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Two Year Traverse Hearing Interview NYC Process Server Part One

The following is an interview with a friend of mine I have known for over twenty years. He and his partner endured a two year traverse hearing.

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[Bryon L. McKay] Hi Bryon l. McKay from ServerLinks.com here. A couple of videos ago I told you about a friend of mine who went through a two year traverse hearing. Well, I got a phone interview with him and it is kind of long so I am breaking it up into two parts. I want to apologize for the audio because I wanted to make sure you heard more from him than of me. So the audio is a little lopsided.

Mr. Process Server can you tell us a little bit about the traverse hearing and start out with the actual service?

[NYC Process Server] Absolutely, we had served a commercial landlord/tenant it was an exorbitant amount of money these people owe. They had a gas station, convenience store, car wash and etc.

[Bryon L McKay] It was allegedly about half a million, right?

[NYC Process Server] No it ended up being about $600,000.00 but at the time we started this it was about to almost $400, 000.00 and the people hadn’t paid. They owed rent, they owed gasoline, prices, you know for gasoline, water, oil, utilities among other things. You know, they had a car wash, gas station and a convenience store. And they hadn’t been paid. So we were given the assignment to serve the 30 day notice, which we did. They gas station location was in Brooklyn and according to the agreement on their lease that if they had to be served they had to be served at their homes. And the principles lived in Westchester County. So, what we did was serve the thirty day notice and we went up a served the particular principles and then days later , actually I think it wasn’t a thirty day notice it was a five day notice, and days later we got the Notice of Petition and Petition and we proceeded to serve that. The gas station was not problem, we got a manager at the cash register who was authorized to accept for the company.

[Bryon L. McKay] So you went through all this, you had a little bit of a problem a couple of guys; a couple of people in their homes but all in all the service was done, right? Correctly.

[NYC Process Server] That is correct. There was no problem for that.

{Bryon L McKay] Did you serve the Secretary of State, did your client serve the Secretary of State as far as you know?

[NYC Process Server] No, I don’t think that was done and if it was I don’t know about it. In any event, we were informed we had to go to court with the attorneys, there was like three attorneys and one of them being a partner. And they were objecting to the service in Civil Court in Brooklyn. So, when we got to Civil Court, the partner on the other side turned around and said to the Judge, “I got no problem with the services, there is no traverse, we are not doing anything. They can all go home.” Alright, fine. So we went home.

[Bryon L McKay] Good news!

[NYC Process Server] Yea, no problem, good service and we were told by the judge, “Go Home, you’re fine.” And then a number of weeks later, what they did, was, realizing that they (inaudible) all this money; they brought this headhunter in, a female attorney, who specializes in traverse hearings. She is a nitpicker. And the saga began. She put the server, you know I was with, we serve together, so the girl/women served and I was standing right next to her.

[Bryon L McKay] And why do you serve together on case like this?

[NYC Process Server] First of all, a lot of times we go to areas where it is impossible to pull the car over to park. You will get a $150.00 summons or a $115.00 summons. So we work together, I drive while she serves or she will drive while I serve. In this case I drove she served. I was right there. Usually with these private homes in Westchester there is no problem to pull right in the driveway and we are right there.

[Bryon L McKay] So the times where you both go to the door, you kind of act as each other’s witness?traverse hearing Two Year Traverse Hearing Interview NYC Process Server Part Onetraverse hearing 273x300 Two Year Traverse Hearing Interview NYC Process Server Part One

[NYC Process Server] Yes, we corroborate the fact of the service. Correct. We got into court, this woman (attorney) started in on the lady (process server) who works with me. A better term, I will call her my partner. Started on her, screaming and yelling at her, pushing papers in her face and nasty. She (attorney) made a remark off the cuff when we took a little recess to the attorneys out in front us saying, “This is what I do. I am a nitpicker. I am going to pick on every little comma, question mark, period and whatever. This is what I do. I pride myself that I had a traverse I kept going for five years. My attorney, the partner, didn’t say anything. This Judge was known as no decision. The whole court knows her as someone who will never make a decision. So that exacerbated the situation. This went on, we went there five or six times, they kept adjourning, we adjourned, they adjourned; so this went on for two years. Two years. That we were going back to court. This women yelling about everything. She even subpoenaed (NYC) DCA to come down about their regulations about this. The lawyer for DCA came down and said, “Everything is in the law, we will not testify.” Turned around a left.

(Laughter)

[NYC Process Server] What she was yelling about was New York City procedures. Ok, that we follow because we served the commercial entity in Brooklyn and that was followed to a tee. She wasn’t arguing about the, she was arguing the individuals being served. She forgot to realize that, they were served in Westchester not in the City of New York.

[Bryon L McKay] So New York City didn’t care one way or the other.

[NYC Process Server] No, no. Another thing is that the clerk did not mark the papers, another things she was screaming about, this woman, is that, this woman attorney, that they didn’t mark the papers with the court date and time, the change of the court date. She (the Clerk) did a couple of them but not all of them. We didn’t realize that, it was served, but meanwhile our attorney argued, everybody showed in court on the day they were suppose to show. So, there is no argument. One last thing, the law firm used the wrong form for the notice of petition and petition. So that was not our fault. So that exacerbated the situation even more.

