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How many days doyou have to file a answer in NYS Trial Court?

New York, NY |

When filing an Answer to a claim filed, how many days does one have to submit the answer in New York State Court?

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Attorney answers 3


check the summons. It should say you have 20 days to answer if personally served within NY State. If not personally served within NY State, you have 30 days. CPLR 320.


My esteemed colleague, Mr. Bryant, is mostly right about this, and is, frankly, right about most things. However, there is a little known, or acknowledged, portion of New York Law which governs time to answer. While, yes, a person has 30 days to answer, this "clock" runs from the completion of service. The CPLR defines completion of service, for other than service on a person, as 10 days after filing of the proof of service (affidavit of service) with the Clerk's office. Therefore, a defendant, not served personally, has 40 days from the filing of the affidavit of service. Therefore, to be safe, a defendant should go to the Clerk's office to find out when the plaintiff filed the affidavit of service to find out when the clock begins to run to be certain.


The summons will state how many days from the date you received the paperwork. In City or local court (small claims) it is 10 (ten) days from the date ou get the papers. In County or Supreme Court it is 20 days if it is personal service and 30 days if it was left with someone at your home, certified mail or through publication.

The first thing you need to do if and when you get sued is file an Answer. The summons will tell you that you must “appear” by way of an Answer in 10, 20 or 30 days, “depending on the method of service.”


You need a lawyer, but if you cannot afford one right away, rather then do nothing and have a judgment entered against you, is to “appear” by filing something!

Many people think this means they have to go to Court and this is incorrect. 90% of all lawsuits end in Default Judgments because the defendant (person getting sued) did not file an Answer.

I recommend you go to the free form I have on my website. Print it out and fill it out as instructed. You must answer the numbered paragraphs on the Complaint by writing them into the appropriate lines in the Answer. The Answer will allow you to preserve your rights and will prohibit a default judgment (i.e. you did not show up) from being entered against you.

Mimic the paperwork you got when you got sued. Answer all the paragraphs of the Complaint by writing the numbers in lines 1, 2 or 3.

Almost 100% of attorneys will deny what is owed because they did not do the calculations and do not know what the basis for the number is…

When you file the Answer that is your “not guilty”. You have the right to make the person suing you (Plaintiff) prove their case, but you must also answer the complaint truthfully.

Make sure you fill in the name and address of the attorney suing you before you bring this paperwork to the Court. Mail it to the attorney suing you right away!

Check out the guide I have drafted on the Avvo profile. This will provide more detailed instructions. If it is helpful remember to indicate that and get the guide read!

Good Luck!

Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author only and the fact that he has worked as an Assistant District Attorney; State Supreme Court Clerk; Special Assistant United States Attorney (Hawaii); Assistant Cornell University Counsel or Judge Advocate, United States Marine Corps should not be relied upon to assume that these statements reflect the policy of these organizations.

Brian Michael Higbie

Brian Michael Higbie


Is Mr. Pipenger correct about the deadline for other than in-hand service being 40 days from the filing of the affidavit of service?