Latest COVID Developments Affecting NY Courts

New York attorney Robert Friedman discusses the reopening of NY courts.

Good Morning. I am Bob Friedman attorney with Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC. Welcome to the November 6th , 2020 edition of the Legal Survival Channel: Today’s Legal News You Can Use.

In her weekly coronavirus update, New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore reported that the NY state court system is prepared to make immediate adjustments and to scale back or suspend jury trials and in-person proceedings on a moment’s notice in case a second wave of coronavirus hits the state. For  “week one” of the  resumption of criminal jury trials in New York City, four of the five scheduled trials are still in progress: two in New York County, and two in Kings County, one of which is now a bench trial after the defendant waived a trial by jury. In Richmond County, while no trial has gone forward yet, 18 plea bargains have been taken on felony cases during the jury trial pilot there.

This week criminal jury trials will restart in Queens and Bronx Counties. For the civil jury trial pilot, after two weeks  8 cases have been tried to verdict and 7 others have been settled. A successful “week two” restart of civil jury trials is  starting in New York County and in Queens County

Even though jury trials are being conducted again, the court is keeping a very close eye on the daily COVID metrics all across NY, being  cautious and deliberate in deciding where and when to schedule future jury trials. Given the rising number of infections around the country, and the very real possibility of a “second wave” here in New York, the NY courts are prepared to make immediate adjustments and to scale back or suspend jury trials and in-person proceedings on a moment’s notice. In order to continue to make smart, responsible, nimble decisions that protect everyone’s health and safety, the courts are working around the clock to expand and enhance virtual operations. This all-out effort is underway not only to safely meet the demand for court  services during the pandemic, but just as important, to improve the quality and efficiency of justice services well into the future.

And an essential piece of this effort is e-filing, which enables convenient access to our courts while avoiding the need for in-person filing of court papers. On October 20, 2020  Chief Administrative Judge Larry Marks issued an Administrative Order authorizing e-filing of civil cases in the Supreme Court in seven additional upstate counties as well as the Broome County Surrogate’s Court.  By November 18, 2020,  efiling will be available in the Supreme Court in 60 of 62  NY counties, and in Surrogate’s Courts in 47 counties .  The courts are committed to extending e-filing to all of the remaining counties in the near future. Less than a month ago, expansion of efiling was completed  to all five boroughs of the New York City Housing Court. The efiling program for actions transferred from the Supreme Court to the New York City Civil Court will soon be expanded citywide when Kings  County comes on board November 9, 2020, followed by Bronx and Richmond Counties on December 7, 2020.

Contact Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC at 716.542.5444 for assistance with your New York court case.

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