ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
An order to show cause is an application made to a court on an expedited basis. In the debt collection context, orders to show cause are the primary mechanism for undoing (or “vacating” as it is called) a default judgment.
A default judgment is a court judgment awarded automatically to the Plaintiff (the party suing) without a trial. Default judgments are awarded because the defendant (the party being sued) failed to timely appear and defend the lawsuit.
Debt collectors love default judgments. In fact, if it were not for the overwhelming prevalence of default judgments the debt collectors would probably be out of business. When a consumer fails to answer the summons and complaint, the debt collector can have a default judgment entered in less than 60 days. For this reason, it is no surprise that between sixty and ninety-five percent of all consumer debt collection lawsuits are estimated to result in default judgments.
With a default judgment in place, a debt collector can easily freeze bank accounts, garnishee wages, seize property and subpoena friends, family and co-workers of the defendant.
Fortunately, New York courts have recognized that default judgments are highly questionable particularly due to the pervasiveness of improper service of the summons and complaint. For this reason, it is generally uncomplicated to have the default judgment vacated. To do so an order to show cause must be filed with a sworn affidavit from the defendant. The affidavit must show that the defendant was never served or that (1) the defendant has a reasonable excuse for default (like he or she was never received the summons and complaint); and (2) the defendant has a defense to the case (like he or she doesn’t owe all or part of the debt). More times than not, the order to show cause will be granted and the default judgment will be vacated.
If you have questions, concerns, or legal needs regarding an order to show cause, we urge you to contact The Law Offices of Robert J. Nahoum, P.C. today by calling 845-232-0202.