State of New York - Governor's Executive Orders and Chief Administrative Judge's Orders Related to Practice of Law In A Coronavirus Environment (Updated)
State of New York - Governor’s Executive Orders and Chief Administrative Judge’s Orders Related to Practice of Law In A Coronavirus Environment
3/7/20: Governor’s Executive Order EO 202 declared a State of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In accordance with the directive of the Chief Judge of the State to limit court operations to essential matters during the pendency of the COVID-19 health crisis, any specific time limit for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding, as prescribed by the procedural laws of the state,including but not limited to the criminal procedure law, the family court act, the civil practice law and rules, the court of claims act, the surrogate's court procedure act, and the uniform court acts, or by any other statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation, or part thereof, is hereby tolled from the date of this executive order until APRIL 19, 2020.
3/20/20 – 11/3/20: Governor’s Executive Orders EO 202.1 through EO 202.71 extended EO 202 month to month (with certain modifications relating to social gatherings, health care, education and general functioning of the State of New York), including the toll on statutes of limitations.
3/22/20 Administrative Order AO/78/20 (CAJ Marks) - Limiting Court Filings (effective 4/6/20): In light of the public health concerns of the coronavirus, and consistent with the Governor’s recent Executive Order suspending statutes of limitations in legal matters until further notice,the courts will only accept filings in matters deemed to be “essential.” A list of essential matters is attached to the Chief Administrative Judge’s administrative order. Essential Proceedings Administrative Order AO/78/20 March 22, 2020. (They are: A. Criminal matters; B. Family Court matters; C. Supreme Court Matters involving Mental Hygiene Law, guardianship, orders of protection, emergency applications related to the coronavirus; emergency Election Law applications; extreme risk protection orders; D. Civil/Housing matters involving landlord lockouts, serious code violations, serious repair orders; applications for post-eviction relief; E. any other matter that the court deems essential. This list is subject to amendment in the future. In addition to the case types specified on the list, judges may deem any individual matter to be “essential” as circumstances require. Section E of the list of essential proceedings includes “any other matter that the court deems essential.” Consistent with the goal of the administrative order to limit new filings, this catch-all provision is designed to address the very rare cases where individual facts necessitate an immediate hearing notwithstanding current public health concerns; it will be interpreted restrictively. Persons who believe that a specific pending or new matter should be included in this highly restrictive group should apply to the court for this designation by emergency application by order to show cause, including a detailed explanation of the applicant’s rationale.
Please note, the administrative order:
• Addresses legal papers relating to litigation matters filed with UCS courts. It does not address filings with the County Clerk acting other than as a clerk of court – including matters set forth in CPLR §8021.
• Addresses only the filing of documents, and does not address service of process. It is anticipated that, in light of the filing prohibition and the Governor’s extension of statutes of limitation, service of (unfiled) process should and will be suspended by parties in non-essential matters. However, if service of process continues, especially in a manner that confuses participants, it may be addressed in a follow-up administrative directive.
• Does not address discovery in pending matters, which remains governed by a prior administrative order and continues to rely on agreement of the parties to the fullest extent possible. In the event that discovery conduct requires further systemwide action, it will be addressed in the future.
Questions about this policy may be addressed to 833-503-0447, and will be answered through updates on this webpage.
4/8/20 Administrative Order AO/85/20 (CAJ Marks): “Virtual Courts” and Expanded Activity in CERTAIN PENDING NONESSENTIAL Matters (Effective 4/13/20): Expanded Operations to “Nonessential” Matters: In pending nonessential matters, courts will: (1) review case inventories and schedule telephonic and audiovisual conferences with attorneys and others where such conferences will facilitate resolution of disputed issues or the case as a whole. Audiovisual conferences will be handled exclusively through Skype for Business technology. Conferences may also be scheduled by the court at the request of parties;
(2) address outstanding, fully submitted motions; and (3) be available during normal business hours to address ad hoc oral applications by telephone or Skype. Important: The existing prohibition on the filing of new, nonessential matters, or filing of papers by parties in pending nonessential matters, will continue.
