Correspondence from Chief Judge Susan M. Chehardy

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal Offers Guidance on Phase One State Re-Opening


The Governor’s proclamation 59 (H) extends court filing deadlines through June 5, 2020. This will push the filing timeline outlined in my letter back by three weeks.  All filings affected by the COVID19 suspension will be due in my court on June 8th, and will be considered timely by the Fifth Circuit if filed anytime between Monday June 8th and Friday June 26th at the close of business. We have extended our filing “bridge” to three weeks to give everyone more time to become current. Additionally, we will be suspending our $ 50.00 convenience fee for e-filing till June 26th as well. This should give everyone the opportunity to get all their pleadings filed electronically, if possible, which we continue to encourage. Other filing options, fax filing or email filing as outlined in our correspondence, will also remain in effect through June 26th, and may be continued beyond that date as the situation dictates.

Despite this adjustment to filing deadlines, we still intend to re-open our facility for in-person business on Monday May 18th, with the restrictions involving the use of PPE and social distancing in place as discussed. As I mentioned in our correspondence yesterday, I still urge all your subscribers to check our website for updates, or call ahead if they intend to come to our building in the coming weeks, as unforeseen issues in this new landscape may require that these facility guidelines remain fluid.

These policies affect the state Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal only. For information involving any other state court, your members should call those facilities, or check the individual court’s website, for current filing and closure/re-opening procedures.

As in any battlefield environment, it has been difficult to whittle a “one size fits all” plan for the courts to re-emerge statewide, as each may vary greatly in their requirements for in person interactions going forward. Please assure your members that the Fifth Circuit will continue for the foreseeable future to render whatever help we can to the members of the bar in accommodating their return to interacting online or in-person with our organization.

We are here to answer questions, provide support, and render whatever assistance we can as we all dive into these uncharted waters. Please do not hesitate to contact us if there is anything we can do to assist you or the members of the bar. Take care and stay safe.

To contact Chief Judge Chehardy's office or to find the most up to date information on filing options and re-opening the court website is available with at