Legal Alerts

An Update on NYS Courts from Lewis Brisbois' New York Trial & Appellate Team

New York, NY (April 9, 2020) - On April 6, 2020, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore announced a plan to expand remote operations currently in place for essential court matters to the court system's non-essential cases, in a video posted on the New York State Court of Appeals' website.

Chief Judge DiFiore announced that judges will be asked to schedule and conduct compliance and settlement conferences in pending matters through video or telephone with the goal of resolving issues, moving cases closer to final resolution, and, where possible, facilitating settlements. She also noted that judges and staff will maximize this opportunity to cut into the motion backlog, and they are working on a similar plan for the appellate courts.

Following Chief Judge DiFiore's video remarks, on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, Chief Administrative Judge of New York Lawrence K. Marks issued a memorandum addressing the remarkable achievement of the court system's remote framework for essential proceedings across the State and next steps for non-essential matters.

Starting Monday, April 13, 2020, the court system will take preliminary steps to open remote access to the courts for non-essential pending cases. These non-essential matters of the State, which make up the bulk of the trial court caseloads, and include tort, commercial, matrimonial, trusts and estates, and felony cases, among others.

This entails judges reviewing their case inventories to identify cases in which court conferences can be helpful in advancing the progress of the case and scheduling conferences at the request of attorneys to address discovery disputes and other ad hoc concerns, to be conducted remotely, via Skype or telephone. The goal is for judges to help advance the progress of the cases and facilitate their resolution.

In addition to remote conferences, judges will take this opportunity to resolve any backlogs of fully-submitted undecided motions, and law departments in those counties that have them will be activated to assist judges in drafting decisions. Recent correspondence from some judges indicates they are drafting and issuing decisions.

Judge Marks noted that these preliminary steps "will be a significant step forward in ensuring that the vitally important business of the courts continue."

Additional details about these initial steps will be provided by the Administrative Judges and other steps will be taken in the weeks ahead for non-essential matters.

We will continue to provide updates as this situation develops. Visit our COVID-19 Response Resource Center for more information.


Kristen Carroll, Associate


Gregory S. Katz, Managing Partner - New York

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