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09/04/2020 – Firm News

Firm News 09/04/2020

 

UPDATE: Our Manhattan Office and Peekskill Office reopened in July, 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

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) filing fees will increase dramatically starting October 2, 2020. USCIS’ fee schedule announced on August 3, 2020 will not only increase fees, but also eliminate most fee waivers, narrow fee waiver eligibility, and add a new fee for asylum applicants, and require separate fees for adjustment applications. Everyone is encouraged to file his or her applications in advance of this increase. To see a copy of the new fees, please click here. Please contact our office for details.
Las tarifas de los Servicios de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de EE. UU. (USCIS) aumentarán drásticamente a partir del 2 de octubre de 2020. El programa de tarifas de USCIS anunciado el 3 de agosto de 2020 que no solo aumentará las tarifas, sino que también eliminará la mayoría de las exenciones de tarifas, reducirá la elegibilidad de exenciones de tarifas y agregará una nueva tarifa para solicitantes de asilo, y requieren tarifas separadas para las solicitudes de ajuste. Se anima a todos a presentar sus solicitudes antes de este aumento. Para ver las nuevas tarifas, haga clic aquí. Por favor, póngase en contacto con nuestra oficina para más detalles.

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 9:30 AM, Saturdays at 7:00 PM, and Sundays at 12:00 PM.

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The Case Handler
The Case Handler
93.5 FM
93.5 FM
Cruising with The Case Handler - Personal Injury and Immigration Show

Agency Updates:

  • EOIR Operational Status: In New York, the Broadway office location is open for filings only. The Federal Plaza and Varick offices are open for filings and for detained hearings only. Hearings in non-detained cases at courts without an announced date are postponed through, and including, September 25, 2020, this includes New York City Immigration Courts.
  • 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 25 de septiembre de 2020, incluidos los tribunales de inmigración de la ciudad de Nueva York.

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

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

USCIS Cancelled Plans to Furlough Two-Thirds of Workforce
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it reversed its plan to furlough 13,400 or its 20,000 employees “as a result of unprecedented spending cuts.”

The Trump Administration Wants to Force Immigrants to Submit Eye Scans, Voice Prints, and DNA
The Trump administration has drafted a proposal that would dramatically expand the number of people required to provide biometrics for their immigration applications, while also increasing the personal information the government can demand, such as eye scans, voice prints, DNA, and photographs for facial recognition.

Notice for K visa Applicants Affected by COVID-19
Consular posts will now give K-1 visa applications the highest priority. If your I-129 petition expired, consular officers may revalidate it in four-month increments. For most impacted by the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, it will not be necessary to file a new petition.

For USCIS Parole Does Not Mean Parole
According to a recently adopted decision, an individual that holds Temporary Protected Status (TPS) who travels on advance parole and who subsequently reenters the United States using a valid travel document will resume the same immigration status he/she had at the time of departure.

No More Automatic EADs for Asylum Applicants
Applications for employment authorization filed by asylum applicants on or after August 25, 2020, will now be subject to discretion, meaning that applying for asylum will not guarantee that the applicant will obtain an employment authorization document.

–   –   –   –   –   –   –

USCIS Canceló Planes Para Suspender A Dos Tercios De La Fuerza Laboral
Los Servicios de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de EE. UU. anunciaron que revirtieron su plan de despedir a 13,400 de sus 20,000 empleados “como resultado de recortes de gastos sin precedents.”

La Administración Trump Quiere Obligar A Los Inmigrantes A Presentar Escaneos Oculares, Impresiones De Voz Y ADN
La administración Trump ha elaborado una propuesta que ampliaría drásticamente la cantidad de personas necesarias para proporcionar datos biométricos para sus solicitudes de inmigración, al tiempo que aumentaría la información personal que el gobierno puede exigir, como escaneos oculares, impresiones de voz, ADN y fotografías para reconocimiento facial.

Aviso Para Solicitantes De Visa K Afectados Por COVID-19 
Las oficinas consulares ahora darán la más alta prioridad a las solicitudes de visa K-1. Si su petición I-129 expiró, los oficiales consulares pueden revalidarla en incrementos de cuatro meses. Para la mayoría de los afectados por las restricciones impuestas por COVID-19, no será necesario presentar una nueva petición.

