Partner Ryan Baker Quoted in about Courts Pushing Civil Cases to Settle Due to COVID Backlog

In a article on July 30, 2021, Co-Managing Partner Ryan Baker said, “It absolutely is the case that, especially in federal courts, civil trials are at the end of the line. I know there’s been a lot of debate among judges on how to handle the situation.”

Baker said courts are urging parties to settle because civil cases are “not going to be set for trial, not this year, not even next year, because of the backlog of criminal case that will necessarily precede all the civil trials. The backlog factor weighs heavily in favor of courts really advocating for private resolution because the reality is litigants are having to bear the cost of extended and protracted litigation.”

“Everybody is really tired of hearing, ‘well, the pandemic,’” said Baker. “Everything in life is different because of the pandemic, including the operation of the judicial system. The second part is, ‘what can we do about it?’ One of the first and most obvious answers is, ‘We can try to settle it. We can take matters into our own hands.’”

In some cases, Baker said, the parties have stipulated to arbitration hearings despite the absence of an arbitration agreement or clause because it is faster than waiting for the courts.

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