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I have a small claims case against a city school district in…

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I have a small claims...
I have a small claims case against a city school district in NYS . They failed to pay me.I was a sub teacher per diem. They have responded after the notice of claim months later while my court date is set that they want a 50H hearing. Do I have to attend that to pursue my court case? Does one take precedence over the other and why?
Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: Education Law
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1/7/2018
Education lawyer: Thomas Swartz, Attorney replied 6 months ago
Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Attorney
Category: Education Law
Satisfied Customers: 3,265
Experience: Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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Hello Judy,

I'm afraid you do have to attend the 50H hearing. Whenever someone makes a claim against a school district (or a municipality) that school district has the right to conduct an examination of the claimant about the incident that caused damage and the extent of the damages suffered by the claimant. This right of the municipality is found in New York's General Municipal Law Section 50-H. The purpose of this law is to give the school district a sense of what type of claim they are facing and what type of damages might be involved.

The General Municipal Law Section 50-H goes on to provide in subdivision 50-H(5) that no action can be commenced against a school district until the claimant has complied with the demand for the 50-H examination. So, if you do not attend the 50-H examination, it is likely that the school district will move to dismiss your existing case against them.

Thomas

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
TY . SO basically the school district has the right to say whether someone can sue them or not? This Sch district I have tried to get to speak to me for a year and they would not communicate with Me about the money they wed me so it's amazing that they come up with this 50 h hearing just after my court date was set . Couldn't I have the court date first? Also do I t
Have to go to the date they choose ? They will not give me copies of my time sheets. Can I demand them? Do you think that I need an attorney to attend this hearing? I thought it was a simple matter of them not paying me for time I worked so no prob for me to handle it. Ty
Education lawyer: Thomas Swartz, Attorney replied 6 months ago

Hello Judy,

Q: The school district has the right to say whether someone can sue them or not? - That is not the case, the purpose of the 50-H hearing is to give the school district an opportunity to investigate someone's claim before a lawsuit is started so that it can make an evaluation as to what is involved, and how much is involved so that they can make a decision whether or not it is better for them to settle before a lawsuit is started. After the 50-H hearing, the school district has 30 days to offer a settlement. You can have an attorney present at the 50-H hearing, but you do not have to, it is just an option. The 50-H hearing is essentially a deposition. The school district's attorney will ask you basic questions dealing with basic background information (your name, address, etc.), what your complaint is about, and the injuries or damages you suffered.

Section 50-H does allow the school district to delay court hearings until the 50-H hearing takes place. So, unfortunately if you go to the court hearing first, the school district's attorney will likely make a motion to delay the hearing until the 50-H hearing takes place, and the judge will likely grant that motion.

Q: Do I have to go to the date they choose ? - If you have a scheduling conflict which the 50-H hearing, you can work something out with the school district's attorney to schedule a date which works for both of you.

Q: Can I demand them? (time sheets)? - In a small claims action discovery of documents from the other side is somewhat limited. I would ask the clerk of the small claims if they would issue a subpoena for the documents you are seeking.

Thomas

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
I am worried they will not let me reschedule but will try .Ty so much for all your help!
Education lawyer: Thomas Swartz, Attorney replied 6 months ago

You are welcome. If I helped, please consider giving a positive review.

Thomas

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
definitely; would I be able to consult with you again; I wondered if they are going to be able to ask me anything under the sun so I should be prepared or is it only per the matter at hand & if its dangerous, ie one can be seen in contempt?
Education lawyer: Thomas Swartz, Attorney replied 6 months ago

They can only really ask you about your claim. You will be under oath, and so it is always advisable to tell the truth.

Thomas

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
If they ask something inappropriate ...ie 'did everyone hate you ? " how do you refrain from answering it?-j*
Education lawyer: Thomas Swartz, Attorney replied 6 months ago

I would respond, with something like, "that is not an appropriate question within the scope of a 50-H hearing."

Thomas

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