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12/04/2020 – Firm News

Firm News 12/04/2020

We are proud to announce that Brian J. Isaac, partner and head of our litigation and appellate department, was selected to the 2020 New York Metro Super Lawyers Top 100 list! Congratulations, Brian!

Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in New York. Those lawyers who receive the highest point totals during the nomination, research, and peer review process are further recognized in Super Lawyers Top Lists.

UPDATE: Our Manhattan and Peekskill Offices are open, and we expect to reopen our Brooklyn Office in the near future. 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

 Newsday:
“Dad Fights Deportation to Take Care of Daughter with Disabilities, COVID-19”

UPDATE: Our client Sukhdev Singh, 47, a married father of three young girls from New Hyde Park, has been in federal immigration custody in Louisiana since June 8. His child, who requires constant bedside care, came down with the coronavirus and pneumonia over the weekend. His other daughters are also showing signs of the illness.

PPID was able to have a hearing scheduled on his behalf which has bought him several months in the United States, but now the Magistrate is still recommending our habeas be denied. This is a setback, but we are presenting the matter before the District Judge who will make the final decision. We’ve filed our response and we remain hopeful that we can fight our way through to a positive outcome here. Especially in the middle of this pandemic, which has now unfortunately directly touched the lives of this family, these legal developments could not have occurred at a worse time.

To read Mr. Singh’s story that was published on Monday in
Newsday / Long Island, please visit: https://bit.ly/39DSiXE

Agency Updates:

  • EOIR Operational Status: As previously announced, certain immigration courts have resumed non-detained hearings. Hearings in non-detained cases at courts without an announced date, including New York City immigration courts, are postponed through, and including, December 18, 2020.
  • 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 18 de diciembre de 2020, incluidos los tribunales de inmigración de la ciudad de Nueva York.

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

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

USCIS Revised Its Naturalization Civics Test
The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) revised the civics portion of the naturalization test. Applicants who apply for naturalization on or after December 1, 2020, will take the updated version of the test. According to USCIS, the revised test will not change the passing score, which remains at 60 percent. However, applicants must now answer 12 questions correctly out of 20 in order to pass.

DHS Proposes to Curtail Work Authorization for Aliens with Final Orders of Removal
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a new rule that would limit discretionary work authorization for individuals with a final order of removal that have been temporarily released from DHS custody and placed on an Order of Supervision (OSUP). The proposed rule was published on November 19, 2020, and comments will be accepted until December 21, 2020.

USCIS Updates Policy Guidance on Naturalization Applicants
The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) updated policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify the circumstances when an officer could find applicants ineligible for naturalization because they were not lawfully admitted for permanent residence. Applicants are ineligible for naturalization if they obtained lawful permanent residence in error, by fraud or otherwise not in accordance with the law.

President-Elect Joe Biden Nominates Alejandro Mayorkas to Head the Department of Homeland Security
President-elect Joe Biden nominated Alejandro Mayorkas to Head of the Department of Homeland Security. Mayorkas served during the Obama administration and is a fervent supporter of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

District Court Sets Aside DHS and DOL H-1B Wage Rules
Finding that defendants “failed to show there was good cause to dispense with the rational and thoughtful discourse that is provided by the APA’s notice and comment requirements,” the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California set aside the DHS interim final rule, Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program, and the DOL interim final rule, Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States.

Outgoing Administration’s Effort to Limit Immigration 
Stephen Miller, Senior Advisor to President Trump, is reportedly doing everything he can to limit immigration, legal and otherwise, on his way out the door. According to Politico, since Election Day, Trump’s staffers have pushed through changes that make it easier to deny visas to immigrants, lengthened the citizenship test, and appointed new members to an immigration policy board. Their primary focus is to make it harder for President-elect Joe Biden to reverse these issues.

“Belonging Begins With Us” National Campaign
American Immigration Council (AIC) launched Belonging Begins with Us on December 3rd. The national campaign is dedicated to fostering a more welcoming nation where everyone can feel that they belong, regardless of their background or where they were born.

DOS Will Resume Routine Visa Services
The Department of State will resume routine visa services on a post-by-post basis. No specific timeline has been provided.

