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12/18/2020 – Firm News

Firm News 12/18/2020

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. Criminal Law Matters; and
  5. 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 9:30 AM, Saturdays at 7:00 PM, and Sundays at 12:00 PM.
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Cruising with The Case Handler: Immigration Update

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, January 1, 2021.
  • 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 1 de enero de 2021, incluidos los tribunales de inmigración de la ciudad de Nueva York.

Visa Bulletin: December 2020
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.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Automatically Extended Through October 4, 2021
On December 8, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  automatically extended the validity of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and the validity of TPS-related documentation (including employment authorization cards). The automatic extension remains in effect through October 4, 2021, and applies to those Beneficiaries under the TPS designations of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan.

As a result, a Beneficiary granted TPS, may show a copy of the Federal Registry Notice, along with his or her specified Employment Authorization Card (EAD), to his or her employer to demonstrate identity and continued TPS-related employment eligibility for purposes of meeting the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) requirements.

DACA Program Restored and Accepting New Applicants
USCIS is accepting initial applicants for DACA! An additional 300,000 undocumented individuals could qualify. Give our office a call to learn how to apply and if you qualify: 212-233-8100.

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.

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Estatus de Protección Temporal (TPS) Extendido Automáticamente Hasta el 4 de Octubre de 2021
El 8 de diciembre de 2020, el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS) extendió automáticamente la validez del Estatus de Protección Temporal (TPS) y la validez de la documentación relacionada con el TPS (incluidas las tarjetas de autorización de empleo). La extensión automática permanecerá vigente hasta el 4 de octubre de 2021 y se aplica a los Beneficiarios bajo las designaciones de TPS de El Salvador, Haití, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua y Sudán.

Como resultado, un Beneficiario al que se le otorgó el TPS, puede mostrar una copia del Aviso de Registro Federal, junto con su Tarjeta de Autorización de Empleo (EAD), a su empleador para demostrar su identidad y la elegibilidad continua de empleo relacionada con el TPS para propósitos de cumplir con los requisitos de Verificación de Elegibilidad de Empleo (Formulario I-9).

El Programa DACA Ha Sido Restaurado y Está Aceptando Nuevos Candidatos
¡USCIS está aceptando solicitantes iniciales para DACA! 300,000 indocumentados adicionales podrían calificar. Llámenos hoy para ver si puede aplicar: 212-233-8100.

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.

2. Current Status of New York State Courts

State Courts
Pursuant to an announcement on December 14th by Chief Judge DiFiore, we are entering our second week of in-person operations and reduced staffing levels in courthouses across the state. The new “normal” is back to virtual appearances; in-person appearances are rare. However, the virtual courts are busier than ever with more than 52,840 remote conferences held in the last two weeks. Expanding the capacity of virtual courts is evident in the data that in the civil side of Supreme Court, the statewide pending caseload had increased by only 5% from this past spring.The Courts’ “Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts” issued a report last month 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 continues to emphasize the importance of keeping our communities safe during these unprecedented times.

ALL FOUR DEPARTMENTS OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION ARE ACCEPTING FILINGS AND ARE HEARING ORAL ARGUMENTS REMOTELY

All four Departments issued a joint statement on December 1st announcing the removal of the question regarding United States citizenship and immigration status on the application for admission to the Bar. Beginning December 31, 2020, the questionnaire revision becomes effective.  

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:
$100,000.00 SettlementTracey-Ann was an innocent passenger in the back of a Lyft.  As her Lyft was stopped at a red light in Nassau County, New York, another driver crashed into the back of the Lyft and pushed into the rear of the car in front of them! Upon police arrival, the other driver claimed that his brakes were not working and could not stop. Click the image below to learn more about Tracey-Ann’s $100,000.00 settlement:

4. 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.

5. 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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