Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the New York state court system has been accepting only certified essential case filings. You have an open NYSCEF e-filed case, but it’s “non-essential.” You wish to file and press forward, but you’re seemingly hamstrung, the case on hold. Or maybe not. New York procedure is guided mostly by service, not filing, and even in e-filed cases, email and old-fashion service provisions still apply, filing being secondary. Still, there exist certain traps for the unwary if a paper is served and not filed, or when operating remotely, as discussed below.

COVID Emergency

On March 22, 2020, the Chief Administrative Judge ordered that “effective immediately and until further order, no papers shall be accepted for filing by a county clerk or a court in any matter of a type not included on the list of essential matters.” The list includes categories of matters and a catch-all provision for any other matter that the court deems essential. The directive applies to both paper and electronic filings.

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