NEW YORK – STATE AND FEDERAL
All Court Orders and Legal Announcements
The New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers prepared a webpage that lists all Court Orders and Legal announcements related to the practice of law in New York State. The link can be found below:
6/8/20 – NY Courts Update – Message from Chief Judge DiFiore.
On June 8, 2020, Chief Judge DiFiore announced that New York City has entered into Phase 1 of Governor Cuomo’s regional, phased-in plan for the economic reopening of our state, and by Wednesday, our judges, chambers staff and designated court personnel in every region of the state will be back at work in their assigned courthouses.
With regard to New York City, even though as part of Phase 1 our judges and a limited number of staff will be back at work in our courthouses, they will be conducting court business through virtual technology in order to keep courthouse traffic down and minimize the risk of community transmission during this initial start-up period. For unrepresented litigants who lack the technology to access our virtual services, we have set aside courthouse space where they can safely access essential court services.
Last Wednesday, June 3rd, our courts in the upstate regions encompassing the 5th, 6th and 7th Judicial Districts transitioned to Phase 2, followed on Friday, June 5th, by the 4th and 8th Judicial Districts. Under Phase 2, essential family matters are being conducted inperson and heard by assigned judges in their courtrooms, with other matters continuing to be heard virtually. The goal of Phase 2 is to safely increase courthouse foot traffic in a gradual, controlled manner in order to begin returning to in-person operations, while doing all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
6/1/20 – NY County Judge Orders Remote Depositions to Proceed.
On May 28, 2020, in the matter of Johnson, et al. v. Time Warner Cable Company New York City, LLC, Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York, Index #155531/2017, Judge Robert Kalish Ordered that depositions proceed remotely signaling a likely preference for Courts to have parties proceed with depositions and discovery remotely despite the fact that remote discovery is unconventional.
Judge Kalish held that “to delay discovery until a vaccine is available or the pandemic has otherwise abated would be unacceptable. It goes without saying that business as usual is no longer the normal. The legal profession and its clients are currently coming to grips with the “new normal” brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, this “new normal” means that it is no longer safe and practical for depositions to be taken in person, as was the default during the “old normal.” Moreover, it remains uncertain how soon the “old normal” will return— if it ever does.”
6/1/20 – Court Status Update from Chief Judge DiFiore.
Chief Judge DiFiore provided a status update for the continued reopening of NY Courts. All Courts in NY have begun reopening to some degree with the exception of NYC Courts, which is now projected to begin its Phase 1 reopening on June 8, 2020. All Courts are in Phase 1 of reopening, which has Judges and Court personnel return to the Courthouses. NY Courts with the exception of NYC have now begun Phase 2 which will have a vast majority of non-essential matters continue to be handled virtually, with appropriate exceptions allowed for in-person appearances at the court’s discretion. Importantly, during Phase 2 we will begin to handle a limited number of essential matters in person, primarily in Family Court.
5/20/20 – NY Courts To Allow New Lawsuits Next Week, May 25.
Law 360 reports that New York will allow new lawsuits to be electronically filed statewide starting Monday, May 25, reopening the high-traffic courts of New York City and surrounding counties to new “nonessential” matters for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut them down.
In a brief memo addressed to all state trial court justices and judges on Wednesday afternoon, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks announced that following the physical return of judges and staff to upstate courthouses in 30 counties, the state court system will allow new e-filed cases — even as court staff in the harder-hit downstate areas continue to conduct business remotely.
5/14/20- Upstate Courts Begin Return to Normal Operations May 18.
The New York Law Journal reports that New York State Court System Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks jointly announced Wednesday that upstate courts will begin a gradual return to service next week, having met safety benchmarks set by Gov. Andrew Cuomo amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
A return to courthouses, including acceptance of new case filings, will start next week in 30 upstate counties. The process will begin May 18 in the following counties: Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, Yates, Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego and Schoharie. On May 20, court openings will continue in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.
While courts remained open for business in recent weeks, operations have been limited. Court facilities were consolidated, and “virtual court” operations were launched online. The chief judges noted that electronic case filings will continue to be accepted as courts return to in-person services.
Courthouse areas to be utilized in this first phase include judges’ chambers, clerks’ offices and back offices. Social distancing and other restrictions will apply to maintain safety, along with the following measures:
5/4/20 – New York Courts begin to open up – Reopen E-File.
Per Judge Marks’ Order dated 4/30/20, beginning Monday, 5/4/20, e-file will be reopened as follows:
Expanded motion practice – New motions, responsive papers to previously filed motions, and other applications (including post-judgment applications) may be filed electronically in pending cases, either (1) through our NYSCEF e-filing system in jurisdictions that have it; or (2) through a new electronic document delivery system that we have created for courts and jurisdictions where e-filing is unavailable. This new document delivery system enables lawyers and litigants to send documents to courts for filing and other purposes in a secure and efficient manner. Details concerning the new system are available on the court system’s web site and from your Administrative Judge. Note that a requirement of the new document delivery system is that all filings require service by electronic means.
