Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

On March 13, 2020, Judge Lawrence K. Marks, the Chief Administrative Judge of the New York State Unified Court System, issued a memorandum announcing that he and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore have implemented a number of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the well-being of court personnel.

As they relate to the Commercial Division, the measures, effective, March 16, 2020, include the following:  (i) suspension of all trials in which opening statements have not commenced; however, trials that are already underway shall continue through completion; (ii) suspension of jury selection; (iii) unless otherwise directed in exceptional circumstances, all motions shall be taken on submission and argument shall be conducted via remote means whenever possible; and (iv) preliminary and compliance conference calendars shall be managed with the goal of minimizing courthouse appearances, maximizing adjournments and stipulations on consent, and directing remote appearances via Skype or telephone.

Additionally, the memorandum places restrictions on meetings and travel by judicial and non-judicial staff of the Unified Court System.