COVID-19 Information: What’s Changed? What Do You Need to Know?
NYS Court Orders and Guidance
Summary: Evictions and foreclosures, among other things, are halted for ninety days by Executive Order 202.8. They are halted until further notice by the Chief Administrative Judge. You may also have extra time to file a court case, but the courts are open for emergencies like Orders of Protection. Trials that have started will continue but no others will be scheduled.
As of May 18th, the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, and North Country regions of New York State had begun Phase 1 of reopening (construction and manufacturing), and Western New York and the Capital Region were expected to follow shortly. While professional services like lawyers will not be opening until Phase 2, some courts are beginning to reopen. Specifically:
The courts in the North Country (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, and St. Lawrence Counties) have begun to accept some new cases, effective May 18th, 2020. Courts in Fulton and Montgomery Counties are beginning to accept some new filings as of May 20th, 2020. However, some courts accept “delivery” while others allow for various types of electronic filing. Please also note that this guidance appears to allow for the possibility of ongoing remote appearances in addition to appearing in person.
Phone calls show that individual courts vary widely in what actions they will accept, so you should seriously consider calling the court before trying to file anything. Please note that you will also need to submit this form together with any new cases, explaining why they are “essential.”
Guidance from the Third Judicial District ahead of reopening emphasizes that no evictions and no default judgments may be issued and that all town and justice court matters are “nonessential.”
Finally, all New York State courts will be following specific COVID-19 protocols when they do reopen. In particular, all present must wear a mask (you will need to provide your own mask), and you will be screened and also notified in case someone at the court is infected.
**Effective April 13th, 2020, courts will begin to handle some non-essential matters remotely. This only applies to matters that are already pending; no new nonessential filings will be accepted. Judges are being directed to decide pending motions, to determine which matters are ripe for remote conferences, and to decide what else they can do to move pending matters forward. A later memo from Judge Marks sets out a bit more detail on what the courts will be doing. **
**Effective April 6th, 2020: courts in the Third Judicial District and Fourth Judicial District will begin holding “virtual court” by Skype. The courts are still hearing essential matters only. Details, as well as the counties in each district, may be found in the linked orders.**
On March 22, 2020, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks issued Administrative Order 78/20. Effective immediately and until further notice, no county or court clerk may accept any filings unless they are specifically listed as “essential” OR unless the judge determines that the matter is essential. Essential matters:
- child protection intake cases involving removal applications
- newly filed juvenile delinquency intake cases involving remand placement applications, or modification thereof
- emergency family offense petitions/temporary orders of protection
- orders to show cause
- stipulations on submission
- Mental Hygiene Law (MHL) applications and hearings addressing patient retention or release
- MHL hearings addressing the involuntary administration of medication and other medical care
- newly filed MHL applications for an assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) plan
- emergency applications in guardianship matters
- temporary orders of protection (including but not limited to matters involving domestic violence)
- emergency applications related to the coronavirus
- emergency Election Law applications
- extreme risk protection orders (ERPO)
- applications addressing landlord lockouts (including reductions in essential services)
- applications addressing serious code violations
- applications addressing serious repair orders
- applications for post-eviction relief
Executive Order 202.8, signed March 20, 2020, tolls (stops) all legal statutes of limitations statewide through April 19, 2020 (extended to May 7, 2020 by Executive Order 202.14). Further, no evictions or foreclosures may be enforced until at least June 18, 2020.
Update Memorandum of March 19, 2020–references what essential matters are still being heard by state courts and the list of designated court locations
Designated Court Locations Outside of New York City updated March 19, 2020
 Criminal courts may also hear orders of protection