Problem-solving courts – Problem-solving courts may conduct virtual court conferences with counsel, court staff, and service providers, via Skype for Business.
ADR – Judges may resume referral of matters for alternative dispute resolution, including to neutrals on court-established panels, community dispute resolution centers, and ADR-dedicated court staff.
Appeals – Notices of appeal may be filed electronically, either through NYSCEF or through the new document delivery system.
5/4/20 – Electronic Filing in Non NYSECF cases now available.
If you are filing in a Non-NYSCEF case below are the instructions on how to file using the court’s Electronic Document delivery System (EDDS). There are Notice To the Public and Frequently Asked Questions links on the Unified Court System website http://www.nycourts.gov/
NEW: Electronic Document Delivery System (EDDS)
Commencing May 4, 2020, the UCS will make available a system of secure document transmission by court users to judges, clerks of court, and other UCS offices around the State. This system, known as the Electronic Document Delivery System (EDDS), may also be used for filing of documents in pending cases in any courts. EDDS may be used by attorneys, unrepresented persons, and other court users. For more information on this system, view the EDDS Notice and the EDDS FAQs.
4/20/20 – New York’s Chief Judge DiFiore provides an update on “Virtual Conferencing.”
Chief Judge DiFiore provided an update on the court’s first week of “virtual conferencing.” The results were impressive – 8,000 conferences across the court system last week, with 2,600 settlements or dispositions and many decisions on outstanding motions were handed down. Unfortunately, there was no news on when we will have the ability to file anything.
4/20/20 – Supreme Court of New York, New York County’s Virtual Conference Protocol.
Per Judge Marks’ Order dated 4/17/20, trial courts would begin conferencing pending cases through remote or virtual court operations in an effort to resolve the matters. In accordance with Judge Marks’ directive, Supreme Court, New York County-Civil Term has created a Remote Conference Part (RCP). Cases that had previously been scheduled in the Administrative Coordinating Part (Part 40), the Judicial Mediation Part (J-Med) and the Early Settlement Parts, but which were adjourned when the court began hearing only essential matters, will be scheduled for remote settlement conferences in RCP. Parties will receive a notice through NYSCEF notifying them that their case has been selected for a remote settlement conference and requesting that the attorneys notify the Trial Support Office of their availability. Cases will then be administratively scheduled for Skype or telephonic conferences before one of several judges who have volunteered to conference cases. Further, courts may hold remote conferences at the parties’ request, where appropriate, and, in addition, be available during normal court hours to resolve ad hoc discovery disputes and other matters that do not require the filing of papers.
4/15/20 – Appellate Division, First Department expands virtual operations.
The Court has issued an order setting forth two special terms: The May Special Term, which will commence on May 4, 2020, and end on May 29, 2020, and the June Special Term, which will commence on June 1, 2020, and end on June 26, 2020. We are in the process of preparing calendars for the May Special Term. Matters will be calendared for each Wednesday and Thursday, commencing on May 6, 2020. The calendars will be published on the Court’s Calendars webpage.
All calendared matters shall be heard on submission or orally argued via Skype. The remote oral arguments will be livestreamed on the Court’s website. There will be no adjournments.
Inasmuch as the filing deadlines for the responding and reply briefs for the original June 2020 term have been extended by the Governor’s extension order, the responding briefs are now due no later than May 8, 2020, and the reply briefs no later than May 18, 2020. By order of this Court, the perfection, filing, and other deadlines for the remaining terms of the Court continue to be suspended indefinitely and until further directive of the Court. However, litigants may consensually perfect appeals and file motions.
4/8/20 – Chief Judge Marks Provides an Update on the Status of New York Court Operations.
Chief Judge Marks issued an Order advising that as of April 13, 2020, the Courts will begin to conduct virtual operations for non-essential matters. Judges will start reviewing and taking steps on their non-essential cases to see which cases can be conferenced to help to push them towards a resolution. Judges will also be able to schedule conferences at attorney requests, but all conferences must be held remotely, by Skype, or telephone. Judges will be working on deciding fully-submitted motions. Filings are still not permitted.
4/6/20 – New York Courts looking to expand virtual operations and resume business.
New York’s Chief Judge Janet DeFiore announced that the NY Court system is operational for all essential and emergency matters. The Courts are preparing to expand virtual operations to its entire caseload.
Plans are still being finalized, but implementation is expected to begin next week. Current details on the virtual plan are as follows:
4/3/20 – Virtual Court Operations to Commence in 3th Judicial District.
Effective April 6, 2020, virtual court operations will commence via videoconferencing for all courts within Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster Counties for essential proceedings.
3/31/20 – New York Courts to go virtual.
On March 31, 2020, Chief Judge DiFiore issued a memo providing a status update on the Court System’s progress towards virtual proceeding. Key updates include:
Last week, Courts began virtual court operations in the New York City Criminal Court, and the New York City Family Court, with reduced intake of essential and emergency proceedings conducted by Skype, and with most of the participants in those matters appearing from remote locations.
