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Afternoon Briefs: Lawsuits challenge shutdown orders; judge ordered to stop hearings

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Suits challenging shutdown orders fail in two states

Lawsuits challenging shutdown orders in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire have so far been unsuccessful.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Sunday denied a petition challenging the order as applied to gun shops and law firms. The court said the law firm challenge was moot because the state’s governor later made an exception for lawyers participating in essential court functions. The court didn’t explain why it denied the gun petition.

In New Hampshire, a superior court judge on Friday dismissed a challenge to the governor’s ban on public gatherings of more than 50 people. (The Associated Press, the Pennsylvania decision, the New Hampshire Union Leader)

Ohio top court orders recalcitrant judge to pause hearings

The Ohio Supreme Court on Friday ordered a Cleveland municipal judge to stop hearing criminal and traffic court cases until it can consider a case seeking her compliance with an order to postpone hearings for many defendants. The judge, Pinkey Carr, has said she wanted to be in court to hold hearings for those who showed up despite the delay order. (

Supreme Court justices are healthy, but exercising caution

All nine justices on the U.S. Supreme Court remain healthy, a court spokeswoman said on Friday. When the court held its conference to consider cert petitions on Friday, some justice participated remotely. Those justices who were at the court did not shake hands. When the court released three major decisions on Monday, none of the justices took the bench to announce the decisions. The court has already postponed March session oral arguments because of the COVID-19 threat. (The New York Times, the Associated Press)

Barr taps Colorado US attorney for coronavirus probes

Attorney General William Barr has selected U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn of Colorado to investigate and prosecute fraud related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Possible fraud could include fake cures, phishing emails that might appear to be from entities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and phony pleas for donations. (The Denver Post)

Clio announced $1M donation to help lawyers amid COVID-19 threat

The practice management company Clio has announced it will donate $1 million to help lawyers grappling with the threat of COVID-19. The relief may include free software, assistance for lawyers moving to the cloud, financial help for lawyers and legal groups struggling to maintain business continuity, educational resources, and financial help for nonprofits and charities providing mental health support to legal professionals. (LawSites)

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