Ticking Time Bombs: Consumer Credit Default Judgments and the Role of Judges in Ensuring the Fair Administration of Justice


Shirin Dhanani, dean’s fellow, and Dora Galacatos, executive director, of Fordham Law School Feerick Center for Social Justice, along with Shanna Tallarico co-authored a piece for the New York Law Journal on the widespread issues with improper enforcement of consumer credit actions.

Since the 2000s, creditors—both original and debt buyers—have obtained hundreds of thousands of default judgments against people in the New York City Civil Court. Consumer protection and law enforcement actions have shed light on widespread problems with service of process, which reached epidemic proportions a decade ago and still persist to this day. Without proper notice of the lawsuit, too often consumers first learn about the action when creditors seek to enforce a default judgment, which may be years later. New York law provides an avenue for addressing the lack of personal jurisdiction: New York’s Civil Practice Law & Rules §5015(a)(4). Proper submissions by litigants and appropriate application of the legal standard by the courts are essential to ensuring that these consumer credit actions are decided on the merits and that default judgments are not improperly enforced where plaintis failed to legally serve defendants.

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