States sometimes enact laws over and above the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) to protect servicemembers in their jurisdictions. In fact, even within States, local jurisdictions may have their own SCRA rules. For example,pursuant to CPLR 3215(a), New York court rules require the filing of very specific military status affidavits in connection with filing for default judgments in consumer credit collections actions. As reported by the National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys (“NARCA”) State Government Affairs Committee, in all such cases, in addition to certifications under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, creditor counsel will need to affirm that certain consumer notices were issued and that the statute of limitations has not expired. The latter requirement is often relevant when purchasers of debt buy old accounts at a steep discount which may already be time-barred.
According to the New York State Unified Court System news release, “the new rules require original creditor and debt-buyer plaintiffs to submit specific affidavits that are based on personal knowledge and meet substantive legal and evidentiary standards for entry of a default judgment under New York law. In addition, plaintiffs must submit to the clerk an additional notice of a consumer credit action to be mailed by the clerk to the debtor at the address where process was served.”
Buyers of debt have additional requirements, including an affidavit from the original creditor and those in the chain of possession of the debt, containing the date the pool of accounts was sold and exhibits that include details of the debt, how much was charged off, and information about payments made by the consumer.
When filing the affidavit of service of processor thereafter, the plaintiff is required to deliver to the Clerk a stamped, unsealed envelope addressed to the defendant containing an additional consumer notice, which the Clerk will mail. The content of that notice for the New York City Civil Court differs from the rest of the state. A default judgment will not be entered if the envelope is returned as undeliverable unless the address for the defendant matches the DMV records for the individual.