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07/23/2020 – Firm News

Firm News 7/23/20

 

UPDATE: Our Manhattan Office and Peekskill Office have officially reopened on Monday, July 6, 2020, and our Brooklyn Office will follow suit in a few weeks. We are available to meet with you in-person, on the phone, or via video conference, using Zoom or Skype. All in-person meetings must be scheduled in advance and must follow our office policies and procedures in wake of COVID-19. Your safety and the safety of our staff remains our top priority. Thank you for your patience.

As we move forward amidst the difficulties created and exacerbated by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you can remain assured that PPID is here for you. We understand the deleterious impact that this crisis is having on families around the world and so close to home. But, be reminded that even though this is a difficult season, it is just a season – it will pass! To facilitate its passing, we implore you to continue to take the necessary precautionary measures (i.e. social distancing, not touching your face, and washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds). The purpose of this notice is to inform you about:

  1. USCIS and Immigration Matters;
  2. The Current Status of New York State Courts;
  3. The Effect on Personal Injury Cases;
  4. Real Estate & Business Issues;
  5. Criminal Law Matters; and
  6. Employment Law Matters.

 1. USCIS and Immigration Matters

Our Immigration Department understands how important it is for you to get essential information about immigration and other legal news quickly during these turbulent times. As a result, Managing Partner Conrad Pollack “The Maestro” and Partner Nelson Madrid “The Maverick” have joined forces with Partner Adam Handler “The Case Handler” on our daily morning show, Cruising with the Case Handler, with radio personality David Annakie “Squeeze” on Facebook Live and 93.5 FM. The program airs on weekday mornings at 8:30 AM, Saturdays at 7:00 PM, and Sundays at 12:00 PM.

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CLICK TO WATCH NOW! 

Agency Updates:

Visa Bulletin: August 2020
To view the August 2020 Visa Bulletin from the U.S. Department of State, please click here.

EOIR Operational Status Update
As previously announced, certain immigration courts have resumed non-detained hearings. Hearings in non-detained cases at courts without an announced date are postponed through, and including, August 7, 2020, this includes New York City Immigration Courts.

Individuals, Employers, and Organizations Join to File First Lawsuit Challenging Entirety of Trump’s Immigration Ban
On July 17th, 2020, twenty-three individual and organizational plaintiffs, including family-based immigrant visa petitioners, diversity visa lottery winners, and nonimmigrant visa sponsors, as well as those who want to bring in healthcare professionals from abroad to help during the pandemic, sued to prevent the devastating effects of President Trump’s immigration ban. This marks the first legal challenge to the entirety of President Trump’s immigration ban, which has been extended through the end of 2020.

DOS Published Guidance on the Exemptions from the Nonimmigrant Visa Ban
To see a list of exceptions to the nonimmigrant visa ban, please CLICK HERE.

New Executive Order on Hong Kong
On July 14, President Trump signed a new executive order removing preferential treatment for Hong Kong passport holders. The territory was treated as a separate country for purposes of per-capita limitations and its passport holders enjoyed other privileges with respect to visa issuance.

The new executive order will subject Hong Kong-born immigrant visa applicants under the same Family and Employment-based preference cut-offs as Mainland China, rather than the more favorable “rest of the world” category.  Additionally, the executive order terminates eligibility for Fulbright scholarships – drastically limiting the J-1 Visa availability – for Hong Kong passport holders.

Good News on DACA
CASA de Maryland, an immigration advocacy group, sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a Maryland District Court. The Court ordered the DHS to comply with the recent Supreme Court of the United States’ decision and begin accepting new DACA applications immediately. The Court declared that the DACA policy is restored to its pre-September 5, 2017 status.

ACLU Calls Trump Anti-Immigrant Census Order Unconstitutional
On July 21, 2020, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called President Trump’s order seeking to ban immigrants who are undocumented from being counted in the census blatantly unconstitutional.

Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project reacted to Trump’s latest action by stating:

“The Constitution requires that everyone in the U.S. be counted in the census. President Trump can’t pick and choose. He tried to add a citizenship question to the census and lost in the Supreme Court. His latest attempt to weaponize the census for an attack on immigrant communities will be found unconstitutional. We’ll see him in court, and win, again.”

–    –    –    –    –    –

Actualización del Estado Operativo de EOIR
Como se anunció previamente, ciertos tribunales de inmigración han reanudado las audiencias no detenidas. Las audiencias en los casos no detenidos en los tribunales sin una fecha anunciada se posponen hasta el 7 de agosto de 2020, incluidos los tribunales de inmigración de la ciudad de Nueva York.

