By press release and memorandum, the New York State Unified Court System announced that beginning on May 21, 2020, it will permit parties to electronically file new lawsuits via NYSCEF in the following Western New York and Capital Region counties: Albany, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Columbia, Erie, Green, Niagara, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, and Washington. Additionally, on May 25, 2020, the courts will restore NYSCEF filings, including for new lawsuits, in Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester counties.

Parties and those involved with New York’s court system have been anticipating the resumption of new case filings since the courts prohibited them in March at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The courts are now prepared to receive a flood of claims that accrued prior to the shutdown and in the intervening period.

What is more, on May 21, 2020, courts in the following Western New York counties will gradually resume limited in-person operations: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara. Capital Region courts in Albany, Columbia, Green, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, and Washington counties will follow suit on May 26, 2020. Like their sister counties upstate already underway with the reopening process, the Western New York and Capital Region courts will implement safety measures designed to curtail the coronavirus’s impact. These measures will include courthouse mask requirements and courtroom markings to ensure physical distancing, among other things.

Although parties may begin electronically filing new lawsuits, litigants and attorneys alike should bear in mind that by two Executive Orders, Governor Andrew Cuomo imposed a moratorium on eviction actions and particular foreclosure proceedings until August 20, 2020.

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.