COVID, the Greek Alphabet, and Settlements

By Chief Judge Kenneth M. Switzer, Nashville

Reportedly, I’m of Greek heritage. I don’t speak Greek, and I don’t know the Greek alphabet. But if it has the same number of letters as the English alphabet, we’ve at least reached the fifteenth letter. (Does that mean when we get to Zeta, the pandemic must be over? Not really, because Omega is the last letter in the Greek alphabet.)

But one thing I’m sure of, is that every time we start to think we’re back to “normal,” another Greek letter pops up that revises our definition of normal. In fact, I’m about to forget what normal “is,” or maybe better, “was.”

In December 2021, we proposed a return to in-person settlements beginning in January 2022. Each office devised its own protocol and dates for in-person settlements. Then Omicron raised its ugly head. So, questions now arise about our return to in-person settlements as planned.

We’ll continue with the present plan with a broad caveat:  the decision to hold an in-person settlement has many facets. The judge, the employee and the employer may all speak to this. It is their collective option. A judge might not feel in-person settlements are appropriate yet. The employee might not feel comfortable with it. The employer might not. (I am including each party’s counsel when I say employer/employee.)

Bottom line:  Call the office where you want to do an in-person settlement and see if it can be arranged. If not, we’ll always be available by phone. And, if you come in-person, please use safe practices of distance, cleanliness, concern for others’ well-being, etc. (mask if you wish.)

Thanks for understanding. Ελπίζω να μην είναι ελληνικό για σένα.

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