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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 29818
Experience:  Lawyer
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I was sued on Aug 22. The plaintiff lives in NY however I

Customer Question

I was sued on Aug 22. The plaintiff lives in NY however I moved to Hawaii on June 1. The summons was served to a friend in the apartment I used to live in. I would like to file a motion to dismiss. I have tried calling the court to find out exactly what to do since I am out of state, but there is no answer. How do I proceed and answer the summons without having to incur the expenses of flight, hotels etc. I am also pregnant, and will be entering my third trimester in 7 weeks and will not be able to travel after that.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Hi,

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

What type of case is it? How much are you being sued for? There are different requirements for the different types of courts.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Civil court. Failure to return money. We had been in communication via email where I explained to them the money was non-refundable, and they then gave me one week to pay them back before taking me to court. I did not even have the time to reply. I tried emailing them back and communicating with them but they responded with "no comment".
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Is it a small claims case?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Thank you.

Small claims only has jurisdiction over New York residents. If you can establish that you set up residency in Hawaii before they filed the lawsuit - and it sounds like you did - then you can move to dismiss the case. It is possible to file by mail, but if the judge sets a hearing, you'd still have to appear in court to dispute the jurisdiction. But they could simply re-file in the higher civil courts, which has a higher filing fee, because those courts have jurisdiction over any cases where the cause of action arose while you were in New York. Then you'd have to fly back to hear that case, and I'm not sure that really benefits you.

The NY courts are closed today for the holiday, but you can try calling tomorrow and asking them to continue the hearing based on the fact that you're pregnant and not able to travel. You could also hire a lawyer who operates in the county where the case was filed, and ask them to appear on your behalf. That might be cheaper than traveling from Hawaii to NY last minute.