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Cohen & Slamowitz


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OK, so I had a really old lawsuit from C&S. They filed it 3 years ago and I filed a timely answer. It sat, I had no idea what I am doing so I thought they had to do something and abandoned it. After years of sitting they sneakily tried to file a Note of Issue which means we are ready to proceed to trial and never served it, the court sent me a letter asking us to come to a pre-trial hearing in November and I showed up and they didn't. So I filed a motion to dismiss for failure to appear. At the motion hearing they finally had a lawyer show up, some local attorney who had no idea about the case and just wanted to settle. The judge denied my motion to dismiss because now after 3 years they finally got around to it but did strike they note of issue so now we are in the discovery phase.

He gave us a few dates, one in Feb when all discovery had to be served, one in March where all responses to discovery had to be done. One in April where all the depositions (I think, it all happened so fast) had to be done. And one in May when the trial was to be. Their lawyer asked the judge if they could do something by mail, like depositions or something, I'm not sure and he said no, they had to be in person, which their attorney didn't like.

So now I need help with what my discovery should ask for, I mean I'll do my own research too, I just figure you guys on here know so much more than me maybe you have a few pointers. I'm in NY and its supposedly the OC suing me, its not for much, the opposing attorney said they would settle for 1500 dollars probably but I think I want to fight it. The judge doesn't seem all that interested in hearing either of us and is pushing for settlement, the clerk seemed like she was gunning for me, she was pointing out to the judge what a mockery C&S was making of the process, not serving things, not showing up, etc. I just can't believe how skewed this is in favor of the plaintiff, I saw other people there who were getting sued, one lady was being sued by someone she never heard of who didn't show up and the judge dismissed it without prejudice so they could bring it again. If she hadn't have showed up though I'm sure she would have had a judgement against her on the spot. I could rant for hours though so I'll stick to the point.

I want to make them prove everything, just not sure what I should ask for and what I should do. Thanks in advance.

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is this nyc or upstate new york?

ive dealt with cohen & slamowitz. they lie, cheat, steal, so do not talk to them on the phone. if you do talk to them on the phone, they will fast talk, try to get you to admit to things without you knowing it.

they'll say things like "im calling about your account"

or "are you saying the amount you owe is incorrect"

things like that where they trip you up on how they ask their questions.

as for discovery, i say keep it simple at this point. they have to prove their case. being that this MIGHT be OC, dont go asking for the kitchen sink.

i would ask interrogatories, and notices to admit, and not so much for documents.

make sure the responses are notarized and signed pursuant to CPLR, otherwise reject their responses and/or file a motion to compel.

ive beat them twice in state court, and sued and won in federal. but they are very slick, they lie in open court.

start hitting them with interrogatories...try to dig at whether OC is really the plaintiff. watch them object

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first question, who currently owns this alleged account or alleged debt.

when was this debt charged off.

date of first delinquency.

ask questions that only the original creditor would know. that's how you get them (if its a debt collector.)

look at the responses, did they come from OC or from slamowitz......go from there

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first question, who currently owns this alleged account or alleged debt.

when was this debt charged off.

date of first delinquency.

ask questions that only the original creditor would know. that's how you get them (if its a debt collector.)

look at the responses, did they come from OC or from slamowitz......go from there

How can they file a suit 3 years ago and not do anything for over 2 years? In the meantime, the SOL is being tolled. Don't inactive cases get dismissed after a period of time?

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Guest usctrojanalum
How can they file a suit 3 years ago and not do anything for over 2 years? In the meantime, the SOL is being tolled. Don't inactive cases get dismissed after a period of time?

Depends on the Court. If the OP is being sued in the Supreme Court of his county, this is not uncommon.

If he is being sued in a City or District Court, they will get dismissed after 1 year.

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Depends on the Court. If the OP is being sued in the Supreme Court of his county, this is not uncommon.

If he is being sued in a City or District Court, they will get dismissed after 1 year.

Thanks USC. But it just doesn't seem fair to be able to toll the SOL for that long by filing suit and doing nothing. Oh well.

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Guest usctrojanalum

It's more about the system. The Supreme Court in the County I live in (1.5M people) Already has over 1,000 cases filed in 2012. There have only been 13 days in the year where the Courts have been open to accept filings (taking in account weekends and two holidays thus far)

When law suits get filed at a rate of 75 per day, the court is going to allow some cases that are not as important to stay on the back burner for a very long time with little or no movement.

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It's more about the system. The Supreme Court in the County I live in (1.5M people) Already has over 1,000 cases filed in 2012. There have only been 13 days in the year where the Courts have been open to accept filings (taking in account weekends and two holidays thus far)

When law suits get filed at a rate of 75 per day, the court is going to allow some cases that are not as important to stay on the back burner for a very long time with little or no movement.

Wow. My county had a total of 108 civil cases in the entire year of 2011.

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  • 3 weeks later...

So Jackson212, how did you win your cases?

I guess what my big problem is, is that I don't what discovery is for. Why do I have to ask them for items to prove their case? Don't they have bring up their evidence? Why is it in my best interest to ask them for stuff?

This is was in City Court, it should have been tossed after one year of no action but the law is vague. The law states that a default judgement must be entered within a year if I fail to answer. So if I don't answer they have a year to get the default entered or else the case gets disposed. The law as I've interpreted it, doesn't specifically say anything about cases where the defendant answered in time and the case sat for years. The law is really stacked in favor of the plaintiff, and in practice its even worse.

It seems like this case fell through the cracks and all of a sudden they woke up and decided to pursue it. Its a mill, each "lawyer" at Cohen & Slamowitz handles over 5,000 cases a year according to the New York Times. The lawyer they hired that showed up last time was trying to distance himself from them, but its like, come on man, if they are such scumbags then why are you representing them?

Yeah, these people file hundreds and hundreds claims a year in a small city, everybody is doing it now. Even the power company is suing people who owe as little as $125, they have filed hundreds of cases. Its so discouraging seeing all these people getting railroaded by a system they don't understand. The original C&S complaint was misleading as well, it said something like, "you do not need to show up to the court in person to answer this complaint" and made it seem like you needed to call them to get it taken care of. Totally misleading.

Also, do I have to subpoena people? Don't they have to produce someone with personal knowledge of the creation of the debt?

But I'd be real interested to know more about how Jackson212 beat them, did you use any discovery or just go right to trial?

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So Jackson212, how did you win your cases?

I guess what my big problem is, is that I don't what discovery is for. Why do I have to ask them for items to prove their case? Don't they have bring up their evidence? Why is it in my best interest to ask them for stuff?

Because, you can tell them to cough it up now, or they'll wait right up until the last minute and then dump it on you. If they don't have it, you can paint them into a corner. If they do have it, but are going to take 80 days getting it to you, you can have it precluded and paint them into a corner. If they do have it, but object to your requests, then try to spring it on you at the last minute, you can use their objections against them. If you don't ask for it, well, they can produce it at their leisure.

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