Statement of City Bar President Carey R. Dunne on Chief Judge Lippman’s 2014 Law Day Announcements

The New York City Bar Association applauds New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s proposed reforms for consumer credit actions filed in New York State courts.  The reforms announced yesterday by the Chief Judge will go a long way toward improving access to justice for the tens of thousands of New Yorkers contending with debt collection actions. Over 100,000 debt cases are filed every year in New York State, many by third-party debt buyers with limited evidence. Defendants are primarily low-income, working poor, and otherwise indigent individuals, and 98% of them are without the benefit of counsel. Approximately half of all cases result in default judgments with devastating effects for consumers, creating barriers to employment, housing and access to affordable financial services and products. The reforms proposed by Chief Judge Lippman will help address the problem of “sewer service,” stem the nefarious practice of “robo-signed” affidavits in applications for default judgments and ensure that plaintiffs seeking default judgments submit legally required proof. The reforms will also expand user-friendly forms and innovative practices developed in New York City to the entire state to assist unrepresented litigants. Chief Judge Lippman’s comprehensive set of reforms will make New York State a leader in the nation in ensuring the fair administration of justice in cases that have had fundamental substantive and procedural deficiencies.