From the desk of Jennifer B. Barr: Getting us through this

By: Jennifer B. Barr, Esq.

Many of our clients have matters scheduled in STATE COURT in the New Jersey Superior Courts.  With some exceptions noted below, cases will proceed as scheduled with limited delay.  The predominant change is that matters will be argued telephonically rather than in person.

The courts were closed only for in-court proceedings as follows:

  • All matters scheduled for in-court appearance in the Superior Courts and the Tax Courts on Monday 3/16/20 and Tuesday 3/17/20 have been postponed, although certain matters such as hearings for restraining orders, pretrial detention hearings, bail determinations, and other emergent matters have continued during this two-day period through telephonic and video conferencing.

However, beginning on Wednesday 3/18/20 all Civil and Family motions will be heard telephonically or through video conferencing.

Filings, such as complaints, answers, motions to dismiss, summary judgment motions, opposition to motions, etc. are accepted through electronic filing, and for the courts that still accept paper filing for non-electronically filed matters.

The computation of time periods for statutes of limitations and for filing deadlines are extended as if the period between March 16 to March 27, 2020 is a legal holiday.  For example, if the statute of limitations expires on March 23, 2020,  that limitations period is extended until March 27, 2020.  The same is true if a brief is scheduled to be due during this time period: the due date for the brief is extended until March 27, 2020.  This extension of the computation of time applies to the Appellate Division and New Jersey Supreme Court as well.

If the case is in the discovery phase and is nearing the end date, there is a two-week extension to complete all discovery, so that discover will now end on March 30, 2020.  Discovery motions will be conducted telephonically.  Discovery deadlines in both Civil and Family matters will be relaxed to permit the extension upon motion.

New jury trials will not be scheduled at this time.  Pending jury trials must wait for further direction by the court.

Oral arguments before the Appellate Division between now and March 27 are being held telephonically.

Landlord/Tenant matters scheduled between March 16 to March 27 have been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date.

Municipal courts are closed for two weeks, except for retraining orders and other matters that implicate public safety.  Matters scheduled during this two-week period will be rescheduled.  Filings and payments will be accepted during this period.

Grand jury and State grand jury empanelment dates have been postponed, and current grand juries will not meet until after March 27, 2020.

Many of our clients also have matters in FEDERAL COURT.

  • Bankruptcy Court trials scheduled before April 16, 2020 will be adjourned and rescheduled; motions will be determined based on the briefs submitted, and if permitted by the judge oral arguments will proceed through video conferencing; other proceedings will be postponed pursuant to the trustee; deadlines for certain matters will be extended for 30 days.
  • District court civil and criminal jury selections and trials scheduled to begin before April 30, 2020 are postponed; deadlines set by Federal or Local Rules, or by Court Order, remain in effect unless modified by the Magistrate Judge; hearings will continue according to the individual judicial officer’s direction by using video or audio conferencing when practicable; and sitting grand juries are authorized to continue to meet unless a quorum cannot be formed.
  • The Third Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments as scheduled unless otherwise ordered by the Court; parties may file a motion requesting to appear by audio conference; time constraints for notices of appeal or petition for review are not altered; the 3-day time limit for requesting a verbal extension under the local appellate rule is relaxed, and verbal requests for extensions of time may be made; filings of paper copies of briefs and appendices are deferred pending further direction.
  • The Supreme Court of the United States has postponed oral argument scheduled between now and April 1, 2020; filing deadlines are not extended.

The business of the courts is proceeding with only minimal delays, and most courts will be hearing arguments telephonically.  We will continue to vigorously represent our clients in all State and Federal matters that are being litigated or being appealed.