Coronavirus Causes Governor to Toll the Statute of Limitations in New York

By: Megan K. Thomas, Stephen T. Helmer

Coronavirus Causes Governor to Toll the Statute of Limitations in New York

The Coronavirus is impacting all aspects of our lives, and after an Order issued by Governor Cuomo on March 20, 2020, this includes temporary limitations on which lawsuits can be filed and when.  By way of background, on March 7, 2020, Governor Cuomo declared a State disaster emergency for the State of New York.  In furtherance of this declaration, on March 20, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order 202.8, mandating that non-essential cases are not filed and tolling the statute of limitations for 30 days on all matters.  Subsequently, Chief Administrative Judge Marks issued an Order explaining what cases are and are not essential for purposes of filing.

The impacts of the Orders are as follows:

A.  New York Courts will only be handling “essential matters” between March 20th and April 19th 2020. According to Judge Marks, what is deemed an essential matter is subject to ongoing review but currently encompasses:

  1. Criminal Matters – arraignments; bail applications, reviews and writs; temporary orders of protection; resentencing of retained and incarcerated defendants; and essential sex offender registration act matters.
  2. Family Court Matters – child protective intake cases involving removal applications; newly filed juvenile delinquency intake cases involving remand placement applications or modification thereof; emergency family offense petitions/temporary orders of protection; orders to show cause; and stipulations on submission.
  3. Supreme Court Matters – Mental Hygiene Law (“MHL”) applications and hearings addressing patient retention or release; MHL hearings addressing the involuntary administration of medication and other medical care; newly filed MHL applications for an assisted outpatient treatment plan; emergency applications in guardianship matters; temporary orders of protection; emergency applications related to the Coronavirus; emergency Election Law applications; and extreme risk protection orders.
  4. Civil/Housing Matters – Applications addressing, landlord lockouts, serious code violations, serious repair orders, and post-eviction relief.
  5. For All Other Courts – any other matter that this court deems essential.

Note that if you have a matter in one of the courts listed above, your case is not necessarily deemed essential unless it is specifically addressed above.  Also, there may be cases with extenuating circumstances that a judge may deem essential.  It is important to reach out to your attorney to clarify where your case stands.

B.  Plaintiffs will have additional time to file claims which would have tolled or expired between March 20th and April 19th 2020. For any claims that would have expired during this time period, plaintiffs will now have an additional 30 days to file their claims. For example, a claim that would have expired on April 19, 2020 will now expire on May 19, 2020.  The Order does not explicitly extend the statute of limitations period for claims that include but expire outside of this window.

While the end date of this Order is currently April 19, 2020, this may be subject to change depending on the further impact of the Coronavirus in New York State.  Mackenzie Hughes LLP will provide additional updates as new information becomes available.