A. FILING AN RJI
1) RJIs Generally
A case is assigned to a Justice by means of the Request for Judicial Intervention (fee $ 95). Certain applications do not require that a fee be paid, though an RJI form must be filed, and these applications will be assigned to an Ex Parte Justice, not to an Individual Assignment Justice for all purposes. This is explained further hereafter.
The fee for filing an RJI (UCS 840, revised 2012) is paid to the County Clerk via the New York State Courts Electronic Filing System (“NYSCEF”) in e-filed cases and to the County Clerk's cashier's office, Room 160, in paper cases. A "fillable" form RJI is available on-line. The form must be filed in duplicate in hard-copy cases.
There is a separate form of RJI for uncontested matrimonial matters (UD-13), accessible at the foregoing link.
In hard-copy cases, an RJI, and Addendum if required, shall be filed in duplicate, with proof of service (except where the application is ex parte), and a copy of the receipt of purchase of the index number (Uniform Rule 202.6 (c)). In e-filed cases, the RJI and any Addendum shall be filed with NYSCEF and the fee paid upon such filing.
The filer of an RJI seeking judicial assignment of an action or proceeding may seek an assignment only, without an accompanying application (e.g., so that a Justice might be available for rulings if difficulties were to arise during an impending deposition), or may seek judicial action, principally with regard to a request for a preliminary conference; a motion on notice or petition and notice of petition; an order to show cause; or a note of issue (cost $ 30, $ 125 with RJI). Rule 202.6 of the Uniform Rules for the Trial Courts. See below for information about RJI’s in Commercial Division cases.
The filer of an RJI must check off a box identifying the type of case at issue. Where the RJI seeks judicial assignment, this designation will bring about a random assignment of the case by computer to a Justice handling cases of that type.
Various addenda to the RJI were issued in 2011. These are also accessible at the link above. The addenda that have been promulgated consist of a general addendum, which is used to identify additional parties or related cases; a matrimonial addendum, which is used when there are children under the age of 18 who are subject to the matrimonial action; a foreclosure addendum, which is used in mortgage foreclosure actions where the property is a one-to-four family owner-occupied residential property or an owner-occupied condominium; and a Commercial Division Addendum, which is used when the filer seeks an assignment of a case to the Commercial Division.
2) For-Fee and No-Fee RJIs and Assignments to IAS Justices or Referral to Ex Parte Justices
In 2011 the Unified Court System changed the procedures regarding the obligation to file an RJI. These were reflected in a new form of RJI, the most current of which is from 2012. See also Uniform Rule 202.6 (b). In sum, an RJI must be filed with regard to most applications; in many instances, an RJI fee ($ 95) is required and in others the filing is to be without fee.
Prior to 2011, an RJI generally had to be filed whenever an IAS assignment of a case to a Justice was to be made. If an application would be referred to an Ex Parte Justice, no RJI was required. Since 2011, an RJI is generally required when an application for judicial relief is filed, whether the application be on notice or ex parte. If the nature of the application is such that ongoing supervision of the case by a Justice is necessary, the RJI will require the payment of the fee and the application and the case will be assigned at random to a Justice via the court’s computer system. Examples of documents that will initiate continuing judicial involvement are notices of motion or petition, proposed orders to show cause, notes of issue, notices of medical, dental and podiatric malpractice action, statements of net worth, and requests for a preliminary conference. Where, on the other hand, the application being submitted is a discrete and self-contained one that will not require continuing involvement by an IAS Justice, the RJI shall be filed without fee and the matter shall not be assigned to a Justice, but rather shall generally be referred to an Ex Parte Justice. Any application not filed in an action or proceeding, a name change application, and an application for discovery in an out-of-state case are examples of discrete applications that now are to be filed accompanied by an RJI but for which no fee need be paid. Included in this group are uncontested matrimonial matters. See Uniform Rule 202.6 (b). The following shows when a no-fee RJI is required and when a for-fee RJI is required.
