In recent days Chief Judge Tara Hagerty of the Jefferson Family Courts in downtown Louisville issued a standing order that reads as follows:
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that while the COVID-19 pandemic emergency protocols are in place, all attorneys must follow Jefferson Family Court orders to attend mediation by participating in remote mediation, using available technology, such as Skype or Zoom.
This requirement is meant to ensure compliance with the Kentucky Supreme Court Order 2020-28, as amended April 24, 2020, which states, in relevant part:
Sec. 8. To the extent possible and consistent with social distancing practices, attorneys should continue to prepare and litigate cases during the effective dates of this Order, including providing discovery, negotiating possible resolutions, filing motions and conducting investigations, for the purpose of minimizing delay in bringing cases to trial or resolution upon the expiration of this Order.
This Order applies to all Jefferson County Family Court orders for mediation, whether issued prior to or during the pandemic emergency period. This Order will not end on June 1, 2020, but shall be in effect until remanded or amended by further order. Counsel and parties should anticipate that this order shall continue while social distancing guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic are in place for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Counsel and parties may, by agreement, participate in in-person mediation, observing current social distancing and other safety guidelines in place for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
While the order permits in person mediation under specific circumstances, the family law attorneys at Goldberg Simpson have been effectively utilizing remote mediations by Zoom, Skype, Facetime and other platforms to help bring their clients cases to a conclusion even during this difficult time.
Judge Hagerty stated that this order was issued in part to keep cases moving forward during the pandemic and to comply with the Kentucky Supreme Court’s order for virtual services to accomplish that goal. This order will also keep cases from stalling if one side or the other refuses to attend virtual mediation in potential hopes that it will be weeks or months before an in-person mediation could occur.