As you may have seen, most businesses and government institutions are mostly closed due to the ongoing coronavirus/COVID-19 emergency. In Cook County, the courts have been closed until April 14, 2020, and could be closed even longer. If you were sued by a debt collector or bank, you probably wonder what that means for your case and what you have to do.

Even though courts are closed, electronic filing is still open to all parties, including plaintiffs (the companies suing you). That means that not only can you file your Appearance during this time (we strongly recommend checking the box for a Jury Demand on the Appearance), but debt collectors can file motions for Default Judgment if you don’t file your Appearance by the required deadline.

This means that if you were served with a Summons to appear and the Return Date/Appearance Date is during the period of time the court is closed, you still need to file an Appearance. If you hire an attorney or law firm to defend you, they will file the Appearance (and hopefully Jury Demand) for you. Make sure they file before the deadline though.

If an Appearance is not filed on time, there is nothing to stop the plaintiff’s attorneys from asking the court to enter a Default Judgment against you. Because of this, it’s important to still take action immediately if you are sued for a debt, since doing so can put you in a stronger position.