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Category Archives: Bergen County Superior Court

The New Jersey courts are committed to following public health guidance and supporting the health and safety of attorneys, litigants, members of the public, judges, court staff, and all persons in Judiciary facilities. To that end, the Judiciary has established a statewide policy for handling COVID-19 exposure risks in courthouses and court facilities. This notice is being issued on behalf of the Chief Justice and the Administrative Director. The policy set forth herein applies to the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Tax Court, and trial divisions of the Superior Court. For Municipal Courts, the municipality has responsibility for enforcing public health protocols regarding COVID-19 cases.

A. The Judiciary has implemented and will continue to enforce policies that minimize risks of potential exposure to COVID-19 in court facilities.

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The New Jersey courts are continuing to support comprehensive court services during the COVID-19 pandemic, including for individuals seeking protection from domestic violence. Consistent with the Supreme Court’s July 24, 2020 Seventh Omnibus Order, domestic violence temporary restraining order (TRO) applications will be accepted in person with or without a prior appointment. Effective August 3, 2020, plaintiffs also can contact the Family Division by telephone during normal court hours to apply for the entry of a TRO.

Plaintiffs who contact their local police department after Superior Court hours will continue to be assisted by law enforcement with the filing of their TRO application and be heard by a Municipal Court judge. Additionally, if law enforcement issues a complaint-summons to a domestic violence defendant, or contacts the Municipal Court to request a complaint-warrant, plaintiffs should be afforded the opportunity to apply for a TRO at the same time, with the assistance of law enforcement, even if this occurred when the Superior Court is open. These TRO applications that are submitted with a complaint-warrant or a complaint-summons should be heard by a Municipal Court judge, even during Superior Court hours.

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***Disclaimer – The Full Order and All Attachments are attached in the link below for your review.***

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many efforts have been and continue to be made to assist landlords and tenants affected by the public health crisis and remove barriers to justice. The Judiciary is implementing a multifaceted plan for improving the handling of Landlord/Tenant (LT) cases from the outset, including by providing litigants with information and resources. Our primary goal is to assist litigants in resolving their matters, not dispose of cases through trial or default. No party will be pressured into settling their case.

The Judiciary has engaged with tenant advocates as well as landlord representatives to create the attached informational materials that will be distributed to all parties in LT cases. In addition, every vicinage, in coordination with their Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement Committees and Ombudsmen, is organizing virtual LT outreach events to provide litigants and others with up to date information on current court operations. Those outreach events, conducted in partnership with key stakeholders, will highlight local community resources that provide legal, financial, and other forms of assistance relating to rental housing and mortgage payments.

This Directive sets forth the requirements of newly implemented LT case management steps, procedures, and forms for (1) service of complaints and conferences; (2) CARES Act certification of compliance; and (3) Order to Show Cause process for LT trials in limited circumstances.

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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

Our Criminal Part judges continue to handle criminal matters by utilizing technology to enable the parties to appear remotely.

I have assigned our Criminal Part judges to handle emergent matters for the month of August as set forth in the schedule listed below.  Of course, this schedule is subject to any Phase 3 changes that may be implemented.

The schedule is as follows:

August

3,4 – Judge Kazlau/Judge Wilcox/ Judge Steele

5,6 – Judge Foti/Judge Bachmann/Judge Steele

7 – Judge Vinci/Judge Steele

10 – Judge Catuogno/Judge Wilcox/Judge Sattely

11,12 – Judge Catuogno/Judge McGrogan/Judge Sattely

13,14 – Judge Kazlau/Judge Wilcox/Judge Sattely

17,18 – Judge Foti / Judge Bachmann / Judge Sattely

19,20 – Judge Vinci / Judge Sattely

21,24 – Judge Catuogno / Judge McGrogan / Judge Sattely

25,26 – Judge Kazlau / Judge Wilcox / Judge Sattely

27,28 – Judge Foti / Judge Bachmann

The Full Order and Notice is attached below for your convenience.

The Supreme Court has authorized the incremental resumption of new Civil and Criminal jury trials, which have been suspended for more than four months because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Attached to this notice are the Court’s July 22, 2020 Order and the Report on Resuming Jury Trials.

