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New York StateUnified Court System

TO ALL ATTORNEYS AND PARTIES IN LITIGATION BEFORE THE NEW YORK STATE COURTS


 

UPDATES ON COURT OPERATIONS

COVID Screening Protocol:

Effective July 6, all visitors to UCS courthouses and other facilities will be required to submit to temperature screening and questioning before being granted entrance. This includes parties, attorneys, witnesses, spectators, law enforcement officers, prisoners, vendors, and all other non-court system personnel. All court visitors are required to wear a mask.  Visitors with a temperature of 100.0º F. or higher will not be permitted to enter the courthouse.  In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order, individuals who have traveled to states listed on the Quarantine List are required to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days and shall not be permitted to enter a courthouse or other court facility during that period.

See below for Authorized E-filing Programs Through NYSCEF

Phased Expansion of In-Person Court Operations

Consistent with Governor Cuomo’s plan for a phased reopening of public and private business in New York State, the Unified Court System has expanded in-person operations around the State in phases.

 

COURTS IN PHASE FOUR

Effective July 10, 2020:

Tenth Judicial District (Nassau and Suffolk Counties)

 

Effective July 9, 2020:

Third Judicial District (Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster Counties)
Ninth Judicial District (Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester Counties)

 

Effective July 6, 2020:

Fourth Judicial District (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington Counties)
Eighth Judicial District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming Counties)

 

Effective July 1, 2020:

Fifth Judicial District (Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Onondaga and Oswego Counties)
Sixth Judicial District (Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison, Otsego, Schuyler, Tioga and Tomkins Counties)
Seventh Judicial District (Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates Counties)  

 

COURTS IN PHASE THREE

Effective July 8, 2020:
New York City (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Richmond Counties)

 

Description of Phased Operations


PHASE ONE:

  • Judges and their staffs will return to courthouses. and will conduct virtual proceedings from chambers. 
  • Additional, but not all, other court personnel will return to in-person service in the courthouses.
  • in order to minimize foot traffic in the courts, for health and safety reasons, courts and parties continue to be encouraged to conduct proceedings virtually.

PHASE TWO:

  • Essential family matters will be conducted in person and heard by the assigned judge
  • Criminal, juvenile delinquency and mental hygiene law proceedings pertaining to a hospitalized adult will be held virtually and heard by the assigned judge
  • Non-essential matters will continue to be held virtually and heard by the assigned judge
  • Mediations and other forms of alternate dispute resolution will be conducted virtually

PHASE THREE:
In addition to Phase Two operations, Phase Three will expand in-person matters to include:

  • child support proceedings
  • arraignments of defendants who have been issued desk appearance tickets
  • preliminary hearings in criminal cases for defendants being held in jail on felony complaints
  • selected plea and sentencing proceedings for defendants at liberty
  • a limited number of bench trials, in civil matters 

In New York City only:

  • in-court conferences of felony cases for defendants at liberty
  • where an in-person proceeding involves an incarcerated individual, that individual will appear virtually, unless otherwise ordered by the assigned judge

PHASE FOUR:
In addition to Phase Three matters, Phase Four will expand in-person matters to include:

  • child permanency hearings
  • superior civil court appearances where at least one party is self-represented
  • small claims matters filed prior to April 1, 2020
  • Grand Jury proceedings will commence on July 13, 2020

Courts will also conduct virtual proceedings in the following matters:

  • non-essential matters
  • juvenile delinquency proceedings
  • adoptions
  • eviction matters in which all parties are represented by counsel
  • Mental Hygiene Law proceedings pertaining to a hospitalized adult
  • mediation and other types of alternative dispute resolution
  • criminal matters, except as noted elsewhere on this page
  • where an in-person proceeding involves an incarcerated individual, that individual will appear virtually, unless otherwise ordered by the assigned judge

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New matters may be filed electronically through NYSCEF (in courts where available) or in courts or case types where NYSCEF is unavailable, by USmail.  Find my Court: To locate specific information for your Court, by County.

 

Authorized E-filing Programs Through NYSCEF


Currently there are 53 Counties throughout New York State with authorized electronic filing programs through NYSCEF for all case types in the Supreme Courts – Civil Branch, 47 Counties with authorized electronic filing programs through NYSCEF in the Surrogate’s Courts, and in the Court of Claims, in the Albany and New York Districts (19 counties). 

