NY Appeals Court Rules Out-of-State Residents Not Subject to DMV Service Requirement

A New York appellate court has limited the scope of a long-held rule that prohibited defendants from arguing that they did not receive service of a lawsuit if they failed to update their address with the Department of Motor Vehicles and service was provided to whatever address the DMV had for the defendant.

In a ruling issued earlier this month, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department ruled that if a defendant moves out of New York State, the rule no longer applies.

An individual who used to live in New York moved to Massachusetts. A lawsuit against him was subsequently served at his New York address, and when the defendant did not show for his court date, a default judgment was entered. The defendant appealed the decision and the appellate court ruled that when he moved out of state, the defendant ceased to be under its jurisdiction.

From the court’s ruling:

…if the Supreme Court finds that defendant was domiciled outside New York at the time of service and it therefore did not have personal jurisdiction over defendant, then defendant’s motion to vacate the default judgment should be granted, the judgment vacated, and the action dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction.

The news of the ruling was promoted by Daniel A. Schlanger, a plaintiff’s attorney who represents individuals in lawsuits alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.


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