Governor Extends Order Tolling All Statutes of Limitations

By Christian Nolan

Governor Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has extended his executive order for another 30 days that temporarily tolls all statutes of limitations during the coronavirus public health crisis.

The latest order extends through June 6.

Cuomo’s order tolls “any specific time limit for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding, as prescribed by the procedural laws of the state, including but not limited to the criminal procedure law, the family court act, the civil practice law and rules, the court of claims act, the surrogate’s court procedure act, and the uniform court acts, or by any other statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation, or part thereof.”

In March, the New York State Bar Association urged the governor to act on what was then a bill proposing such an order.

Cuomo’s latest executive order also extended his previous order pertaining to remote witnessing, which clarifies the requirements needed to allow the remote signings of such documents as deeds, wills, power of attorney forms and healthcare proxies.

Suspension of the provisions of any time limitations contained in the Criminal Procedure Law from an earlier executive order was also modified by the governor to provide that:

  • Section 182.30 would not prohibit the use of electronic appearances for certain pleas;
  • Section 180.60 would allow that all parties’ appearances at the hearing, including the defendant, may be by means of an electronic appearance, and the court may – for good cause shown – withhold the identity or image of and/or disguise the voice of any witness testifying at the hearing pursuant to a motion under 245.70 of the Criminal Procedure law;
  • Section 180.80 would require that a court must satisfy itself that good cause has been shown within 140 hours from May 8, 2020 that a defendant should continue to be held on a felony complaint due to the inability to impanel a grand jury due to COVID-19;
  • Section 190.80 to require that a court must satisfy itself that good cause has been shown that a defendant should continue to be held on a felony complaint beyond 45 days due to the inability to impanel a grand jury due to COVID-19 provided the defendant has been provided a preliminary hearing under Section 180.80.

These changes permit felony pleas by videoconference (all by Skype for Business) and open up the preliminary felony hearing process to those arrested on felony charges awaiting grand jury action. This will impact attorneys on the assigned counsel panels, especially in the New York City area, who will now be making virtual court appearances for hearings.

Lastly, Cuomo announced yesterday that the state’s moratorium on coronavirus-related residential or commercial evictions will be extended for an additional 60 days until August 20,  and that the state is banning late payments or fees for missed rent payments during the eviction moratorium and allowing renters facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to use their security deposit as payment and repay their security deposit over time.

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