RJI Required (No Fee Payable) (No Ongoing Assignment of Justice)
Uncontested matrimonial application
Application not filed in an action or proceeding
Application for an order authorizing emergency surgery
Petition for sale or finance of religious/not-for-profit property
Name change application
Habeas corpus application
Application for discovery in out-of-state action (CPLR 3102 (e))
Retention proceeding (Mental Hygiene Law Art. 9)
Proceeding under Mental Hygiene Law Art. 10
Application to vacate a judgment due to bankruptcy
Application for a default judgment in consumer credit matter (Uniform Rule 202.27-a)
Other ex parte applications not requiring ongoing judicial assignment
RJI Required with $ 95 Fee (Ongoing Assignment of IAS Justice)
Notice of motion or petition
Order to show cause
Note of issue
Notice of medical, dental or podiatric malpractice action
Statement of net worth
Request for preliminary conference
Other applications in an ongoing case to be assigned to an IAS Justice
Infant’s, incompetent’s, and wrongful death compromise orders (no action commenced)
No RJI is filed when the application is one to the Clerk for a judgment of default (CPLR 3215 (a)).
B. ASSIGNMENTS TO THE COMMERCIAL DIVISION
Attorneys who seek assignment of an action to the Commercial Division must submit an RJI marked to reflect that the case involved is a commercial one, together with a completed Commercial Division RJI Addendum (UCS 840C) certifying 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). If the Commercial Division Addendum is not submitted, the clerk will assign the case at random to a non-Division Part.
Uniform Rule 202.70 (d) was amended in 2014 to provide that a party seeking assignment to the Commercial Division shall do so within 90 days following service of the complaint. Failure to apply on time precludes a party from seeking such assignment. If an RJI is filed within the 90-day period and the case is assigned as a General matter because the filer did not designate the case as a commercial one, any other party may apply for a transfer to the Division. Uniform Rule 202.70 (e). Further, notwithstanding the 90-day time limit, a party may seek a transfer to the Division upon good cause shown for the delay. A non-Division Justice to whom a case is assigned may apply to the Administrative Judge for a transfer. Uniform Rule 202.70 (e).
The monetary threshold in the New York County Commercial Division, which is generally applicable, is an amount in controversy of $ 500,000 or more (exclusive of punitive damages, interest, costs, disbursements, and counsel fees). If the case is designated a commercial one and the Addendum is submitted, the clerk will review the pleadings to determine whether the amount in controversy in the case meets the monetary threshold or whether an exception to the threshold applies. There are two categories of exception. First, the threshold is not applicable and the case may be assigned to the Division if it seeks equitable or declaratory relief. Uniform Rule 202.70 (b). Second, the threshold is not applicable and the case may be assigned to the Division if the action is a shareholder derivative action or a commercial class action; seeks dissolution of a corporation or other business entity; or seeks to stay or compel arbitration or affirm or disaffirm an arbitration award or seeks related injunctive relief where the applicable arbitration agreement provides for the arbitration to be heard outside the United States. Other applications involving commercial arbitration are subject to the threshold. Uniform Rule 202.70 (b) (4), (5), (11), (12). In this review the clerk will not consider whether the case is otherwise the type of matter eligible for assignment to the Division, as provided in Rule 202.70 (b) and (c), which shall be a question for the Division Justice. If the clerk’s review determines that the threshold is not met and the matter does not fall within one of the exceptions, the clerk will assign the case at random to a General Assignment Part. If the threshold is met or if an exception applies, the clerk will assign the case at random to a Commercial Division Justice, who will review the case to ensure that it is one that properly belongs in the Division as provided by Rule 202.70 (b) and (c). See Subd. (f) (1).
The rules provide for application to the Administrative Judge to review certain assignment determinations. Any such application must be made in a timely manner. Uniform Rule 202.70 (e) and (f) (2). Rulings of the Administrative Judge have been posted on the Commercial Division website on the New York County home page.
