Mandatory Mediation for New York Supreme Court Debt Collection Cases

black and white image of a courthouseNew York Supreme Court has a pilot program for the automatic referral of many debt collection cases to mandatory mediation. The program requires that all cases designated a contract matter (debt collection case) will go to mediation. This mandate is for cases not part of or assigned to one of the appointed Judges serving in the commercial division.

Your New York collection lawyer’s goal is to increase your chances of success in debt collection litigation. Knowing in advance whether your debt collection case will be set down for mandatory mediation can help shape your decision to proceed with litigation.

New York State has 62 counties and each one has a supreme court. The Supreme Court Judges hear all types of cases. But not every New York supreme court has a commercial division. Likewise, not every county offers mediation. And while a seasoned New York Debt Collection Attorney, such as FFGN, knows their way around New York courts, it is helpful for you to gain an understanding of the New York court system. This will help you appreciate the strategy as you bring your debt collection case to court in one county as opposed to an other.

Considerations when your New York debt collection case may be designated for mandatory mediation:

  1. Does your case meet the requirements and will it be set down for mandatory mediation
  2. Whether your case may settle or resolve after filing the action
  3. Can win your case on summary judgment
  4. Would it cause undue hardship or would there be a valid reason not to proceed
  5. What triggers the mandatory mediation
  6. How will this save you time in collecting money owed you
  7. How soon will the court schedule mediation
  8. Will you have to pay for the court-ordered mediation
  9. Will you have to appear at the mediation
  10. You have no interest in participating in mediation.

FAQ: Mediation for New York Debt Collection Cases

Will every case be set down for mediation?

Should your case meet the requirements of the New York county’s supreme court commercial division, your case will not qualify for mandatory mediation.

Can I settle/resolve my case after filing the action?

Yes, there are two ways you can settle/resolve your case after filing the action.

  • Option #1: If the settlement/resolution occurs before the assignment of a judge.
  • Option #2: If the debtor/defendant does not appear in the action, you win by default.

Can I win my case without going to trial?

If the court applies the law to the undisputed facts of your case, you should win the case by summary judgement. This would mean that you do not have to go to trial. It is the facts of your case, including the allegations raised by the other side, determine if you can win your debt collection case without going to trial.

Is there any way to avoid the Court’s order requiring mandatory mediation?

If you can demonstrate that mandatory mediation would cause undue hardship or present another valid reason not to proceed with mediation, it may be avoidable. You must apply for the exemption at the preliminary conference.

If you have no interest in participating in mandatory mediation and your reasons do not meet the Court’s allowable exception, speak with your New York debt collection attorney about filing the action in another county.

What triggers mandatory mediation?

The filing of a Request for Preliminary Conference on a contract case not assigned to the commercial division will trigger the process.

How soon will the court schedule mandatory mediation?

Within four days after a preliminary conference, the parties must complete and submit the mediation initiation form. The case then becomes part of the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process. Currently, the court assigns mediators within 30-90 days.

Will mandatory mediation help me get my money sooner?

It could. Traditionally, in an unresolved case, the parties request a preliminary conference. The objective of the conference is to have a judge assigned and aid in overseeing the discovery process and get the case ready to move to the court’s trial calendar. To enable disposition, attempts are made to push the parties forward.

Mandatory mediation should expedite the overall process but could limit the amount of pretrial discovery. Pretrial discovery is about gathering all paper and computer documentation to prove your case, appearing for depositions, and other similar preparations.

Mandatory mediation may resolve your case quicker. However, limited discovery could challenge the final award value.

Does mandatory mediation cost money?

The first three hours are free. If mediation continues beyond the first three hours, both sides share the cost at a rate previously agreed upon with the mediator.

Do I have to appear at the mediation?

Whether you must appear in person or can appear remotely by electronic participation will depend upon the mediator assigned. There is no way to predict. It is, however, proven that mediation is far more successful if all parties actively participate.

For more information on how best to handle your debt collection case and whether mandatory mediation for your New York Supreme Court Debt Collection case will help get your money sooner, give us a call.