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  • Address: 15 Bergen St, Hackensack, NJ
  • Phone: (201) 488-0032
  • Email Address: info@bergenbar.org

Category Archives: Chancery

The New Jersey courts currently are conducting limited on-site court proceedings, with in-person socially distanced jury trials scheduled to begin in late September 2020. Consistent adherence to public health requirements remains critical to supporting the health and safety of all court users. At the same time, attorneys and clients must have appropriate methods to communicate with the judge and privately during in-person court proceedings. To that end, this notice provides a list of approved options for sidebar communications and confidential attorney-client communications during jury trials and other on-site proceedings. Additional options may be considered on a case-by-case basis, with court approval, taking into consideration facilities and individual participant needs (including language access services and ADA accommodations).

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As of this date we would like to update you on COVID-19 procedures and information regarding the partial reopening of the courthouse. Please note the following:

  • We are currently in Phase 2 of statewide reopening and, in accordance with the guidelines, 15% of the courthouse staff are in the courthouse buildings.
  • The courthouse is not currently open to the public for all proceedings. We will keep you informed of a projected opening date as we receive information.
  • Probation and drug court litigants are being seen and drug testing is being done by appointment.
  • Virtual Grand Jury continues.
  • Numerous virtual proceedings in Family, Civil, Chancery, and Criminal take place on a daily basis. We have received very favorable responses from attorneys who have commented on the efficiency of these proceedings.
  • Criminal trials and Civil trials will start on a very limited basis at the end of September.
  • Municipal court is working well and efficiently using virtual platforms.
  • There is no start date for Phase 3 at this time, wherein up to 50% of staff will be allowed in the courthouse building.

There have been major safety and health measures taken with respect to the reopening:

  • When entering the courthouse building there are thermal scanners in place. If you have a temperature of 100.4 or higher, you will NOT be permitted to enter the building.
  • Signage is placed throughout the courthouse with instructions on social distancing and wearing a mask in all public areas. Please bring your mask if you plan on coming to the courts.
  • Touchless hand sanitizer units have been placed in all hallways for public use.
  • Public intake areas are having plexiglass barriers installed.
  • Efforts are underway by the county to change all the bathroom faucets and toilets “no touch” systems.
  • Disinfectant wipe downs of all touch areas i.e. doorknobs, elevator buttons etc. are being done nightly by the county.
  • Social distancing floor stickers are being placed on the floor at all entrances and customer service areas to facilitate social distancing.

We will continue to provide you with updates in the future. I wish to thank your President, Joseph Maurice and your Executive Executive Director, Frank O’Marra, for their efforts to bring updated information to the Bergen Bar members.

NOTICE: Bergen County Courthouse COVID-19 Protocols.pdf

The Bergen County Judiciary, in conjunction with the New Jersey Judiciary, is continuing to take preventive measures to reduce risks of exposure to and transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus.  We continue to handle as many matters as possible by telephone, Zoom or Teams platforms.  However, during Phase II of operations certain in-person proceedings are being scheduled.

This is a reminder, especially during the peak of the vacation season, that should you have an in-person proceeding scheduled and have travelled to a quarantine impacted state as contained on New Jersey’s updated Quarantine Advisory, it is incumbent upon you to inform the court as soon as possible to allow for an appropriate quarantine time period.

Please know that you will not be permitted entry into the courthouse facilities until the required 14 day quarantine period has expired from the time of your last contact within the identified state.

We are being vigilant in our efforts to ensure the safety of all in the courthouse.  Therefore, in addition to the disclosure of travel to an impacted state, you have an obligation to disclose whether you have experienced:

  1. Fever (A Temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater);
  2. Symptoms (Cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chills, sore throat, muscle aches and pains, loss of taste or smell, any other unexplained illness);
  3. Close contact with anyone who has exhibited any of these symptoms; or
  4. Whether someone in your household or someone you have been in close contact that has tested positive for COVID-19 (Close contact with an infected person means within 6 feet for 10 minutes or more).

Your cooperation in keeping our courthouse safe for all who enter is much appreciated.

/s/ Bonnie J. Mizdol, A.J.S.C.

Dated: August 26, 2020

The new clerks will begin their 53 weeks of service on August 25th.  There will be overlap of law clerks from August 25th to August 31st.

Due to the change in the date for the Bar Examination, now October 5th and 6th, the new clerks will be off from September 28th through October 2nd  to study and the additional two days for the exam on October  5th and 6th.

