Which Court Hears Your New York Debt Collection Case Makes a Difference

Image of a gavel in front of a court house to represent new york debt collection courtIf the New York court system is unified, does the court you choose to file your New York debt collection claim in make a difference? An outside observer would believe the court’s unified title implies that each of the 62 counties of the New York State Judiciary operates under the same procedures as the others. The reality is actually quite different.

Many of New York’s 62 counties have their own distinct rules, requirements, and procedures, even those in adjoining counties. These differences can present themselves in a variety of ways, including the following circumstances:

1. Motion Practice

Motions are made by notice of motion with supporting affidavits and/or affirmations, exhibits, and more. A county might require motions to include an additional statement that an adjoining county does not.

2. Additional Document Requirement

One court may require additional documents that another might not. In order for a motion to be considered and granted in Queens County Supreme Court, a completed “Motion Submission Form” must be submitted to the assigned judge prior to the motion return date. If the moving party, the party filing the motion fails to do so, the court will deny the motion before reviewing the underlying motion papers. The party loses, not on the merits of their argument or case, but based on their failure to adhere to the county’s specific rule. As of now, Nassau County, the adjoining county, does not require this form for motions.

3. Default Judgment Applications

The same form can be used when submitting a judgment on default to the Supreme Court for entry in all 62 counties. What differs from county to county may be the requisite documentation to evidence the claim. For example, when uploading a proposed judgment on default, sometimes you need affirmations and supporting documentation in addition to the statement for judgment and affidavits. Some counties require more documentation of the debt than others.

For example, in Queens Supreme Court a statement of account may be sufficient for the clerk to enter judgment, whereas New York county requires the statement of account and supporting invoices before issuing a judgment.

Discovery and the Need to File a Notice of Trial

Most counties set a discovery schedule for cases. How firm those deadlines are will differ from county to county. New York county typically does not change discovery deadlines without permission of the assigned judge, whereas Kings County is not necessarily as rigid with deadlines.

Additionally, most counties have firm deadlines for filing a notice of trial (called a note of issue in the Supreme Court). The form’s submission occurs when the parties, at least in the view of the party filing the form, complete discovery and deem the case ready for trial. In some counties, if you miss the deadline, the case may be dismissed outright.

For example, the plaintiff may contact the court clerk and request an extension to file a note of issue with the consent of counsel in Kings Supreme Court. In Queens, the court, at least prior to the pandemic, does not grant such extensions. If you miss the deadline to file the note of issue, Kings Supreme Court allows a motion to extend the note of issue, as long as you give a valid reason. In Queens Supreme Court, again, prior to the pandemic, if you miss the deadline to file a note of issue, the case will likely be dismissed.

Obviously, as stated above, the pandemic has, at least partially, loosened some of the counties’ rules. However, the items described above demonstrate the differences in the handling and processing of necessary court files.

Choosing an attorney who can navigate the court system for your New York debt collection case is imperative when looking for the fastest results possible. If you have questions regarding a New York debt collection case, contact Frank, Frank, Goldstein & Nager.