Good evening Members,
During her weekly briefing, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said New York City courts have been operating smoothly in phase two and are readying for phase three by installing plexiglass barriers and retrofitting dozens of courtrooms to ensure that they can be utilized safely and efficiently as the state court system expands their in-person operations.
At the same time the courts are working to safely expand their in-person court operations, they are also expanding their virtual capacity in order to meet the demand for their services and reduce pending caseloads.
As an example, she said that the Housing part of the New York City Civil Court has created virtual resolution parts in all five counties to hear pre-pandemic cases where both sides are represented by counsel. The judges and staff in these parts are deciding motions, resolving outstanding discovery issues, conducting settlement conferences and settling a significant number of matters.
Also starting this week, Civil Court judges will be conducting virtual conferences in commercial landlord-tenant cases, while their virtual automobile no-fault parts remain extremely productive, settling hundreds of cases citywide each week, DiFiore said.
At the recommendation of epidemiologists and stakeholders who regularly visit the courthouses, temperature screening and questioning of all courthouse visitors began today, DiFiore said. She thanked Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services for providing the state courts over 175,000 masks, 50,000 pairs of nitrile gloves and over a thousand gallons of hand sanitizer as well as thousands of individual two-ounce containers of sanitizer.
“There is no question in my mind that the progress we have made to keep our courts up and running in the face of the pandemic has been due to the solid unity and cooperation that we have enjoyed within our court family and with our many outside stakeholders and justice partners,” said DiFiore.
Paycheck Protection Program Extended
Over the Fourth of July weekend, President Donald Trump signed into law an extension of the application period for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) until Aug. 8. Congress initially passed the measure late last week.
The program resumed accepting applications this morning. The PPP loan program was created in the CARES Act in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic crisis. It is designed to be an incentive for small businesses to keep workers on the payroll. The program was set to close but over $130 billion was still available in the fund.
Congress is still expected to consider additional measures concerning the pandemic including aid to states, tax relief and economic payments.
Click here for more information about the PPP loan program.
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 we take a look at litigating in the federal courts during coronavirus, as the chief judges in each of New York’s districts recently discussed their challenges and triumphs during this unprecedented time during a recent Virtual Town Hall.
We also have a guide for attorneys from LawPay about going back to the office.