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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Lawyer
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Hi i live in Md. I received a summons from the Lease Finace

Customer Question

Hi i live in Md. I received a summons from the Lease Finace Group in the state of NY. I was renting a credit card processing machine from them, and falsely led into a 4 yr. lease.
It started in 2007 and I closed and sent back the processing equipment in 2009. I recently received a letter and then the summons. I desperately want closure, but could you help me with "Personal Jurisdiction" in this case. I found a lawyer in NY but he want to charge 1500. and states that would be all he would charge me. What is this company wants to collect the 3500. said due to them, on top of the lawyers fee. I work at Lowes and my husband has terminal cancer. Just the thought of spending this money is more than we can handle. I would be relieved for any advice please.
Cecilia Brown
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 years ago.

My name is Lucy and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

The starting point here is to look at your lease. If there is a clause in the lease that states that you agree to submit to the jurisdiction of the NY courts, that is binding on you - and that essentially ends the personal jurisdiction discussion.

If there is no such clause, you are subject to jurisdiction in New York if you live or work in New York, or own property there. You may also be subject to jurisdiction if you have sufficient "minimum contacts" with the state of New York, and the lawsuit arises out of those contacts. Minimum contacts may include reaching out to a NY company to do business. If you were in NY physically when you entered the contract, that would give the NY courts jurisdiction over you. If you solicited the company's business, knowing that's where they are located, that's something the courts will look at. They'll also look at the number of telephone calls, emails, letters, and other correspondence directed at NY. If you happened to be physically in NY when you were served with notice of the suit, that's another thing, but it doesn't sound like that's the case.

If, after looking at all of the facts, the judge concludes that you have no connection with NY that would allow the state to exercise jurisdiction over you, he can dismiss the case and require the plaintiff to refile in Maryland. It's a very fact-specific analysis. Read over some of the factors I've mentioned, and if you have any questions (and there's no forum clause in the lease), let me know. I'm happy to clarify or answer any follow-ups.

Please rate my service positively before signing out, as this is the only way that I get credit for the time I spend helping you. I hope that you are 100% satisfied - otherwise, please reply so we can continue the conversation. Good luck.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you Lucy,,I looked at the lease and indeed they do state the clause you mentioned re jurisdiction, so i am screwed i guess. Please tell me if i should go ahead and hire this lawyer, or do i handle this directly with the company i have to reply by the 11 dec..would it be better handled thru a lawyer thank you

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Well, it depends. If you have a defense, and are claiming that they violated the lease, or that they used fraud to get you to sign the lease, a lawyer may be able to help you. The lawyer may also be able to negotiate a settlement that is lower than the $3,500 that they are asking for. $1,500 is less than I would expect many lawyers to charge to defend the case. Make sure any fee agreement is in writing, and read it very carefully to be sure of what you're paying for. You likely will have a better chance at defending the case with a lawyer, but there aren't any guarantees of success either way.

You're also free to contact the company, attempt to negotiate, then make a decision whether you would prefer to have a lawyer.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

last question...if i call to try to negotiate, does that legally fill the summons for replying within 30 days or does that have to be filed by a lawyer..or could i write it myself and send it certified mail

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
The reply has to be written and filed with the court, with a copy to the opposing attorney. You're allowed to represent yourself to file the response. It doesn't need to be sent via certified mail.