Committee Reports

Proposed Solutions to the File Access Problem in New York City Civil Court


The Committee on Civil Courts wrote to John McConnell, the Counsel to the New York State Office of Court Administration, with recommendations to address the delays in gaining access to files in the New York City Civil Court. The problem affects consumer debt collection cases, and most heavily burdens pro se consumer defendants who 1) discover default judgments against them in old cases and 2) are sued in recent cases for which the affidavit of service is unavailable. The delays deprive consumer defendants of timely relief from wage garnishments and other effects of ill-gotten default judgments. Delayed access also prevents defendants from challenging improper service in newer cases, knowing whether they are alleged to have been served, and knowing the correct calculation of time to answer. The Committee noted that the recent court-based initiatives designed to address these problems are important steps, and urged OCA to adopt the Committee’s proposed series of long-term solutions, which the Committee believes will require little to no additional resources.