Damaged by Hurricane Irma, one of the federal courthouses on the U.S. Virgin Islands remains closed indefinitely, officials said Tuesday.
The building on St. Thomas is intact but sustained water and other damage in some areas that will take time to repair, and is being assessed by the federal General Services Administration, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said in an email. The St. Thomas federal building serves the St. Thomas/St. John division of the U.S. District Court for the Virgin Islands.
The courthouse on St. Croix, however, fared significantly better and reopened on Monday. It is unclear whether it will absorb the cases handled by the other Virgin Islands division.
Monday night, as evacuated Floridians returned home and Irma continued her track northward as a tropical storm, mainland Americans began getting their first glimpses of the destruction wrought on the territory. St. Thomas, home to the capital of Charlotte Amalie, suffered greater damage than the more-southern St. Croix. At least three people on the islands died as a result of the storm.
Wilma Lewis, chief judge of the territory’s federal court, could not be reached by a reporter for comment by phone or email Tuesday. The district has six judges, including Lewis, according to the court’s website.
Cases appealed from the Virgin Islands District Court are handled by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia. A note on that court’s website said that nonemergency filings such as briefs or case opening documents in a Virgin Island case that is due between Sept. 11 and Sept. 29 is now due on Sept. 30. Counsel in emergency or expedited cases should contact the clerk’s office by Sept. 19 regarding scheduling.
In addition to the federal court on St. Thomas, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Key West is likewise closed until further notice, according to updates posted on the U.S. Courts’ Administrative Office’s website.
Contact reporter Kristen Rasmussen at firstname.lastname@example.org.