The Chief Administrative Judge of New York, Lawrence K. Marks, issued a report on May 20, 2020 stating that downstate counties will accept “the filing of new non-essential matters through” electronic filing, beginning May 25, 2020. The report was issued in light of the fact that many downstate counties have not yet satisfied the necessary criteria to be eligible for re-opening under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s guidelines. These counties include but are not limited to, the five boroughs of New York City, Nassau and Suffolk County, and Westchester County.
Back in March 2020, the New York State Unified Court System postponed all “nonessential” services, including the filing of “nonessential lawsuits,” because of the Corona Virus Pandemic. On May 4, 2020, the state officially re-allowed the filing of documents through NYSCEF (New York State Court Electronic Filing System). However, litigants could only file documents relating to pending lawsuits, such as notices of appeal. Therefore, the May 20th report issued by Judge Marks constitutes a major step in the New York State Unified Court System’s gradual return to normalcy.
The allowance of electronic filing for “nonessential” lawsuits is considered a blessing by many. According to Harry Greenberg, President of the New York State Bar Association, it is “great news for litigators and the public.” However, now that downstate New York is allowing the electronic filing of “nonessential” cases, there is expected to be a backlog of suits as more than two months have passed since litigants became restricted from filing in March of 2020.
Many of the counties in Upstate New York had already resumed processing non-essential lawsuits, as they were able to satisfy Governor Cuomo’s stated guidelines for re-opening. For more information on the gradual reopening of New York’s Unified Court System, please refer to the New York Court webpage on “Corona Virus and The New York State Courts.”
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, do not hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Even if your claim is not considered “essential” by the New York State Courts, an experienced personal injury attorney can still help get the ball rolling. For a free consultation contact our firm over the phone at 1-800-Lawline (212-668-0059), or 1-800-529-5463, or through email at email@example.com.