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New York Civil Cases and the RJI

State courts often have some quirky procedures, and the New York Supreme Court is no exception. Civil records from the New York Supreme Court typically include a reference to an “RJI” and whether it has been filed. What does “RJI” mean?

Definition: RJI is an abbreviation for “Request for Judicial Intervention.” It’s a form that is filed by either a plaintiff or defendant sometime after the summons and complaint is served on the defendant in a civil case.

Filing Effect: When an RJI is filed, the civil case is assigned to a judge.

What does this mean? When a plaintiff files a complaint in the New York Supreme Court to start a civil case, the court’s only action is to assign the case an index number. The court will not take any other action regarding the case – such as deciding a motion or order to show cause or hold a conference or trial – until either the plaintiff or defendant files an RJI. When the RJI is filed, the case is assigned randomly to a judge who will decide everything in the case until it is over.

How long will a case stay in the pre-RJI status? Because New York law does not specify a time limit for pre-RJI status, a civil case could be pending for years without any activity showing on the publicly available docket other than the filing and service of the summons and complaint.

That is the quirk in the New York Supreme Court civil case procedures – the possibility of a lengthy period of no case activity during the pre-RJI status.

To ensure that a civil case is timely prosecuted, many state courts assign a judge to a civil case when the summons and complaint are filed.

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