In light of the ongoing public health crisis arising from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul A. Suttell has signed an executive order closing the McGrath Judicial Complex in South Kingstown (serving Washington County) and the Murray Judicial Complex in Newport (serving Newport County) effective April 1 and until further notice.

The number of hearings being heard within the state’s courts has been significantly reduced, as has the amount of foot traffic to each of the judicial buildings; this is especially true in the Newport and Washington County courthouses. Hence the closures of these two court complexes.

As of April 1, 2020, any emergency or essential matters which would have been heard in either of the judicial buildings in South Kingstown or Newport shall be heard in the Noel Judicial Complex in Warwick (serving Kent County).

Chief Justice Suttell also signed and issued a separate executive order limiting the number of on-site staff and other essential personnel from congregating in groups of more than five people, which is consistent with Governor Gina Raimondo’s directive on social distancing.

To the extent that more than five individuals are required to be present in a courtroom for the adjudication of emergency and essential matters, the Chief Justice has directed that such hearings be conducted in a manner that will ensure appropriate distancing among all necessary participants.

If you have questions about any of these court orders or any pending legal matter, please do not hesitate to contact any of the partners at the firm.