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Category Archives: Bergen County Superior Court

The Supreme Court has authorized the summoning of new jury pools for possible in-person reporting for socially distanced jury trials. The modified summons documents will inform prospective jurors (1) that the jury selection process will begin in a virtual format; and (2) that their service may continue virtually or may involve reporting in person to a courthouse with safety precautions. The new “virtual or in-person” summons option will apply to jury pools scheduled to report on or after May 17, 2021.

The Judiciary is continuing to closely monitor relevant COVID-19 trends, including those in the COVID-19 Activity Level Index (CALI) weekly reports posted by the New Jersey Department of Health. The New York Times reports that as of March 1, 2021, the statewide 14-day average showed a 12% decrease in deaths and a 24% decrease in hospitalizations. Over that same period, new daily cases ticked up by 3%. NJ DOH is continuing to report more than 2500 new COVID-19 cases per day. Even that significant figure, however, is less than one-half of the number of new cases reported at the start of 2021.

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The New Jersey courts are continuing to support public health and safety during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The attached overview summarizes current health precautions in state court facilities, including the requirements that court users wear face masks and maintain social distancing (subject to narrow exceptions).

The attached summary reminds attorneys and others that the majority of court events still are being conducted remotely. For state court matters, all court users can request use of courthouse technology rooms, which are spaces in state court facilities with technology that can be used to participate in virtual court sessions.

Questions about this notice 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: February 23, 2021

NOTICE Health and Safety Precautions in State Courts Facilities and Availability of Courthouse Technology Rooms to Facilitate Remote Participation in Court Events.pdf

In collaboration with local municipalities, the New Jersey courts are continuing to support public health and safety during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The attached overview summarizes current health precautions in Municipal Court facilities. Consistent with the Supreme Court’s June 9, 2020 Order, those measures include the requirements that individuals in courtrooms wear face masks and maintain social distancing (subject to narrow exceptions).

The attached summary reminds attorneys and others that the majority of Municipal Court events still are being conducted remotely.

Questions about this notice may be directed to Assistant Director for Municipal Court Services Steven Somogyi at (609) 815-2900, extension 54850.

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

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: February 23, 2021

NOTICE Health and Safety Precautions in Municipal Courts.pdf

This directive provides a protocol to support consistent management of cases that require the consent or lack of objection of all parties to proceed in a remote format during the temporary modifications necessitated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and for so long as court operations are not conducted primarily in person. It sets forth a series of steps (1) to memorialize on the record a party’s objection to proceeding remotely, or the inability of counsel to ascertain a party’s position; (2) to provide notice to the parties, attorneys, and other participants when a matter is scheduled for an in-person court event based on an objection to proceeding remotely; and (3) to provide an opportunity for participants to request individual adjustments and accommodations that will enable the scheduled court event to proceed. This protocol is applicable to the trial divisions of the Superior Court and to the Municipal Courts, subject to limited exceptions as noted.

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The Supreme Court in its April 20, 2020 Order reaffirmed that court operations would continue in a remote format to the greatest extent practicable, subject to narrow exceptions. That continues to be the case.

The Court in the attached February 22, 2021 Order has refined one provision of that April 20, 2020 Order. As provided in that order, certain matters with especially serious or permanent consequences or penalties still can be conducted remotely only with the consent of all parties. However, the consent of a party will not be required if the party is absent and unreachable.

Directive #06-21 (“COVID-19 – Protocol for Matters that Cannot Proceed in a Remote Format Without Consent – In Furtherance of the Supreme Court’s Orders Dated April 20, 2020 and February 22, 2021”), dated February 23, 2021 and published separately, provides guidance as to matters that can proceed remotely only with the consent of the parties. The directive provides a step-by-step protocol (1) to memorialize on the record a party’s objection to proceeding remotely, or the inability of counsel to ascertain a party’s position; (2) to provide notice to the parties, attorneys, and other participants when a matter is scheduled for an in-person court event based on an objection to proceeding remotely; and (3) to provide an opportunity for participants to request individual adjustments and accommodations that will enable the scheduled court event to proceed. Directive #06-21 also promulgates model certifications and an exemplar Order Scheduling In-Person Hearing, for use in accordance with the Court’s February 22, 2021 Order.

