As a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, court systems throughout the United States have had to rapidly adapt and issue temporary rules and procedures in order to keep court personnel, litigants and attorneys safe while continuing to serve their important societal function of administration of justice.
We wanted to provide a resource to readily access the various and ever-changing temporary rules and procedures of New York State’s Appellate and Commercial Divisions of the Supreme Court. We will continue to monitor and post updates and other useful information at a time when policies are changing on a seemingly minute-by-minute basis.
New York State Executive Action
In keeping with Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts, Hon. Lawrence K. Marks, Memorandum of March 15, 2020, which postponed all non-essential court functions effective at 5:00 p.m. on March 16, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order No. 202.8 on March 20, 2020 which, among other things, tolled until April 19, 2020 “any specific time limit for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding, as prescribed by the procedural laws of the state, including but not limited to . . . the civil practice law and rules, . . . and the uniform court acts, or by any other statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation, or part thereof.” For other Executive Orders related to the Coronavirus, click here. Correspondingly, Judge Marks issued Administrative Order 78/20 on March 22, 2020, directing an immediate prohibition to filing any papers in any matter with any county clerk’s office until further notice. This directive applies to both hard copy and electronic filings. However, certain matters deemed essential are permitted and contained on the list annexed as Exhibit A to Administrative Order 78/20.
Additional pertinent Executive actions taken include allowing NY notaries to perform notarial services using video conferencing technology provided certain conditions are met, such as the person seeking the service must transmit a valid photo ID during the video conference, be on the video conference at the time of signing and affirmatively present themselves as being physically situated in NY. See Executive Order No. 202.7.
New York Court System Generally
On March 19, 2020, Judge Marks issued Administrative Order No. 71/20 strongly discouraging litigants engaged in pending civil matters from prosecuting such matters in a manner that would require appearing in-person or travel during this health crisis. See AO 71/20 (1). Additionally, this Order directs litigants (parties and attorneys) affected by COVID-19 to use best efforts to enter agreements to adjourn discovery-related matters for a period not exceeding ninety (90) days. See AO 71/20 (2). If litigants cannot reach an agreement, the court has the ability to review the matter and issue the appropriate order once court returns to normal operation. See id.
In keeping with Judge Marks’ Memorandum and Administrative Orders, most, if not all, courts of New York State implemented temporary policies and procedures (highlighted below) to handle essential court functions virtually.
Now in an effort to ease restrictions placed on non-essential court functions, on April 7, 2020, Judge Marks circulated a new Memorandum offering the Courts preliminary steps to transition non-essential court functions to a remote/virtual court system on an ongoing basis beginning on April 13, 2020, including Judges being available to conduct conferences to aid counsel with discovery disputes via Skype or telephone. Judge Marks then issued Administrative Order dated April 8, 2020 (AO/85/20) providing additional procedures and protocols concerning specific matters trial courts will address such as conferencing pending cases, deciding fully submitted motions, discovery, and video technology. Nevertheless, litigants are still unable to file new non-essential matters until further notice.
Generally, on March 17, 2020, all the Appellate Divisions of New York’s four (4) Judicial Departments issued emergency Orders. While similar in substance, each Judicial Department’s temporary rules and procedures vary slightly. We urge you to review the particular rules and procedures pertinent to your matter.
On March 17, 2020, the First Department issued an Order temporarily suspending deadlines, with the exception of matters perfected for May 2020 and June 2020 terms, the Court suspended indefinitely deadlines for all perfection, filing and other deadlines set forth by court order, Parts 1240 and 1250 of the Rules of the Appellate Division, Parts 600 and 603 of the Rules of the Appellate Division First Department, or Part 1245 of the Electronic Filing Rules of the Appellate Division. Additionally, and again, with the exception of all matters perfected for the May 2020 and June 2020 term, the March 17th Order granted all motions or applications for extensions of time to perfect or file that were pending as of March 17, 2020. See Order. Contemporaneous to the March 17th Order, the First Department also issued emergency procedures. See Covid-19 Emergency Procedures as of March 17, 2020.
