I was hand delivered a Complaint Summons where the lawsuit amount was "whited out" and a "larger amount" was "hand written" in.

Asked almost 5 years ago - Binghamton, NY

The initial Summons was hand delivered and the amount was whited out and a larger amount was handwritten in with pen ink.

The second copy of the summons was sent via the Postal Mail and had the same thing was done to that.

The third copy sent certified mail had NO white out and the amount which was "typed" in was lower then the handwritten amount.


Was this proper delivery? Also, is this legal?

BTW, it was a Lawyer who did this.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Jeffrey Michael Donato

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . I am a New York State Attorney. Essentially, the other answering attorney is correct. If the matter is a Personal injury claim, New York State law does not allow for damages to be specified in the Summons/Complaint except to state that they "exceed the jurisdictional limits of the courts below". There may be argument that service of process was improper, but this is a "technical error" and will often be overlooked by the courts. You do not want to lose your right to defend this or any other matter on the hopes that the court will say it is wrong. Even further, if it was improperly served, as long as the Statute of Limitations has not expired, the Plaintiff can simply Purchase a new index number, and File and Serve a new Summons and Complaint in the proper manner. In short, always, consult your attorney. If this is an accident, please report the filing of the Summons and Complaint right away to your insurance carrier. They will hire counsel to protect you as much as possible.

    Good Luck!


    THE ABOVE ANSWER AND ANY SUPPLEMENTAL RESPONSES ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE OR ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP IS CREATED BY THIS OR ANY OTHER RESPONSE TO YOUR QUESTION. FOR LEGAL ADVICE, PLEASE CONSULT AN ATTORNEY.

  2. John J Curry Jr

    Contributor Level 6

    Answered . Although I am not a New York lawyer (assuming this is a New York case), I believe that it is likely that the law of my state (Illinois) can provide you with a general idea of how this matter is treated.

    In Illinois, technical defects in complaints and summonses may be corrected by formal amendment in the pending lawsuit. The party that caused the defect or error may move to amend the complaint or summons. Further, an incorrect statement of the amount of damages sought can also be amended. In Illinois, the amount stated in the complaint may determine in which branch of the court the complaint is heard. If the corrected amount requires a transfer of the case to a different court, the original court may order such a transfer.

    An error in the amount sought set forth on the complaint and summons should not invalidate either the complaint or the summons. Likewise, this error should not result in a determination that summons was not properly served, if the summons was otherwise properly served. Bottom line, the served party ignores the summons at his or her peril.

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