Snyder: COVID Is Messing This Up, Too| Employees Compensation Information

By Teddy Snyder

Wednesday, April 7, 2021 | 72 | 0

Very few cases are being tried due to the pandemic. Reports from the legal community show that the lack of an upcoming negotiation date is causing the parties to postpone the agreement as well.

Teddy Snyder

A story of procrastination

Lawyers always seemed to have a reason why it was too early to resolve a case. You need to get another report, look under each stone for new information, and carefully examine each problem, whether or not it is critical. Traditionally, broken discoveries and upcoming negotiation dates in civil matters have set a big stop sign for this process. Without this stop sign, some employee compensation cases last for decades.

Because human nature is what it is, litigants typically wait until the last minute to take on the tasks necessary to close a case. The global pandemic has made us hesitate.

When are cases settled? Legal and claims professionals have always referred to the ubiquitous last-minute comparisons as “on the steps of the courthouse”. Since the trial dates are being postponed more and more in the calendars of the courts, the parties postpone the agreement longer.

CCP 599 makes it easier to slide open

When the global pandemic forced the courthouses to close their doors, California lawmakers recognized the obstacles to the litigants’ ability to move forward with their cases. The answer was Code of Civil Procedure 599. This new section delays most deadlines for civil litigation during the official COVID-19 State of Emergency and 180 days thereafter.

If a deadline had not expired by March 19, 2020, the continuation or postponement of a negotiation date extended this deadline. This includes detection limits and data for the identification of experts as well as requests for summary assessment.

In particular, the court retains the power to order time limits for proceedings. The parties can also agree to set deadlines themselves that would otherwise be suspended.

At the start of the pandemic, no one had any idea how long this suspension would last or how we would all learn to conduct much of the court’s business remotely. Still, 599 remain in place. Some lawyers and claims experts report that the lack of a tough deadline has resulted in fewer settlements.

Curse or blessing?

Over the past year we’ve learned to handle litigation pretty well without entering the courthouse. The doctors saw patients again. The interruption of many tough deadlines left room to breathe as we figured it out. These are blessings.

On the other hand, cases are backed up. After court life returns to normal, it takes a long time for the backup to work through. Once 599 expires, there will be a rush to complete tedious tasks that are vital to the completion. Things could go crazy somehow, and that’s the curse.

What now

Before any more time goes by, review your files to see how to set them up for billing. Almost all mediations now take place remotely. Let’s get these cases resolved immediately so that you can better manage your case load once the state of emergency is lifted.

Attorney Teddy Snyder mediates compensation cases for workers across California. She can be contacted via

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