Individuos, Empleadores y Organizaciones se Unen Para Presentar la Primera Demanda que Desafía la Totalidad de la Prohibición de Inmigración de Trump
El 17 de julio de 2020, veintitrés demandantes individuales y organizativos, incluidos solicitantes de visas de inmigrantes de base familiar, ganadores de loterías de visas de diversidad y patrocinadores de visas de no inmigrantes, así como aquellos que desean traer profesionales de la salud del extranjero para ayudar durante la pandemia, demandaron para evitar los efectos devastadores de la prohibición de inmigración del presidente Trump. Esto marca el primer desafío legal a la totalidad de la prohibición de inmigración del presidente Trump, que se extendió hasta fines de 2020.

El Departamento de Estado (DOS) publicó una guía sobre las exenciones de la prohibición de visas de no inmigrante
Para ver una lista de excepciones a la prohibición de visas de no inmigrante, HAGA CLIC AQUÍ.

Nueva Orden Ejecutiva Sobre Hong Kong
El 14 de julio, el presidente Trump firmó una nueva orden ejecutiva que elimina el tratamiento preferencial para los titulares de pasaportes de Hong Kong. El territorio fue tratado como un país separado para fines de limitaciones per cápita y sus titulares de pasaportes disfrutaron de otros privilegios con respecto a la emisión de visas.

La nueva orden ejecutiva someterá a los solicitantes de visa de inmigrante nacidos en Hong Kong bajo los mismos límites de preferencia basados ​​en la familia y el empleo que China continental, en lugar de la categoría más favorable del “resto del mundo.” Además, la orden ejecutiva termina la elegibilidad para becas Fulbright, limitando drásticamente la disponibilidad de la visa J-1, para los titulares de pasaportes de Hong Kong.

Buenas Noticias Sobre DACA
CASA de Maryland, un grupo de defensa de la inmigración, demandó al Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS) en un Tribunal de Distrito de Maryland. El Tribunal ordenó al DHS que cumpla con la reciente decisión de la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos y comience a aceptar nuevas solicitudes de DACA de inmediato. El Tribunal declaró que la política de DACA se restablece a su estado anterior al 5 de septiembre de 2017.

ACLU Declara Inconstitucional la Orden del Censo Antiinmigrante de Trump
El 21 de julio de 2020, la Unión Estadounidense de Libertades Civiles (ACLU, por sus siglas en inglés) calificó la orden del presidente Trump de prohibir que los inmigrantes indocumentados sean contados en el censo descaradamente inconstitucional.

Dale Ho, director del Proyecto de Derechos de Votación de la ACLU, reaccionó a la última acción de Trump afirmarmado que:

“La Constitución exige que todos en los EE. UU. sean contados en el censo. El presidente Trump no puede elegir. Trató de agregar una pregunta de ciudadanía al censo y perdió en la Corte Suprema. Su último intento de convertir en armamento el censo para un ataque contra las comunidades inmigrantes será inconstitucional. Lo veremos en la corte y ganaremos nuevamente.”

2. Current Status of New York State Courts

New York City is in phase 3. Although Governor Cuomo extended the provision tolling the Statute of Limitations until August 5th, our Litigation/Appellate Department continues to write motions and appeals as if there is no “pause” and when the stay is lifted, we will be ready to “press the button” for you.

Pursuant to an announcement on July 20th by Chief Judge DiFiore, courthouses across the State are beginning to gradually transition back to in-person operations, highlighted by a bench trial in a murder case in Nassau County that started last week and several other trials, suspended in March, that are now resuming. All courts outside New York City have entered phase 4. In phase 4, Judges and staff are hearing an increased number of in-person matters that are being staggered in order to limit courthouse and courtroom occupancy to safe and manageable levels. On July 13th, Grand Jurors reported for service and are being empaneled in every judicial district outside the City.

In an important step to reduce the large number of people who come to the courthouses to file papers in person, the Courts introduced the NYSCEF e-filing system to the NYC Housing Court, and by August 10th, the Court will introduce e-filing to the Kings County Housing Court.

New York City Courthouses entered phase 3 on July 8th, marking a modest increase in courthouse staffing levels and matters that may be heard in person including: limited criminal cases, essential family court proceedings, and a limited number of bench trials. Grand Jury proceedings are set to commence in New York City on August 10th.

Due to the recent uptick in Covid-19 cases around the country, the Courts extended COVID screening protocols to all judges and nonjudicial personnel on July 15tt. The screening involves temperature screening upon arrival to the workplace and a daily COVID self-assessment.

A “Commission on the Future of New York Courts” has been formed bringing together experts in the field of law, government, business, technology, and public service to provide guidance on navigating a safe judicial system through this pandemic.

