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Brooklyn civil litigation lawyer judgment collectionIf you have a breach of contract dispute with a customer, business partner, or employer involving a substantial sum of money, you can file a lawsuit against them in New York civil court. After winning your case, you will have a court order called a judgment specifying the total amount the defendant must pay you, which may include interest, legal fees, and court costs on top of your specific financial damages. But how do you actually enforce the judgment and get the defendant to pay you--especially since the defendant’s refusal to pay you was what forced you to file a lawsuit in the first place? New York law provides a number of possible remedies, including garnishment of wages, liens, and seizure of property. These options are defined in the Laws of New York, Civil Practice Law and Rules, Article 52 - Enforcement of Money Judgments.

Finding the Debtor’s Assets

The first challenge is to determine what income and assets the debtor has that can be used to satisfy the judgment. Your attorney can ask the court for an information subpoena to be served on the debtor, their employer, their bank, or any other person or business that may have information on the debtor’s income and assets. The information subpoena is a court order that must be answered. 

Once you have the debtor’s financial information, you will need to hire an enforcement officer, either a county deputy sheriff or an independent marshal, to execute any of these procedures.

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NYC breach of contract lawyer

Contracts are a part of daily life, governing everything from our auto insurance to agreements with home improvement contractors. If you run a business, you have contracts with your suppliers as well as your customers and even your business partners. Most of the time, everything goes according to plan: one party delivers the expected goods or services and the other party pays on time. But when the other party to a contract fails to live up to their obligations, and you suffer a significant financial loss as a result, you may have to sue them for breach of contract to get what you rightfully deserve.

Breach of Contract in New York

In order to sue someone for breach of contract, you must be able to show the other party committed a material breach of the contract terms and that you suffered a monetary loss as a result. A material breach is a substantial failure to perform as agreed, one that significantly defeats the purpose of the original agreement. 

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New York City employment law attorney labor unionsIf you are a government employee covered by a union collective-bargaining agreement, such as a police officer or school teacher, you cannot be forced by law to join a union and pay union dues. Until recently, however, non-members could be required by New York state law, and by similar laws in 21 other states, to pay a significant percentage of the annual union dues in the form of “agency fees.” The reasoning was that non-members benefited from the union’s collective bargaining efforts and should contribute toward those costs.

The legality of mandatory agency fees was challenged in federal court in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31. Mark Janus is an employee of the state of Illinois who chose not to join the AFSCME because he opposes many of the union’s political positions. Nonetheless, he had been required to pay $535 per year to the union as an agency fee, which is about 78 percent of the annual dues paid by union members.  

Agency Fees Deprive Employees of the Right to Free Speech

In its June 2018 decision on the Janus case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to require non-union members to pay agency fees. The Court held that the union’s collective bargaining activities and political speech are inextricably linked. Thus, agency fees violate an individual’s First Amendment right to free speech by “compelling them to subsidize [the union’s] private speech on matters of substantial public concern” including “education, child welfare, healthcare, and minority rights.” 

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Bronx civil rights lawyerIf you have suffered a constitutional rights violation at the hands of the police or any other branch of city or county government in New York, you may be eligible to file a claim for damages in federal court. The U.S. Constitution guarantees certain rights to each person, including:

  • The First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression.
  • The Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
  • The Fourteenth Amendment protections that no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law ” nor “deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Filing a Section 1983 Claim Against a Local Government Entity 

Federal law 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides that both a municipal government employee and the employing government body can be held liable for damages when said employee violates your constitutional rights while acting “under color of law” and in keeping with the “custom, practice, or policy” of the employer. You can make a claim for:

  • Compensatory damages to compensate you for actual financial losses incurred.  
  • Punitive damages to punish egregious wrongdoing and deter similar wrongful acts in the future.
  • Injunctive relief, which requires the defendant to take or refrain from certain actions.
  • Payment of attorney fees if you win your case.

If you believe your rights have been violated, it is critical to speak with an attorney very quickly. Although you will be filing a lawsuit in federal court, the statute of limitations for Section 1983 claims is set by each state. In New York, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the incident in which your rights were violated. However, if you plan to bring a claim against any city agency, you must notify the city of your claim within 90 days of the incident.

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Queens civil rights violation litigation lawyerThe use of physical force to control other people is part of the daily life of New York City police and corrections officers. They must break up fights, restrain arrestees, and handle people who are drunk, drugged, or violently resistant. In some cases, an officer must use extreme force, and the person being restrained may suffer serious injury. Such cases may result in a civil lawsuit arising from the claim that the police officer committed a federal civil rights violation by using excessive force.

However, the mere fact that an injury occurred is not, in itself, proof that an officer used excessive force. The difference between reasonable force and excessive force depends on the totality of the circumstances at the scene.

Consequences for Federal Civil Rights Violations

When a law enforcement or corrections officer is accused of using excessive force, the officer can face multiple consequences including:

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