New York No Longer Tolling Statute of Limitations for Civil Claims

New York’s toll on statutes of limitations for civil claims is now over...

New York No Longer Tolling Statute of Limitations for Civil Claims

New York No Longer Tolling Statute of Limitations for Civil Claims

<strong>New York’s toll on statutes of limitations for civil claims is now over.</strong>..

Author: Michael J. Sheppeard|December 18, 2020

New York’s toll on statutes of limitations for civil claims is now over. On November 3, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.72, which lifted the toll. 

For non-lawyers, a statute of limitations dictates how long, after certain events, a case may be filed based on those events. Meanwhile, the legal doctrine known as “tolling” allows for the pausing or delaying of the running of the period of time set forth by a statute of limitations until a specified legal event occurs. In this case, Gov. Cuomo’s executive order lifting the toll means that the clock is again ticking.

COVID-19’s Impact on Statutes of Limitations

In March, Gov. Cuomo first ordered all statutes of limitations tolled for 30 days in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He extended the toll for nearly eight months via subsequent executive orders. Last month, the tolling period came to an end. Executive Order 202.72 provides:

Pursuant to Executive Order 202.67, the suspension for civil cases in Executive Order 202.8, as modified and extended in subsequent Executive Orders, that tolled any specific time limit for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding as prescribed by the procedural laws of the state, including but not limited to the family court act, the civil practice law and rules, the court of claims act, the surrogate’s court procedure act, and the uniform court acts, or by any statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation, or part thereof, is hereby no longer in effect as of November 4, 2020, provided any criminal procedure law suspension remains in effect and provided that all suspensions of the Family Court Act remain in effect until November 18, 2020 and thereafter continue to remain in effect for those juvenile delinquency matters not involving a detained youth and for those child neglect proceedings not involving foster care.

Calculating when a statute of limitations will expire, as well as determining whether any special circumstances may exist to extend that period, can be a complex task. Because time is of the essence when pursuing legal claims, it is advisable to contact an experienced attorney for guidance.

COVID-19 Impact on NY Trial Courts

The toll on statutes of limitations is ending as cases of COVID-19 are surging in New York and around the country. So while Executive Order 202.72 means that cases should proceed, it remains unclear how long trial courts will remain open to hear them, at least in person.

After shuttering in March, New York courts started to reopen and resume in-person proceedings in May. However, in recent weeks, the number of reported COVID-19 cases has grown steadily among court personnel. In response, courts have started to scale back in-person courthouse operations.

Last month, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Mark announced a moratorium on new jury trials. “All future bench trials and hearings will be conducted virtually unless the respective deputy chief administrative judge permits otherwise,” the memo states. “Pending bench trials will continue to conclusion.”

Federal courts are also responding to the second surge. Effective December 2, 2020, in-person operations in the Southern District of New York are suspended and will not commence until January 15. Chief Judge Colleen McMahon stated that the closure aims “to preserve public health and safety in light of the recent spike in coronavirus cases, both nationally and within the Southern District of New York.” Going forward, all civil proceedings will be held remotely. Jury trials scheduled during the closure are adjourned and will be given a new date, according to court officials.

Key Takeaway

COVID-19 continues to significantly impact business litigation. To ensure that your legal rights are protected, it is imperative to work with experienced counsel who can help you navigate the process, which now includes increased reliance on electronic filing, video depositions, and remote proceedings.

If you have questions, please contact us

If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact me, Michael Sheppeard, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work, at 201-896-4100.

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About Author Michael J. Sheppeard

Michael J. Sheppeard

Michael J. Sheppeard has nearly two decades of experience serving as counsel to clients in a broad range of industries. He represents clients on an international scale in a wide variety of legal matters including corporate and business transactions

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