Because the rescheduling of the Bar impacts motion calendars, the motion calendars will be adjusted as follows:

Original Dates         New Dates

August 7th                     August 7th to remain the same

August 21st                   August 28th to allow for a motion day overlap

September 4th             September 11th to allow new clerks to prepare 1st motion calendar

September 18th           September 25th

October 2nd                 October 16th to allow law clerks to study and take the exam

October 30th               October 30th to remain the same

The Supreme Court has issued its Seventh Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A copy of the Order is attached.

This July 24, 2020 Seventh Omnibus Order continues certain adjustments necessitated during the COVID-19 period, including the prioritization of remote proceedings and permission for electronic signatures, remote depositions, and electronic service on the State of New Jersey. It also concludes certain blanket suspensions and extensions (including as to discovery involving experts, affidavits of merit, relaxation of Rule 4:86 regarding guardianships of incapacitated persons, and depositions and appearances by medical professionals) while permitting extensions based on the facts and circumstances of an individual case.

The July 24, 2020 Seventh Omnibus Order includes the following key provisions:

  • Jury Trials. Authorizing new jury selections and new jury trials starting on or after September 21, 2020, with selections to be conducted in a primarily virtual format and trials to be conducted in person with social distancing, consistent with the Court’s July 22, 2020 Order;
  • Grand Jury. Providing for the virtual selection of new grand jury panels on or after September 21, 2020;
  • Criminal. Continuing excludable time provisions through September 20, 2020;
  • Special Civil Part. Clarifying that Special Civil Part (DC) and Small Claims (SC) proceedings including trials can be conducted remotely with or without consent;
  • Family – Quasi-Criminal. Providing that Family quasi-criminal (FO) trials shall proceed remotely only with the consent of the parties, and in the absence of consent such matters will proceed in person;
  • Family – Domestic Violence. Amending Phase 2 of the Judiciary’s Post Pandemic Plan to allow applicants seeking a domestic violence restraining order to appear at court without an appointment; and
  • Municipal Courts. Confirming that Municipal Court sessions will be conducted primarily using remote technologies, although in limited circumstances in-person sessions may be conducted, including for complex matters such as DWI trials and certain cases involving a consequence of magnitude.

Questions about this notice or the Court’s Seventh Omnibus Order may be directed to the Office of the Administrative at the Courts at (609) 376-3000.

/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: July 24, 2020

NOTICE Seventh Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice – Concluding Certain General Extensions; Continuing Individualized Adjustments.pdf

The Supreme Court has issued its Fifth Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A copy of the Order is attached.

This June 25, 2020 Fifth Omnibus Order follows the format of the earlier Omnibus Orders. It continues certain suspensions and extensions through July 12, 2020 and affirms that other provisions remain in full force and effect.

The Fifth Omnibus Order concludes the restrictions on the Office of Foreclosure as established in earlier Omnibus Orders, meaning that in addition to non-dispositive motions (e.g., motions to substitute plaintiff, motions to enter default, motions for surplus funds and motions to correct defendant), the Office of Foreclosure now may recommend judgments or dispositive motions received on or after March 1, 2020.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and based on developments in the coming weeks, the Court will revisit the provisions of the Fifth Omnibus Order and make adjustments as appropriate.

Questions about this notice or the Court’s Fifth Omnibus Order may be directed to the Office of the Administrative Director of the Courts at (609) 376-3000.

/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: June 25, 2020

NOTICE Fifth Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice.pdf

NOTICE TO THE BAR

The Supreme Court today issued its Fourth Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A copy of the Order is attached.

This June 11, 2020 Fourth Omnibus Order follows the format of the May 28, 2020 Third Omnibus Order. It continues certain suspensions and extensions through June 28, 2020 and affirms that other provisions remain in full force and effect. It also provides updated direction in the following areas:

