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Expungement of Eviction Proceedings, No $ owed lease renewed

NYC Housing Court Practice/Procedures

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Expungement of Eviction Proceedings, No $ owed lease renewed

Postby NYC1969_71 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:44 pm

In 2006 I was going through a separation and moved back into my rent-controlled apartment that I had for 15 years. During my marriage, (4 years) I contemplated getting rid of the apartment, my ex asked that I keep it and that he would continue to pay the monthly lease. Which, for the most part, it seems he did (until I asked for the separation). When I moved back into the apartment in the Fall of 2006 I found that for the last 9 months he had not paid it and that over $7,000 was owed on the apartment. I immediately met with the landlords, explained the situation, and within a few months I had the whole balance paid in full. I even went on to sign another lease at the same time and had the apartment until 2009. Last month I applied for a lease on an apartment in another state and was informed that they could not rent to me because I had an eviction on file against me in NY. I was completely unaware this matter was EVER filed in a NY court by the landlord. Last month I contacted the NY Courts, they stated that they could not assist me because I did not have my case file number (I am in the process of obtaining that now) and that the court proceeding stays on my record permanently. I then called my previous landlords and explained the situation and they said they are not required to do anything. Help. Do I have any alternatives? I left this apartment in good standing, I paid thousands of dollars in back rent quickly. If they were evicting me I would think that they would not have provided me with a lease renewal. Input on this is greatly appreciated. I need to somehow have this completely expunged.
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Postby TenantNet » Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:04 pm

First. if you signed "another lease" on the unit, then it was not rent controlled. You might be confusing RC with rent stabilization. And when you move out and it's no longer your primary residence, the LL can seek to remove you. Maybe it worked out, but explaining things to the LL is asking for trouble.

For a case to be commenced, the papers must be served on the prime tenant, I'm assuming it's you. If there was no service and if a default was obtained against you, then it might be possible to get it overturned. But questions can be raised as you weren't living there for a number of years. You don't indicate if the back rent you paid was pursuant to a case in court. If so, then you knew about it.

Your best bet is to get the docket number, get hold of the file from the court (they might have to get it out of storage and the court staff is not the best). Then I would speak to a tenant lawyer once you have all the facts together. Since you don't have all the facts here, we can't comment on what can be done.
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Postby NYC1969_71 » Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:39 pm

You are correct then that it must have been rent stabilized. I had the two confused. I have posted more facts below:

- The back rent was NOT paid pursuant to a case in court. It was paid AFTER any court rulings/filings. Even at the time that I paid the back rent I was NOT aware that this matter had been turned over to the courts or that there ever was a hearing. I returned to the apartment after a long absence and had received a copy of my monthly invoice showing amount due. This was how I became aware of the back rent. What was soon to be my ex-husband, had been paying the rent on the apartment and had not given any indication that he had stopped (This took place in 2006)

- I was not aware that this had become a court matter until a few months ago when I was applying for an apt in another state.

Thank you.
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Postby TenantNet » Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:43 am

Again, your explanation is confusing. You say the back rent was paid AFTER court proceedings. To me that means the court ruled, presumably in the LL's favor, so there would be a decision on the matter. Also (again) questions are raised as to service and jurisdiction. As I stated above, you need to get the docket and file, and then speak to a tenant attorney to look at the options and if there are grounds to seek to have the matter reversed.
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Postby ronin » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:58 pm

sewer service lives.....
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Postby Emeraldstar » Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:43 pm

Hi All

Sewer service??? Does not compute.....what nature of beast is that?
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Judge Certifies Class in 'Sewer Service' Debt Default Action

Postby NYHawk » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:59 pm

Judge Certifies Class in 'Sewer Service' Debt Default Action
Mark Hamblett
New York Law Journal
09-06-2012

Plaintiffs charging that a law firm and two other entities schemed to fraudulently obtain more than 100,000 consumer debt default judgments through the use of "sewer service" cleared a major hurdle on Sept. 4 by winning class certification.

Judge Denny Chin (See Profile) certified two classes alleging that the law firm of Mel Harris and Associates in Lower Manhattan and two other entities engaged in sewer service—the intentional failure to serve a summons and complaint followed by the filing of a phony affidavit attesting to service.

Sewer service, named after the practice of throwing a summons and complaint into the sewer outside of a defendant's home and then claiming to have effectuated service, leaves defendants unaware they are due in court.