C. DCM TRACK ASSIGNMENT
Upon the filing of the RJI, each case will be assigned to a Differentiated Case Management ("DCM") track, which represents a time frame for completion of pre-note-of-issue proceedings (Rule 202.19 of the Uniform Rules for the Trial Courts). The assignment will be made by the clerk in accordance with a protocol issued by the court, as follows.
The main tracks (from RJI to note of issue) are: eight months - expedited; 12 months - standard; and 15 months - complex. The following cases will be assigned to the following tracks:
Commercial (Commercial Division and non-Division) - - Complex
Medical/Dental/Podiatric Malpractice - - Complex
Mass Torts - - Ultra-Complex (20 months)
Tax Certiorari - - Special time frame (48 months)
Matrimonial - - Special time frame (six months)
All Other Cases - - Standard
Counsel may raise at the preliminary conference in any case the question of whether a different track assignment should be made. If persuaded that the circumstances of the case are such that the case belongs on a shorter or longer track than the one to which the case was assigned in accordance with the foregoing protocol, the Justice may direct that the case be assigned by the clerk to another track, which will be done.
Find more on DCM on Conferences & Case Management.
D. RELATED CASES
In an effort to conserve judicial resources and avoid inconsistent rulings, the filing counsel must check off on the RJI whether a related case exists. If the new case is designated as related, it will automatically be assigned to the Justice who was assigned the earlier case provided that that case has not already been disposed of. If the earlier case has been disposed of, the Clerk will assign the case at random. Although the conclusion of the previous case will ordinarily preclude the assignment of the later case on the basis of relatedness, the filing attorney is free to argue to the Justice to whom the case is assigned that the matter ought to be assigned to the Justice who had handled the earlier case due to exceptional considerations of judicial efficiency and the like. If a party believes that such a related-case designation and resulting assignment were made in error, or that the filing party incorrectly failed to designate the case as related, the issue should be raised before the assigned Justice, who may send the matter to the back office for a random reassignment or a transfer if the complaint is justified. If further review is required, it occurs before the Administrative Judge. The policy of the court is that one Justice may not order the transfer of a case directly to another particular Justice except (i) pursuant to procedures governing related cases or (ii) in the case of motions to reargue or renew (CPLR 2221) or (iii) with the permission of the Administrative Judge.
E. ASSIGNMENT OF CASES
The court currently operates the following principal Parts: (a) Tax Certiorari (b) Condemnation; (c) City; (d) Transit; (e) Matrimonial; (f) Motor Vehicle; (g) Medical, Dental and Podiatric Malpractice; (h) Mass Tort (Center for Complex Litigation); (i) Article 81; (j) General Assignment; (k) Commercial Division; (i) Mortgage Foreclosure; and (m) Trial Parts.
Justices are assigned to the various parts by the Administrative Judge. Upon the filing of an RJI, cases are identified by action type and then assigned at random by the computer to a Justice from among those designated to handle cases of that type.
Each case is generally assigned to an IAS Justice for its life, including for trial purposes, except for City cases. Each City case is assigned to a City Justice until a note of issue is filed, when it is reassigned to the City Waiting List in calendar number order.
The pure IAS regime is qualified as follows. If a pure IAS Justice is not able to try a post-note case assigned to him or her, the case may be referred to the Administrative Coordinating Part (Part 40 TR), which shall send the case out for jury selection and trial and assign the case to a Justice for trial. Second, after a case has been pending in a pure IAS Part for a period without having advanced to trial, it will be subject to removal from the Part by the Administrative Judge for prompt trial so as to prevent serious backlogs and disparities in waiting times in the IAS Parts. Cases so removed will also proceed to trial through the Administrative Coordinating Part. Third, some cases may be referred to Part 40 TR by a Justice when settlement cannot be reached in the Judicial Mediation Part (Part J-Med) or the Transit Authority Settlement Part (Part TASP). Find more information on Trials.
