Synopsis: Today an Administrative Order was handed down in NYC by the New York State Supreme Court which concerns all cases filed in the five boroughs under the Child Victims Act ("CVA"). The Administrative Order effectively places a moratorium on virtually all aspects of CVA cases filed in the five boroughs, including extending answer deadlines and placing all discovery and nearly all motions on hold, until further order of the Court. The purpose of the Order was to allow a newly formed NYC Steering Committee of lawyers both prosecuting and defending CVA cases to work with the Court to develop a Case Management Order that will be used for NYC CVA cases going forward.
The New York State Supreme Court issued today Administrative Order #371 ("Administrative Order"), which concerns all cases filed in the five boroughs under the Child Victims Act ("CVA").1 The Administrative Order, which was signed by Justice George J. Silver, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge of the New York City Courts, effectively places a moratorium on virtually all aspects of CVA cases filed in the five boroughs, including extending answer deadlines and placing all discovery and nearly all motions on hold, until further order of the Court. Justice Silver has been assigned to handle all pre-trial proceedings on CVA cases in all five boroughs.
The Administrative Order was jointly proposed by members of the recently created CVA Steering Committee representing both plaintiffs and defendants on CVA cases. The Steering Committee consists of attorneys that are representing various plaintiffs and defendants in CVA cases and was established by the Court in order to liaison between the Court and all counsel on CVA cases. In particular, the purpose of the Steering Committee is to represent all plaintiffs' and defendants' counsel in communicating between the Court and all counsel in coordinating procedural aspects of CVA cases and ensuring efficient pre-trial litigation of CVA cases.
The Court tasked the Steering Committee with submitting a proposed Case Management Order, which will apply to all pre-trial proceedings on CVA cases filed in the five boroughs. The Case Management Order is still in the process of being prepared, but will seek to encourage a fair and expeditious resolution to CVA cases by providing, among other things, for standardized discovery, mandatory initial disclosures, and coordinating depositions and motion practice.
In the interim, the Court has issued the Administrative Order, which the Steering Committee had proposed in almost identical form.2 The key provisions of the Administrative Order are as follows:
- The time to answer or otherwise respond to any CVA complaints that have already been filed is extended, without any date, until further Court order.
- All preliminary conferences on CVA cases are adjourned to a control date of January 31, 2020.
- The time for any party to respond to any previously served discovery demands is adjourned, without a date, and no parties may serve new discovery demands until further Court order.
- All motions -- other than motions by plaintiffs seeking to proceed anonymously -- including substantive motions under CPLR §§ 3211 and 3212, are adjourned, and no opposition is required on any such motions until January 31, 2020. No new motions -- other than motions by plaintiffs to proceed anonymously -- may be filed before that date.
Karen Bitar is a partner in the Litigation Department of Seyfarth's New York office. She has been appointed by the Court to be a member of the New York City CVA Steering Committee. She is also national Co-Chair of the firm's White Collar, Internal Investigations and False Claims Team. A former prosecutor, Karen routinely advises and defends institutions facing sexual abuse claims. She is also a member of Seyfarth's National Trial Team. Gershon Akerman is an attorney in the New York Litigation Department.
1. For further information on the CVA, please see our previous legal update
2. The language proposed by the Steering Committee also sought to place on hold motions by plaintiffs seeking to proceed anonymously. That aspect of the proposed order was not adopted by the Court.
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