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As a result of COVID-19, there have been dramatic changes to our civil litigation system. While many courthouses have closed completely or to a great extent, efforts have been made to conduct remote or virtual depositions as well as court conferences in some venues. Recognizing these obstacles, the Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.8, suspending statutes of limitations, and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks issued administrative order AO/78/20, suspending the filing of papers in all but the most essential matters. Indeed, a cottage industry offering virtual depositions and conferences is in the process of developing, and the use of virtual technology for meetings via Zoom and Skype is becoming more commonplace. As the pandemic continues, there will no doubt be increasing pressure to conduct various proceedings, formally (such as court conferences) or informally (such as meetings with clients and experts). With respect to personal injury litigation and particularly in the medical malpractice arena, a “double whammy” of sorts has occurred, as it is more difficult not only to conduct depositions, but to gain access to medical professionals, particularly in certain specialties such as internal medicine, emergency medicine and infectious diseases.

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