Murrells Inlet, SC asked in Small Claims for New York

Q: What is best way to reverse a small claims default judgement? (Jurisdictional issue)

2 mos before lawsuit filed I moved to another state 700 mi. away. Proof is lease/other official docs mailed to new address, dated before lawsuit. Per NY Small Claims Law the court has no jurisdiction on non residents. Pre hearing I called clerk to advise him I'd send formal letter seeking dismissal including clear proof of residency. I also advised him I'd not attend the hearing. Called clerk later to confirm documents receipt. Again I requested dismissal, and that I'd not attend hearing. He never advised that I was proceeding improperly on either call. Simply said it's added to my file, and judge will rule. Default Judgement was imposed for the full amt. Court tells me my only recourse is to file Order to Show Cause / Affadavit in Support. If approved, judgement is vacated and new hearing set. Can I then file a formal Motion to Dismiss via mail? Did that originally but maybe without correct procedure / forms? Why be forced to appear to argue that the law says I don't need to appear?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Victor M. Feraru
Victor M. Feraru
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: First, the clerk shouldn't be giving legal advice. You might have an attorney respond for the limited purpose of arguing lack of personal jurisdiction.

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