Following the First and Second Department’s forays into virtual Skype arguments, the Court of Appeals announced yesterday that it would be hearing arguments virtually during its June session.
Although some attorneys whose appeals had been scheduled for the March or April/May session won’t get the chance to argue, because the Court will be taking a few previously calendared cases on submission (including an interesting—to me, at least—issue about whether a municipal defendant can exclude one of multiple claimants from a statutorily required pre-suit deposition), most cases from those sessions will be rescheduled for argument later. And the Court has chosen a limited number of cases for the first virtual argument session in the Court’s history in June. The arguments will be livestreamed, as always, so we’ll all get to see what the Judges’ homes or chambers look like (unless of course they’ve figured out how to work virtual backgrounds).
The Third and Fourth Department Expand Virtual Court Operations Too
Not to be left out, the Third and Fourth Department are also following the First and Second Departments’ lead into virtual arguments. Last Friday, the Fourth Department announced that it was not only going to be scheduling special virtual argument sessions for May and June and holding Skype arguments, but that it was also rescinding its prior order that had suspended appeal perfection and briefing deadlines. In its place, the Fourth Department set a new schedule for the appeals:
The Third Department too is scheduling special virtual argument sessions for May and June. But, unlike the Fourth Department, the Third Department is continuing its suspension of perfection and briefing deadlines, at least for now. That may change as we finish up the virtual argument sessions, and the Court sees how well they can work.
Now the Court of Appeals and all four departments of the Appellate Division are hearing arguments virtually, and the work of our appellate courts can continue, even in these times where we’re all working from home.