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Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

April 7, 2020

COVID-19: NYS Virtual Courts up and Running, Regular Courts Open for Essential, Emergency Proceedings

The NYS court system continues to institute a variety of temporary emergency measures to deliver essential justice services during this unprecedented time, with Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks announcing yesterday that virtual court operations allowing essential and emergency court proceedings to be conducted remotely are now in effect statewide. The virtual court model, which was implemented on a temporary basis, has rapidly expanded in response to the fast-evolving nature of COVID-19 and covers all 62 NYS counties.

The virtual court system makes it possible for participants in essential and emergency proceedings to appear remotely via Skype, dramatically reducing the number of people in NYS courthouses to protect public health and safety.

Importantly, NYS courts worked with the NYS Bar and other justice partners to extend virtual court operations beyond the limited categories of essential and emergency matters. Chief Administrative Judge Marks announced today that the courts will begin to address non-essential pending cases, including tort, medical malpractice and asbestos, commercial, matrimonial, trusts and estates, felony and other matters starting Monday, April 13. Court conferences related to these pending cases will need to be conducted remotely via Skype or telephone. Filing new non-essential cases continues to be suspended. The courts will also have the ability to decide fully submitted motions.

Justices and judges will be asked to schedule and conduct compliance and settlement conferences in pending matters by video or telephone with the goal of resolving outstanding issues, moving cases closer to final resolution and, wherever possible and appropriate, facilitating settlements. 

Barclay Damon LLP will continue to keep you apprised of further devlopments.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact John Gaughan, partner, at or another member of the firm’s Mass & Toxic Torts, Professional Liability, or Torts & Products Liability Defense Practice Areas.

We also have a specific team of Barclay Damon attorneys who are actively working on assessing regulatory, legislative, and other governmental updates related to COVID-19 and who are prepared to assist clients. You can reach our COVID-19 Response Team at


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