Coronavirus Daily Update: Virtual State Courts Start Some Non-Essential Matters Monday, SDNY Extends Restrictions

By Christian Nolan

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Good evening Members,

Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks has issued an order finalizing plans for the state court system’s “virtual courts” to begin handling some non-essential matters starting Monday, April 13.

In addition to essential and emergency matters, the following non-essential procedures and protocols are as follows:

  • Conferencing Pending Cases: Courts will review their docket of pending cases, assess matters that can be advanced or resolved through remote court conferencing, and schedule and hold conferences in such matters upon its own initiative, and where appropriate at the request of parties.
  • Deciding Fully Submitted Motions: Courts will decide fully submitted motions in pending cases.
  • Discovery and Other Ad Hoc Conferences: Courts will maintain availability during normal court hours to resolve ad hoc discovery disputes and similar matters not requiring the filing of papers.

The order also states that video teleconferences conducted by the court, or with court participation, will be administered exclusively through Skype for Business.

Also, no new non-essential matters may be filed until further notice nor may additional papers be filed by parties in pending non-essential matters. The court shall file such orders in essential and non-essential matters as it deems appropriate.

Third Judicial District Order

Administrative Judge Thomas A. Breslin, Third Judicial District, issued an amended order stating that: essential matters for the Surrogate’s Court are urgent guardianships, urgent adoptions, temporary letters on urgent matters, settlement of estates on urgent matters, and other essential matters as determined by the surrogate in consultation with the administrative judge.

The order also sets forth the designated courthouses and designated judges for the week of April 13.

SDNY Extends Restrictions

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) has extended its restrictions through May 4.

All jury calls remain suspended. Due to the lead time needed to call jurors, no jury trial, either civil or criminal, can be held until at least June 1, 2020, and possibly later.

Other restrictions include:

  • No SDNY staff will be on site at 40 Foley Square and no Southern District matters will be heard in the Marshall Courthouse except grand jury matters.
  • The Moynihan Courthouse at 500 Pearl St./200 Worth St. will be open but only to hear urgent criminal matters and other matters seeking immediate relief.
  • Part I will operate out of Courtroom 23B in the Moynihan Courthouse but it is anticipated that most if not all matters will be handled remotely.
  • Parties who have civil matters requiring the immediate attention of a judge must bring the matter to the attention of the Clerk of Court by calling 212-805-0140 between 8:30 am and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday prior to either filing the papers on ECF (preferred method), or bringing papers to the courthouse.

Cyber Crime Up During Pandemic

The FBI anticipates cyber criminals will exploit increased use of virtual environments by government agencies, private sector organizations, and individuals as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

As of March 30, 2020, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has received and reviewed over 1,200 complaints related to coronavirus scams. They said cyber actors have engaged in phishing campaigns against first responders, launched DDoS attacks against government agencies, installed ransomware at medical facilities, and created fake COVID-19 websites that quietly download malware to victim devices.

Based on recent trends, the FBI expects these same groups to target businesses and individuals working from home via telework software vulnerabilities, education technology platforms, and new business email compromise schemes.

The FBI has released a Public Service Announcement (PSA) detailing the threats as well as providing tips on how to recognize and guard against this criminal activity. Click here for the FBI’s announcement and tips.

COVID-19 Webinars

On Monday, April 13, NYSBA will host three coronavirus-related webinars. Click the links below for more details and to register.

  • A small law firm’s survival guide to the COVID-19 emergency – practical considerations, personal and client cash crunch issues
  • Key deadlines and extensions under the Governor’s COVID-19 executive orders will be examined
  • Navigating success in-house in tumultuous times

Latest NYSBA.ORG Coronavirus News
We are adding new content each day to our website related to the coronavirus public health emergency and its impact on the legal community.

Today three experts share their experience with arbitration by video, and we have two articles pertaining to attorney wellness during the pandemic. The first discusses coping with COVID-19 and the other says attorneys need emotional support to continue to be pillars of strength.

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