Chin, a Second Circuit judge who continues to preside over cases from his time on the Southern District bench, agreed with the plaintiffs that class treatment is appropriate for their claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1693; the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. §1961; New York General Business Law §349; and New York Judiciary Law §487, under which an attorney can be liable for damages, and charged with a misdemeanor, for engaging in "any deceit, or collusion, or consents to any deceit or collusion, with intent to deceive the court or any party."

Plaintiffs in Sykes v. Mel Harris and Associates, 09 Civ. 8486, charged the Harris firm engaged in a "massive" debt collection litigation scheme along with Leucadia National Corp., a debt-buying company, and Samserv Inc., a Brooklyn-based process serving agency.

Harris and Leucadia allegedly joined to purchase debt portfolios and begin en masse debt collection, filing 104,341 debt collection actions in New York City Civil Court between 2006 and 2008. While Samserv was hired to serve process, the plaintiffs charge that more than 90 percent of the debtors were never served.

They claim that once the consumer failed to appear, Harris and Leucadia provided proof of service, proof of additional mailed notice and, allegedly, a bogus "affidavit of merit" swearing to their personal knowledge of the facts substantiating their claims.

Chin said the record showed the defendants obtained "tens of thousands" of defaults "based on thousands of affidavits attesting to the merits of the action that were generated en masse by sophisticated computer programs and signed by a law firm employee who did not read the vast majority of them and claimed to, but apparently did not, have personal knowledge of the facts to which he was attesting."

That employee was Todd Fabacher, the director of information technology at Mel Harris, who signed as many as 350 affidavits of merit per week, or, as Chin said in a prior opinion "one every three minutes."

Chin also said the record shows that "on hundreds of occasions the defendant process servers purported to serve process at two or more locations at the same time."

He added, "There were also many other occasions where multiple services were purportedly made so close in time that it would have been impossible for the process server to travel from one location to the other as claimed."

All told, between 2006 and 2009, Leucadia or its subsidiaries filed 124,838 cases in Civil Court, and Mel Harris lawyers were counsel in over 99 percent of those cases. Between 2007 and 2010, Leucadia entities obtained defaults in 49,114 cases.

Chin last year denied the defendants' motion to dismiss (NYLJ, Jan. 4, 2011) and heard oral argument on the class certification issue last Oct. 11.

The first class he certified on Sept. 4 is defined as "all persons who have been or will be sued by the Mel Harris defendants as counsel for the Leucadia defendants in New York City Civil Court and where a default judgment has been or will be sought."

The second class is "nearly identical" but is limited to persons who "have been sued" and had a default judgment entered against them.

The Mel Harris defendants are represented by Brett Scher of Kaufman Dolowich Voluck & Gonzo.

"Needless to say, we are very disappointed in Judge Chin's decision and intend to appeal to the [Second] Circuit," Scher said yesterday in a statement. "It's important to note that this decision in no way addresses the merits of the case, and has no bearing on liability, but simply allows the case to move forward as a class."

The Samserv defendants are represented by Jordan Sklar of Babchik & Young in White Plains. Sklar declined to comment.

Lewis Goldfarb of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, in Morristown, N.J., who represents the Leucadia defendants, said his clients intend to appeal the class certification decision to the Second Circuit.

The plaintiffs are represented by Matthew Brinckerhoff and Elisha Jain of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady; Susan Shin, Claudia Wilner and Josh Zinner of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project; and Carolyn Coffey, Andrew Goldberg and Anamaria Segura of MFY Legal Services Inc.
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Postby TenantNet » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:08 am

NYHawk, thanks for the article. I've added it to the Forum Reference Section.
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Postby Emeraldstar » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:59 pm

Hi All
Yes.....thank you NYHawk. I understand.
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Postby ronin » Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:58 am

Emeraldstar I thought you were joking. You really didn't know what sewer service is? :shock:

Thanks for the article NYHawk. Isn't it strange that sewer service still lives on in the 21st century???
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Postby Emeraldstar » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:27 pm

Hi All
Ronin no I really did not know :oops: My LL is so happy to drag ones ass to court that it never came up :shock: All those illegal legal fees tacked onto rent stubs is a testament to their integrity & they would never sewer service for fear of jepordizing their reputation :lol:
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