Questions about this notice, the Court’s February 22, 2021 Order, or Directive #06-21 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: February 23, 2021

NOTICE Refinement of Court Matters That Can Proceed Remotely.pdf

The Supreme Court has issued the attached Tenth Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This February 17, 2021 Tenth Omnibus Order extends pre-indictment excludable time for defendants committed to county jail before March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2021. It also extends post-indictment excludable time for the additional period from March 1, 2021 through March 31, 2021. The February 17, 2021 Tenth Omnibus Order continues other provisions of earlier Orders.

Questions about this notice or the Court’s Tenth 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: February 17, 2021

NOTICE COVID-19 Tenth Omnibus Order on Courthouse Operations and Legal Practice.pdf

The Supreme Court has amended two provisions of its January 7, 2021 Order authorizing virtual civil jury trials. The Court’s attached February 1, 2021 Order clarifies that the Judiciary will provide a Samsung Galaxy tablet or similar device to jurors who require technology to participate in virtual selection or virtual trials. It also provides that the first virtual civil jury trials will be broadcast publicly subject to a brief delay to provide for review in order to prevent any inadvertent disclosure of juror identity or broadcast of juror images. A video recording will be posted on the Judiciary’s public website on the next business day following the virtual civil jury trial proceedings. Requests for real-time public access should be directed to the Vicinage Assignment Judge.

Questions regarding this notice may be directed to the Office of the Administrative Director of the Courts.

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

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: February 1, 2021

Notice and Order – Virtual Civil Jury Trials – Amending Two Provisions of the Supreme Court’s January 7 Authorizing Order.pdf

The Supreme Court has clarified and expanded the circumstances in which a landlord may apply by Order to Show Cause for a trial in a commercial landlord/tenant (LT) matter. The Court’s February 5, 2021 Order is attached.

The Court’s February 5, 2021 Order establishes a multistep process, consistent with the existing process for residential tenancies. The Order provides that (1) a commercial landlord can file an Order to Show Cause alleging emergent circumstances, either (a) involving something other than nonpayment of rent or (b) based on nonpayment of rent that threatens the landlord’s capacity to continue their business (in the case of a pending foreclosure or tax lien); (2) the court will evaluate the application and determine whether emergent circumstances exist and a hearing should be held; and (3) if the court finds that emergent circumstances exist, the commercial tenant will be notified and a trial will be scheduled. After that trial, if the commercial landlord prevails, judgment will be entered, and a warrant of removal can be issued.

Questions on this notice may be directed to the Civil Practice Division at (609) 815-2900 x54900.

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

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: February 5, 2021

Notice and Order – COVID-19 – Landlord_Tenant – Application for a Commercial Landlord_Tenant Trial in Certain Circumstances.pdf

NOTICE TO THE BAR

January 29, 2021

Unscheduled Closings and Delayed Openings for the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Tax Court, County Courthouses, and the Administrative Office of the Courts

Decisions to close or delay openings are made separately for each courthouse and are based on local weather conditions. Delayed openings sometimes become closings, and sometimes courthouses close early if the weather warrants. For these updates, follow the courts on Twitter, sign up for text messages, or go to The New Jersey Judiciary website at NJCOURTS.GOV  https://www.njcourts.gov/courts/closings.html

On the bottom of the NJCOURTS.GOV webpage are a number of icons that you may select to obtain court information from a variety of social media sources such as Twitter and Rave alerts.  The best method to receive immediate unscheduled closing information is to sign up for Rave text messages at https://www.getrave.com/login/judiciary-state-nj-us

For Municipal Courts, please check with your local municipal court for closing information. Below are two the links to use for the municipal courts https://njcourts.gov/courts/closings.html  or https://njcourts.gov/courts/closingsmuni.html

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, the Supreme Court suspended landlord/tenant (LT) trials and authorized pretrial/settlement conferences with specially trained, neutral parties to assist litigants in resolving eviction complaints. In its September 30, 2020 Order, the Court authorized three additional categories of individuals (in addition to trained Judiciary staff and others) to assist as settlors in LT matters. This memo sets forth the training requirements for these settlors.

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