At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, all of the Courts in New York State closed for health and safety reasons. Recently, as the numbers of those afflicted in New York continue to decrease, some Courts are reopening. This blog post will discuss the current situation as of the writing of this post, and how this effects certain practice areas covered by our firm.
Foreclosure matters, generally heard in New York State Supreme Court, are still subject to a stay from Governor Cuomo’s executive order. It is possible that the stay may be lifted next month, but, at this point, no foreclosure cases are proceeding in the Courts. This stay also applies to the filing of new foreclosure actions.
Other real estate litigation, such as partition actions, are proceeding, generally as usual. A partition action occurs when a co-owner of real property no longer wishes to co-own the property. Litigation is commenced by the co-owner, which will allow the property to be sold with the proceeds shared between the owners. If an owner does not want to sell, they must agree to purchase the interest of the other owner at a fair price. Courts are accepting new partition actions for filing, and cases are proceeding relatively normally through the Court system. However, due to health concerns, in-person appearances at courthouses are being limited. As a result, many appearances are being made by telephone or video-conferencing. In addition, motions and pleadings can be filed through e-courts, limiting the need for attorneys to physically appear at courthouses. Whether this situation will change in the future, as conditions to continue to improve in New York, is unknown at this point.