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March 23, 2020

COVID-19: NYS Statutes of Limitation Extended, Court Activity Halted

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.8 on March 20, extending statutes of limitations through April 19. The executive order applies to “any specific time limit for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding” in the NYS courts. 

The extension includes statutes of limitations related to the civil, criminal, family, and surrogate’s courts as well as cases against the state in the Court of Claims. By way of example, under the executive order, if a three-year statute of limitations for a negligence action expired on March 21, a claimant would now have until April 19 to commence an action. The statutes of limitations in New York State were similarly extended after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The suspension of statutes of limitations comes in the wake of the court system’s recent directives that:

  1. All court activity—except ongoing jury trials—are indefinitely adjourned, including conferences, motion dates, and trials that have not yet commenced.
  2. Parties are strongly discouraged from engaging in any discovery or other case-related activities that involve in-person appearances such as depositions.
  3. If a party is unable to meet a deadline for reasons related to COVID-19, parties are encouraged to agree to a 90-day temporary stay of all scheduling deadlines.
  4. In the event the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the court will decide appropriate relief at a later date to be determined, and no party will be punished for failing to comply with a deadline for reasons related to COVID-19.

On March 22, the NYS chief administrative judge issued an order directing that, effective immediately and until further order, no papers shall be accepted for filing by any NYS courts other than for “essential proceedings” such as arraignments, orders of protection, and other types of emergency matters. Pursuant to the order, pleadings and motion papers in most types of civil litigation cannot be filed. The order does not state when this prohibition will be lifted.

Barclay Damon’s attorneys will keep you apprised of any further significant developments in the NYS court system related to COVID-19.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Vince Saccomando, partner, at vsaccomando@barclaydamon.com or another member of the firm’s Torts & Products Liability Defense Practice Area.

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