coughing or sneezing, or have been directed to self-quarantine as a precaution. If your client or a witness is experiencing these symptoms, please do not bring them to court. If you cannot attend court because you are sick or quarantined, Workers' Comp litigants should call or email the assigned judge. Administrative Law litigants should call or email the assigned judge's legal assistant. 

We will keep you informed 

We will update this statement as needed. We will also use GovDelivery to notify court users of any changes by email. If you need to sign up for GovDelivery, use the popup box on the lower right corner of our website.

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