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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:

  • The existing prohibition on the filing of new non-essential matters will continue for the time being.
  • Starting on Monday, April 13, 2020, preliminary steps will be taken to open up remote access to the courts for non-essential pending cases.
    • Judges are being asked to identify cases in which remote court conferences would be helpful to advancing the progress or resolution of the case.
    • Courts with high-volume calendar parts (such as compliance and trial assignment parts) are now reviewing their existing calendars to identify cases that can be assigned to judges for remote conferences.
    • Attorneys may request remote court conferences as needed.
    • Judges will be asked to be available during normal court hours to address discovery disputes and other ad hoc concerns. 
  • Judges will resume deciding fully submitted motions.

Chief Judge DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Marks note that these projects will “provide an important service to the bar and their clients, and will be a significant step forward in ensuring that the vitally important business of the courts continues.”  More plans for the resumption of court operations are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. 

We are continuing to monitor the situation, and will provide further updates as they become available.

By Benjamin F. Jackson and Stephen P. Younger