Litigation

Federal Courts Newsletter: January 2021

1st Quarter Committee on Federal Courts Newsletter and District Updates.

In this inaugural Federal Courts Committee newsletter, we interview three leaders from California’s federal bench and bar: Magistrate Judge Helena M. Barch-Kuchta of the Eastern District of California, former U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna of the Central District of California, and Cuauhtemoc Ortega, the newly appointed Federal Public Defender for the Central District of California.   

In This Issue:

In this inaugural Federal Courts Committee newsletter, we interview three leaders from California’s federal bench and bar: Magistrate Judge Helena M. Barch-Kuchta of the Eastern District of California, former U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna of the Central District of California, and Cuauhtemoc Ortega, the newly appointed Federal Public Defender for the Central District of California. 

1. Judge Helena M. Barch-Kuchta. Judge Barch-Kuchta is the newest Magistrate Judge to join the Eastern District in November 2020. A distinguished jurist who brings a wealth of experience and a unique perspective to the bench, Judge Barch-Kuchta is excited to be with the Eastern District and ready to make an impact. https://calawyers.org/litigation/interview-with-magistrate-judge-helena-m-barch-kuchta-of-the-eastern-district-of-california/

2. Cuauhtemoc Ortega, Federal Public Defender for the Central District of California. Mr. Ortega, a long-time deputy federal public defender who was appointed Federal Public Defender by the Ninth Circuit in October, 2020, addresses the serious impact of COVID-19 on federal criminal defendants, and his vision and goals for the Federal Public Defender’s Office.  https://calawyers.org/litigation/interview-with-cuauhtemoc-ortega-the-newly-appointed-federal-public-defender-for-the-central-district-of-california/ )

3. Nick Hanna, former United States Attorney for the Central District of California. In this interview, Mr. Hanna, who recently returned to private practice at Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher in Los Angeles, discusses his (now former) Office’s accomplishments during his tenure, as well as challenges facing the Central District. https://calawyers.org/litigation/interview-with-former-u-s-attorney-nick-hanna-of-the-central-district-of-california/

District Updates:

Central District of California

Covid Updates

  • The Court’s Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan is active and was extended through January 29, 2021. All courthouses are closed to the public except for hearings on certain criminal duty matters. Jury trials and grand jury proceedings are suspended and appearances in civil cases will proceed by telephone or videoconference.  Members of the press and public may observe proceedings by telephone or videoconference.

Court News

Southern District of California

Covid Updates

  • Jury trials and other in-person appearances have been suspended since December 9, 2020, in conformity with California’s regional stay-at-home directive.  The suspension will continue until at least February 5, 2021.  Members of the press and public may observe proceedings by telephone or videoconference. (CJO 52, 52-A, 52-B, 52-C.)

Court News

  • Chief Judge Larry Burns will step down from his leadership role and assume senior status effective January 22, 2021. 
  • District Judge Dana Sabraw will assume the role of Chief Judge, effective January 22, 2021.
  • To receive news updates via email, subscribe at https://www.casd.uscourts.gov/Subscribe-News-Updates.aspx.  Updates include new proposed rules, general orders and information on upcoming events.

New and Proposed Rules and Selected General Orders

  • GO #514-E – Directs parties to redact or remove certain personally identifiable information from public filings.
  • GO #147-I – Adopts a Jury Selection Plan and repeals Local Rule 83.10 (Jury Selection Plan), effective upon the later of the approval of the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals or January 30, 2021.

Northern District of California

Covid Updates

  • Since March 16, 2020, access to all four of the courthouse locations has been restricted to those having “official court business,” including attorneys, parties, witnesses, or other persons who are required or permitted to attend a specific in-person court proceeding. Members of the press and public may observe proceedings by telephone or videoconference. (General Order No. 73)
  • All local rules requiring that a courtesy copy be provided to the chambers of the assigned judge are suspended pending further notice, unless a judge orders otherwise in a specific case. (https://www.cand.uscourts.gov/notices/updated-notice-regarding-general-orders-court-operations-and-paper-filings-during-covid-19-public-health-emergency/)
  • Jury trials and bench trials may proceed in accordance with the logistical considerations necessitated by the Court’s safety protocols.  Each judge will determine whether to hold a hearing or decide a civil matter on the papers.  (General Order No. 72-6)

News

  • The Northern District has announced the selection of six new Lawyer Representatives to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council for the 2020-23 term.  These attorneys will serve for three years, joining twelve continuing lawyer representatives and replacing six who have completed their three years of service.  The new Lawyer Representatives and their professional affiliations are:
    • Katherine Lubin Benson—Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
    • Kathleen Hartnett—Cooley, LLP
    • Kimberly Hopkins—United States Attorney’s Office
    • Jonathan Patchen—Baker Botts, LLP
    • Claudia Vetesi—Morrison & Foerster, LLP
    • Lesley Weaver—Bleichmar Fonti & Auld, LLP.

Eastern District of California

Covid Updates

  • Since March 18, 2020 all courthouse locations have been closed to the public.  Appearances in civil cases and certain criminal proceedings will proceed by telephone or videoconference.  Members of the press and public may observe proceedings by telephone or videoconference.  (General Order Nos. 611, 612, 614, 618, 620, 628)

News

  • United States Magistrate Judge Jennifer L. Thurston is designated as Chief Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District, effective November 1, 2010..
  • On November 1, 2020, Helena M. Barch-Kuchta was appointed to be the U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Yosemite Division of the Eastern District of California.

Newsletter Contributors:

Christian G. Andrequ-von Euw, Morrison & Foerster
Michael L. Huggins, Hunton Andrews Kurth
Eddie A. Jauregui, Holland & Knight
Jamil R. Ghannam, City of Stockton City Attorney’s Office

You can learn more about the Committee on Federal Courts, and find information about applying to the committee, at https://calawyers.org/section/litigation/standing-committees/committee-on-federal-courts/

Forgot Password

Enter the email associated with you account. You will then receive a link in your inbox to reset your password.

Personal Information

Select Section(s)

CLA Membership is $99 and includes one section. Additional sections are $99 each.

Payment