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COVID-19 UPDATE: NY State Courts Reducing Litigation Restrictions

New York, New York—April 8, 2020—The Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts of the State of New York promulgated Administrative Order 85/20, which eases some of the litigation restrictions promulgated in AO/78/20, in an effort to mitigate the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on New York Courts. Importantly, effective April 13, 2020, the trial courts will consider certain non-essential matters through remote or virtual appearances.  The Courts will not, however, accept any new non-essential matters until further notice, nor may parties in pending litigation file any new papers concerning non-essential matters.  The Administrative Order 85/20 states as follows:

            “Pursuant to the authority vested in me, and at the direction of the Chief Judge, I hereby promulgate, effective April 13, 2020, the following additional procedures and protocols to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak upon the users, visitors, staff, and judicial officers of the Unified Court System.

1. In addition to essential court functions as set forth in AO/78/20, trial courts will address the following matters through remote or virtual court operations and offices:

  • Conferencing Pending Cases: Courts will review their docket of pending cases, assess matters that can be advanced or resolved through remote court conferencing, and schedule and hold conferences in such matters upon its own initiative, and where appropriate at the request of parties.
  • Deciding Fully Submitted Motions: Courts will decide fully submitted motions in pending cases.
  • Discovery and Other Ad Hoc Conferences: Courts will maintain availability during normal court hours to resolve ad hoc discovery disputes and similar matters not requiring the filing of papers.

2. Video Technology: Video teleconferences conducted by the court, or with court participation, will be administered exclusively through Skype for Business.

3. No New Filings in Nonessential Matters: No new nonessential matters may be filed until further notice; nor may additional papers be filed by parties in pending nonessential matters. The court shall file such orders in essential and nonessential matters as it deems appropriate.

            Provisions of prior administrative orders inconsistent with this order shall be superseded by this order.” 

About Fensterstock, P.C.

Formed in 2018 by attorney Evan S. Fensterstock, a New York Rising Star business litigator for the last five consecutive years, Fensterstock, P.C. represents clients in complex, commercial litigation and employment matters in trials, appeals, and negotiations on both the plaintiff and defense side in New York state and federal courts, and in arbitration, in cases involving breach of contract, indemnification, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, non-competition agreements and restrictive covenants, defamation, trade secret misappropriation, shareholder derivative suits, negligence, accounting and legal malpractice, false light invasion of privacy, injunctions, and Sarbanes Oxley whistleblower actions. The Fensterstock name has been respected by the legal community for nearly a century, starting with New York Assistant Attorney General Nathaniel Fensterstock (1916-1988), Evan Fensterstock’s grandfather, who wrote the History of New York Social Welfare Legislation in 1941, and Blair C. Fensterstock (1950-2017), Evan Fensterstock’s late father, a Columbia Law Graduate, Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and a Top 100 Business Litigator, known for, among other notable matters, trying cases arising out of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

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