La Salida de ‘Advance Parole’ para USCIS No Significa ‘Advance Parole’
De acuerdo con una decisión adoptada recientemente, una persona que tenga un Estatus de Protección Temporal (TPS) que viaje con salida condicional anticipada (Advance Parole) y que luego vuelva a ingresar a los Estados Unidos utilizando un documento de viaje válido reanudará el mismo estatus migratorio que tenía en el momento de la salida.

No Más EAD Automáticos Para Solicitantes De Asilo
Las solicitudes de autorización de empleo presentadas por solicitantes de asilo a partir del 25 de agosto de 2020 ahora estarán sujetas a discreción, lo que significa que la solicitud de asilo no garantizará que el solicitante obtenga un documento de autorización de empleo.

2. Current Status of New York State Courts

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 31st 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 commenced in New York City on August 10th and collectively more than 100 grand juries have been empaneled so far and things are going smoothly. 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 have launched a “Virtual Summary trial program in Bronx, Queens, and Richmond counties, in order to tackle the large inventory of tort cases.

Outside the City, plans to restart jury trials in civil and criminal cases are still on track to take effect as early as September and October. Trials will initially be conducted on a pilot basis from Buffalo to Long Island.

Due to the recent uptick in Covid-19 cases around the country, the courts extended COVID screening protocol to all judges and nonjudicial personnel. The screening involves temperature readings 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
Last month, the Nassau County courts began another expansion of “In-Person Operations” for what is termed “Phase 4.1” – the return of jury trials to resume in Supreme Court in the beginning of October. Criminal Jury trials are intended to resume in November.

In New York City, virtual summary bench trials are being conducted in civil matters in Supreme Court, Bronx County, and are expanding that program to New York County this week. These streamlined trials are often completed in a single day. Efforts are being made to expand the program to jurisdictions outside the City, with Nassau County on the radar screen in the near future.

The Courts are also developing a uniform preliminary conference order for use in Civil Courts citywide. This project is expected to be piloted in motor vehicle tort cases and tort claims pending against the City, beginning in September.

In Kings and Queens Counties, both courts have decided to automate the way that discovery conferences are held.

In Kings County, 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

To read the full version of the Current Status of New York State Courts, please email [email protected] to subscribe to our Litigation department’s mailing list.

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:

Dylan was working as a construction worker and entered a shaft in Queens, NY. He was cleaning a vent about 8 feet above the ground when he fell off the ladder and landed on his knees. Click the image below to learn more about his $925,000.00 case!

Queens Construction Ladder Fall Accident

4. Real Estate & Business Issues

Updates on Commercial Tenant Evictions
Under Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 202.57, the moratorium on commercial eviction proceedings or enforcement of an eviction of a commercial tenant for nonpayment against a tenant that is eligible for unemployment insurance or benefits under state or federal law, or facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended through September 20, 2020.

The moratorium does not extend to holdover proceedings against a commercial tenant that can commence.  However, if such holdover proceeding is predicated on nonpayment of rent against a tenant who is eligible for unemployment insurance or benefits under state or federal law or facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then the holdover proceeding cannot be filed until September 21, 2020.

Although a petition for nonpayment against a commercial tenant who is not eligible for unemployment insurance or benefits under state or federal law or facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, can be filed, the case shall be suspended under further order from the court.

Any commercial evictions commenced prior to March 16 shall proceed in the normal course of business.  Any commercial evictions commenced after March 16 will remain suspended.

Updates on Residential Tenant Evictions
Superseding any less restrictive NYS orders in effect for residential eviction matters, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), issued an agency order on September 1, 2020, which puts a temporary moratorium on evictions of any residential tenants through December 31, 2020, to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.  This order does not preclude any state, local or other orders which impose additional requirements providing for greater or same public-health protection as those issued under this order.  This order does not relieve any tenant of its obligation to pay rent, or other housing payments or to comply with any other obligations of the tenant under a tenancy, lease or similar contract.  Therefore, this CDC order prevents any such residential tenant from being evicted or removed from their current living location through December 31, 2020.

The CDC order supersedes the NYS Administrative Order 160A/20 in effect for residential eviction matters commenced before March 17, under which the moratorium on residential evictions has been extended until October 1, 2020.

For NYS residential eviction matters commenced after March 16, such residential eviction proceedings shall be stayed.  For petitions filed after March 16, the proceeding will be suspended until further order from the court, whether or not an answer has been filed.

There shall be no default judgments entered in a proceeding for eviction of a residential tenant until the time the current public health crisis has abated and the moratorium has been rescinded.

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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