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Coronavirus Guidance on Litigation Matters

This advisory was originally written on 3/22, and updated on 3/23 in light of new rules issued by New York State courts.


New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts of New York Lawrence Marks have both issued orders which directly impact the operations of New York state courts.

On March 20, 2020, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order No. 202.8. Under the order, all time limits for the commencement, filing or service of any legal action, notice, motion or other process or proceeding, as prescribed by the procedural laws of New York, are tolled until April 19, 2020. This includes matters governed by 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.

This means that all deadlines to commence actions or file motions and other deadlines prescribed by the New York Civil Rules of Procedure, falling between now and April 19, 2020, are temporarily suspended, and the clock running towards those deadlines will begin running again starting April 20, 2020. For example, a deadline for a motion to dismiss that was originally due on Monday, March 30, 2020, will be extended to Thursday, April 30, 2020. Because statutes of limitations deadlines are governed by the procedural laws in New York, statutes of limitations that would otherwise expire prior to April 19, 2020 are tolled as well.

On March 22, 2020, Judge Marks ordered that effective immediately no papers shall be accepted for filing by a county clerk or court in any matter of a type not included as an essential matter. Judge Marks’s essential matters list included arraignments, orders to show cause, mental hygiene law applications addressing patient retention or release, applications addressing serious housing code violations and any other matters that the court deems essentials. Judge Marks added that the list of essential proceedings is subject to ongoing review and amendment as necessary.

According to Judge Marks’s order, the clock on all deadlines related to non-essential matters has officially stopped and will start again when he issues another order directing such. With the exception of statutes of limitations deadlines, any clocks that would have started running again on April 20, 2020, as per Governor Cuomo’s executive order, will not continue running until Judge Marks orders otherwise. Governor Cuomo and Judge Marks’s orders extend only to matters in New York state courts, and do not directly change the procedure in other courts, including federal courts sitting in New York state. As an extra precaution, it is best for all parties to a litigation with upcoming deadlines pending in New York state court to confirm the new deadlines with each other.

As New York State continues to limit the rapid increase of COVID-19, laws are changing on a daily basis. The Carter Ledyard Team is monitoring developments in this area and will issue periodic updates as the situation evolves. Please contact your regular Carter Ledyard lawyer with any questions or for further updates.