There are at present, among others, various pure IAS General Assignment Parts (handling General cases), one Motor Vehicle Part, two pure IAS Medical, Dental and Podiatric Malpractice Parts, and three pre-note City Parts and one Transit Part (for City and non-City Transit cases). To address the overflow of trial-ready cases referred to in the preceding paragraph, and to assist in trial of City cases, there are three back-up Trial Parts. An Administrative Coordinating Judge ("ACJ") in Part 40 TR, working with the Administrative Judge ("AJ"), coordinates referral of these trial-ready cases to a trial Justice. Pure IAS Justices refer cases to the ACJ. Except for the AJ or ACJ, and the Justice presiding over the asbestos inventory, an IAS Justice will not refer a case directly to another Justice for trial.
In addition, there are, as noted, Commercial Division Parts. A number of Justices handle Article 81 matters. One Justice is assigned to the large tax certiorari inventory and another is designated to handle condemnation cases. Finally, several Justices have been designated by the Administrative Judge to serve as part of a Center for Complex Litigation, which primarily handles mass tort cases. The Justices so assigned are Justice Manuel Mendez (Part 13) (Justice presiding on the asbestos inventory), Justice Arlene P. Bluth (Part 32), Justice Lucy Billings (Part 46), and Justice Martin Shulman (Part 1). These Justices also maintain other assignments.
All cases seeking forfeiture of criminal proceeds or other remedy pursuant to Article 13-A of the Civil Practice Law and Rules are assigned to a single Justice (Justice Martin Shulman).
City cases are assigned in accordance with a protocol, which follows.
For the current arrangement of all Parts and assignment of Justices thereto, see Part Assignments.
F. PROTOCOL CONCERNING ASSIGNMENT OF CITY CASES
Cases in which the City of New York or agencies or personnel thereof are parties are assigned as follows.
The filer of an RJI in a case in which the City, a City agency, or a City official is named as a party will identify thereon the kind of case at issue. The naming of the City or a City agency or official as a party and the case-type designation, together with whether the Corporation Counsel’s Office appears for the City or not, will determine the assignment of City cases, which is done at random by computer among Justices assigned to the category of case involved (except in a few categories where the Administrative Judge has directed that the cases be assigned to one Justice). If the representation of the City is unclear at the time the RJI is filed and an incorrect assignment is initially made as a result, the case will be reassigned in accordance with what follows once the facts are clarified.
As noted above, the Court operates three “City Parts,” which were created many years ago to minimize administrative difficulties. The inventory of these Parts consists primarily of personal injury actions against the City of New York in which the Tort Division of the Corporation Counsel’s Office represents the City.
(1) Tort Actions Generally (Other than Medical Malpractice Actions): Where the RJI identifies a case as a tort action against the City, a non-mayoral agency or a non-City entity indemnified by the City (other than medical malpractice actions) and the Corporation Counsel is designated as appearing for the City, the agency, or the entity, the case will be assigned at random to a Justice in one of the City Parts. In any instance in which a non-medical malpractice tort action against the City does not involve representation by the Corporation Counsel’s Office (usually the Tort Division), the case will be assigned at random to a General Assignment Part. If a tort case in which the Corporation Counsel’s Office (Tort Division) does not appear is inadvertently assigned to a City Part, the case will be reassigned at random to a General Assignment Part. A tort case that properly proceeds in a City Part will be reassigned at random to a General Assignment Part should the City or other entity represented by the Corporation Counsel’s Office (Tort Division) cease to be a party at any time due to decision of the court, settlement, discontinuance, etc. Conversely, if in a non-City tort action not involving medical malpractice the City or other entity is added as a party at any time and is represented by the Corporation Counsel’s Office (Tort Division), the case will be reassigned to a City Part.
