Write down on a piece of paper how you found out about the lawsuit.
Various rules exist regarding filing and processing lawsuits. When you find out you are sued, write down the manner in which you found out about this. Among others, thisThis could be:
i) A restrained bank account;
ii) A process server handing you papers;
iii) A newspaper publishing;
iv) A letter in the mail.
Find out the Court in which you are sued
Obtain a legal document known as a "summons". Take a look at the very top of this document. It should mention the court and county you are being sued in. In New York City, it will most likely state either:
i) Civil Court of the State of New York, or
ii) Supreme Court of the State of New York,
Find the address and operating hours of the Court where you are sued.
Head to that Court, and ask the Clerk's office how to obtain the file. Once you get the file, take a look at a document called "affidavit of service".
Also ask the clerk for an "pro se answer form".
Fill out appropriate papers
At this point, you can examine the affidavit of service and complaining papers yourself and mark up the answer form, or, in event your bank accounts are frozen, follow a procedure directed by the Court clerk (most likely to fill out an order to show cause form).
If this is confusing, consult with an attorney
The above steps can help you protect yourself initially, but are in no way replacements for competent counsel. If affordable to you, you should at the very least seek a consultation regarding your specific situation.
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