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How does New York Civil Court jurisdiction work for non-residents/citizens ?

Flushing, NY |

I recently found out that there was a New York Civil Court judgment against me 8 years back. Apparently this was a default judgment in favor of a debt collection company for a very old unpaid credit card balance. I was not living in USA and was not a US citizen at the time of judgment. I didn't even have a valid US visa at that time. I never received any notification or summons about this lawsuit as I didn't have an address in the US. I am now a US resident.

I would like to know how the Civil Court jurisdiction applies in this case, please.

Also, will it be possible to vacate the judgment as I was not notified and did not represent in court ?

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Attorney answers 2


Go to the court and get a copy of the file. Look at the affidavit of service to see if it is accurate. If it is not accurate, then you can make a motion to vacate if service wad not proper and you have a defense to the allegations.

If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thanks. For further information you should see an attorney and discuss the matter completely. If you are in the New York City area, then you can reach me during normal business hours at 718 329 9500 or


Your immigration status is irrelevent. The issue is whether there was jurisdiction over you. Go to the court and review the affidavit of service in the court file to see how they claimed you were served. If you did not reside at the place when they say you were served you can file an Order To Show Cause to vacate the default judgment and to dismiss the case because it is now beyond the 6 year statute of limitations.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

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