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Coronavirus Freezes Most Litigation Filings in New York State Courts, So Look Elsewhere for TROs and Preliminary Injunctions

For any attorney about to rush into New York State court to seek an injunction or temporary relief with regard to a violation of a non-compete or other restrictive covenant, or with regard to misappropriation of trade secrets, think again about venue.

By Administrative Order, dated March 22, 2020, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks has decreed that until further notice, New York State courts are accepting no filings unless the filings concern an emergency matter (as defined in the Order’s Exhibit A).  Neither restrictive covenant nor trade secret matters count as “emergencies.”

This Order thus effectively bars the initiation of non-compete or trade secret matters for its duration (and any filings in such actions that are pending) in New York state court.  If called upon to initiate action in New York on such a matter (including seeking temporary/injunctive relief), counsel must look to federal court in New York, or other potential state (or federal) venues.  If diversity jurisdiction does not exist, consider a claim under the Defend Trade Secrets Act or other federal statute to secure federal question jurisdiction.

The Administrative Order was issued in conjunction with the Executive Order issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo on March 20, 2020, which tolls deadlines until April 19, 2020.

©2020 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 85

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About this Author

David J. Clark Attorney, Epstein Becker Green, Labor and Employment Law Attorney
Member of The Firm

David J. Clark is a Member of the Firm in the Litigation and Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practices in Epstein Becker Green’s New York office. His practice concentrates on litigating complex commercial and employment-related disputes before state and federal courts and arbitration tribunals. Mr. Clark represents clients in a wide range of industries, including financial services, advertising and media, accounting, banking, insurance, managed care, and retail brands.

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