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Another Reason to Check your Credit Report – New York Default Judgment Getting Thrown Out

On July 22, 2009, New York Attorney General Michael Cuomo filed papers to throw out 100,000 default judgments due to bad service.  When I wrote a post way back in December about Default Judgments and How they Affect your Personal Finances I skipped over service of the papers to start a lawsuit.

New York Service of Process

It is pretty well established in America that in order to obtain a judgment against someone that defendant needs to have been properly served with a summons and complaint.  The definition of “properly served” is chosen by the legislature of each state.  In New York that means, a server (some over the age of 18 not involved in the case) must try a reasonable amount of times to get the defendant, personally (or person who reasonably is there), at work or home.  So a server can come to your work and serve your secretary or go to your home and serve your spouse.

IF that fails then the server can affix the summons and complaint to the door and then mail.  It is usually referred to as ‘nail and mail service.’  It is also referred to as sewer service, because the dude who is getting paid $8 bucks an hour isn’t coming back a couple times or even mailing anything…instead he throws it in the sewer and then lies on the affidavit.

New York Attorney General Goes After Sewer Service

Well, Cuomo isn’t having it anymore and is going after a HUGE process server who was known to do mass server work for attorneys going after credit card debt.  In Cuomo’s Press Release he states,

“Our legal system is defined by due process and the guarantee that every New Yorker will get the chance to defend himself or herself in court,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “ALP’s scheme undermined the foundation of this system and denied thousands of individuals their day in court. Today’s lawsuit is a key step in our efforts to uproot unlawful debt collection practices and undo the considerable harm they inflict on New York consumers.”

ALP, as a legal process server, was hired by high-volume debt collection law firms in New York to serve legal papers, usually a summons and complaint, notifying individuals that they are being sued and must answer the complaint. ALP, however, allegedly engaged in “sewer service,” where process servers take advantage of individuals facing lawsuits by failing to properly alert them and denying them the chance to respond. As a result, tens of thousands of judgments were obtained against unsuspecting New Yorkers, many of whom first learned they were being sued when they found their bank accounts frozen or their wages garnished. ALP covered up the fraud by falsifying sworn affidavits of service in courts across New York.

The law firms and debt collectors sued today then used these false affidavits to obtain default judgments against NY consumers. Between January 2007 and October 2008, these law firms and debt collectors filed more than 100,000 lawsuits in every county in New York State, with the vast majority of the suits being debt collection actions. In a large percentage of the cases sampled and analyzed, the defendants never answered the lawsuit and the law firms sought and obtained default judgments from the courts. In seeking the default judgments, the firms made use of ALP’s fraudulent affidavits that claimed that the individual defendants had been given proper legal notice of the suits.

What firms are likely to have Bad Default Judgments in New York State

The firms names are:

Forster & Garbus; Sharinn and Lipshie; Kirschenbaum & Phillips, P.C.; Solomon and Solomon, P.C; Goldman & Warshaw, P.C.; Eltman Eltman and Cooper; Eric M. Berman, P.C.; Stephen Einstein & Associates, P.C.; Fabiano and Associates; Jones Jones Larkin O’Connell; Panteris & Panteris, LLP; Zwicker and Associates; Relin, Goldstein & Crane; Woods Oviatt Gilman; Leschack & Grodesnky; Hayt Hayt & Landau; Pressler & Pressler; Jaffe & Asher; Mullen & Iannarone; Arnold A. Arpino & Associates; Houslanger & Associates; Mann Bracken, LLC; Smith Carroad Levy & Finkel; McNamee, Lochner Titus & Williams; Thomas Law Office; Fleck, Fleck & Fleck; Eric Ostrager; Cohen & Slamowitz, LLP; Cullen and Dykman LLP; Winston & Winston, P.C.; Cooper Erving & Savage, LLP; Robert P. Rothman, P.C; Gerald D. DeSantis; Greater Niagara Holdings, LLC; Rodney A. Giove; Advanced Litigation Services, LLC; and Jason L. Cafarella.

I have personally dealt with

  • Forster & Garbus
  • Hayt, Hayt & Landau
  • Pressler & Pressler

and in my humble opinion (*note the word opinion as such I can’t be sued…and the word humble should indicate I don’t know what I am talking about LOL) they are garbage firms.

I have had default judgments thrown out for Hayt, Hayt & Landau as well as Forster & Garbus for bad service (I kid you not) for family members.

Default Judgments and Personal Finance

As I stated way back in December, if you get served with legal documents you should always seek legal Counsel…always. That being said, make sure all your wage garnishments, frozen bank accounts, are based upon proper service!

Judgment Day

The photo is perfect because garbage debt collection firms now actually have to do work or face a HUGE lawsuit coming from a plaintiff with endless money, the Attorney General of New York!

Photo: NiJoker



  1. Help! How do I get my default judgement thrown out. I moved to from NY in 12/2006. I discovered the judgements in 2011, they were filed in 2008 I believe. I have a judgement filed for $4998 from Sharinn and Lipshie & one from Solomon and Solomon, P.C for $600(I think ?) I filed disputes with the CRA’s but judgement was already there. I don’t even know what they’re for. Can I contact the NY Attorney General? Will someone in his office help me?

    • It is unlikely someone in the AG’s office. While I can’t/don’t offer legal advice I would first get down to the County Clerk’s office where the judgment is filed and pull the file to see what is in it. I would then google “Vacating a default judgment in New York” see what comes up. You may also be able to check with a local law school if they have a clinic department that would like to help you out.


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