Please note that the Governor’s Executive Orders numbers 202.9 (issued 3/21/20) through 202.26 (issued 5/1/20) have nothing to do with the CPLR or the filing of new actions or documents with the courts. They deal mostly with the DOH, and education, election, real property tax, domestic relations laws.
5/1/20 Administrative Order AO/87/20 (CAJ Marks): In pending matters (both essential and non-essential), courts will:
1. accept filings of new motions and applications, and additional filings in pending motions;
2. accept filings of stipulations of all kinds, notes of issue, and notices of appeal;
3. refer matters to alternative dispute resolution before neutrals on court-established
panels, community dispute resolution centers, and ADR-dedicated UCS court staff;
4. conduct virtual court conferences in problem-solving courts with counsel, court staff,
service providers, and, where practicable, clients
Important: The existing prohibition on the filing of new, nonessential matters will continue.
5/2/20 Administrative Order AO/88/20: In pending matters, Courts may not compel practicing physicians to appear for deposition or otherwise participate in discovery in person.
5/15/20 Administrative Order AO/99/20: The Court included the following as “essential matters”: 1) Surrogate’s Court proceedings; and 2) any matter involving an individual who pass away due to COVID-related causes.
6/22/20 Administrative Order AO/129/20 repealed AO/88/20 and encouraged parties to cooperate and address any issues relating to physician depositions to the court.
6/25/20: Governor’s Executive Order EO 205: required Commissioner of Health to issue a travel advisory implementing quarantine restrictions on travelers arriving in the State of New York;
9/29/20 Administrative Order AO/131/20 amended NYCRR Rule 202.7(g), Rule 6, to require hyperlinks to cited cases in memoranda of law submitted in commercial cases and standardized font size in a court papers:
11/3/20: Governor’s Executive Orders EO 202.72 ended the toll on statutes of limitations as of November 4, 2020.
11/3/20 - 6/5/21: Governor’s Executive Orders EO 202.73 through EO 202.110 do not relate to the practice of law.
12/13/20: Governor’s Executive Order 205.3 modified EO 205.2 to require quarantine for a period consistent with Department of Health guidance for all travelers entering New York from a state which is not a contiguous state, or from a country or territory subject to a CDC Level 2 or higher COVID-19 Risk Assessment Level or for which the COVID-19 risk level is designated by the CDC as Unknown, unless such traveler has traveled for less than 24 hours, is deemed an essential worker, or obtains two negative COVID-19 diagnostic test results in accordance with Executive Order 205.2.
6/24/2021 Governor’s Executive Order 210 rescinded Executive Orders 202 through 202.111 and Executive Orders 205 through 205.3 because the State flattened the curve of COVID-19 cases; successfully slowed the transmission of COVID-19 from almost 11,000 new cases a day, at the peak of the pandemic, to less than 300 new cases a day, administered more than 20,650,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 71% of adults in the State have received at least one dose of the vaccine; went from having the highest infection rate in the Country to one of the lowest, with a current seven-day rolling average positivity rate below 0.4%.
Case Note: On June 2, 2021, the Appellate Division, Second Department, clarified the distinction between “tolling” and “suspension” of statutes of limitations vis-a-vis the Governor’s Executive Orders during Covid. In Brash v. Richards, et al., No. 1812/12 (2d Dept. 2021), the Court stated that the Orders qualify as “tolling” provisions, i.e., that the period between March 7, 2020 and November 3, 2020 does not count in calculating the statute of limitations. So if, for example, a negligence cause of action accrued on January 7, 2018, the statute would ordinarily run on January 7, 2021. By March 7, 2020, two years and two months would have run and plaintiff would have 10 months left. But the clock stopped on March 7, 2020 by virtue of EO 202. When it started ticking again on November 3, 2020, plaintiff still had 10 months to commence suit, and his statute of limitations would run on September 3, 2021.