In light of the COVID-19 emergency in New York State and nationwide, on March 22, 2020, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks directed that no papers shall be accepted for filing by a court except in “essential matters” (for example, criminal, family and domestic violence, mental hygiene, and emergency landlord-tenant).

Effective April 13, 2020, Judge Marks announced additional procedures and protocols to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on the court system. In addition to “essential matters,” the Commercial Division can begin moving pending business disputes forward using remote or virtual operations.

As a result, Commercial Division Justices have been reviewing their dockets of pending cases, assessing matters that can be advanced or resolved through remote court conferencing – either by video using Skype for Business or by telephone – and contacting counsel to schedule and hold conferences.

The Justices are also holding conferences at the request of the parties, if appropriate. If you believe it is necessary and appropriate to contact the Court, here is the best information (as of April 17, 2020) and protocols for the Westchester Commercial Division justices:

  • Hon. Linda S. Jamieson:
    • Communication via email by contacting assistant court attorney, Joseph Hadala:
    • Email requests for conferences should copy counsel for all parties.
  • Hon. Gretchen Walsh:
    • Communication via email by contacting assistant court attorney Ryan Wintermute:
    • Email requests for conferences should copy counsel for all parties.

Justices of the Commercial Division may also decide fully submitted motions in pending cases and resolve discovery disputes and similar matters that do not require the filing of papers.

In addition, the Appellate Division, Second Department, which hears appeals from the Westchester Commercial Division, is scheduling oral arguments via Skype for Business.

In the meantime, until further notice, no new nonessential matters may be filed and no additional papers in pending nonessential matters may be filed.

In light of these restrictions and the ongoing emergency, Governor Cuomo has ordered a temporary suspension on “any specific time limit for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding,” which includes, but is not limited to “criminal procedure law, the family court act, the civil practice law and rules” or any other statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation. As of today, those deadlines are extended through May 7, 2020, but they may be extended further.

We will keep you posted on new developments.

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