  • Jury Trials. Continuing the suspension of new jury trials and providing that ongoing jury trials suspended during COVID-19 may resume consistent with public health precautions with the consent of all parties;
  • Grand Jury. Extending the suspension of in-person grand jury selection and sessions and affirming that grand juries may convene remotely consistent with the Pilot Program for Virtual Grand Juries, which currently is operating in Bergen and Mercer Counties;
  • Landlord/Tenant. Providing as to landlord/tenant proceedings that (i) lockouts of residential tenants (evictions) continue to be suspended in accordance with Executive Order 106 (March 19, 2020); (ii) landlord/tenant complaints may continue to be filed with the courts, and new complaints will include an email address for the landlord and to the extent available an email address for the tenant; (iii) the court will schedule conferences, including to obtain or confirm contact information from the parties and conduct settlement negotiations in an effort to resolve matters; and (iv) trials continue to be suspended until further notice;
  • Tax Court. Affirming provisions of prior orders as to the extension of all filing deadlines for state tax controversies while vacating provisions as to local property tax appeals; and
  • Trial Court Filing Deadlines. Restating that in the computation of time periods under the Rules of Court and under any statute of limitations for matters in all trial divisions of the Superior Court, the period from March 16, 2020 through May 10, 2020 will not be included in calculating those trial court filing deadlines.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and based on developments in the coming weeks, the Court will revisit the provisions of the Fourth Omnibus Order and make adjustments as appropriate.

Questions about this notice or the Court’s Fourth Omnibus Order may be directed to the Office of the Administrative Director of the Courts at (609) 376-3000.

/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: June 11, 2020

Fourth Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice.pdf

 

NOTICE TO THE BAR

The Supreme Court has approved the first part of the New Jersey Courts Post-Pandemic Plan (Plan) for transitioning from fully remote court operations (Phase 1) to the gradual return to courthouse and court facilities (Phase 2). The New Jersey courts will begin the incremental implementation of Phase 2 starting on Monday, June 22, 2020.

The Judiciary developed the comprehensive plan for safely resuming in-person court services in collaboration with Judiciary stakeholders, including representatives and Families, as well as the Attorney General, Public Defender, Sheriff Association, Warden Association, State Bar Association, and Legal Services, as well as judges and court staff.

The Plan memorializes our current Phase 1 status and the factors considered in determining to proceed to Phase 2. Iy outlines the precautions that have been and will be implemented before our buildings are opened for any in-person proceedings, including requirements to wear masks in non-private areas and to maintain social distancing as set forth in the Court’s June 9, 2020 Order. As noted, the Plan also lists those events that in Phase 2 will continue to be conducted remotely and those events that may, consistent with Supreme Court guidance, be conducted onsite.

The Plan for moving forward to Phase 2 is posted on the New Jersey courts public website (njcourts. gov).

As we have throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Judiciary will continue to provide information and guidance to attorneys, litigants, and members of the Public regarding the status of court facilities and operations. We will issue additional information, including on the subsequent transitions to Phase 3 and 4, as soon as available.

/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: June 10, 2020

Notice – NJ Courts Post-Pandemic Plan – Transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2 – Notice Dated 06-10-20.pdf

NJ Courts Post Pandemic Plan Powerpoint Slides – Transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2 – As Issued 06-10-20.pdf

NOTICE OF THE BAR

The Supreme Court by Order dated June 9, 2020 is requiring that all persons who enter or occupy courthouses or court facilities for Judiciary business, including Judiciary areas of mixed-use facilities, must wear masks or other face coverings in community settings (e.g., entranceways, indoor parking garages) and common areas (e.g., courtrooms, elevators). The Court’s June 9, 2020 is attached.

The Court’s Order applies statewide, including in courtrooms in the Municipal Courts. Its provides for exceptions for persons who require accommodations. The Order permits removal of face masks by judges and court staff in private areas so long as social distancing guidelines are maintained. The Order also provides that judges have discretion to remove their face coverings or masks when on the bench, and to direct others to do so, so long as social distancing are maintained.

The June 9, 2020 Order is effective immediately.

/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: June 10, 2020

Notice and Order – Requirement That All Persons in Judiciary Facilities for Judiciary Business Wear Masks or Face Coverings and Maintain Social Distancing – 6-10-20 notice and 06-09-20 order – corrected.pdf

SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY

     The Supreme Court by Order dated May 14, 2020 authorized a pilot program for virtual (video) grand jury proceedings, as recommended by the Supreme Court Working Group on Remote Grand Jury Operations (Working Group). The pilot program incorporates safeguards to ensure the secrecy and solemnity of grand jury proceedings, including supplements to the grand jury charge and oath of secrecy, as codified in a May 15, 2020 supplement #23-06.

The identified pilot counties (Bergen and Mercer) have taken all necessary steps to prepare for implementation of virtual grand jury proceedings. Working with the County Prosecutors, the grand juries have received additional orientation on the virtual (video) process. The supplemental charge to the grand jury has been administered, and all grand jurors have sworn or affirmed the supplement to the oath of secrecy. Read More