New York Attorney Addresses Executive Order Tolling Certain Proceedings
New York partner Angela M. Stenroos has issued a Litchfield Alert, “New York Issues Order Tolling Certain Civil Proceedings and Time Limits,” outlining certain extensions of New York Unified Court statutes of limitations of non-essential filings due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency. Other state courts throughout the nation have also issued similar orders suspending non-critical court operations and associated requirements. In the following, Angela specifically addresses a New York Executive Order issued by Andrew M. Cuomo, and includes a brief list of essential civil proceeding matters. However, Order 202.4 does not provide confirmation that this order regarding filing deadlines will not be extended. As with other states, New York has no existing precedent available to provide significant guidance.
On March 20, 2020, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.8* suspending and tolling “any specific time limit for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding, as prescribed by the procedural laws of the state,” relating to the COVID-19 disaster emergency. This affects statutes of limitation for the commencement of legal actions as well as the time limits governing all actions and proceedings in civil, criminal and surrogate’s courts. The toll is effective from March 20, 2020, until April 19, 2020, unless modified via further Executive order.
On March 15, 2020, announced the State of New York’s Unified Courts are, “postponing all nonessential functions of the courts.” The administrative order directed that, “effective immediately and until further notice, no papers shall be accepted for filing by a county clerk or a court in any matter of a type not included on the list of essential matters.” The list of essential matters included among those in the New York Supreme Court civil proceedings such as:
1) Mental Hygiene Law (MHL) applications and hearings addressing patient retention or release
2) MHL hearings addressing the involuntary administration of medication and other medical care
3) Newly filed MHL applications for an assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) plan
4) Emergency applications in guardianship matters
5) Temporary orders of protection (including but not limited to matters involving domestic violence)
6) Emergency applications related to the coronavirus
7) Emergency Election Law applications
The list also included applications addressing landlord lockouts, serious code violations, and serious repair orders in housing court. Finally, the last part of the list contained a catch-all allowing for “any other matter that the court deems essential.”
The implications of this Executive Order and Administrative Order included any deadline set to expire during the specified time period will be tolled until April 19, 2020. For example, if a 120-day deadline for filing a motion for summary judgment in a civil action expired on March 20, 2020, the parties would now have until April 19, 2020, to file their respective motions. Similarly, if on March 20, 2020, parties had 2 weeks to commence a lawsuit under the statute of limitations, on April 19, 2020, those parties will still have that same 2-week period.*
* Update: On April 7, the State of New York issued Order No. 202.14 continuing suspensions, or tolling period, until May 7, 2020.
Angela M. Stenroos focuses her practice on municipal law, general liability litigation and insurance defense. Her litigation experience includes premises liability, construction defect, products liability, medical malpractice, discrimination, automobile and trucking liability, labor law and commercial litigation.