Traverse Hearings Suck! The following is part 2 of an interview with a friend of mine I have known for over twenty years. He and his partner endured a two year traverse hearing.
Click To Watch the Video[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.
Past this, that took a lot of you and your partners time to do this.[NYC Process Server] Correct [Bryon L McKay] What is your, I mean, you yourself and your partner, what is your “procedure” for traverse hearings as far as billing your client. If you lose a traverse hearing, do you not bill them or do you bill them only if you win; or it really doesn’t matter? [NYC Process Server] It really doesn’t matter. I mean the price is the price whether we win or lose. We have a flat rate we charge plus expenses, which in this case is parking. Parking was, you know expensive. It cost about $30.00 to park the car in the City of New York. We charge $560.00 per the day and we discounted it because usually it is per person but because this was a big client of ours. We charged $560.00 per day for the two of us. [Bryon L McKay] So, you cut it in half. [NYC Process Server] We cut it in half and then they screwed us out of about $2000.00. [Bryon L McKay] Well, this is my next point. So you, because they were a continual client of yours, opted to give them a discount off the true price of traverse. [NYC Process Server] Yes [Bryon L McKay] They were happy that they won. Good Job. You and your partner, thank you very much to you and your partner, did that go on? [NYC Process Server] Ah, No. Yea they said yes it is done aren’t you happy? Yes, that’s it. Goodbye. Give me your bill. [Bryon L McKay] Ok, then when it came down to the bill, then all of a sudden, this is a little…they disagreed with the bill in other words. [NYC Process Server] No, they just said they were not going to pay that amount. They took $2000.00 off the top. [Bryon L McKay] Ok alright. What kind of advise can you give other process servers in this new era of traverse hearings? What kind of warning can you give them if they are ever called in to a traverse hearing? [NYC Process Server] First of all, what we did right was when one of the owners in Westchester was resisting – refused to answer the door – I took a picture of him sitting at the dining room table with his elderly mother. And that was a help. I documented this because he said that he wasn’t there. But he was there. The other guy was a wonderful person, it was not a problem. Actually it was two other guys we got personally.
Another things is that one of the other principles was indicted for criminal misconduct and what he did was conspiracy in Yonkers and in Federal Court was sentenced to twelve years in prison. The Judge would not let us bring that up. That he was a criminal..felon! The Judge asked where is he and why he couldn’t come down. We laughed because he was in federal prison. And the other guy was the guy who claimed he did not see us. Which is not true was in the dining room and ran into the living room, it was a big house, to escape us.
The first thing is to document everything. If you can, take photos where you are at, time locked in, if you don’t have what we use for the DCA in the city. I did above and beyond the regulations for GPS and all that…we took photos of the house and the person there.
Another thing is to write an estimate up of what it costs per day, plus expenses, and let the law firm know this is what it is going to cost. And ask if they could sign it. So they don’t cut you’re you know what off. Whether it is successful or not. Now I could understand that they took an additional discount of two grand off the bill. Right, even though we won! So, try to figure that one out?[Bryon L McKay] We have all been there. We have all had to eat some bills once in awhile for all our clients. Now, what kind of advice can you give a process server when they are on the stand? I mean, you had mentioned to me one time that your impression was that this was nothing but a ploy for an extension of time. Now that, the process server really doesn’t have much choice on. What kind of advice can you give the process server when they are on the stand? [NYC Process Server] First of all, make sure you have all your documents with you. Second of all, take a pause between questions and think of you answer. That is important. They are looking to trip you up. They are working for their client and they are going to try anything. They are going to say why did you put a period there and not a comma. I mean the stupidest things. So, take a pause, look at your documents, turn to the judge and ask, “Do you mind if I look at my paperwork?”. And usually they say , “No problem, go ahead”. So refer to your notes. Take your time. Don’t let them rattle you. [Bryon L McKay] Do you think the headhunter, that was one of her tactics was just trying to rattle you to say something she could jump on and take someplace else? [NYC Process Server] Yes. And another thing is she would ask a question and why you were in the process of answering it she would talk over you asking another question before you were finished with that question. etc. She was really frustrating. This is what she does, she is known for this, she does this for a living. She is hired by companies to do this. This is what she does. [Bryon L McKay] Well, I am glad it all turned out for you and guys. And I wanted to thank you for taking the time out and talking to me a little bit about it. Hopefully you have helped some other process servers when they get on the stand to get through the traverse hearing. You know, as a process server when you mention a traverse hearing, first of all it gets us up in a little bit of an uproar because they are questioning what we did. Right? [NYC Process Server] That’s correct. That’s correct. [Bryon L McKay] We know we did it right, we know that service was good. So it is a little frustrating when people are doubting our word. Correct me if I a wrong, but is seems now that it is almost part of the case now to throw in a traverse hearing. It is happening more and more. Do you agree? [NYC Process Server] Yes, because it is a good tool for stall the inevitable if you owe money to somebody. Especially if you are a commercial entity. Another thing that is important is they want to make you feel you did something wrong. When in fact, like you said, you really didn’t. You are only as good as the information you get from the law firm that is hiring you. If they give you bad information and tell you to serve someone that you really weren’t suppose to you don’t know that. This is your fault? So that’s is another thing. [Bryon l McKay] That is another discussion. But anyway, that you very much and be safe out there serving. [NYC Process Server] You got it. All right take care. Bye.