Friday, September 29, 2006

Justice Courts

The idea of a post on this topic is still bubbling through my head, but I wanted to lead in with an anecdote that sums much of it up for me. Someone I know recently went into court on an eviction matter. On the petition, the landlord had put the wrong address. Various courts have held that this is a non-amendable jurisdictional defect in the petition, and that no case can be heard on this petition. Justice Court judge looked at it, said basically, "well, I can correct that myself" and inked a correction onto the papers.

On one hand, it's a logical and common sense solution. Everyone in question knew which property was involved, even if some apparently weren't clear on the address. On the other hand, case law interpreting RPAPL 741 is very clear that "description of the property" is a necessary element of the petition and a bad description invalidates jurisdiction of the court.

I imagine it will be something of a running theme of anecdotes presented following the NY Times' series, in legal blogs around the state. More will hopefully follow in this blog concerning my impressions and proposed solutions.


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