On Thursday, April 30, 2020, the New York State Unified Court System announced that it was taking the following steps to reopen the Court system, effective Monday, May 4th:
1) Expanded motion practice - New motions, responsive papers to previously filed motions, and other applications (including post-judgment applications) may be filed electronically in pending cases, either (a) through our NYSCEF e-filing system in jurisdictions that have it; or (b) through a new electronic document delivery system that we have created for courts and jurisdictions where e-filing is unavailable.
2) Problem-solving courts - Problem-solving courts may conduct virtual court conferences with counsel, court staff, and service providers, via Skype for Business.
3) Alternative Dispute Resolution ("ADR") - Judges may resume referral of matters for alternative dispute resolution, including to neutrals on court-established panels, community dispute resolution centers, and ADR-dedicated court staff.
4) Appeals -Notices of appeal may be filed electronically, either through NYSCEF or through the new document delivery system.
Since all deadlines, including statutes of limitations, remain on pause, it is unclear how much impact this will have on pending litigation in the short-term. However, it is a good sign that the State is continuing the phased reopening of the Court System, and these steps should ease the burden on parties and the courts once new filings and court appearances in non-essential matters are approved.