By Administrative Order AO/121/20 - Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks authorized the following:

NYSCEF:  To the extent that electronic filing (consensual or mandatory) through the New York State Courts Electronic Filing System (NYSCEF) is authorized in courts and case types as listed in Appendix A of AO-116-20, these cases must be commenced as or converted to NYSCEF e-filed matters in order to proceed at this time.  Following such commencement or conversion, represented parties must file and serve documents (other than service of commencement documents) by electronic means through NYSCEF or, where permitted under e-filing rules, by mail.  Unrepresented parties must file, serve and must be served in such matters by non-electronic means unless they expressly “opt in” to participate in the matter electronically.” For more information about e-filing, please contact the NYSCEF Resource Center at  NYSCEF@nycourts.gov

 

NYSCEF Homepage


Mail/EDDS:  To the extent that NYSCEF electronic filing is unavailable in courts or case types in the trial courts, represented parties must commence by mail, except where authorized by the Chief Administrative Judge.  In pending matters, and in new matters following commencement, documents must be submitted for filing either through the Unified Court System’s Electronic Document Delivery System (EDDS) or by mail (but not by personal delivery).  More information about EDDS can be found at https://iappscontent.courts.state.ny.us/NYSCEF/live/edds.htm.  Service (other than service of commencement documents) must be by electronic means or by mail.  However, unrepresented parties must file, serve and be served by non-electronic means unless they provide written notice to the court that they wish to file, serve and be served electronically.

Send a Document with EDDS

 


 

Administrative Order AO/87/20:  Further Expansion of Operations to Include Filing of New Motions, Stipulations, Notes of Issue and Notices of Appeal in Pending Matters; Alternative Dispute Resolution; Conferences in Problem-Solving Courts; and the Electronic Document Delivery System  (effective May 4, 2020)

On May 1, 2020, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks issued Administrative Order AO/87/20, providing for the further expansion of virtual court operations, effective Monday, May 4, 2020, as follows:

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; and
  4. conduct virtual court conferences in problem-solving courts with counsel, court staff, service providers, and, where practicable, clients

The goal of this expansion is to allow judges to resolve a broader range of pending matters through the virtual court model.

Important: The existing prohibition on the filing of new, nonessential matters will continue.

We anticipate further expansion of virtual operations in the weeks to come.

EDDS
As of May 4, 2020, the Unified Court System implemented the Electronic Document Delivery System (EDDS), for delivery and filing of documents in place of paper filings in courts throughout the Unified Court System during the COVID-19 public health emergency.   

 


Administrative Order: “Virtual Courts” and Expanded Activity in Certain Pending Nonessential Matters (effective April 13, 2020)

Virtual Courts

As of April 6, 2020, the Unified Court System implemented a “virtual court” model in all trial courts in each of New York State’s 62 counties to address essential court matters (as defined in AO/78/20). In this virtual court system, legal matters are handled by remote appearances of judges, attorneys, and most nonjudicial staff, through audiovisual appearances, telephone communications, and digitized exchanges of papers. This model has allowed court operations to continue in a manner that minimizes courthouse traffic and maximizes the health and safety of court users and court personnel during the coronavirus public health emergency.

Expanded Operations to “Nonessential” Matters (effective April 13, 2020)

On April 8, 2020, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks issued Administrative Order AO/85/20, providing for the expansion of virtual court operations and remote access to additional, nonessential court matters, effective Monday, April 13, 2020, as follows:

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.

The goal of this expansion is to allow judges to advance the resolution of pending matters wherever practicable. The restraints and limitations upon court activity set forth below will continue.

Important: The existing prohibition on the filing of new, nonessential matters, or filing of papers by parties in pending nonessential matters, will continue.

We anticipate further expansion of virtual operations in the weeks to come.

 


 

Administrative Order: Limiting Court Filings (effective March 22, 2020)

On March 22, 2020, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks issued administrative order AO/78/20, which sharply curtailed the receipt of filed papers by UCS courts and county clerks in litigation matters. The order applies to both paper and electronic filings, and extends to all trial courts.

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. 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.

Thank you for your ongoing cooperation as we implement these new restrictions.

 

 

"The New York State Court System provides essential justice services to the people of the State of New York. While we continue to remain open all nonessential functions of the courts will be postponed. All essential functions of the courts remain available to ensure that New Yorkers may access the justice system during this extremely challenging time."
- Chief Judge DiFiore

If you have specific questions about your juror service, a case already in court, or you need to start a court case, call: the Coronavirus Telephone Hotline: 833-503-0447.

Juror Service:
If you have been summoned for juror service or are serving on a jury, please see the notice from the Commissioner of Jurors regarding coronavirus and the flu.