New York Appellate Court Confirms Governor’s Executive Order Tolls Statute of Limitations

November 18, 2021

On March 20, 2020, former Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order No. 202.8 which tolled the statutory time limitations on civil actions from March 20, 2020 to November 3, 2020.  The Appellate Division, Second Department, in the matter of Nikki Brash v. Neil M. Richards, 195 A.D.3d 582, 149 N.Y.S.3d 560 (2 Dept. 2021), clarified the effect of the order by distinguishing between the effect of “tolling” as opposed to “suspension” of litigation deadlines. The court held that the time limitations stopped running on the date the order was signed, March 20, 2020, and did not resume until the executive order and subsequent extensions expired on November 3, 2020.  The effect of the tolling causes the full time period of the tolling to be added to the original statutory time period. The executive order effectively added 228 days to the limitations period for all causes of action that accrued and had not previously expired prior to March 20, 2020.  The statute of limitations for causes of action which accrued during the tolling period began to run on November 3, 2020.

 The Appellate Division Second Department noted that had the executive order been a suspension, the time period during which the executive order was in effect would only have delayed the expiration of the statutory limitations period until November 3, 2020.