Changes To The Uniform Rules And Their Impact On Attorneys’ Practices


Chief Administrative Judge Larry Marks issued Administrative Order 270/2020, which implemented considerable modifications to general civil practice in New York Supreme Court. Overall, there are nearly 30 rules that have been adopted into the Uniform Rules. Many of these new rules or variations were derived from the existing rules and procedures of the Commercial Division.

Highlights of the Recent Changes to the Uniform Rules

Some of the most noteworthy changes to the Uniform Rules include the following:

1. Parties may request a separate judge to administer settlement conferences;
2. If counsel fails to be familiar with their case or sufficiently prepared to resolve all issues scheduled in front of the judge, the unprepared party may be considered to have failed to appear;
3. All depositions are limited to 7 hours for each deponent;
4. Each party is limited to taking 10 depositions total;
5. Discovery disputes require attorneys to confer with one another and contact the court for a conference before filing any discovery motions;
6. Before a preliminary or compliance conference, attorneys representing all parties must meet and make a good-faith effort to agree on potential resolutions for any issues relating to discovery, voluntary exchanges of informal discovery, alternative dispute resolution, and the lawsuit;
7. All non-compliances with scheduling orders may give rise to impositions of suitable sanctions against the breaching parties;
8. Motions can be brought on by order to show cause only when a statute mandates, a stay is necessary, or there is genuine urgency;
9. Before trial, lawyers shall have a good-faith discussion to establish all resolved legal issues that do not require court intervention, matters not being disputed, and discuss a possible settlement; and
10. The parties are required to list in writing to the court the witnesses they plan on calling, the order of testimonies, and the anticipated length of all testimonies.

How the Above Changes Could Affect Personal Injury Law Firms

The new changes to the Uniform Rules are meant to alleviate court congestion by forcing litigating parties to resolve their issues. By compelling counsel to handle matters related to discovery, facilitating settlements, and alternative dispute resolutions, parties, will not be as dependent on judiciary intervention. More cooperation between opposing parties will result in considerably less need for dispositive motions and trials. Consequently, this could result in faster settlements and less time in court.

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