The Courts have already concluded hundreds of criminal arraignments and critical Family Court proceedings, and the process is working well overall. There have been, as expected, some glitches and interruptions. In Kings County Criminal Court, the high volume of arrests for serious offenses, combined with the growing number of court staff who have unfortunately fallen ill, has resulted in some arrest to arraignment delays. The Courts are working internally to increase our virtual capacity in that court and communicating with the defense bar and other stakeholders about how we can work together to improve the efficiency of that virtual court operation.
In the Family Court, the complexity and large number of parties typically involved in these cases, particularly in our child welfare cases, has resulted in some delays as well. The Courts have reached out to family justice agencies to discuss how we can work together to streamline that process, and with everyone’s understanding and cooperation, I have no doubt that we will quickly resolve these issues.
By the end of this week, The Courts expect to go virtual in the remainder of New York City courts, again, for essential and emergency cases.
And, starting today, we are going virtual outside New York City:
• In the Fifth Judicial District in Central New York;
• In the Seventh Judicial District in the Western part of our state;
• In Suffolk County;
• and in our state’s Court of Claims.
By the end of next week, we anticipate that all of our Judicial Districts outside the City will be operating virtually to handle essential and emergency matters.
At the same time that the Courts have been planning and implementing statewide virtual operation, and the Courts have begun discussing, with leaders of the tort, commercial, matrimonial and criminal bar, how to incrementally expand court access for those cases, while still minimizing courthouse traffic and protecting public health through virtual operations and remote appearances.
3/16/20 – New York Court Closures.
In light of recent developments, as of 5pm on March 16, 2020 all non-essential Court functions in the New York State Courts are postponed until further notice.
Essential matters include but are not limited to:
Supreme Court: Mental hygiene applications, civil commitments and guardianships
Family Court: Child protection proceedings, juvenile delinquency proceedings, family offenses and emergency support orders
City Courts: Criminal arraignments, requests for orders of protection, and emergency applications.
All other matters (Civil, Landlord & Tenant, Traffic, parking) will be adjourned until further notice.
3/30/20 – U.S.D.C., S.D.N.Y.
As of March 30, 2020, an Order was issued in U.S.D.C., S.D.N.Y. allowing the use of video teleconferencing, or telephone conferencing if video teleconferencing is not reasonably available for the following proceedings with the consent of the defendant, or juvenile, after consultation with counsel:
3/30/20 – U.S.D.C., E.D.N.Y.
As of March 30, 2020, an Order was issued in U.S.D.C., E.D.N.Y. allowing the use of video teleconferencing, or telephone conferencing if video teleconferencing is not reasonably available for the following proceedings with the consent of the defendant, or juvenile, after consultation with counsel:
NEW JERSEY – STATE AND FEDERAL
6/11/20 – NJ Courts Will Begin To Reopen With COVID Safety Measures.
Law 360 reports that New Jersey judiciary officials on Wednesday said they will soon begin holding in-person proceedings at state courthouses after shuttering their doors nearly three months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but visitors will need to wear face masks in public areas and maintain social distancing.
The New Jersey Supreme Court signed off Tuesday on the second phase of the judiciary’s post-pandemic plan, which starts June 22 and will allow for certain in-person events while other matters continue to be handled remotely. New jury trials will remain prohibited.
“As determined by the Supreme Court, court events that cannot be handled remotely (e.g., based on lack of consent to proceed remotely or Judiciary determination that it should be in person) may be conducted onsite,” officials said in a Wednesday report on those measures.
In the upcoming phase, 10% to 15% of judges and staff will be on-site, officials said. During the first phase, which started March 18, less than 5% of judges and staff have been on-site and court buildings have been closed to attorneys and the public, officials said.
For civil and criminal matters, on-site proceedings in the second phase may include bench trials and hearings in matters that are “especially complex,” meaning “at a minimum, involving numerous parties or witnesses, or significant evidence in a format that cannot be handled remotely, such as physical evidence or videos in a nonstandard format,” officials said.
Suspended civil and criminal jury trials also may be completed in person with the consent of the lawyers and parties and approval by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, officials said. Sentencings and guilty pleas in criminal matters also may take place at courthouses, officials said.
3/27/20 – New Jersey Courts.
On March 27, 2020, New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner issued an Order updating New Jersey’s Court Rules and procedures in an effort to keep the State’s court systems operational. The updates are as follows:
3/18/20 – New Jersey Courts.
As of March 18, 2020 and until further notice, there are no in-person Superior Court and Tax Court proceedings (except for extremely limited emergent matters and certain ongoing trials). As many matters as possible (including case management conferences, motions, and hearings) will be handled by telephone or video conference.
Court offices also are closed for in-person submissions. Filings may be submitted electronically or by mail or dropped off at a designated drop-box. Court-ordered payments may be sent by mail or made electronically.
3/20/20 – U.S.D.C., D.N.J.
As of March 30, 2020, an Order was issued in U.S.D.C., D.N.J. allowing the use of video teleconferencing, or telephone conferencing if video teleconferencing is not reasonably available for the following proceedings with the consent of the defendant, or juvenile, after consultation with counsel: