senate Bill S7806
(D, WF) 0 Senate District
- In Committee
- On Floor Calendar
- Passed Senate
- Passed Assembly
- Delivered to Governor
- Signed by Governor
Continues and expands New York's program for use of electronic means for filing certain papers in civil litigation in supreme court and other courts.
TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend chapter 367 of the laws of 1999, amending the civil
practice law and rules and the judiciary law relating to authorization
of pilot programs permitting use of facsimile transmission or
electronic means to commence an action or special proceeding, in
relation to use of electronic means to commence an action or
proceeding and to amend chapter 416 of the laws of 2009, amending the
civil practice law and rules relating to service of papers by
electronic means, in relation to service of papers by electronic means
This measure is being introduced at the request of the Judiciary. It
was prepared in collaboration with the NYS Association of County
Clerks and it has their support.
This measure is a chapter amendment to effectuate several minor
changes in legislation enacted last session to continue and expand the
State's program in the use of electronic means for the filing of
certain papers in civil litigation in Supreme Court and other courts
("electronic filing" or "e-filing"). See L. 2009, c.416.
Eleven years ago, New York instituted an experiment in the use of
e-filing. The experiment permitted e-filing in a few categories of
cases in Supreme Court and in a few venues, included a requirement for
the consent of the parties, and was set to expire in approximately
three years. See L. 1999, c. 367. Over the ensuing decade, the State
revisited this experiment several times, expanding the case categories
and venues in which it could be used, expanding its availability to
cases in the Surrogate's Courts and the Court of Claims, and
continuing its experimental character by providing for a series of
Last year, the Legislature enacted chapter 416 as a major expansion of
the e-filing program. As part of this expansion, the Legislature
removed e-filing from the ranks of an experiment and gave it permanent
status. It also eliminated restrictions on the categories of cases and
venues in which e-filing might be used, permitting its use statewide
in Supreme Court, Surrogate's Court and the Court of Claims. While
chapter 416 did not eliminate the requirement that parties consent to
use of e-filing in individual cases, it did institute a limited
program of mandatory e-filing in Supreme Court in certain commercial
cases in New York County, in tort cases in Westchester County, and in
certain cases in one other upstate county (to be designated by the
Chief Administrative Judge).
As we have begun to go forward and implement the provisions of chapter
416, we recognize that we can ensure a more effective e-filing program
with five minor changes in the legislation. They include:
* addition of a requirement that the Chief Administrative Judge
consult with the affected County Clerk before instituting any
consensual program of e-filing in a county. Omission of this
requirement was an oversight in chapter 416.
* in place of the statutory provision permitting the Chief
Administrative Judge to select an upstate county for participation in
the mandatory e-filing program, authorization for her to designate
four specific upstate counties - Livingston, Monroe, Rockland and
Tompkins - to participation in that program. These four counties and
their local Bar Associations have indicated a strong wish to be
included in the mandatory e-filing pilot. Relatedly, we also propose
that mandatory e-filing be authorized in other classes of cases in
Westchester County besides tort cases.
* addition of a requirement that, before instituting mandatory
e-filing in any venue, the Chief Administrative Judge must consult
with the local County Clerk; and, before instituting mandatory
e-filing in the four identified upstate venues, the Chief
Administrative Judge must secure the agreement of the local County
Clerk. This change will ensure that counties are well-prepared to
meet the demands generated by mandatory e-filing.
* addition of a requirement that the Chief Administrative Judge
establish an advisory committee, to be comprised of both court system
personnel and County Clerks, to assist him or her in implementing the
e-filing legislation generally. This change is intended to ensure that
the e-filing program goes forward as a truly collaborative exercise;
and that it remains continually subject to critical review.
* modification of the reporting requirement set out in chapter 416 to
obligate the Chief Administrative Judge to furnish an annual report on
the e-filing program, commencing 4/1/11; and particularly to invite
the Chief Administrative Judge. in each such annual report, to make
recommendations, as appropriate. for expansion of the mandatory
e-filing program. We point out that there likely are other counties -
besides the four to be added by this measure to the mandatory e-filing
program - that are now, or soon can be, ready for a meaningful test of
mandatory e-filing; and it is our hope that, after a year or so of
successful experience with the program in the pilot counties, and with
strong local support for expansion into other counties, the latter can
be permitted to join the program (subject. of course, to a continuing
requirement that there be no expansion of the mandatory program
without the agreement of any county clerk in an affected county).
Beyond these changes, this measure also clarifies that statutory
authorization for use of fax transmission as a means of filing papers
(another feature of the early e-filing program) should be limited to
papers in -the Court of Claims. This will conform the statute to the
practice and to need as it has been demonstrated over time.
Lastly, the measure makes a technical change in the Judiciary Law's
recitation of the powers of the Chief Administrative Judge to clarify
that it includes rule-making powers conferred by chapter 367 of the
Laws of 1999, as amended through chapter 416 of the laws of 2009.
This measure, which would take effect retroactively to 9/1/09, would
have no fiscal impact.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
None. New proposal.
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