New York State Debt Collection Litigation: Navigate NYS Courts to Increase Your Chances of Getting Paid

Image result for 04_WK_Nakamura_Courthouse_Court_RoomYou can navigate the New York State Courts to choose the Court that might be “friendlier” to your cause than another. That is not to say that you can shop for a better law, an old boys club or a Judge that will give you preferential treatment.

“Friendlier” means that you can tilt the scales of Justice in your favor by working within the NYS Courts system to expedite your case by choosing the right Court.

Justice can be slow and you have a need for speed. With an experienced collection attorney to guide you, you can circumvent many of these roadblocks.

Since you are the filing party, the party enforcing your right to get paid, you choose the County and Court to file your case. This is not a decision to make lite of since the choice of which Court and County DIRECTLY IMPACTS your chances of recovery.

The collection attorney handling your NYS Debt Collection Litigation must plan for the worst and hope for the best to accomplish the goal of bringing your non-paying client to the table while moving the case towards judgment as quickly as possible.

The road map must include consideration of the formalities, practices and procedures, of each of the Courts and Judges. Every Judge has their own rules, each Court its own filing requirements.

Understanding the formalities, practices and procedures of the New York Courts and its impact on the outcome of your NYS Debt Collection Litigation is imperative.    

Considerations must include:

  • Complexity of the Issues:

Cases that involve complex issues and protracted litigation would fare better in a higher Court. The Judges are used to hearing and deciding complex issues.

  • Pleadings:

Regardless of which Court or County you choose, the summons and complaint that is filed to begin the case must contain the necessary language to plead your case. What differs from Court to Court are the formality of the pleadings, specific tailoring to each Court’s specifications, anticipation and inclusion of what will be required to enter a judgment down the line.

  • Filings:

Although considered a uniformed system, only some of the Counties have electronic filing for Supreme Court. The counties that are in and border the New York Metropolitan Region have e-filing capability.

Presently, the lower Courts do not have e-filing. Physical papers must be filed with the Court.

  • Discovery:

In the lower Courts, the parties are left to exchange documents and are “supervised” by the Courts only by request by one or more of the parties. In Supreme Court, there are conferences to arrange formal timeframes for the exchange of documents, depositions and more. The result is that the discovery phase continues far longer in NYS Debt Collection litigation cases that are filed in Supreme Court.

  • Motion Practice:

Motion practice differs based upon the Court and County. Familiarity with the New York Courts is a must when deciding which Court and County will render decisions quicker without repeated appearances to decide a motion.

  • Moving the Case to be Trial Ready:

In order for a case to be ready for trial, all discovery must be complete. Will your case, if defended, require discovery to flush out the alleged defenses or, are they boilerplate and without merit so that you can just place the case on the calendar without discovery? In a case that is defended that is brought in Supreme Court, you MUST go through discovery if either party requests it.

  • Trial:

How fast can you get an actual trial date? How long will it take for a jury trial if requested by your adversary? In the lower Courts, the time to wait is far longer for a jury trial than it is in the higher Courts.

The sooner you have a judgment, the faster you can execute. Each Court has its own timetable for processing a judgment. As of writing this article, the Supreme Court in Brooklyn is processing judgments within a week whereas Supreme court in Manhattan time to process is approximately three months. A delay of three months might just mean the difference of your customer staying in or going out of business.  

Choosing the right Court and County to maximize your chances of success in your NYS Debt Collection Litigation is imperative. Make sure your collection counsel has the requisite knowledge to guide you through the process.

Have questions about credit and collections or wish to place a claim? FFGN, has the experience that pays…. Call for a free consultation at 212 – 686 – 0100 or email Jocelyn Nager