It is a request to have a Judge assigned to the case. There is a section where the plaintiff checks what they want to do... usually the plaintiff requests a Preliminary Conference, where a discovery schedule gets set, or the plaintiff can file an RJI along with a motion. Consider getting a lawyer.
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) 385-8015 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
The foreclosure requirements in NYS were changed in 2011, and if this action was commenced prior to then, this could be the reason why a new Lis Pendens and RJI were filed. The court has since instituted mandatory settlement conferences. You are entitled to answer and demand the settlement conference, regardless of what the Plaintiff's lawyer says. I would get the pro se answer in as fast as you can and then hire a lawyer to represent you at the settlement conference and he/she may wish to amend your answer and serve motion papers. There are time limitations in doing so. I suggest you act fast!
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RJI is a "Requet for Judicial Intervention." Anyone who files a motion in state court is required to pay this fee---so essentially it is a filing fee (the state needs their money.) I wouldn't worry about what an RJI is, rather you should worry about the fact that you have not answered the complaint---this is the most common mistake for a person who is being sued for foreclosure. Debtors assume that since there is a required "settlement conference" they do not need to file an answer to the bank's complaint. THIS IS TOTALLY WRONG AND COULD RESULT IN YOU LOSING YOUR HOME. You need to file a Verified Answer with the court and serve a copy on the plaintiff-bank. If you fail to do this and you don't get a mortgage modification, the bank can get a default judgment against you and proceed with the foreclosure.
It sounds like you blew the deadline to file a verified answer so now you will need to request permission from the court to file a late answer (you will need to file a motion to do this.) DO THIS IMMEDIATELY---better yet, find a good foreclosure defense attorney and have them do it, because you are over your head.
Filing an RJI (Request for Judicial Intervention) means the bank is getting serious. The attorney for the bank is just that - attorney for the bank. His job is to protect the bank's interest, not yours. You should consult with a competent local lawyer specializing in the field, and take action immediately. Don't try to take on the bank's lawyers by yourself; they do it all the time and know all the intricacies of the law. His/her advice that you "cannot answer" is flatly wrong; while the bank may object to your answering, most judges would permit a belated answer. You would be hurting yourself badly if you let this go into default, because setting aside a default judgment is a lot more difficult since you have to cross many additional hurdles. Get yourself a lawyer!
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