How To File A Civil Lawsuit In New York

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Thank you for visiting  On this page, we will cover the basics of how to file a lawsuit in New York courts (including Supreme, County, and other local courts).  As you will see, the basics of filing a lawsuit in New York are not nearly as complicated as they first seem.  

How To File A Civil Lawsuit In New York

As with most other states, filing a Civil Summons and Complaint is the first step to beginning a civil lawsuit in New York.  This is the document in which you lay out the allegations against the defendant and allege how you have been harmed.  Keep in mind that you do not need to try and prove your allegations in the complaint.  You are only alleging what happened.  Of course, to ultimately prevail at trial, you will definitely need to offer evidence that supports the claims you initially make in your complaint.

However, simply alleging that you have been harmed is not quite enough.  You must allege a type of harm that New York specifically recognizes as a recoverable claim for relief.  Some examples of common civil claims for relief in New York are:

  • Breach of Contract
  • Negligence
  • Unpaid Wages
  • Wrongful Termination
  • Race/Sex Discrimination
  • Disability Discrimination
  • Battery
  • Trespass
  • Nuisance
  • Defamation (slander/libel)

You can research the specific facts (elements) of each claim that need to be alleged in a complaint at your local library.  Once the elements of a claim are known, they need to be written up in the proper format.  

If your summons and complaint are not formatted correctly, it may be rejected by the court clerk! is the only website that offers state-specific form templates for filing a civil lawsuit.  Most other websites sell overpriced, poor quality, generic forms that are NOT in compliance with state court rules. 

Most complaints in New York have the following format:

  1. Heading with basic information about the case.
  2. Statement of jurisdiction.
  3. ‘Facts Alleged’, wherein the plaintiff alleges all the facts that constitute the elements of their claim.
  4. ‘Causes of Action’ where the plaintiff states how the allegations, if proven, will constitute a legally cognizable claim (such as negligence, or battery).
  5. ‘Prayer for Relief’, where the plaintiff asks the court to award a specific remedy, such as economic or non-economic damages.
  6. 'Statement of Verification', where the plaintiff affirms under oath that the allegations in the complaint are true and not frivolous.

    Drafting The Summons

    The summons is the official document that requires the defendant to show up and answer the allegations in the complaint. Fortunately, the summons is mostly boilerplate and will be easy to fill out with our pre-formatted forms.  You need to make sure the proper notification language is included so the defendant will know how to respond and where to file their answer.

    Once the complaint and summons have been drafted in the proper style and format, you will need to file them at the appropriate courthouse and pay the applicable filing fee.  They will then need to be served on the defendant. 

    New York Civil Summons And Complaint Forms

    Our form packet will show you how to write and file your civil summons and complaint.  It is a 100% digital download (an email with a download link will be sent to you shortly after your purchase) and includes the following:

    • A fully editable MS Word form template for writing out your civil claims and filing your summons and complaint in New York courts.  Note that you are still responsible for researching the particular elements of your specific civil claim (some common civil claims in New York include negligence, breach of contract, wrongful termination, discrimination, and defamation).
    • A PDF version of the civil summons and complaint forms that you can print and fill out by hand if you do not want to use the MS Word version of the forms.
    • A PDF sample of completely filled out summons and complaint forms.
    • A PDF of extra pleading pages in case you need more space when using the hand fill-able forms.
    • Easy to follow instructions that will show you how to fill out, file, and serve your civil summons and complaint without an attorney.

    All form packets are 20% off for a limited time.  Start your lawsuit today!