HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Pursuant to an announcement on January 4th by Chief Judge DiFiore, stated that she is hopeful that the new “normal” of virtual appearances is short-lived as we ride out the “second wave” of the COVID virus. Despite these unprecedented times, the Courts have managed to hold impressive numbers of remote conferences, motions, ADR, virtual hearings, arguments, and trials. Judge DiFiore remarked, “These numbers are a testament to the resolve and adaptability of our judges, staff, and the lawyers who practice in our courts, and their commitment to new and effective ways of delivering justice and meeting the demand for our services during these extraordinary times”.
Judge DiFiore asked the Permanent Commission on Access to Justice and the Office for Justice Initiatives to help prioritize access to virtual courts to “bridge the digital divide” facing many New Yorkers who cannot access our virtual courts because they lack digital capabilities.
One of the biggest priorities is to achieve a zero policy for racial bias and discrimination. In this vein, this week a live “Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Dismantling Systemic Racism in the Courts” sponsored by the Franklin Williams Judicial Commission will be held on Thursday, January 7th to update Judges and court staff on the status of the Court’s strategic plan to implement the recommendations Secretary Johnson has made and the work that is being done to accomplish implementation led by Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Edwina Mendelson.
Judge DiFiore also highlighted that all four Departments of the Appellate Division issued a joint statement on December 1st announcing the removal of the question regarding United States citizenship and immigration status on the application for admission to the Bar. On December 31, 2020, the questionnaire revision became effective.
ALL FOUR DEPARTMENTS OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION ARE ACCEPTING FILINGS AND ARE HEARING ORAL ARGUMENTS REMOTELY
Remote arguments resumed on January 5th.
Pursuant to an update dated December 28, 2020, all oral arguments for the winter terms – and until further notice – will be held remotely via Microsoft Teams. Oral arguments are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 2pm. If necessary, arguments will also be held at 10 am on Friday mornings. Once a matter is calendared, there will be no adjournments. If a party cannot appear for oral argument as scheduled on the calendar, the argument will be taken on submission as to that party.
Requests for oral argument shall be made no later than 1 week prior to the calendar date by emailing the Court at [email protected], with an e-mailed copy to opposing counsel or self-represented litigant. A completed Notice of Appearance with the contact information, including e-mail address, of the attorney who will appear remotely, shall be attached to the request. As usual, oral arguments will be live-streamed on the Court’s website.
Hard copy filings continue to be suspended until further notice.
Remote oral arguments resumed on January 4th.
Until further notice, all arguments are remote via Microsoft Teams or by submission. In order to argue remotely, counsel or self-represented litigants must notify the Court as to the name and e-mail address of the individual who will be presenting remote argument by e-mail to [email protected], on which all counsel and self-represented litigants are copied, no later than three business days prior to the date on which the matter is calendared. Failure to timely and properly notify the Court will result in the matter being marked submitted on behalf of that counsel or self-represented litigant.
Counsel or self-represented litigants may ask the Court for permission to argue in person. Such a request must be made by an e-mail to [email protected], on which all counsel and self-represented litigants are copied, no later than three business days prior to the date of argument, and must be supported by the reasons why, in the applicant’s view, oral argument via Microsoft Teams cannot be accomplished. Such requests will be decided in the discretion of the panel hearing the appeal.
The January 2021 Term of Court will be hearing arguments remotely by videoconference. The January Term is short, running from January 5th through January 15th.
Currently, all matters in the 3rd Department are subject to mandatory e-filing except for: appeals in Criminal cases; appeals in Workers’ Compensation cases; appeals in Unemployment Insurance cases; CPLR Article 78 proceedings that have been transferred to the Appellate Division pursuant to CPLR 7804(g); original proceedings commenced in the Third Department; and any appeal in which the appellant is exempt from e-filing pursuant to 22 NYCRR 1245.4(a).
As of November 2, 2020, mandatory E-filing is now required in the following types of matters, unless the appellant is exempt from e-filing: all criminal matters perfected on or after November 20, 2020; and all CPLR Article 78 proceedings that have been transferred to the Appellate Division pursuant to CPLR 7804(g) and have been perfected on or after November 2, 2020.
As of November 2, 2020, Rule 850.4(a) of the Rules of Practice of the Third Department requires digital copies of all papers related to motions and applications, in addition to hard copies. These rules apply to all matters, regardless of whether the matter is subject to mandatory e-filing. For all non-e-filed matters, digital copies shall be submitted through the Court’s Digital Submission Portal.
The Court’s January Term will be held remotely via the Court’s remote argument platform. The Term will run from January 11th to January 22nd.
The Court is also reducing in-office staffing in an effort to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. The specific Covid-19 protocols for in-person arguments can be found on the Court’s website.