Legal Alerts

New York Allows Filing of New Non-Essential Lawsuits

New York, N.Y. (May 22, 2020) - On May 20, 2020, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks issued a memorandum order under which New York’s court system will allow electronic filing of new non-essential lawsuits starting on Monday, May 25, 2020. This directive applies to all of New York City, as well as the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester. 

Defendants should remain cognizant of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their deadlines to answer new lawsuits. As of today, under a series of executive orders issued by Governor Cuomo, all deadlines remain tolled until June 6, 2020. That date may or may not be extended further, but at some point the tolling period will end. To calculate the deadline to answer, the total tolling period gets subtracted from the total number of days that a defendant has to answer. This applies to lawsuits filed before the pandemic, and to new lawsuits that will be filed starting on May 25, 2020. 

Most often, and so long as a summons and complaint was not delivered in person, a defendant will have 30 days to answer a new lawsuit (see CPLR 3012(c)). The Governor’s first tolling order took effect on March 7, 2020. Therefore, as one example, if a new lawsuit was served on March 1, and the tolling period does end on June 6, then the defendant would have until June 30, 2020 to answer the complaint (30 days in total, including 6 days between March 1 and March 7, subtracting the tolling period, and adding another 24 days after the tolling period ends on June 6, equals June 30, 2020).

As another example, if a new lawsuit is served on May 25, 2020, the defendant would have until July 6, 2020 to answer the complaint (30 days in total, subtracting the tolling period between May 25, 2020 and June 6, 2020, or in other words, 30 days after June 6).

Our firm will continue to monitor these important developments as the courts gradually reopen. If you have any questions about this memorandum order or any other matters, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can also visit our COVID-19 Response Resource Center for more alerts on a wide variety of legal areas impacted by the pandemic.


Nicholas P. Hurzeler, Partner


Gregory S. Katz, Managing Partner

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