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Category Archives: Current News

Notice to the Bar

March 30, 2020

This notice announces additional statewide steps by the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation to address the ongoing public health crisis surrounding the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in New Jersey.

To slow the spread of the virus, after consulting with the Governor’s office, the N.J. Commissioner of Labor, the N.J. Department of Health, and in accordance with the recommendations of the CDC, all workers ’compensation court calendars were suspended from March 17, 2020 through April 3, 2020. Only emergent motions for Medical and Temporary Benefits filed electronically were heard by the Chief Judge, telephonically.

Litigants, attorneys, and witnesses who were scheduled to appear for a workers’ compensation matter from March 17, 2020 through April 3, 2020 should await notice of a rescheduled court date. Read More

SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY

In response to the growing public health crisis worldwide and in this state involving the COVID-19 coronavirus, the New Jersey Judiciary has implemented various modifications to court operations, including an ongoing transition to video and phone proceedings instead of in-person appearances and related measures intended to minimize in-person contact and adhere to crucial social distancing measures recommended by the New Jersey Department of Health (“NJ DOH”) and the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”).

In conjunction with those operational changes, the Court has entered a series of orders suspending certain court proceedings, extending deadlines, and tolling time periods because of the practical impossibility of continuing business as usual during this public health crisis. Since the entry of those orders and notices, the effect of the COVID-19 corona virus has continued to increase exponentially, prompting emergency declarations at the national, -state, and county levels, and further disrupting the practice of law and the normal operations of the courts. The Court has reviewed its interim measures and determined that, in the interest of justice, the effective periods must be extended based on current restrictions on movement and activity recommended by the NJ DOH and CDC, as well as provisions of Executive Order 107 (March 21, 2020). Read More

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR  THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY

IN RE: CLOSINGS OF THE NEWARK VICINAGE COURTHOUSES STANDING ORDER NO. 2020-05 OF UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY

STANDING ORDER NO. 2020-05

STANDING ORDER 

The Court has been informed that several federal employees who work in the Martin Luther King and Frank R. Lautenberg U.S. Courthouses (“Newark Courthouses”), located in Newark, New Jersey, have tested positive for COVID-19. To swiftly ensure the health and safety of the public, jurors, grand jurors, court and agency staff and judicial officers, from exposure to or spread of the disease;

 

With the concurrence of the Court Security Committee and the Executive Committee, the U.S. Marshal, and the Clerk of the Court, in consultations with GSA, it is ORDERED that both Newark Courthouses in Newark, New Jersey shall be CLOSED from Thursday, March 26, 2020, through Monday, April 6, 2020. No one will be permitted to enter the building during this closure with the exception of authorized cleaning personnel. This Standing Order does not affect the operation of the two courthouses in the Trenton and Camden Vicinages. The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey otherwise remains open for official business. The Court’s Electronic Case Filing (ECF) system is not affected by the closure, and parties may continue to file electronically.

 

DATED: March 26, 2020

/s/ Hon. Freda L. Wolfson

U.S. Chief District Judge

District of New Jersey

NOTICE TO THE BAR

     The past two weeks have presented enormous challenges, and it has been inspiring to witness the dedication of the Bergen Judiciary, our Trial Court Administrator, Laura Simoldoni, senior administrative staff and all of our judiciary employees.

Quoting Chief Justice Rabner,

Our mission at this time of crisis is straightforward and complex all at once.  In a society based upon the rule of law, it is essential that courts remain open and that the public has access to the justice system.  Victims of domestic violence, defendants awaiting pretrial release, civil litigants struggling to get needed relief and countless others cannot wait for weeks or months to be heard.  And the responsibility to provide them a fair forum and address their dispute – even at the most challenging of time – falls on the Judiciary.

We are striving to carry out that responsibility as safely as possible.  The health of court staff, judges and members of the public is at stake and that concern has and will continue to guide all of our decisions about administering the courts at this time.

I have and continue to remain in daily communication with your Executive Director, Frank O’Marra, to provide the most up-to-date information available to the Bergen County Bar Association. Read More

The Tax Court has transitioned to virtual courtrooms. The Court had its first virtual trial on Wednesday March 25, 2020. For the foreseeable future all proceedings which would normally be held in-person (oral arguments on motions, trials, Chapter 91 hearings) will be conducted via Zoom and live streamed by the Judiciary at https://njcourts.gov/public/channels.html. In the event you have a matter before the Tax Court you will be contacted by chambers with instructions on how to log-in and how to upload documents. Questions can be directed to Tax Court IT department at 609-815-2922 ext. 54646.

 

SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY

In response to the growing public health crisis worldwide and in this state involving the COVID-19 coronavirus, the New Jersey Judiciary continues to implement all possible measures to apply social distancing in court operations consistent with the recommendations of the New Jersey Department of Health (“NJ DOH”) and the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”).

The Judiciary accordingly has closed comi buildings to the public and adjusted the operations of court offices to reduce the risk of exposure to or transmission of the virus.

Executive Order 107 (March 21, 2020) imposed strict limitations on the operations of “brick-and-mortar” businesses and required telecommuting to the greatest extent possible, causing law firms to transition expeditiously to remote work operations with few if any attorneys or staff working from their law firm offices. Read More

As reflected in the court’s Automated Case Management System, pretrial judicial settlement conferences, scheduled to be conducted by the Hon. Lisa Perez-Friscia, J.S.C., through April 3, 2020, are CANCELLED.  Civil Judges in Bergen – including Judge Perez-Friscia – may call counsel and initiate settlement conferences telephonically.  The Bar is advised to check ACMS for scheduling updates on their cases.

 

/s/ Hon. Robert L. Polifroni, P.J.Cv.

Dated: March 24, 2020

This matter having come before the Court on the request for relief by the Office of the Public Defender (see attached letter dated March 19, 2020), seeking the Court’s consideration of a proposed Order to Show Cause (see attached) designed to commute or suspend county jail sentences currently being served by county jail inmates either as a condition of probation for an indictable offense or because of a municipal court conviction; and

The Court, on its own motion, having relaxed the Rules of Court to permit the filing of this request for relief directly with the Supreme Court, based on the dangers posed by COVID-19, and the statewide impact of the nature of the request in light of the Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency declared by the Governor. See Executive Order No. 103 (2020) (Mar. 9, 2020);

And for good cause shown; it is Read More

SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY

WHEREAS, a national emergency has been declared and the Governor of New Jersey has declared a State of Emergency and Public Health Emergency because of the COVID-19 coronavirus public health crisis, with statewide implementation of social distancing measures to attempt to slow the spread of the virus; and

WHEREAS, those measures are resulting in unprecedented closures and cancellations throughout the state such that corporate and residential property taxpayers are severely disrupted in their ability to meet filing deadlines in property tax appeals before the County Boards of Taxation and the New Jersey Tax Court; Read More

SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY

In response to the growing public health crisis worldwide and in this state involving the COVID-19 coronavirus, the New Jersey Judiciary is implementing all possible measures to apply social distancing in current court operations consistent with the recommendations of the New Jersey Department of Health (“NJ DOH”) and the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”).

Based on the large number of persons required for jury and grand jury panels, on March 12, 2020, the Judiciary suspended all reporting for jury service except for ongoing trials and directed that no new criminal jury trials would be conducted until further notice, and on March 17, 2020, the Court postponed the empanelment of all grand juries, including the State Grand Jury, and cancelled all current grand jury sessions, including the State Grand Jury, effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, through Friday, March 27, 2020

Accordingly, it is ORDERED that, effective immediately: Read More