Appeals Court Suspends Oral Arguments and Will Decide Cases on Briefs
In another first, in light of public health concerns arising from the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and the state of emergency declared by the governor, the Massachusetts Appeals Court has ordered that all cases scheduled for oral argument during April 2020 shall be deemed submitted on the briefs on file, without any further argument unless otherwise ordered by the court in a particular case. Historically, approximately two-thirds of the Appeals Court’s cases have an oral argument before a panel of three justices. Most practitioners agree that oral argument is important, especially in close cases, as it is your final attempt to answer questions the court may have and to sway the votes your way. With the suspension of this practice, practitioners need to ensure their briefs are thorough and answer any questions you may anticipate from the panel.