Federal courts next to close under government shutdown?

Local attorney says companies could be harmed

CINCINNATI -- This could be a pivotal week for the federal court system, as the government shutdown enters a third week and reserve funds dwindle.

National media reports indicate the Judiciary will run out of funding by Oct. 17, forcing federal court districts to furlough employees, reduce hours, limit new court filings or close altogether.

“There have been a couple of districts already suspending some filings,” said Attorney Dan Donnellon, a partner in the Faruki Ireland & Cox law firm. Donnellon said a recent blog post that a federal court shutdown will restrict the ability of companies to resolve business disputes.

“This could affect companies needing to protect their trademarks, their copyrights and their patents,” he said. “It’s really about the new filings, what’ll happen to those cases when the new filings cannot be made.”

The shutdown is part of a double whammy for the federal court system, which endured $350 million in cuts earlier this year as part of the budget sequestration actions imposed by Congress. Those cuts inspired 87 federal judges to warn Congress that funding levels were dangerously low.

“We believe that our constitutional duties, public safety, and the quality of the justice system will be profoundly compromised by any further cuts," the judges wrote.


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