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April 27, 2020

COVID-19: Updates on NYS Courts and US Federal Courts

Courts are announcing new directives for how business will be conducted in their jurisdictions in light of COVID-19. Counsel must check regularly to comply with the ever-changing rules and deadlines.

NYS Courts1

The NY Court of Appeals has not suspended deadlines and is accepting filings in their normal paper and electronic formats. However, the April and May term arguments have been suspended.

The Appellate Divisions have expanded virtual operations, and each has implemented specific directives:

  • First Department
    • Litigants may perfect appeals and file motions
    • Reply briefs for the May term and respondent briefs for the June term are to be submitted by May 8
    • Reply briefs for the June term are due May 18
  • Second Department
    • Briefing deadlines remain suspended (excluding emergency applications), but the court continues to process fully submitted cases
    • Parties are permitted to voluntarily file documents, and the court has begun calendaring cases for argument or submission
  • Third Department
    • Open and accepting voluntary filings despite filing deadlines remaining suspended
  • Fourth Department
    • On April 17, it rescinded their earlier order (dated March 17) that suspended perfection, filing, and other deadlines set forth by court order or rule. Check the Fourth Department website for applicable deadlines for perfection, respondent’s and reply briefs, and motion papers.

US Federal Courts

US Supreme Court is open for official business while the building is closed to the public. The court has extended the deadline for petitions for writs of certiorari for all cases on or after March 19 to 150 days from the date of the lower court judgment, the order denying discretionary review, or the order denying a timely petition for rehearing.

Each circuit has also announced instructions, which are briefly summarized below:

  • First Circuit
    • Deadlines for any non-emergency filings are automatically extended for 30 additional days for those to be filed between March 26 and April 24
    • Unaffected by the notice are dates set by 1st Cir. R. 18.0 as well as for notices of appeal, petitions for review, and any document that confers jurisdiction on the court.
  • Second Circuit
    • Extended or tolled by 21 days any deadlines between March 16 through May 17
    • The extension does not apply to any filing dates set specifically by order after March 13, and the filing date for a notice of appeal or other documents that confer jurisdiction on the court.
  • Third Circuit
    • Remains open and operational
  • Fourth Circuit
    • Scheduling oral arguments remotely while the courthouse is closed to the public
  • Fifth Circuit
    • All current deadlines for attorney filers remain in effect, and in-person oral arguments scheduled for April 27-30 have been canceled
  • Sixth Circuit
    • Will process mail and administer cases in the normal course, but has cancelled in-person oral arguments for the weeks of April 27 and May 4, and the Courthouse continues to be closed to the public
  • Seventh Circuit
    • All arguments through the end of April will be held telephonically or parties may consent to waive argument
  • Ninth Circuit
    • Imposed an automatic 60-day enlargement of time
    • Due dates for notices of appeal, petitions for review, and any document that confers jurisdiction on this court are set by statute or rule and are unaffected by the enlargement
  • 10th Circuit
    • Courthouse is closed to the public, and all filings should be made electronically or via mail
  • 11th Circuit
    • Briefing deadlines remain in effect, and oral arguments are being held by audio or videoconferencing
  • DC Circuit
    • Courthouse is closed to the public, and oral arguments will be heard by teleconference or postponed or the case will be on submission

The paper copy requirements of electronically filed documents have been suspended or modified in the Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, 11th and DC Circuits. Please note that each circuit has specific applications of the directive, including exclusions of certain documents, and counselors should defer to the notices and orders of the specific jurisdiction.

The procedures in both NYS courts and federal courts are not uniform and vary by jurisdiction. It is imperative that counsel be aware of the differing deadlines and rules imposed. In some jurisdictions, the rules are very specific and may require monitoring any court notices and orders to ensure litigants are in compliance.


1 Please note that all NYS courts are subject to the statutory tolling provisions found in the governor’s executive order, as extended through May 7. Accordingly, no deadlines in NYS court appeals will fall before at least May 8.


If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Amanda Miller, associate, at amiller@barclaydamon.com or another member of the firm’s Torts & Products Liability Defense, Professional Liability, or Mass & Toxic Torts 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 COVID-19ResponseTeam@barclaydamon.com.

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