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New York StateUnified Court System

Trial


In General
Suing a Business
Discovering the Defendant’s Assets
The Decision

 

In General

After both sides have answered the calendar and the case has been deemed ready for trial, the parties will be sent to the judge or arbitrator for the trial. The claimant has the burden of proving the claim and any damages. The claimant’s case is presented first. After being sworn as a witness, the claimant will testify and tell his or her version of the incident. All papers or other evidence should be shown at this time. When the claimant has finished testifying, the judge or arbitrator or the defendant may ask some questions to clarify matters.

Other witnesses can give testimony in support of the claim and they can also be questioned. Anyone who knows something about your claim can testify during the hearing. For example, a person who saw what happened, or someone who has special or expert knowledge and experience concerning the subject of your claim, can be a witness at the hearing. All witnesses must swear or affirm that they will tell the truth.

After the claimant has offered all the evidence that supports the claim, the defendant will take an oath and tell his or her story. The defendant may offer papers and other evidence, and can call witnesses to testify on his or her behalf. The defendant and/or any witnesses can be questioned by the judge or arbitrator and by the claimant.

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Suing a Business

During the hearing, the judge or arbitrator should determine a defendant’s true business name. If the legal name of the business is different from the name that is written on your notice of claim, ask the court to have the name on the notice of claim corrected by the clerk. If you get a judgment against a business it will be easier to collect if you have the correct legal name. Conversely, if you have an incorrect name, it will be impossible to collect your judgment.

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Discovering the Defendant’s Assets

If you are the claimant, it is your responsibility to collect information on the defendant’s assets, that is, property that the defendant owns. In the event that you receive a judgment in your favor and the defendant does not pay, you will want to know information on the defendant’s assets to help collect the judgment. If you want to learn more about this, click on Collecting the Judgment.

At the hearing, you can ask the judge or arbitrator to question the defendant about his or her assets. The defendant’s assets are property, such as a car, a house or money, that can be used to pay your judgment. The judge or arbitrator can direct the defendant not to sell or give away those assets before paying any amount you are awarded. You may also find out if the person has a license to do business and which city agency licenses him/her.

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The Decision

After the claimant and the defendant have offered all their evidence, the judge or arbitrator will often reserve decision, and the decision will be mailed to the claimant and the defendant after the hearing. In some cases, the judge or arbitrator may announce the decision immediately after the hearing. To learn more about the decision after trial, click on Judgment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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