By press release, the New York State Unified Court System announced a gradual return to in-person courthouse operations for thirty upstate, largely rural counties beginning on May 18, 2020. The listed counties are: Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, Yates, Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, Schoharie, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence.

Notably, in these counties, the courts will permit parties to file new lawsuits, except for eviction and certain foreclosure proceedings, which New York previously disallowed for nearly two months. The courts will put in place at least seven safety measures consistent with worldwide hygiene practices, implemented to curtail the coronavirus pandemic’s impact.

Those involved with New York’s court system or contemplating involvement should note that by Executive Order 202.28, Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the suspensions and modifications of law detailed in Executive Orders 202 through and including 202.14 until June 6, 2020, subject to several carve outs for certain areas of New York law. The impact of Executive Order 202.28 on Executive Order 202.8 is particularly important, as Executive Order 202.8 tolled time limits for “the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding” as detailed in New York’s procedural laws. Notably, Executive Order 202.28 also continues New York’s moratorium on eviction actions and prevents particular foreclosure proceedings until August 20, 2020.

Although Executive Order 202.28 impacts litigation time frames, via Administrative Order 87/20, New York state recently directed all courts statewide to accept electronic filings of motion papers, notices of appeal and cross-appeal, various stipulations, and notes of issue for all matters, which New York previously barred except for specific, essential categories.

Parties to pending New York state cases and those contemplating legal action should continue monitoring New York state courts orders and communications, New York State’s executive orders, eCourts, and NYSCEF.

Visit our COVID-19 response page for additional resources related to the pandemic.

This alert does not purport to be a substitute for advice of counsel on specific matters.

Harris Beach has offices throughout New York State, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Long Island, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse and White Plains, as well as New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.