Importance of Venue Selection

In a New York State Supreme Court case, the Plaintiff has the choice of venue, i.e. in which county to bring the action.  Generally the plaintiff may bring the action in any county in which a party resides.  If the plaintiff makes an improper choice, then usually a defendant can pick the county.

Different factors go into selecting the county.  Convenience for the plaintiff, inconvenience for defendants (to pressure them into an attractive settlement), and most of all, jury selection all play a role.

Arguably the most important factor is jury selection.  In damages cases, parties are entitled to a jury upon demand of any party.  In a small case, it may be more cost-efficient to have a bench trial, where the judge finds the facts in addition to making legal rulings.

In a more significant case, chances are a jury will help one party, and that party will demand a jury.  It is traditional notion that juries will award more money in two types of areas.

The first is an area with a high cost of living.  This is because the jurors are more used to seeing high costs to fix something (whether economic, property, or physical damage). In New York, this includes the downstate counties, especially New York City.

The second is an area with less affluence.  The reasons for this are debatable, but generally the less affluent the county, the more likely of a “runaway jury” verdict.  This may be a result of more affluent jurors being more conservative with larger sums of money.  As a result, Long Island juries are frequently considered “stingier” than some in the outer boroughs and upstate.

Many claim that the Bronx has the most plaintiff-friendly juries, due to a high cost of living but not as much affluence as some of the neighboring counties.  Putnam, Dutchess, Westchester, and Long Island have lower costs of living than NYC and some neighborhoods a decent degree of affluence, making them less attractive choices.

Farther north, Albany, Monroe, and Onondaga, and Erie counties are attractive choices because their upstate cities increase the cost of living.  Surrounding counties, such as Saratoga County, which houses many wealthy commuters to Albany at a low upstate cost of living, are generally seen as venues to be avoided by plaintiffs.

When bringing a large lawsuit, you should always inquire into venue with your attorney.  Be sure you understand the strategy behind you and your attorney’s selection of venue completely.

Save Your Home!

For many, a home is not only their biggest financial investment but also their biggest emotional investment.  A mortgage consists of a series of payments that must be made over a series of months, during good times and bad.  Unfortunately, many people, through no fault of their own, face challenges paying their mortgages during the bad times.  They fear losing their home, and may even be facing foreclosure proceedings.

There is good news and bad news.

The bad news is that if you do not act quickly, you could forfeit some of the rights you have under federal and state law.

The good news is that with a good foreclosure defense and real estate attorney, you can preserve those right and even more importantly, find possible procedural defects that the lenders failed to satisfy.  You can also negotiate loan modifications with the lender’s attorneys.  If you show a good faith effort and have means to pay a reduced payment, the lenders are often willing to work with you.

This office would be happy to help you in your efforts to save your home!