(2) Medical Malpractice Cases: If a medical malpractice action is brought against the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation or one of its hospitals or other facilities or indemnified affiliates, whether the City appears through outside counsel or through the Corporation Counsel’s Office, the case will be assigned to a Justice in a Medical Malpractice Part. Such cases are assigned to Honorable Martin Shulman in Part MMSP 1 or Honorable George J. Silver in Part MMSP 10. Justices Shulman and Silver will endeavor to settle those cases. To the extent the cases are not settled, the Justices will handle motions, discovery, and other pre-trial issues. Upon filing of the note of issue, the cases will be reassigned for trial.
(3)Special Proceedings: Special proceedings against the City of New York, its agencies or officials or employees thereof are assigned at random among all the Justices of the court who are listed in the court’s computer as eligible to receive special proceedings. Justices eligible to receive special proceedings include many General Assignment Justices and others outside the City Parts, as well as the City Part Justices. However, there are three exceptions to this assignment principle: proceedings seeking leave to file a late notice of claim and pre-action discovery are assigned at random to a Justice of a City Part. These two proceedings are potential precursors of tort actions against the City and any such actions that involve the Tort Division will be assigned to the City Parts. In addition, special proceedings seeking leave to file a late notice of claim in City medical malpractice actions shall be assigned to Parts 1 and 10.
(4) Commercial Cases: Actions brought by or against the City or a City agency in which the filer designates the case on the RJI as a commercial matter and submits a Commercial Division Addendum to the RJI will be assigned in the first instance at random to a Justice of the Commercial Division, provided that the amount in controversy, as determined by the clerk, meets or exceeds the monetary threshold of the Division or an exception thereto applies and provided that the RJI and Addendum are filed within the 90-day period described above. If the amount falls below the threshold and no exception applies, or if the filing is untimely, the clerk will assign the case at random to a Justice outside the Division. The Division Justice may transfer out of the Division matters found by the Justice not to belong in the Division, subject to review by the Administrative Judge upon application. See Uniform Rule 202.70 (f). Commercial cases that are transferred out of the Commercial Division by a Justice thereof shall be assigned at random to a Justice outside the Division regardless of who appears for the City. If a City case is assigned to a Justice outside the Division in accordance with a non-Commercial Division designation on the RJI and a party believes that the matter belongs in the Commercial Division, an application for a transfer into the Division may be made to the Administrative Judge. See Uniform Rule 202.70 (e).
(5) Transit Cases: Cases against the New York City Transit Authority, including those in which the City is a named party, are assigned to a single Transit Part.
(6) Tax Certiorari and Condemnation Matters: Tax certiorari matters are assigned to Justice Lori S. Sattler (Part 9). Condemnation matters are assigned to Justice Shlomo S. Hagler (Part 17).
(7) Nuisance Abatement, Forfeiture and Certain Insurance Coverage Cases: Nuisance abatement cases commenced by the City shall be assigned at random to one of a group of Justices designated by the Administrative Judge to handle such matters. The filer of the RJI should designate the case under “Other Matters” as “Other: Nuisance Abatement.” Forfeiture cases commenced by the New York City Police Department shall be assigned to a single Part designated by the Administrative Judge. Actions seeking a declaratory judgment regarding insurance coverage with respect to a tort action shall be assigned at random to a General Assignment Part. If, however, the declaratory judgment action concerns an underlying tort case that has already been assigned to a City Part, the action will be assigned to the Justice presiding over the tort case; the filer of the RJI must designate the declaratory judgment action as a “related case” on the RJI. If an underlying tort action against the City is commenced after a declaratory judgment action, the Justice assigned to the latter may transfer the case to the City Part to which the former case is assigned.
(8) Other Matters: Other City cases, such as those designated on the RJI as “Other Real Property” or certain “Other Matters,” including actions against the City or City officials or employees seeking declaratory or injunctive relief, will be assigned at random to a General Assignment Part or City Part Justice regardless of who appears for the City.