Remote Participation In Residential Evictions
For a residential eviction action filed in county court, the bill:
- Requires the court to allow either party or any witness to choose to appear in person or remotely at any return, conference, hearing, trial, or other court proceeding;
- Authorizes a pro se defendant to file an answer electronically by e-mail, or at the court's discretion, through an e-filing system; and authorizes either party, if the party is pro se, to file a motion or other documents electronically by e-mail, or at the court's discretion, through an e-filing system;
- Prohibits the court from assessing an e-filing fee or service fee on a motion to waive filing fees, or from assessing an e-filing fee, service fee, or any other fee associated with the electronic filing or e-mailing of motions, answers, or documents for an indigent party; and
- Requires the court to comply with federal and state law or regulations, including supreme court directive or policy, regarding the provision of accommodation for people with a disability or for people with limited English proficiency.
If a party is appearing remotely and the party is disconnected, the bill requires the court to make all reasonable efforts to contact the party and allow reasonable time for the party to reestablish connection. If the party is unable to reestablish connection, the bill requires the court to reschedule the hearing for the first available in-person date after the date of the originally scheduled hearing, but no later than one week after the originally scheduled hearing, to the extent practicable. The bill prohibits the court from entering a default judgment if a party is unable to participate remotely due to a technological disconnection or failure.
The bill requires the complaint to include a designation of whether the plaintiff elects to participate in any hearing in person or remotely, and a box indicating if the eviction is for a residential or commercial tenancy.
The bill requires the summons to include a statement in bold-faced type notifying the defendant that either party has a right to appear in person or remotely, include a place for the defendant to indicate whether the defendant will appear in person or remotely, and provide information for how a pro se party can electronically submit documents related to the case.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)