District Court Update from Judge Fenn (3:51 p.m. March 18, 2020)

Dear Sheridan and Johnson County Bar,

Last week the Court sent out an email advising that we intended to continue the docket in the normal course of business, and accommodations for hearings would be considered on a case by case basis. Yesterday, the government issued revised recommendations indicating that we should all avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. As a result, the Court is encouraging attorneys and clients to appear by telephone and/or by videoconference whenever possible for any scheduled hearings/trials for the next few weeks. No motions to appear by phone are required, but attorneys or pro se parties should contact the Court to obtain a call in number. If more than two participants will be calling in, a conference call or Teams Meeting has to be set up by Court staff.  Please contact chambers at (307)674-4478 or email Julie Babbitt at jd4@courts.state.wy.us to make arrangements to appear by phone or video.  Our office may be in contact with a few of you specifically to confirm that a particular hearing will take place telephonically.

Obviously, there are some hearings/trials where in-person presence is required.  In those events, we ask that counsel and participants practice the recommended health and sanitation measures for the prevention of the transmission of COVID19. If the hearing is one that is required to be conducted in person and you would like to have the hearing continued, you still need to file a motion to continue with the Clerk of Court.

The Clerk of District Court’s Office encourages the use of fax filing and e-mail filing for the next few weeks.  The Clerk’s office has agreed to waive filing fees and the 10 page limit specifically associated with fax/e-mail filing through April 3, 2020.  Please send any email filings directly to the Clerk of District Court at district-court-clerk@sheridancounty.com. If you have any questions about fax or email filing, you may call the Clerk’s Office at (307) 674-2960. Please review Wyoming Rule of Civil Procedure 5(e) (see below) for rules regarding fax/e-mail filings.

(e) Filing with the court defined. Papers may be filed, signed, or verified by electronic means (including but not limited to email) if the necessary equipment is available to the clerk. No documents shall be transmitted to the court by facsimile or electronic means for filing without prior telephonic notification to the clerk of court. Only under emergency circumstances shall documents be filed by electronic means (including but not limited to email) or facsimile transmission. Any paper filed by electronic means must be followed by an identical signed or otherwise duly executed original, or copy of any electronic transmission other than facsimile transmission, together with the fee as set forth in the Rules For Fees and Costs for District Court or the Rules For Fees and Costs For Circuit Court, mailed within 24 hours of the electronic transmission. The clerk upon receiving the original or copy shall note its date of actual delivery, and shall replace the facsimile or other electronic transmission in the court file. A paper filed by electronic means in compliance with this rule constitutes a written paper for the purpose of applying these rules. No document which exceeds ten (10) pages in length may be filed by facsimile or electronic means. All format requirements contained in applicable rules must be followed. The court may reject any paper filed not in compliance with this rule.

Wyo. R. Civ. P. 5 (underline added).


Judge John Fenn