Yesterday, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks issued a memorandum announcing that the New York trial courts would expand operations to permit additional filings in ongoing non-essential cases (we previously covered the Courts' decision to resume activity in ongoing non-essential cases here).
The memo stated that the courts would begin taking the following steps beginning Monday, May 4, 2020:
- Expanded Motion Practice. Lawyers may file new motions on the courts NYSCEF system and may also file responsive papers to previously filed motions and other applications. The memo also noted that the courts have created an "electronic document delivery system" for filing papers in courts where e-filing is unavailable. Instructions for how to use the document delivery system will be available on those courts' websites.
- Appeals. Parties may begin filing notices of appeal either through the NYSCEF system or the document delivery system if the court does not participate in e-filing.
- ADR. Courts may resume referring matters to the various alternative dispute resolution programs run by the courts. This includes referrals to neutrals on the court-sponsored ADR panel, community dispute resolution centers, and other court-run ADR programs.
- Problem Solving Courts. Problem-solving courts will also begin conducting virtual court appearances by videoconference.
The prohibition on filing new non-essential matters is still in effect. However, as the memo noted, these above steps should help the courts reduce the existing backlog of cases and provide increased access to legal services until the courts are fully operational again.
"These are significant additional steps that will widen judicial work and responsibilities without rendering more difficult our continuing commitment to virtual court proceedings and the limitations inherent in those proceedings."