New Jersey Judiciary Enters Next Phase of COVID-19 Court Operations Print PDF
As of April 24, 2020, New Jersey state courts have conducted more than 12,000 remote court events, involving more than 80,000 participants, during the COVID-19 judicial emergency.
On that date, the Supreme Court of New Jersey issued its Second Omnibus Order governing court procedures during the COVID-19 judicial emergency. The Order allows some of the restrictions set forth in the March 27, 2020 First Omnibus Order to expire on May 10, 2020, while extending other restrictions until at least May 31, 2020. The updated directives for civil matters during the ongoing judicial emergency include:
- Trials: Jury trials remain suspended until further notice. Landlord/Tenant, Special Civil Part, and Small Claims trials are suspended through May 31, 2020. Settlement negotiations, case management conferences, motions and other proceedings may continue via video or phone conferencing. In-person appearances are allowed only in emergency situations.
- Discovery: Depositions should be conducted remotely through May 31, 2020, with court reporters administering oaths remotely. The March 27, 2020 extension of the time period for discovery, including interrogatories (R 4:17); document production (R 4:18); depositions (R. 4:14 and 4:15), and requests for admissions (R. 4:22), will conclude as of May 10, 2020.
- Discovery End Dates: In cases where the discovery end date had not expired as of March 16, 2020, the period between March 16, 2020 and May 10, 2020 will not be included in computing discovery end dates. Further extensions of discovery end dates may be requested based on specific circumstances.
- Filing Deadlines: In computing any time period under the Rules of Court and under any statute of limitations for matters in all courts, the period from March 16, 2020 through May 10, 2020 shall be excluded. This tolling period does not apply to certain appellate matters.
- Dismissal for Lack of Prosecution: The time period for dismissal of civil cases for lack of prosecution are tolled through May 31, 2020.
- Foreclosures/Evictions: The Office of Foreclosure will not review or recommend motions or judgments received on or after March 1, 2020 pending further court order. Evictions remain suspended until two months following the end of the New Jersey State of Emergency.
- Electronic Signatures: Electronic signatures may be used in all filing processes, including exemplified documents signed by the Superior Court clerk in the presence of a judge and certified documents.
- Courtesy Copy Filings: Courtesy copies of filings are not required where the submission, including attachments and appendices, does not exceed 35 pages.
- Issuance of Summons: For track assignments issued from March 16 through April 26, 2020, the time period for issuing a summons is extended from 15 days to within 60 days of the notice. For track assignments issued from April 27 through May 31, 2020, the time period is extended to within 30 days of the Notice.
- Service on the State: Service of documents on the State may be made via email.
- Arbitration: Civil arbitration will resume via remote technology on April 27, 2020.
- Municipal Courts: Effective April 27, 2020, remote proceedings may proceed with the consent of all parties. Effective May 11 2020, and upon notice to all parties, the courts can resume other proceedings via video or phone technology.
The Order may be found at: https://www.njcourts.gov/notices/2020/n200424a.pdf?c=mGM