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March 18, 2020

COVID-19 Forces New York State and Federal Courts to Reduce Traffic

Courts across New York State have enacted significant measures to reduce courthouse traffic and combat the spread of COVID-19. The essential parts of the most recent guidelines are set forth below.

New York State Trial Courts

Effective March 16, 2020: All non-essential functions of the trial courts have been postponed until further notice. In addition, all eviction proceedings and pending eviction orders have been suspended statewide.

The following court functions have been deemed essential and will continue:

  • Ongoing civil and criminal trials.
  • Essential applications as the courts may allow, e.g., Mental Hygiene Law applications, civil commitments, and guardianships in Supreme Court; landlord lockouts, serious housing code violations, and repair orders in NYC Housing Court; and issues related to child protection proceedings, juvenile delinquency proceedings, family offenses, and support orders in Family Court.
  • Criminal arraignments and essential applications to the criminal courts, e.g., orders of protection.
  • Felony matters in which the defendant is in custody, which shall either be administratively adjourned or conducted remotely by video if the court has the technology to do so.

Many of the administrative judges of each of New York’s 13 judicial districts have issues individual administrative orders as well.

New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division

Effective March 17, 2020:

Filing deadlines:

  • First Department: Except matters perfected for the May and June terms, all non-statutory perfection, filing, and other deadlines are suspended indefinitely.
  • Second, Third, and Fourth Departments: All non-statutory perfection, filing, and other deadlines are suspended indefinitely.

Motions:

  • First Department: Except matters perfected for the May and June terms, filed motions for an extension of time to perfect an appeal are granted to the extent the filing deadlines are suspended.
  • Second, Third, and Fourth Departments: Filed motions for an extension of time to perfect an appeal are granted to the extent the filing deadlines are suspended.
  • All Departments: Emergency applications only will continue to be heard.

 Oral argument:

  • First Department: March 17 through 19, 2020, appeals will be taken on submission; the rest of the March term will be taken on submission but counsel may request oral argument. The April term will be adjourned.
  • Second Department: Appeals will be taken on submission with an option for argument via Skype until further notice.
  • Third Department: March term appeals will be taken on submission, and the April term will be adjourned.
  • Fourth Department: March and April terms will be taken on submission, and the May term will be adjourned.

New York State Court of Appeals

  • The court remains scheduled to hear oral argument in Albany for its March 2020 session and remains open to the public, subject to health precautions.
  • Counsel may request other arrangements, including oral argument by videoconference.

US District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York

Effective March 16, 2020, through April 27, 2020:

  • All civil and criminal jury trials scheduled to begin before April 27, 2020, are continued.
  • Compliance with all trial-specific deadlines in civil and criminal cases scheduled to begin before April 27, 2020, is at the discretion of the presiding judge.
  • Individual judges may hold hearings, conferences, and bench trials but are strongly encouraged to conduct the proceedings by telephone or video conference.
  • Any requirement that the US Marshals Service effect personal service of process is suspended until further notice.
  • Criminal matters such as initial appearances, arraignments, detention hearings, and the issuance of warrants will continue to take place in ordinary course.

US District Court, Northern District of New York

Effective March 13, 2020, through April 30, 2020:

  • All civil and criminal jury trials scheduled between March 13, 2020, and April 30, 2020, have been adjourned until further notice.
  • Criminal matters such as initial appearances, arraignments, detention hearings, and the issuance of warrants will continue to take place in ordinary course.
  • Civil and criminal motions will be resolved without oral argument or handled by telephone or video conference.

US District Court, Western District of New York

Effective March 16, 2020:

  • All civil jury trials and all grand jury selections are continued for 60 days.
  • Individual judges are encouraged to reduce personal appearances as much as possible.
  • Alternative dispute resolution deadlines occurring within the next 60 days have been extended for 60 days unless determined otherwise by the presiding judge.

US Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

Effective March 17, 2020:

  • All filing dates and other deadlines set out in the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, the court’s local rules and the court’s orders are extended or tolled by 21 days, effective today through May 17, 2020.
  • Due dates for a notice of appeal, petition for review, or other document that confers jurisdiction on the court and any order setting an automatic dismissal provision remain in effect.
  • Oral arguments will continue as scheduled with the option for a teleconference argument upon request.

Additional information is available on the various court websites. If you have questions on any matters Barclay Damon is handling, please contact the handling attorney directly. We will continue to keep you fully apprised of any updates as the courts direct.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Ryan Altieri, associate, at 716.858.3768 or raltieri@barclaydamon.com; Matthew Larkin, Torts & Products Liability Defense Practice Area chair, at 315.425.2805 or mlarkin@barclaydamon.com; or another member of the firm’s Torts & Products Liability Defense Practice Area.

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