Daily Coronavirus Update: Court System Issues Guidance on Foreclosure Proceedings

By Christian Nolan

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Good evening Members,

Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks has issued a memorandum establishing procedures for addressing residential and commercial foreclosure proceedings.

Marks said the procedures, which went into effect today, were “in light of continuing restrictions on the filing and prosecution of foreclosure matters in New York State arising during the course of the COVID-19 public health emergency.”

Commencement documents in foreclosure proceedings must be filed with the court by the New York State Courts Electronic Filing System (NYSCEF) or mail only at this time.

Also, until further order, commencement papers in commercial and residential foreclosure proceedings are required to include two additional documents. The first being a form plaintiff’s attorney affirmation indicating that counsel has reviewed the various state and federal restrictions and qualifications on foreclosure proceedings and believes in good faith that the proceeding is consistent with those restrictions and qualifications.

The other document is a form notice to defendants-tenants (in English and Spanish), informing them that they may be eligible for an extension of time to respond to the complaint in light of legal directives related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and directing them to a website link for further information.

Whether or not an answer is filed in a foreclosure matter, further hearing of the case shall be stayed until such time as gubernatorial executive orders suspending statutory timetables for the prosecution of legal matters expire.

In conjunction with an administrative order (AO/68/20), the suspension of foreclosure matters including foreclosure auctions and most motion practice, continues for the time being with several exceptions:

  • Foreclosure matters in which all parties are represented by counsel shall be eligible for calendaring for both initial and follow-up virtual settlement conferences.
  • Lenders may move for a judgment of foreclosure and sale on the ground that a property is vacant and abandoned.
  • Lenders may move to discontinue a pending case.

No motions, other than motions to discontinue a pending case, shall be entertained or decided. No judgment of foreclosure may issue for any matter other than one addressing vacant and abandoned property.

Marks said at or before the expiration of the governor’s executive order suspending statutory timetables, the court system will issue further directives on the processing of these cases.

Bar Exam Update

The New York State Board of Law Examiners has announced that the application process for the September bar exam is now complete.

The statement said that “all candidates who successfully completed an application to sit for the bar exam will be assigned seats, provided their proof of eligibility is timely submitted and demonstrates compliance with the requirements of Court of Appeals Rule 520.3 or 520.6. See Board Rule 6000.4. The deadline to submit such proof has been extended until July 15, 2020.  No handwriting specimen will be required.”

The statement from the Board of Law Examiners, which operates under the auspices of the New York State Court of Appeals, also said that candidates will be notified regarding their seat assignments after the review of eligibility proofs has been completed.

The deadline to complete the laptop registration with Examsoft has been extended to Monday, June 29, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.

The statement said candidates are reminded that public health concerns may ultimately preclude the administration of the September bar exam in New York and that they should continue monitoring the website for updates.

Quarantine Advisory

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, along with the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut, have announced a joint advisory for all individuals traveling from states with significant community spread of COVID-19 and advising them to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state.

The quarantine, which goes into effect at midnight tonight, applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will continually update and publish on their websites a list of states to which the new advisory applies.

The tri-state measure will use uniform parameters and messaging on highways, airports, websites and social media across the three states. The three states will also ask hotels to communicate the 14-day quarantine to guests who have traveled from one of the impacted states.

Phase Four

Cuomo also announced today that that five regions – Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country and the Southern Tier – are on track to enter the fourth phase of reopening on Friday. New York State issued guidance for phase four, which will allow low-risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment, film and TV production, higher education and professional sports without fans. Guidance for phase four of reopening is available here.

The governor also announced that in phase four of reopening, social gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed and indoor religious gatherings will be allowed at up to 33 percent of the indoor site’s capacity.

Long Island entered phase three of reopening today.

COVID-19 Webinars

Thursday, June 25 – Operating During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Current Legal Landscape and Employer Considerations.

Friday, June 26 – Changed by COVID: Veterans’ Benefits Impacted by a Global Pandemic.

Friday, June 26 – Long Term Care in COVID-19: Navigating Legal, Medical and Ethical Issues for Providers and Older Adults.

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.

With the coronavirus changing how meetings are held, public meetings must be recorded and transcribed but are not required to be posted under current modifications made by executive order to existing laws. Click here to learn how coronavirus has affected open meetings.

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