As many district courts around the country close doors on physical appearances, some district courts are ordering that civil hearings proceed either telephonically or by video. Although such an approach is common in many state courts, it is much more unusual for telephonic or video appearances to occur in district courts. As a result of COVID-19 and the length of time that may be required for continued social distancing, district courts have recognized that telephonic and video appearances will become necessary for many cases.
We should therefore expect more standing orders, similar to the one just issued in the Western District of Texas by Judge Albright. As a result of this order, there will now be specific procedures for hearings that will not require physical appearances. Hearings will continued to take place in the following manner:
All hearings for civil cases on the Waco division’s docket will continue as scheduled, but will occur telephonically. The Court will provide the dial-in information’ either via e-mail or within an order. Because there may be several hearings back-to-back, attorneys should wait until their case is called before speaking. Parties are encouraged to dial-in at least 10 minutes before the scheduled start time.