Supreme Courts
The Supreme Court, Kings County, and the Supreme Court, Bronx County, have extended Note of Issue filing deadlines. Various judges have provided the bar with template conference forms to complete to facilitate virtual discovery and conferences. Supreme Court, Nassau County, and Supreme Court, Suffolk County, entered phase 4 on July 10th with new protocols for an “In-Person Operations Plan”, which can be found on the Courts’ website.

The courts continue to allow the filing of new lawsuits in court matters previously classified as “nonessential”. In regions that have reopened, new matters may be filed electronically in those courts that use the NYSCEF e-filing system, and by mail in courts where NYSCEF is unavailable. In regions that have not yet met the benchmarks for reopening, new matters may now be filed electronically in those courts that use the NYSCEF system. Details are set forth in Administrative Order 114 on the Court’s website.

ALL FOUR DEPARTMENTS OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION ARE ACCEPTING FILINGS:

First Department
The Court finished oral arguments on June 26th and is now on summer recess.

Second Department
The Court finished oral arguments on June 30th and is now on summer recess.

The Court issued two amended orders regarding new deadlines for the filing of appeals and regarding the digital filing of motions digitally. Both orders can be found on the Court’s website.

Third Department
The Court finished oral arguments and is now on summer recess.
The Court released an order reinstating and reestablishing briefing deadlines for appeals now due in July, August, and beyond. The new deadlines can be found on the Court’s website.

Fourth Department
The Court finished oral arguments on July 2nd and is now on summer recess.

The Court extended brief deadlines which can be found on the Court’s website. Deadlines for perfecting appeals after May 22, 2020, remain in place.

3. The Effect on Personal Injury Cases

Governor Andrew Cuomo paused the state’s Statutes of Limitation by issuing an executive order. The order suspends “any specific time limit” on the start or filing of legal action notice, motion or “other process or proceeding.” This will mean that if you were in an accident exactly three years ago, you will have some time to file your case due to the pandemic. Be cautioned, the order pausing those rules continues until August 5, 2020.

The Case Handler Highlight:
With nothing more than a WiFi connection, the personal injury team @ PPID settled more than $6 MILLION for clients during the pandemic! Even with the courts and our office space closed, we never stopped working to recover the highest compensation possible for Case Handler clients.

4. Real Estate & Business Issues

NYC has finally reached Phase 4 of reopening as of July 20, 2020.

Although Phase 4 is the final phase, the following venues and activities are still not permitted:

Indoor dining in restaurants and bars, Gyms, Malls, Movie theaters, Museums

For restaurants who are open for outdoor and curbside dining, new restrictions were imposed which ban any sale of alcohol to customers who have not also purchased food.

NYS has no planned date for the full reopening of all businesses and venues at this time.  Governor Cuomo has expressed concerns that a second wave could potentially occur.

For more information or assistance with any business or real estate matters, contact us at 212-233-8100 EXT. 306 or email at [email protected], and we will connect you to one of our attorneys and legal staff to answer your questions and other legal concerns you may have.

5. Criminal Law Matters

Options for Incarcerated Defendants
If you have a loved one who is incarcerated, it may be possible to obtain an emergency release from incarceration.  Any incarcerated person who is over 50 years old, or is otherwise vulnerable to COVID-19, may be eligible for release if their case does not involve an allegation of substantial violence and there is no history of violence in the last 10 years. In some cases, an incarcerated Defendant who is not eligible for emergency relief may still be able to be released by having their lawyer negotiate a resolution.  The district attorneys have expanded their criteria for offering non-jail plea deals and are even dismissing cases in certain circumstances.

Criminal Courts
Criminal courts have slowly started to re-open, and are scheduling future court dates for the following matters:

• Conferencing of felony cases;
• Selected plea and sentencing proceedings;
• Arraignments of defendants who have been issued desk appearance tickets; and
• Preliminary hearings in cases involving defendants being held in jail on felony complaints.

You should contact your attorney, or retain new counsel if you are able to do so, to make sure you know when your criminal matter will be heard in court.  If you fail to appear for a court date, A WARRANT FOR YOUR ARREST COULD BE ISSUED.

To schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney, call Gregg A. Pinto, Esq. at (646) 328-2434.

6. Employment Law Matters

Many individuals who have worked in the restaurant and other service industries have been laid off due to the virus.  Prior to the layoff, though, these individuals may have been working 40 or more hours per week but not being overtime in compliance with the law.  It is also possible that some of these individuals did receive all of their required tips under the law.  In addition, employers are required to pay a minimum wage to most service employees.  Contact our office for a free consultation to find out if you were not paid in compliance with the law by your former employer.

From all of us at PPID to you, stay safe and healthy.

Resources:

 

If you need legal guidance, PPID is here to help! Call us toll-free at (800) 223-2814.

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