New York State Courts To Partially Resume “Non-Essential” Court Proceedings Print PDF
On April 6, 2020, the Chief Judge of the State of New York (Hon. Janet DiFiore) issued a statement to confirm that a plan is being created for New York state courts to expand their virtual operation “beyond the limited category of essential and emergency matters.” According to the statement, the plan will be announced “in the coming days and implemented next week.”
As part of that plan, 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.” Further, judges will “maximize this opportunity” to “prioritize the resolution of undecided matters.” Judge DiFiore advised that similar plans are being prepared for New York’s appellate courts.
On April 7, 2020, the Hon. Lawrence K. Marks issued a Memorandum to “all trial court justices and judges,” stating that because the courts have “successfully transitioned to a virtual court system for handling essential matters,” the courts would now turn their attention to non-essential matters, which constitute the “bulk of our trial court caseloads.” Below are some highlights of the Memorandum regarding next steps:
- “Non-essential” filings are still precluded: The ban on non-essential filings, based upon Administrative Order 78/20, is still in effect.
- Remote court conferences to be scheduled: Judges should review their cases to determine where court conferences would be helpful to advance “the progress of the case, including achieving a resolution of the case.” Additionally, attorneys may request conferences to be scheduled, and judges can be available during normal court hours to address discovery and other disputes. The conferences must be conducted remotely, either by Skype or telephone.
- Fully submitted motions: Judges will resume deciding fully submitted motions.
- Additional steps forthcoming: Other steps will be taken in the coming weeks, to “further increase access to justice in non-essential matters.”