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USCIS Revisó Su Examen de Educación Cívica de Naturalización
El Servicio de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de los Estados Unidos (USCIS) revisó la parte de cívica del examen de naturalización. Los solicitantes que soliciten la naturalización el 1 de diciembre de 2020 o después, tomarán la versión actualizada del examen. USCIS declara que la prueba revisada no cambiará el puntaje de aprobación, que permanece en el 60 por ciento. Sin embargo, los solicitantes ahora deben responder correctamente 12 preguntas de 20 para aprobar.

DHS Propone Limitar los Permisos de Trabajo de Extranjeros que Tienen Órdenes Finales De Remoción
El Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS) propuso una nueva reglamentación que limitaría las autorizaciones discrecionales de empleo para los extranjeros que tienen órdenes finales de remoción y que han sido liberados temporalmente de la custodia de DHS bajo una orden de supervisión (OSUP). La reglamentación propuesta se publicó el 19 de noviembre de 2020 y se aceptarán comentarios hasta el 21 de diciembre de 2020.

USCIS Actualiza la Guía de Políticas Sobre Solicitantes de Naturalización
El Servicio de Ciudadanía e Inmigración (USCIS) actualice la guía de políticas en el Manual de Políticas de USCIS para aclarar las circunstancias en las que un oficial podría encontrar a solicitantes no elegibles para la naturalización porque no fueron admitidos legalmente para la residencia permanente. Los solicitantes no son elegibles para la naturalización si obtuvieron la residencia permanente legal por error, por fraude o de otra manera no de acuerdo con la ley.

El Presidente Electo Joe Biden Nómina a Alejandro Mayorkas Como Director del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional
El presidente electo Joe Biden nominó a Alejandro Mayorkas como Director del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional. Mayorkas sirvió durante la administración Obama y es un ferviente partidario del programa de Acción Diferida para la Infancia (DACA).

Un Tribunal de Distrito Rechazó las Reglas Salariales de DHS y DOL H-1B
Al encontrar que los acusados “no demostraron que había una buena causa para prescindir del discurso racional y reflexivo que proporcionan los requisitos de notificación y comentarios de la APA”, el Tribunal de Distrito de los EE. UU. Para el Distrito Norte de California anuló la regla final provisional del DHS, Fortalecimiento el Programa de Clasificación de Visas de No Inmigrante H-1B, y la regla final interina del DOL, Fortalecimiento de las Protecciones Salariales Para El Empleo Temporal Y Permanente De Ciertos Extranjeros En Los Estados Unidos.

Esfuerzos de la Administración Para Limitar La Inmigración
Stephen Miller, asesor principal del presidente Trump, al parecer está haciendo todo lo posible para limitar la inmigración, legal y de otro tipo, en su camino hacia la puerta. Según Político, desde el día de las elecciones, el personal de Trump ha impulsado cambios que facilitan la denegación de visas a los inmigrantes, alargaron la prueba de ciudadanía y nombraron nuevos miembros para una junta de políticas de inmigración. Su enfoque principal es dificultarle al presidente electo Joe Biden revertir estos problemas.

Campaña Nacional “Pertenecer Comienza con Nosotros”
El Consejo Estadounidense de Inmigración lanzó Belonging Begins with Us el 3 de diciembre. La campaña nacional está dedicada a fomentar una nación más acogedora donde todos puedan sentir que pertenecen, independientemente de sus antecedentes o de dónde nacieron.

DOS Reanudará Los Servicios De Visa De Rutina
El Departamento de Estado reanudará los servicios de visas de rutina después de cada puesto. No se ha proporcionado un cronograma específico.

