A. STARTING A CASE
All actions (other than Article 78, Mental Hygiene Law, election law, and matrimonial cases and Article 70 habeas corpus proceedings) must be commenced electronically in Supreme Court, Civil Branch, New York County, and all subsequent filings in those cases must be made electronically. E-filing may proceed on a consensual basis in contested matrimonial and Article 78 matters. Filings are made through the New York State Courts Electronic Filing System ("NYSCEF")(www.nycourts.gov/efile). If a person seeks to commence in hard-copy format a case that is required to be commenced electronically, the County Clerk will reject the filing, as required by Uniform Rule 202.5 (d) (unless the filing falls within one of the exceptions set forth in the rules). For more information see E-Filing.
To commence an e-filed action or special proceeding, a summons and complaint or summons with notice in an action, or a petition in a special proceeding shall be filed with the County Clerk through NYSCEF by uploading the documents to the NYSCEF site in PDF-A format. Filing of commencement documents through NYSCEF will cause an index number to be transmitted back to the filer by e-mail. Filing fees ($ 210 for an index number, except in foreclosure cases) must be paid through NYSCEF by Visa, Mastercard, or American Express credit or bank card. A full list of filing fees appears on Court Fees.
To make a filing that commences an authorized hard-copy case, the attorney must deliver the summons and complaint, summons with notice, or petition to the County Clerk in Room 141B in the basement at 60 Centre Street, together with the index number fee. In a hard-copy case, the filing party obtains an index number by (i) completing an index number purchase sheet; and (ii) paying to the County Clerk's cashier a fee of $ 210 (absent a poor person order and except in foreclosure cases). The index number shall be affixed to the papers. CPLR 305(a). All fees must be paid by cash, certified check (payable to the County Clerk), credit card (Visa, Mastercard, or American Express), or U.S. postal money order. The checks of attorneys within New York State bearing "Attorney at Law" or "Esquire" and the attorney's address and phone number will be accepted. Other checks and checks from outside New York must be certified. The County Clerk will issue a receipt, which the applicant will need to show when proceeding to court.
At the time of filing, the original and a copy of the hard-copy commencement papers will be date stamped by the Clerk, who shall file the original and maintain a record of the date of filing and who shall immediately return the copy to the filing party. CPLR 304.
When the matter commenced is an authorized hard-copy special proceeding or motion/action pursuant to CPLR 3213, the filing attorney should file original papers with the County Clerk and a duplicate original with the General Clerk's Office (Room 119). David D. Siegel & Patrick M. Connors, New York Practice § 63 (6th ed. Dec. 2018).
B. INDEX NUMBERS & CASE TYPESIn e-filed cases, as mentioned, the index number is sent to the filer electronically and the case file is an electronic one within the NYSCEF system. When a party commencing a hard-copy case purchases an index number, the County Clerk will open a County Clerk's file and create a color-coded file jacket bearing the index number assigned to the case. Papers subsequently presented for filing in hard-copy format will be filed in this jacket.
Index numbers take the form of six digits followed by a slash and the four digits of the year the case began, e.g., 340705/2018. The first or first two integers of the index number identify the type of case. If a case is commenced electronically, the second integer will be a "5"," except as indicated otherwise in the list below. There are many tax certiorari matters e-filed annually and the index numbers therefor will normally run over into those with a "6"" as the second integer, and the same will occur with general cases if necessary. The principal types of cases and their index number categories are as follows:
Index Number Series:
100,001 - 150,000
150,001 - 190,000
190,001 - 200,000
200,001 - 250,000
250,001 - 300,000
300,001 - 350,000
350,001 - 400,000
500,001 - 510,000
550,001 - 560,000
570,001 - 580,000
590,001 - 590,000
600,001 - 650,000
800,001 - 804,999
805,001 - 810,000
810,001 - 850,000
850,001 - 900,000
Supreme Court (General)
Supreme Court (E-Filing)
Supreme Court (Asbestos)
Tax Certiorari (Writs)
Tax Certiorari (E-Filing)
Medical Malpractice (E-Filing)
The "400" series, previously used for no-fee cases, has been discontinued.
C. FILING AN RJI
To obtain the assignment of an IAS Justice to a case, a Request for Judicial Intervention (cost $ 95) must be filed, with NYSCEF in an e-filed case or in paper in an authorized hard-copy one. A no-fee RJI, which will generally result in the referral of an application to an Ex Parte Justice, is also required with regard to certain kinds of applications for which, prior to 2011, no RJI was required. For more about RJIs, see RJIs & Assignments.
D. ASSIGNMENTS TO THE COMMERCIAL DIVISION
Cases are not assigned to the Commercial Division at the commencement stage. Rather, assignment occurs when an RJI and Commercial Division RJI Addendum (UCS 840C) are filed. The Addendum certifies that the case meets the requirements of the Division set forth in Uniform Rule 202.70 (a), (b), and (c). Uniform Rule 202.70 (d).
Uniform Rule 202.70 (d) provides that, within 90 days following service of the complaint, any party may seek assignment to the Division by filing of the RJI and Addendum, but that failure to file an RJI as provided in that subdivision precludes a party from seeking assignment of the case to the Division. Regarding transfer into the Division, see Rule 202.70 (e).
For more on assignments to the Division, see RJIs & Assignments.
ANONYMOUS CAPTIONS/FILING UNDER SEAL
A party may sometimes wish to obtain an order permitting a case to begin under an anonymous caption, or to file initiating papers under seal pending a ruling by a Justice directing the sealing of a file. For more, see Litigation Functions. Counsel should not file documents for which they wish to obtain such confidential status without first carefully reviewing the cited information. Counsel may also wish to confer with the County Clerk before filing anything in such instances. If the applicable procedures are not followed carefully, a filing may become publicly accessible before the filer has had a chance to obtain a court order.