March 26, 2020

Commercial parties across the world rely on the state and federal courts of New York to resolve sophisticated commercial disputes.  Indeed, New York courts recognize that the state’s role as “the center of world commerce, the headquarters of international finance, [and] the home of America’s leading businesses” requires an effective forum “for the swift, fair and expert resolution of significant commercial disputes.”

With New York now the unfortunate epicenter of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, public institutions in New York—including the courts—find themselves under significant strain while balancing their important role in resolving legal disputes with public health exigencies.  

In an effort to protect the safety of all who interact with the courts—judges, court personnel, lawyers, juries, and parties—New York State has increasingly limited court work to that which is “essential.”  These changes directly impact complex commercial disputes, which are typically not among the type of matters deemed “essential.”  Accordingly, businesses that rely on courts in New York to resolve their disputes should carefully consider how to manage ongoing litigation, or how to confront ongoing disputes where court access may be delayed or unavailable.

This article describes the new status quo in the state and federal courts in New York and offers several considerations for those with pending or upcoming litigation in New York.  Of course, this is a mere snapshot in time.  As the breadth of the COVID-19 crisis changes each day, those with business in New York courts must stay apprised of court orders that limit and later restore access to the courts to fully understand how their interests may be impacted.

To read the full article, please click here.