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09/21/2020 – Firm News

Firm News 09/21/2020

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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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, October 9, 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 9 de octubre de 2020, incluidos los tribunales de inmigración de la ciudad de Nueva York.

Visa Bulletin: September 2020
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 Extends Flexibility on Responding to Certain Requests
USCIS has given applicants/petitioners additional 60 calendar days to respond to Notices of Intent to Deny; Request for Evidence, Notice of Intent to Revoke, Motions to Reopen and Notice of Appeal for documents issued between March 1, 2020, and January 1, 2021.  The additional 60-day period begins after the due date stated on the original notice.  For Notice of Appeal, the 60-day period starts running from the date of the decision.

Update on the Implementation of the Public Charge Rule
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the limited injunction prohibiting the enforcement of the Public Charge rule in Vermont, New York and Connecticut.  CIS can now require form I-944 in all jurisdictions.

DV Lottery Winners Can Obtain Visas at the Consulates
A federal court held that diversity lottery winners are exempt from the immigrant visa ban and ordered the Department of State to resume processing their visa applications.

The Administration can Proceed with Terminating TPS Protections for El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Sudan
A recent ruling of the 9th Circuit effectively ended the temporary protected status for citizens of El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Sudan, by lifting a lower court’s injunction on the administration’s plan to terminate the program.

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USCIS Extiende la Flexibilidad para Responder a Ciertas Solicitudes
USCIS les ha dado a los solicitantes / peticionarios 60 días calendario adicionales para responder a los avisos de intención de denegar; Solicitud de evidencia, aviso de intención de revocación, mociones para reabrir y aviso de apelación para documentos emitidos entre el 1 de marzo de 2020 y el 1 de enero de 2021. El período adicional de 60 días comienza después de la fecha de vencimiento indicada en el aviso original. Para el Aviso de apelación, el período de 60 días comienza a contar desde la fecha de la decisión.

Actualización Sobre la Implementación de la Regla de Carga Pública
La Corte de Apelaciones del Segundo Circuito levantó la orden judicial limitada que prohíbe la aplicación de la regla de Carga Pública en Vermont, Nueva York y Connecticut. USCIS ahora puede requerir el formulario I-944 en todas las jurisdicciones.

Los Ganadores de la Lotería DV Cueden Obtener Visas en los Consulados
Un tribunal federal sostuvo que los ganadores de la lotería de diversidad están exentos de la prohibición de visas de inmigrante y ordenó al Departamento de Estado que reanude el procesamiento de sus solicitudes de visa.

La Administración puede proceder con la terminación de las protecciones de TPS para El Salvador, Nicaragua y Sudán
Una decisión reciente del Noveno Circuito puso fin de manera efectiva al estatus de protección temporal (TPS) para los ciudadanos de El Salvador, Nicaragua y Sudán, al levantar una orden judicial de un tribunal inferior sobre el plan de la administración para terminar el programa.

2. Current Status of New York State Courts

Although Governor Cuomo extended the provision tolling the Statute of Limitations until October 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 September 14th 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 first jury trial pilots in Suffolk, Schuyler, and Erie Counties where five new jury trials got underway, four civil and one criminal. The jury in the Suffolk County Civil trial reached a verdict. Jury trial pilots also expanded to Westchester County and two more trials are scheduled to begin in Suffolk County.

New York City is tracking phase 4 of the State’s economic reopening, particularly in criminal courts. Grand Jury proceedings, which commenced in New York City on August 10th, continues to move forward smoothly with close to turn out levels seen in the days before COVID. 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
Limited civil trials are approved to resume in Richmond County on October 19, 2020.

On September 10th, Administrative Judge George J. Silver released new rules for New York County Medical Malpractice Cases, including a PC form, a Stipulation form, and PC Specific Rules.

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 the 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 New York County. 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 AND ARE HEARING ORAL ARGUMENTS IN-PERSON AND REMOTELY

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 October 5, 2020.

The Case Handler Highlight:
$150,000.00 SettlementOlive was on her way to the subway when she tripped over a pothole and fell down face first, breaking her front teeth. Click the image below to watch attorney Adam Handler and David “Squeeze” Annakie talk about this $150,000.00 case on our legal show Cruisin’ with The Case Handler!
Brooklyn Trip and Fall Lawyer Review: Olive

4. Real Estate & Business Issues

Updates on Commercial Tenant Evictions  
The directive contained in Executive Order 202.48, which modified the directive in Executive Order in 202.28 that prohibited the initiation of a proceeding or enforcement of an eviction of any commercial tenant for nonpayment of rent or a foreclosure of any commercial mortgage for nonpayment of such mortgage is continued through October 20, 2020.

NYC Indoor Dining at 25% capacity to start September 30, 2020
Governor Cuomo announced on September 9, 2020, that indoor dining in New York City will be allowed to resume beginning September 30th with a 25 percent occupancy limit. All restaurants that choose to reopen will be subject to strict safety protocols, including temperature checks, contact information for tracing, face coverings when not seated, and other safety protocols. Bar service will not be permitted, and restaurants will close at midnight. Guidelines will be reassessed based on the data by November 1. If the infection rate does not increase, restaurants may be permitted to go to 50 percent capacity; the State will monitor any positivity increase on an ongoing basis and potentially reassess if necessary.

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.

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

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