Unlike the First Department’s March 17th Order, the Second Department’s March 17th Order did not place a limitation on when suspensions or extensions would commence and indefinitely suspended deadlines, granted pending motions or applications for extension of time until further order of the Court. All dates for perfecting, filing, motions or applications for extensions, and all other motions were suspended until further directive of the Court.
The Second Department also issued additional Notices regarding:
(i) Limitation of Court Operations – Presently, the Court is processing its calendars through April 2, 2020. But for appeals between March 17, 2020 and April 2, 2020, such appeals will be on submission only unless a request to hear such appeal via Skype is made to Court via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, for emergency applications and motions presently pending considered to be an emergency, you should contact the Court via email to email@example.com indicating that the matter is urgent.
(ii) Hard copy filings at the Court’s Clerk’s Office – Hard copy filings are NOT permitted and e-filing is mandatory until further notice.
(iii) Oral arguments before the Court – Beginning on March 17, 2020, all matters are on submission but the Court will permit oral argument via Skype on request to the Court at firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.
Click here for all other Second Department Notices related to Covid-19.
Similar to the Second Department, the Third Department’s March 17, 2020 Order indefinitely suspended deadlines, granted pending motions or applications for extension of time. However, the Third Department’s extension did not apply where a statute confers a deadline.
Beginning on March 17, 2020, the Third Department began only entertaining emergency matters. However, if you deem a matter an emergency, the Court requests that you notify it in writing, on notice to your adversaries, as a request that “the Court treat your matter as urgent” to email@example.com with the subject indicating that the matter is urgent. Also, calendared matters for the March term will be heard on submission and matters for the April term are adjourned to a date in a later term. See Third Department’s Covid-19 Emergency Procedures as of March 17, 2020. Click here for additional Third Department Covid-19 related updates.
The Fourth Department’s March 17, 2020 Order substantially mirrors the Order issued by the Third Department. The Fourth Department also intends to only entertain matters on an emergency basis with staffing significantly reduced. Matters calendared for the March and April terms are being considered on submission only and matters scheduled for the May term are adjourned to be re-calendared for a later term. Requests for emergency relief should be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information, contact the Fourth Department Clerk’s office at (585) 530-3100.
Presently, all of the Justices of the Commercial Division, New York County have issued temporary rules or procedures, including procedures for requesting remote conferences in keeping AO/85/20.
Given the rapid changes, we plan to maintain regular updates to this blog for the foreseeable future. For this reason, each Commercial Division of the New York Supreme Court is listed below. Please check back regularly for updates.
7th Judicial District – Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Yates Counties
For essential and emergency court matters, contact court staff directly. Click here for a list of contact numbers and links to additional important information about the 7th Judicial District.
8th Judicial District – Erie County
Supreme Court, Nassau County has implemented virtual chambers protocols and provided a list of virtual chambers contacts and conference request forms. For additional important information concerning Nassau County Courts operations during COVID-19, click here.
New York County
o Hon. Andrew Borrok – Requests for conferences in Part 53 may be made via email to email@example.com.
o Hon. Joel M. Cohen – Requests for conferences in Part 3 may be made via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
o Hon. Barry Ostranger – Requests for conferences in part 61 – email@example.com.
o Hon. Saliann Scarpulla – Requests for conferences in Part 39 may be made via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, a party wishing to request a remote conference in all New York County Supreme Court Civil Parts can complete the request form found annexed to the below link and email the completed form to email@example.com. The completed form will be forwarded to the assigned judge. See https://www.nycourts.gov/legacypdfs/courts/1jd/supctmanh/PDF/Remote-Conference-Protocol.pdf for more information.
For general Coronavirus updates from the New York State Courts, visit https://www.nycourts.gov/ or call the Court’s Coronavirus Hotline at (833) 503-0447.