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Category: COVID-19 Updates

Updates on COVID-19’s Impact on Commercial Appeals: New York Court of Appeals Expands Digital Filings, While the Appellate Division Lifts Moratorium on Filing Deadlines and Hears Skype Argument

Originally published May 21, 2020.

The progress of taking commercial appeals in New York has been impacted significantly by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Deadlines for perfecting appeals were suspended and oral arguments were canceled. Although Skype conferences were being held in the trial level courts, such as the Commercial Division, arguments were not being scheduled on typical appeals. Recently, as Chief Judge Janet DiFiore has overseen a gradual re-opening of significant portions of the New York courts, there have been material developments in appellate practice which effect commercial litigators.  These developments reflect a sense that appeals are starting to move forward again, albeit with the naturally attendant backlogs that the COVID-19 crisis has engendered.


New York State Courts Begin Reopening Process As Some Upstate Regions Meet Initial State Reopening Criteria

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore recently announced that New York state courts have begun the process of re-opening the in-person court system and increasing the capacity of new matters that may be filed in New York state courts.  The courts that are beginning the physical reopening process are located within New York’s Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth judicial districts.  Those districts roughly cover the regions of New York that do not include New York City and the surrounding suburbs.  Electronic filing of new non-essential cases also, to the extent permissible prior to the COVID-19 crisis, resumed on Memorial Day, May 25th, 2020.


    Chief Judges Announce Plan for Virtual Court Proceedings and Resumption of Non-Essential Matters in the Commercial Division and Other Courts


    Update: Chief Administrative Judge Marks has promulgated an order that makes the plans detailed below effective as of April 13, 2020.  The order also notes that video conferences will be administered exclusively through Skype for Business.

    As an update to our earlier post on COVID-19’s effect on the Commercial Division, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks recently announced that as of April 6, 2020, all essential proceedings across New York State are now being handled by the New York courts virtually, with judges, attorneys, and most nonjudicial staff participating in those proceedings remotely.  Additionally, Chief Judge DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Marks announced their preliminary plans for handling non-essential matters, which are as follows:


    Gov. Cuomo Tolls Procedural Laws Including Statutes of Limitations

    On March 20, 2020, in order to limit court operations in light of the evolving COVID-19 emergency, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.8.   That order, among other things, tolls through April 19, 2020 “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[.]”  This order means that parties who are facing a deadline to file a civil action have an extension up and until April 19, 2020 in order to do so, unless a further extension of this deadline is granted.


    COVID-19’s Effect on New York Commercial Division

    Over the last few days, Judge Lawrence K. Marks, the Chief Administrative Judge of the New York State Unified Court System, issued two memoranda bearing on COVID-19’s effect on the Commercial Division.