2. Current Status of New York State Courts

State Courts
Pursuant to an announcement on November 30th by Chief Judge DiFiore, the Court is keeping a close watch on the COVID positivity rates, and the status of the orange and yellow COVID zones in which a number of courthouses are located around the state.Although 47 cases have been tried to verdict outside New York City since early September and another 12 in New York City in just the last month, the uptick in Covid-19 positivity rates have forced the Courts to pause their efforts and close to in-person proceedings. As of November 16th, the scheduling of new jury trials are temporarily postponed as well as the summoning of new trial jurors.The Courts’ “Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts” issued a new report advancing dozens of helpful recommendations including: creation of a central online court portal that consolidates and standardizes the websites of our individual courts and is easier for litigants and lawyers to navigate; legislation authorizing universal e-filing; and the launch of online dispute resolution platforms, starting with a pilot program in the busy Small Claims Court in New York County.Judge DiFiore emphasized the importance of striking the right balance between openness and safety.

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’s executive order to “pause” the state’s Statutes of Limitation was not extended and is over at the time of this notice.  This will mean that if you were in an accident exactly three years ago, you may have additional time to file your case due to the pandemic. Be cautioned, it is still under debate whether additional time was added.  There are many people “testing” this to see what will be permitted now that the pause has been lifted.

The Case Handler Highlight:
$622,500.00 SettlementWinston was stopped in his vehicle and waiting to merge into traffic on the Long Island Expressway (I-495) near the Junction Blvd exit in Queens, New York. While he was waiting to safely merge, a large commercial truck behind Winston was also attempting to merge. The commercial truck driver looked over his shoulder to see if he had space to merge while driving and upon looking forward again, he was unable to safely stop before rear-ending a van that was pushed forward into the rear of Winson’s car! Click the image below to learn more about Winston’s $622,500.00 settlement:

4. Real Estate & Business Issues

NYC Extends Law Providing Relief for Personal Guarantors of Commercial Leases
If you are a personal guarantor facing liability due to a tenant defaulting or a commercial landlord seeking to enforce a guaranty, a new statute signed into law may significantly impact your situation.On September 29, 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into Law Local Law 98 (“Amended Guaranty Law”). The Amended Guaranty Law is intended to relieve certain individual personal guarantors of commercial leases from enforcements of those guarantees, provided that tenants defaulted within the statutorily defined periods of March 7, 2020, and March 31, 2020, and that such tenants were required to (1) cease serving patrons food or beverage for on-premises consumption or to cease operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, pursuant to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.3; (2) were “non-essential retail establishment subject to in-person limitations” or (3) otherwise “required to close to members of the public” under Executive Order 202.7.This statute is new, and there exists some ambiguity concerning its enforcement. Several legal observers have questioned the scope and the constitutionality of this new law. To best serve you, we recommend setting up a consultation with one of our attorneys to thoroughly evaluate your situation.Commercial Tenant Evictions  
The directive contained in Executive Order 202.64, 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 January 1, 2021.New York State COVID Business Restrictions
Pursuant to the directive contained in Executive Order 202.68, the New York State Department of Health shall determine areas in the State that require enhanced public health restrictions based upon cluster-based cases of COVID-19 at a level that compromises the State’s containment of the virus. NYS Department of Health shall institute COVID restrictions based on color-coordinated zones. Strict adherence to the following guidance is necessary if you wish to avoid potential penalties, revocation of any business or liquor licenses, or potential closure of your business by the NYS Department of Health.
  1. An area designated by the NYS Department of Health as a “Red Zone” shall cease all non-essential business activity. Restaurants will be limited to take-out or delivery only.
  2. An area designated by the NYS Department of Health as an “Orange Zone” shall limit certain non-essential businesses, for which there is a higher risk associated with the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, including gyms, fitness centers or classes, barbers, hair salons, spas, tattoo or piercing parlors, nail technicians and nail salons, cosmetologists, estheticians, the provision of laser hair removal and electrolysis, and all other personal care services shall reduce in-person workforce by 100%. Additionally, restaurant service shall be limited to take-out, delivery, or outdoor dining.
  3. An area designated by the NYS Department of Health as a “Yellow Zone” must limit indoor restaurant or tavern services to one seated group or party size to 4 people.

To avoid any unnecessary penalties for non-compliance with these emergency restrictions, verify whether your business is currently located in one of the above COVID-19 zones by going to the following link and entering your business address https://covidhotspotlookup.health.ny.gov/.

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 not 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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