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08/06/2020 – Firm News

Firm News 8/06/2020

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

“Immigration Nation”
Immigration Nation, a documentary looking inside the world of the Trump administration’s notorious “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, was released Monday, August 3rd, 2020 on Netflix. Watch the trailer below or go to Netflix to view the six-part docuseries.

“Nación de Inmigración”

Immigration Nation, un documental que analiza el mundo de la notoria política de inmigración de “tolerancia cero” de la administración Trump, fue lanzado el lunes 3 de agosto de 2020 en Netflix. Mira el trailer a continuación o ve a Netflix para ver las docuseries de seis partes.

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.

PPID
PPID
The Case Handler
The Case Handler
93.5 FM
93.5 FM

Agency Updates:

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

USCIS Adjusts Fees to Help Meet Operational Needs
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a final rule that adjusts fees for immigration and naturalization benefits requests to ensure the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services—a fee funded agency—recovers its costs and services. DHS is adjusting fees by a weighted average increase of 20%. According to Joseph Edlow, USCIS deputy director, “[t]hese overdue adjustments in fees are necessary to efficiently and fairly administer our nation’s lawful immigration system, secure the homeland and protect Americans.” This final rule is effective October 2, 2020.

USCIS Caves on Public Charge
On July 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, enjoined the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from enforcing, applying, implementing, or treating as effective the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds for any period during which there is a declared national health emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This means that as long as the July 29, 2020 decision is in effect, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will apply the older, more lenient 1999 public charge guidance that was in place before the new Public Charge Rule was implemented on February 24, 2020 to the adjudication of any application for adjustment of status on or after July 29, 2020.

Immigration Lawyers Seek Video Court Appearances Amid Virus
Immigration lawyers in New Jersey filed a lawsuit last Friday, July 31, 2020, seeking to keep them from having to appear in immigration court amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. At the moment, the immigration courts do not provide the option to use video conference technology, even though it has been successfully used in other federal and state courts to conduct hearings and trials.

USCIS Must Print Foreign Citizens’ Delayed Work Permits
On Monday, August 3, 2020, An Ohio federal judge granted a temporary restraining order to a putative class of perspective workers indicating that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must print work permit cards for foreign citizens with approval to work in the country within seven days. According to the Judge, “[t]he inability to provide for oneself and one’s family members constitutes an immediate threat of harm for many of the named and putative class plaintiffs, since those individuals are left to rely on the mercy and kindness of others for basic necessities such as shelter and food.”

–    –    –    –    –    –

USCIS Ajusta las Tarifas Para Satisfacer Necesidades Operativas
El Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS) anunció una regla final que ajusta las tarifas para las solicitudes de beneficios de inmigración y naturalización para garantizar que los Servicios de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de EE. UU. (USCIS)—una agencia financiada por tarifas—recupere sus costos y servicios. DHS está ajustando las tarifas en un aumento promedio ponderado del 20%. Según Joseph Edlow, subdirector del USCIS, “estos ajustes atrasados en las tarifas son necesarios para administrar de manera eficiente y justa el sistema de inmigración legal de nuestra nación, asegurar la patria y proteger a los estadounidenses.” Esta regla final es efectiva el 2 de octubre de 2020.

Compromisos de USCIS Sobre Carga Pública
El 29 de julio de 2020, el Tribunal de Distrito de los Estados Unidos para el Distrito Sur de Nueva York, ordenó al Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS) que imponga, aplique, implemente o trate como efectiva la Inadmisibilidad por motivos de carga pública durante cualquier período durante el cual haya es una emergencia sanitaria nacional declarada en respuesta al brote de COVID-19. Esto significa que mientras la decisión del 29 de julio de 2020 esté vigente, los Servicios de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de EE. UU. (USCIS) aplicarán la guía de carga pública de 1999 más antigua e indulgente que estaba vigente antes de que se implementara la nueva Regla de carga pública en febrero 24 de 2020 a la adjudicación de cualquier solicitud de ajuste de estado a partir del 29 de julio de 2020.