[Bryon L McKay] Let’s back up to where that lady mention this thing, it is my job, this is what I do. Did red flags go up on your side or ?
[NYC Process Server] Absolutely! Absolutely flags went up but the attorney who was handling this didn’t say anything to the judge; that she made this comment. Plus the fact it was off the record and no one else was there. So it just made things miserable. What ultimately happened was that….

{Bryon L McKay] Let’s not go to ultimately happened yet. Let’s talk about some of the specifics this lawyer did; you and I talked about it. What is some really specific things that this lawyer asked you and/or your partner that was really out of the ordinary.

[NYC Process Server] Well, she stuck the papers in her (process server) face and she was yelling at her until finally I told her, she is Italian, my girl. I told her to say something and she jumped back at her and the Judge said “Alright, Ms Attorney, step behind your table please and keep your paper and voice down.” Attorney replied, ” I am a loud talker, your honor.” Judge replied ,”Try to keep it down.”

Another thing is that she demeaned everything the server did as far as process service. She tried to look at every little thing. Every attempt, the log, every this every that. I mean it was all there but she just wanted to know why the attempts were not in for Westchester the way it should be for the City. And we said , “it is not NYC it is Westchester.” It is as different county, it is out of the City of New York.

[Bryon L McKay] You are talking about the DCA but for the State log book it was in there? Did she ask for that?

[NYC Process Server] Yes, of course. Another thing she complained about is that the certified mailings were done on a computerized form in the Post Office and she was yelling there was no green slip. The computerized form does not have a green slip but it says United States Post Office. And the judge overruled that. It was just head to head. Every little thing you could think of, every possible thing and it went on for two years.

[Bryon L McKay] You even brought up to me one time that she was, in reminisce of the OJ trail, she was bring up staple holes, why there were staple holes on some copies right?

[NYC Process Server] Exactly she said there were extra staple holes. What was missing? We said that we made extra copies so we took the staples out and re-stapled it. She didn’t want to hear that. Your honor something is wrong here. They did something. This is what she did. She’s a head hunter for traverse hearings. They brought her in for that. And basically what she did was stall the inevitable, bringing almost $400,000 up to almost $600,000 that they owed. It just was pervasive. And what happened was she made a motion against us, colloquially speaking, the law firm and us, in court. And we took that motion and we answered it in the Appellate Division, Second Department of the State of New York.

[Bryon L McKay] It went to appeals? It went to the Appellate Division?

[NYC Process Server] Yes her motion went to appeals because of this judge. One of the owners wives was a judge, and she went behind everybody’s back to a friend of hers who was an administrative judge, who made a ruling against us. Who had no baring and no standing in this case. None what so ever. And we were going to bring it to the Committee of Character Fitness because she had no business putting her nose in it nor her friends in conjunction with her husband’s business. So that was the motion against her.

[Bryon L McKay] So the owners also had someone else whispering in their ear.

[NYC Process Server] Exactly. Yes.

[Bryon L McKay] Wow

[NYC Process Server] Well they were whispering. One of the wives is a judge and she plaid the game. So what we did was we took this administrative judge who sanctioned this order against us to the appellate division. And they ruled against them. In our favor. And ultimately they ordered that this be taken out of the Civil Court because of the number, it was almost $600,000, and send it to Supreme Court.
[NYC Process Server] Let me stop you right there for a second. From the time of your first scheduled traverse hearing up until it went to the appellate part how much time are we talking about, and roughly how many traverse hearings were in-between there?
[NYC Process Server] There was about 6 hearings over a period of almost 2 years.

[Bryon L McKay] Wow. And roughly how many postponements?

[NYC Process Server] Oh, anywhere from 6-10.

[Bryon L McKay] Alright.

[NYC Process Server] She kept stalling because this way the longer you stall you don’t have to pay. Basically that’s what this is about.
[Bryon L McKay] Now once it hit the appellate part we all know that, speed is not of the essence. How long did it sit in appellate? Do you know?

[NYC Process Server] About 2 months or more.

[Bryon L McKay] That’s not bad at all.

[NYC Process Server] 2-3 months yeah. And then we got a ruling then it got sent back to Supreme Court of the State of New York not Civil Court in Kings. And what happened was, the Supreme Court Judge turned around and said…

[Bryon L McKay] Hold on was there a traverse hearing in Supreme New York over this?

[NYC Process Server] Absolutely not because the judge turned around and said looking at the documentation here there is no traverse. Right, that’s out the window. Let’s sit down and you talk about how you’re going to pay these people. You owe them money. Stop with the nonsense there is no traverse. The service is the service, you all showed up to court on the day appointed it’s not the fact that no one knew what was going on and that’s over. Now we are going to talk. And it was settled out. The gas station was turned over to our client and hundreds of thousands was paid and it’s over.

[Bryon L McKay] Ok so you won. So you won. You and your partner won the traverse.

[NYC Process Server] Yep. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Continue to Part 2

Click Here to find out what kinds of questions are asked at a traverse hearing?