Queens Bankruptcy Attorney
We get people calling our office and claiming that they’re being sued by Mel Harris, Rubin & Rothman, Cohen and Slamowitz, Pressler and Pressler, and many other debt collection firms in New York. They’re worried because they’re suddenly facing a court action that they knew nothing about.
As a Queens bankruptcy law office that understands the New York court system, we’re going to tell you that this isn’t a situation you can resolve with a simple phone call. A letter isn’t going to cut it either.
If you’re being sued by any of these debt collection firms and you don’t think you were ever served with a summons and complaint, your next step needs to be one of the following:
- Go to court yourself and answer the complaint against you OR
- Hire a Queens bankruptcy attorney to do it for you
We personally vote for the latter!
Like we said at the beginning, you’re not the only one in New York City who’s ever been hit with a debt collection lawsuit out of the blue. Many people don’t even learn about the action until the court date has passed and they’ve been hit with a default judgment that leaves them owing hundreds, maybe even thousands. If it’s happened to you, our law office can help.
What are the Rules for Serving Papers in New York?
New York law has explicit requirements for how you can be served in a debt collection lawsuit.
First off, the party suing you can’t serve the summons and complaint on you themselves unless they’ve gotten permission from the court to do so. At any rate, most creditors will hire a process server or arrange to have you served by someone they know. This can even be a friend or family member, as long as that party is over the age of 18 and doesn’t serve more than five papers a year.
You can be served with debt collection papers in one of two ways:
- Presenting them to you personally. If you don’t know anything about the lawsuit, it’s safe to assume that they skipped this step.
- Substituted service. With this type of service, the process server presents the papers to someone of appropriate age and discretion at your home or place of business and asks them to pass the documents on to you. The server will then send a copy via first-class mail to your last known residence or actual place of business in an envelope marked ‘Personal and Confidential.’
If the server claims that they’ve tried repeatedly to serve you via personal or substituted service and failed, they can affix the summons to the door of your home or place of business and send a copy via first-class mail to you at that home or business address.
This is general information about the way that they’re supposed to serve you, but not all process servers follow the rules. Instead, they opt for ‘sewer service,’ meaning that they dump the papers in the sewer and claim that they served you personally. The Mel S. Harris law firm was actually named in a class action lawsuit a few years ago by plaintiffs accusing it of cutting corners to win default judgments.
Get a Queens Bankruptcy Attorney on Your Side
Never ignore a default judgment, even if you think it was obtained illegally. Unless you prove that you weren’t properly served, your creditors can commence wage garnishment, freeze your bank accounts, and even take other collection actions like foreclosure.
NYC bankruptcy attorney Daniel Gershburg can help you by contesting the judgment in court. If your creditor can’t prove that they served you properly, their case may be dismissed with prejudice, forcing them to start all over again. With legal representation, you stand a better chance of achieving the best results.
If you’re struggling financially, Attorney Gershburg can also help you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which will help you get a discharge from your unsecured debts, such as credit cards and medical bills, and give you a fresh start. He will explain the bankruptcy process to you so you can decide if it is right for you.
To schedule an initial consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer and get legal advice for your situation, call 212-390-8866 or contact us online. We represent clients in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, and beyond!