senate Bill S7806A
(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:
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; 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; and to amend
chapter 457 of the laws of 2005 amending the judiciary law and other
laws relating to use of credit cards to pay fees, fines and surcharges,
in relation to making the provisions of such chapter permanent
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 sunsets.
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 participate 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 expanded in Westchester County to include
the same classes of commercial cases as are authorized for e-filing
in New York 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
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
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
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.
Finally, recognizing that the Legislature last year gave permanent
status to the consensual e-filing program and that New York's program
authorizing use of credit cards to pay court fees and other court
obligations has, for over 20 years, produced significant efficiencies
and accelerated revenue collection, this measure similarly gives
permanent status to present authority (now scheduled to expire August
9th of this year) for such use of credit cards.
This measure, which would take effect retroactively to 9/1/09, would
have no fiscal impact.
2010 LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
Senate 7806 (Schneiderman) [adv to 3rd Rdg]
Assembly 10987-A (Weinstein) [recom to Jud]
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