Abogados de Inmigración Demandan Apariciones de Corte en Video en Medio del Virus
Abogados de inmigración en Nueva Jersey presentaron una demanda el viernes 31 de julio de 2020 para evitar que tuvieran que comparecer ante el tribunal de inmigración en medio de la pandemia COVID-19. Por el momento, los tribunales de inmigración no ofrecen la opción de utilizar la tecnología de videoconferencia, a pesar de que se ha utilizado con éxito en otros tribunales federales y estatales para llevar a cabo audiencias y juicios.

USCIS Debe Imprimir los Permisos de Trabajo Retrasado de Ciudadanos Extranjeros
El lunes 3 de agosto de 2020, un juez federal de Ohio otorgó una orden de restricción temporal a una perspective clase de trabajadores indicando que los Servicios de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de EE. UU. (USCIS) deben imprimir tarjetas de permiso de trabajo para ciudadanos extranjeros con aprobación para trabajar en el país dentro de siete días . Según el juez, “[l]a incapacidad para mantenerse a sí mismo y a los miembros de su familia constituye una amenaza inmediata de daño para muchos de los demandantes de clase nombrados y putativos, ya que esos individuos deben confiar en la misericordia y la bondad de otros para necesidades básicas como refugio y comida.”

2. Current Status of New York State Courts

New York City remains in phase 3. Although Governor Cuomo extended the provision tolling the Statute of Limitations until September 4th, 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 August 3rd by Chief Judge DiFiore, the court system is making safe and steady progress on the road back to in-person operations, courthouses across the State are beginning to gradually transition back to in-person operations, highlighted by the completion of a suspended murder trial that resumed last week with a jury in the Bronx County Supreme Court

New York City is tracking phase 4 of the State’s economic reopening, particularly in criminal courts. Grand Jury proceedings are set to commence in New York City on August 10th. For lawyers and litigants who cannot appear in person for public health reasons, the Courts are offering and encouraging the use of virtual bench trials. The Courts are launching a “Virtual Summary trial program this week in Bronx, Queens, and Richmond counties, in order to tackle the large inventory of tort cases. Although nearly half of the tort cases referred to virtual ADR have resulted in settlements, for the other half of those cases, the parties will be given the opportunity to consent to a one-day summary bench trial with relaxed rules of evidence, and the lawyers and litigants will be given the option of appearing virtually or in-person.

Due to the recent uptick in Covid-19 cases around the country, the Courts extended COVID screening protocols to all judges and nonjudicial personnel. 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
In Kings and Queens Counties, both courts have decided to automate the way that discovery conferences are held.

In Kings County, the Court recently announced that there will be no physical in person appearances for the foreseeable future on Preliminary Conferences, Compliance Conferences, The City/TA Discovery Part, Final Conference Part and Final Disposition Part. Preliminary Conferences will be AUTOMATIC effective 7/13/20 and the other parts will accept Consent Orders.

Likewise, in Queens County the Court has directed that Preliminary Conferences and Compliance Conferences will be done by the parties completing a stipulation setting forth all discovery deadlines.

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 in order to facilitate virtual discovery and conferences. Supreme, Nassau, and Supreme, Suffolk, are well into phase 4 with new protocols for an “In-Person Operations Plan”, which can be found on the Courts’ website.

ALL FOUR DEPARTMENTS OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION ARE ACCEPTING FILINGS:

First Department
The Court is now on summer recess.

Second Department
The Court 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. Both orders can be found on the Court’s website.

Third Department
The Court 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 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 September 4, 2020.

The Case Handler Highlight:
Jada was walking to her job in NYC when she was struck by an oncoming vehicle. Watch attorney Adam Handler and David “Squeeze” Annakie talk about this $2.65 million dollar case on our legal show Cruisin’ with The Case Handler. To learn more about Jada’s story, please visit https://bit.ly/ClientJada.
True Life Success Story: Jada

4. Real Estate & Business Issues

NYC is in Phase 4 of reopening as of July 20, 2020.

Governor Cuomo has partnered with New Jersey Governor Murphy and Connecticut Governor Lamont to create a joint travel advisory for individuals traveling from states with significant community spread of COVID-19, requiring a quarantine for 14 days when visiting their states.  

The State Police and State Liquor Authority are leading a task force to investigate and shut down establishments not complying with the safety standards of the state.

NYC has not yet allowed for indoor dining in restaurants and bars, and the re-opening of gyms, malls, movie theaters, and museums.

NYS has no planned date for the full reopening of all businesses and venues at this time.

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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