Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been countless changes to procedures and operations in New York’s state and federal courts. As New York’s law and courts continue evolving to keep pace with the changing circumstances created as a result of the pandemic, it is useful for litigants and potential litigants to keep up-to-date with these changes.
Of particular note since our May 12, 2020 QuickStudy, all lower courts are now accepting the e-filing of new, non-essential matters and the lower courts outside of New York City are opening for in-person proceedings.
Revised Procedures in New York Supreme and Other Lower Courts
As explained in Locke Lord’s May 12, 2020 QuickStudy, as of May 4, 2020, the suspension on filing in non-essential matters was lifted and, as of that date, litigants have been permitted to file “[n]ew motions, responsive papers to previously filed motions, and other applications … in pending cases.”
As of May 25, 2020, pursuant to the Chief Administrative Judge’s May 20, 2020 Memorandum, “e-fling through the NYSCEF system – including the filing of new non-essential matters – will be restored . . .” statewide.
In addition, over the past weeks, lower courts across the state have been opening courthouses for in-person operations. Beginning on May 27, 2020, courts in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester, Ulster, and Sullivan counties opened for in-person operations. On May 29, 2020, courthouses in Nassau and Suffolk counties did the same. While the courthouses are open, the majority of non-essential matters will still continue to be handled virtually, with in-person appearances permitted at the court’s discretion. Courts in New York City have not yet announced when their courthouses will open for similar in-person operations.
Revised Procedures in the Federal Courts in New York
In the Eastern District of New York, the clerk’s office in both Brooklyn and Central Islip has started accepting paper filings in the drop boxes in the lobbies of the courthouses. The Court is still nonetheless still encouraging attorneys to file electronically, as paper filings may be not be reviewed by the clerk quickly.
For more information on the changes to procedures and operations in New York’s state and federal courts during COVID-19, please refer to Locke Lord’s April 14, April 21, and May 12 QuickStudies. Locke Lord will continue to publish QuickStudies outlining additional changes to New York courts’ procedures and operations. In the meantime, parties and their attorneys should continue to review the courts’ websites and individual judges’ rules:
Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center often for up-to-date information to help you stay informed of the legal issues related to COVID-19.
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