Collecting VA small claims judgment in NY
August 23, 2022 5:02 PM   Subscribe

I was recently awarded a $25,000 default judgment against a NY-based defendant. My lawyer here was clear that he'd help me get that judgment but I needed to have a NY lawyer help me domesticate and collect it. I'm Googling in circles and hope someone here has more direct info. You are not my lawyer and I will not take answers as legal advice.

While the $25,000 is huge to me, I know it's not an amount that will excite a lot of lawyers. (My lawyer here is taking a very small contingency.) Still, I know some work with smaller amounts--but I can't find them.

I am hoping to find a NY lawyer to domesticate the judgment and work with an enforcement officer. Searching those terms is pulling up a lot of informational pages, not names of lawyers or enforcement officers. Being out of state, I don't really know how to research this more precisely.

TL;dr: Does anyone know a lawyer in NY who does small claim default judgment collections? Or have a list? Or.a good number for referrals?

If anyone has information on hiring an enforcement lawyer, I'd appreciate that as well.
posted by mermaidcafe to Law & Government (5 answers total)
 
I assume you’ve asked your lawyer if he knows anyone in NYS who does this sort of work and he said no? That’d be the natural way to get a referral, but if it didn’t work, it didn’t work.

Short of that, bar associations maintain referral lists. If you google “New York State Bar Association referral”, you should find a number or something you can call to explain the problem and get an appropriate referral. Might not be the pinnacle of the profession, but you just need someone to do a routine thing.
posted by LizardBreath at 5:14 PM on August 23, 2022 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Google "collection attorney new york domesticate judgment" and start dialing -- someone should be willing to do this cheaply. Given the amount involved you may want to consider using a collection service, rather than a standard law office. Like this one (an example, not an endorsement).
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:45 PM on August 23, 2022


Best answer: IANYL, TINLA. I don’t know any lawyers who handle this sort of thing, but I do believe this may be a wee bit more complicated than normal because it’s an out of state default judgment. While NY courts generally have to recognize out of state judgments under the full faith and credit clause, they have to do a bit more examination of default judgments to make sure proper processes were followed by NY policy standards. I don’t believe the procedure for enforcing an out-of-state default judgment is exceptionally complicated, but you do want to make sure you hire an attorney who has some specific experience in enforcing out of state default judgments, as opposed to out of state judgments granted on the merits.

(Subsidiary point, mostly for reference: $25,000 is way outside the jurisdictional limit of NY Small Claims courts. $25,000 would be a Civil Court matter, not a Small Claims matter.)
posted by holborne at 8:45 PM on August 23, 2022 [2 favorites]


Response by poster: it’s an out of state default judgment. While NY courts generally have to recognize out of state judgments under the full faith and credit clause, they have to do a bit more examination of default judgments to make sure proper processes were followed by NY policy standards.

Thanks. That's good info. Do you know if doing that research is part of the domestication or if it comes later ?

Thanks too for info on the amount. Here in VA it was small claims and I know the NY lawyer I talked too said it was too low for him, but I will check Civil Court as well.
posted by mermaidcafe at 6:02 PM on August 24, 2022


Best answer: Thanks. That's good info. Do you know if doing that research is part of the domestication or if it comes later ?

I’m assuming that your lawyer will make sure before they accept the case that the court had jurisdiction over the defendant down in Virginia (which is pretty much the concern in NY); it wouldn’t be worth their while to take the case to file the motion and then find out “Oops, no jurisdiction, we’re screwed.” That’s just an assumption, but I suspect a pretty good one.
posted by holborne at 4:57 PM on August 25, 2022


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