Daily Coronavirus Update: Virtual Courts Resolve 2,600 Cases in One Week, Past NYSBA President, Brooklyn Justice Die from COVID-19

By Christian Nolan

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Good evening Members,

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore issued another update on the state’s “virtual” court system this afternoon and reported a “highly productive and encouraging” first week of expanded operations.

Since April 13, she said judges and professional staff conferenced and heard nearly 8,000 matters; settled or disposed of over 2,600 cases, a third of all matters heard; and issued over 1,400 written decisions on motions and other undecided matters, taking advantage of the opportunity to clear out an existing backlog of undecided motions.

“Going forward, we will continue to evaluate and make necessary adjustments to our virtual court model,” said DiFiore. “Our objective, in the short term, is to carefully expand virtual access, keeping in mind the special challenges faced by the self-represented and those lacking the technology to participate in a virtual forum.”

This past week, appellate courts also began virtual operations. DiFiore said the justices in the Appellate Division, Second Department, successfully presided over virtual arguments, and virtual oral arguments are being scheduled or planned for upcoming sessions in the other departments.

Past NYSBA President, Brooklyn Justice Die of COVID-19

Past NYSBA President Henry G. Miller passed away on April 16 from COVID-19. He was 89.

NYSBA issued a statement today that read, in part, “Henry was a brilliant advocate, a larger than life personality and a giant in the profession. For decades he was one of the state’s preeminent trial lawyers, and as a teacher he shared those skills with generations of lawyers. He was gentle and kind and patient. He will be truly missed.”

At the time of his death, Henry was the senior member of the White Plains, N.Y. law firm of Clark, Gagliardi & Miller.

According to his obituary, he enjoyed sharing his knowledge of the law by giving continuing legal education programs for NYSBA and many other organizations. He was a past columnist for the New York Law Journal and the author of many legal texts, including his book, “On Trial – Lessons from a Lifetime in the Courtroom.”

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Noach Dear has also died of complications related to COVID-19. He is the second member of the bench in Brooklyn to die from the virus; Justice Johnny Lee Baynes died March 26.

Elected in 2015, Dear presided over civil court. He also spent time as a civil court judge in Kings County and as a member of the New York City Council.

Small Business Grant Applications

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce began offering $5,000 grants to small businesses of three to 20 employees this afternoon.

To apply, go to https://savesmallbusiness.com/.

Your business must also be located in an economically vulnerable community and have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. The online application will let you know if you qualify, based on your zip code.

The application will take about 10 minutes to complete. All you will need is your business’ W-9 form. Grants will be awarded on a weekly basis, but you only need to apply one time to be eligible for funding.

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 have some insight from members about the impact on the legal profession of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “PAUSE” extension to May 15. And on the latest episode of Miranda Warnings, Domenick Napoletano (Brooklyn, NY) and June Castellano (Rochester, NY), co-chairs of the NYSBA Emergency Task Force for Solo and Small Firm Practitioners, talk about the work they’re doing to help lawyers impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis.

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