Atlantic/Cape May, Bergen, and Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem will be the first Vicinages to resume certain jury trials, beginning with Criminal trials involving a single detained defendant. Over the coming months, trials will gradually resume in all counties and will expand to include Civil as well as Criminal cases.

Overview

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On July 14, 2020, the Supreme Court issued an Order requiring certain procedures to support the resumption of landlord/tenant case processing during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The Order requires the courts to schedule conferences to obtain or confirm contact information from the parties and to conduct settlement negotiations in an effort to resolve matters while landlord/tenant trials continue to be suspended. Complaints subject to the CARES Act filed between March 27, 2020 and July 24, 2020 will be dismissed.

In order to ensure settlement conferences will address only appropriate active cases, Landlords shall do the following:

  • CARES Act Cases:  Voluntarily dismiss without prejudice any landlord/tenant case subject to the CARES Act that was filed between March 27, 2020 and July 24, 2020.
  • NON-CARES Act Cases: Advise the Clerk’s office at (201) 221-0700 ext. 25310 of all cases that have been settled or voluntarily dismissed.
  • Communications regarding dismissals shall be filed via JEDS.

Upcoming Landlord/Tenant Virtual Informational Conference

Bergen County Vicinage wishes to announce it will be conducting a Landlord Tenant Virtual Informational Conference that will be open to the public to discuss dispute resolution processes and various services available to Bergen County residents with a special focus on resources for landlords and tenants. Additional information will be forthcoming prior to the scheduling of the conference.

/s/ Hon. Joseph G. Monaghan, J.S.C.

 

The Full Notice is Available for your full review in the link below.

By Order dated July 14, 2020, the Supreme Court has authorized several steps to support the resumption of landlord/tenant case processing during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the New Jersey courts to transition from in-person to remote proceedings and to suspend landlord/tenant trial calendars as of March 16, 2020. Over the past four months, a significant number of landlord/tenant complaints have been docketed and have not yet been served on tenants. Additional cases that were pending as of March 16, 2020 have yet to be resolved. An influx of new landlord/tenant complaints also is anticipated when the relief provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES Act), 15 U.S.C. 9001 et seq., expires on July 25, 2020.

Current circumstances require the New Jersey courts to implement a cohesive strategy for landlord/tenant cases pending service and landlord/tenant cases pending trial. To that end, with input from tenant advocates and landlord representatives, the Court has authorized both permanent and interim measures to support the resumption of service of landlord/tenant complaints and the scheduling of settlement conferences while landlord/tenant trials remain suspended. Those measures are critical to facilitating the best possible outcomes for tens of thousands of New Jersey residents who face potential loss of housing in the coming months.

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This notice provides clarification of the procedures required where certain writs have expired during the COVID-19 pandemic. This notice does not apply to goods and chattel writs of execution or wage executions issued by the Special Civil Part. This notice does apply to all other writs of execution and foreclosure writs of possession (hereafter referred to as writ(s)) and warrants of removal issued by the Superior Court and the Superior Court Clerk’s Office.

Where a writ has expired, the requesting party is required to obtain a new writ. There is no extension of time for expired writs. Attorney requests for writs must be submitted through eCourts (where applicable) or JEDS in accordance with the Supreme Court’s April 24, 2020 Order.

A landlord-tenant warrant of removal must be issued within 30 days of entry of a judgment for possession or executed within 30 days of issuance, pursuant to Rule 6:7- 1(d). Read More

The New Jersey courts are continuing to establish interim protocols for court operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, including by prescribing health and safety precautions to minimize risks during necessary in-person interactions. Special Civil Part Officer responsibilities include various in-person functions, including serving summonses and complaints in landlord/tenant actions; serving and executing warrants for removal; and serving goods and chattel writ executions, wage executions, and other process. This Supplement to Directive #01-15 (“Special Civil Part Officers”) provides standards for conducting those important duties during COVID-19.

Special Civil Part Officers routinely enter Judiciary facilities, which are subject to occupancy and conduct requirements established by the Supreme Court. In performing their duties, however, Special Civil Part Officers spend most of their time in other locations, including residential and commercial locations that currently are subject to restrictions on social interactions established by various Executive Orders. Read More