Summons & Complaint

Filing a Summons and Complaint in New York

Under New York law a civil lawsuit is started by the filing of a SUMMONS and COMPLAINT. These two documents give the DEFENDANT notice that he is being sued and what the lawsuit is about. Normally, the Complaint is verified, that is, sworn to by the PLAINTIFF. The complaint sets forth, in brief, the allegations which the plaintiff must prove to win his case. It is our practice to carefully draft the complaint in such a manner as to draw from the defendant precise responses in his ANSWER which is the next document to be FILED.

The summons and complaint once filed with the court and a filing fee which is currently set at $210.00 is paid starts the lawsuit. The court then issues an index number. This is the number that the court system uses to track each case. It is similar to a license plate number. It is unique to that particular case. All subsequent documents filed in the case must bear that index number. When used in this outline filing signifies that the actual document is filed for safe keeping with the court where the case is to be heard. It becomes a matter of public record and in some jurisdictions is available for public inspection on line, otherwise it is available for public inspection by going to the court house and requisitioning the file from the clerk's office.

On the face of the summons, the defendant is notified that he must appear and file an answer within 20 to 30 days, depending on the manner in which the summons and complaint is served.

Additional steps of filing a New York civil lawsuit.

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