In early March of 2020, the Governor of the State of Nevada put restrictions in place to curb the spread of COVID-19. As a result, the Eighth Judicial District Court issued a series of Administrative Orders throughout 2020 which dealt with the manner in which the Court would handle the restrictions and governmental mandates. If you want to locate those Administrative Orders, you can find them at http://www.clarkcountycourts.us/general/court-rules-and-administrative-orders/#Administrative%20Orders.
As a result of the Administrative Orders, litigants found themselves with an inability to entry the courthouses where Family Court hearings are held, where the Self-Help Center is located, and where filings are submitted to the Clerk of the Court.
The courtrooms for Family Court Judges are located at Family Court at 601 N. Pecos Road and the Regional Justice Center at 200 Lewis Avenue. As new Judges have been added to the Family Court, a breakdown of which courthouse the particular Judge is located at are as follows:
· Department A- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department B- 200 Lewis Avenue
· Department C- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department D- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department E- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department F- 200 Lewis Avenue
· Department G- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department H- 200 Lewis Avenue
· Department I- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department J- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department K- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department L- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department M- 200 Lewis Avenue
· Department N- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department O- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department P- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department Q- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department R- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department S- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department T- 200 Lewis Avenue
· Department U- 200 Lewis Avenue
· Department V- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department W- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department X- 200 Lewis Avenue
· Department Y- 601 N. Pecos Road
· Department Z- 601 N. Pecos Road
Due to COVID-19, litigants and attorneys were prohibited from appearing in the courtroom.
As such, there has been a delay in moving cases forward to completion. Additionally, hearings that used to be in person are now being heard via telephone or through an application called Blue Jeans which allows for video appearances.
In order to use Blue Jeans, an application is downloaded. Prior to a hearing, litigants are sent a link from the Judge’s staff which provide a code that is used to access the hearing. Through Blue Jeans, appearances can be made with or without video feed.
Blue Jeans is also the application used for Trial. Due to the inability to enter the courthouses, one difficulty has been learning to upload Exhibits to the Court.
There is a process that is utilized to upload Exhibits to Court is as follows: (1.) email a request for a link to upload the Exhibits (firstname.lastname@example.org) which is only good for 24 hours; (2.) upload the Exhibits individually including the Court required Exhibit List; and (3.) sending a confirming email that the Exhibits have been uploaded so that confirmation can be received and the Judge’s staff receive the documents.
This three steps process is imperative to properly present Exhibits during the digital age of Trial. Exhibits then can be offered into evidence during your Trial in support of your case and how you want the Judge to rule in your favor on an issue.
For telephonic appearances, the Judge’s staff calls the litigants and attorneys at the telephone number that is in file with the Court. As such, if a litigant’s contact information changes- address, telephone number or email address, it is extremely important to follow procedural requirements and file notification with the Court of the change. If a litigant’s information is not properly updated, the Court may deem service or communication to the last known address, email or telephone number on file with the Court as proper. You may actually miss a hearing and the Court can rule against you. There may not be a basis to set aside what you may deem a bad order if your contact information is not updated.
Besides the other difficulties being experienced in Family Court because of COVID-19, the Clerk of the Court was not accepting filings in person.
As such, litigants are being forced to learn the e-filing system (https://nevada.tylerhost.net/OfsWeb/) to be able to file documents properly with the Court. The program does have an interactive guide to assist in learning the process.
As governmental restrictions are modified, litigants and attorneys will see changes which will allow more access to the Courts. Check back periodically for updates and to better understand the difficulties facing litigants during this unprecedented time.