On April 22, 2020, with Executive Order 2020-58, Governor Whitmer suspended deadlines applicable to the commencement of all civil and probate actions and proceedings from March 10, 2020 until the end of the declared states of disaster and emergency. The EO is consistent with the Supreme Court’s Administrative Order 2020-3 and closes any gaps that might exist between the Court’s power to modify court rules and its inability to modify existing statutory notice requirements and other prerequisites related to deadlines for such filings. While the Governor cannot perform legislative functions, the Emergency Management Act provides that executive orders have the force and effect of law. The Court’s Administrative Order and the Governor’s Executive Order work together to effectuate a suspension of these specific deadlines during the COVID-19 crisis.
An interesting difference between EO 2020-58 and AO 2020-3 exists in the effective dates. While the Administrative Order suspends deadlines until the declared state of emergency ends, EO 2020-58 suspends deadlines until both the declared states of emergency and disaster end. The following timeline provides helpful background:
- March 10, 2020: Governor Whitmer first declared only a state of emergency in EO 2020-4;
- March 23, 2020: The Michigan Supreme Court addressed the suspension of certain deadlines applicable to civil and probate actions and proceedings in Administrative Order 2020-3 during the declared state of emergency, when no declared state of disaster existed; and
- April 1, 2020: Governor Whitmer rescinded EO 2020-4, declared a state of disaster and expanded on the already declared state of emergency in EO 2020-33.
Presumably, such declared states will end simultaneously; however, it will be interesting to see if Executive Order 2020-58 provides for tolling of these deadlines that extend past the Court’s extension of deadlines. More details about Supreme Court Administrative Order 2020-3 can be found at: https://www.fraserlawfirm.com/blog/2020/03/michigan-supreme-court-extends-civil-and-probate-filing-deadlines-due-to-covid-19/.
If you have a question about filing deadlines or about the filing of a civil or probate action or proceeding, contact your attorney for guidance. Fraser Trebilcock’s attorneys are working steadily through this crisis to address all your questions and legal needs.
We have created a response team to the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation and the law and guidance that follows, so we will continue to post any new developments. You can view our COVID-19 Response Page and additional resources by following the link here. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.
Chair of Fraser Trebilcock’s Trusts and Estates Department and serving as Secretary/Treasurer of the firm, attorney Marlaine C. Teahan is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and is the past Chair of the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan. For help with your estate planning needs, contact Marlaine at 517-377-0869 or email@example.com.