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Statute of Limitations Tolling Under Executive Order No. 202.8

Mar 26, 2020

On March 20, 2020, the Governor’s Office signed Executive Order No. 202.8, which, among other things, includes a directive tolling the statute of limitations and other legal deadlines and process from March 20, 2020 through April 19, 2020:

In accordance with the directive of the Chief Judge of the State to limit court operations to essential matters during the pendency of the COVID-19 health crisis, any specific time limit for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding, as prescribed by the procedural laws of the state, including but not limited to the criminal procedure law, the family court act, the civil practice law and rules, the court of claims act, the surrogate’s court procedure act, and the uniform court acts, or by any other statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation, or part thereof, is hereby tolled from the date of this executive order until April 19, 2020;

Applied literally, the above directive tolls the running of all New York State-based statutes of limitations viable during the tolling period, and not simply those that would otherwise expire during the tolling period.

Past executive orders, including two issued by the current governor in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, have merely suspended the expiration of limitation periods during declared state emergencies, rather than tolling the running of the limitation periods for the duration of the emergency.  See, e.g., Executive Order Nos. 52 (A. Cuomo)  (suspending Section 201 of CPLR “so far as it bars actions whose limitations period concludes during the period” of emergency) and 81 (A. Cuomo) (extending the suspension); see also Executive Order No. 113.7 (Pataki) (suspending Section 201 of CPLR “so far as it bars actions whose limitation period concludes during” the emergency declared after the 9/11 terrorist attacks).

This remains a rapidly evolving situation, which we are monitoring.