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Orders to Show Cause

In General
Affidavit in Support
Submission to the Judge
Opposition Papers
Cross-Motions
Reply Papers
Appearing in Court
The Decision on the Order To Show Cause

 

In General

An Order to Show Cause is a way to present to a judge the reasons why the court should order relief to a party. For example, a tenant who has failed to appear and had a judgment entered against him or her may ask the court to vacate the judgment and restore the case to the calendar; or a landlord may request an order awarding a judgment and warrant of eviction against a tenant who has failed to live up to an agreement to pay rent.

The Order to Show Cause is an alternative to the notice of motion and is different from it, as the Order to Show Cause can shorten the time within which the parties must return to court. It is often used in emergency situations where a stay of the proceedings is required, or if an immediate result is sought. Another significant difference is that a judge must sign an Order to Show Cause. This means that the judge may decline to sign it. A notice of motion will appear on the calendar automatically, and does not need a judge’s signature. If you are not sure a judge would sign your order to show cause, if you do not need to appear in court within the motion service time, or if you do not seek interim relief such as a stay before the motion is heard, you may decide to bring a motion instead of an order to show cause.

The Order to Show Cause informs your opposition of what you are seeking from the court and why. It provides the date, time and location where the request will be made. The Order to Show Cause often contains a direction to the parties that they stop some specific activity, like an eviction, until the court hears or decides the motion.

In limited cases an Order to Show Cause can be used to start a case, as an alternative to a notice of petition. Ordinarily an HP case and an illegal lockout are commenced this way.

The requirements for making a motion are standardized and generally more demanding than that for making an Order to Show Cause. Order to Show Cause forms are available at the courthouse, and a judge can set the terms, such as when it will be heard in court, how it will be served on the other side and any conditions or requirements in order to obtain a stay of enforcement of an order or judgment pending the hearing.

The Order to Show Cause must be accompanied by an "Affidavit in Support" and copies of any documents that support the request and would persuade the judge your application should be granted. Copies of all these papers must be served on all the parties in the manner directed on the Order to Show Cause itself. A party served with an Order to Show Cause may prepare papers to oppose the motion. On the hearing date, all parties must come to court and the judge will decide the Order to Show Cause.

If you would like to bring an Order to Show Cause or if you have been served with one and you want to oppose it, continue reading below.

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Affidavit in Support

An Order to Show Cause must be supported by an Affidavit. An Affidavit is a sworn statement made before the clerk or notary public which explains to the court why your request should be granted.

The Clerk will give you a free Civil Court form when you come to court, or you may use one of your own, or download a form at Affidavit in Support. To find out where to go in your county to bring an Order to Show Cause, go to Locations. If you missed your court date or didn't answer a petition in a nonpayment or holdover case, you can use the Tenant Affidavit to Vacate a Default Judgment program to make your affidavit in support of your order to show cause. If you need more time to do what you were ordered to do or agreed to do, or the landlord did not do what he or she was ordered to do or agreed to do, or there are mistakes in a stipulation and you need to come back to court to ask the judge for something in your case, you can use the Tenant Affidavit to Restore Case to Calendar DIY program to make your affidavit in support of your order to show cause. 

In the Affidavit in support you should:

1. State the reason you are making your request.
2. State the relevant facts about your case.
3. State whether or not you have ever made the same request before.
4. Attach copies of any relevant documents you are referring to in your Affidavit.

After you have filled out the Affidavit, you must sign it at the bottom in front of the clerk, or in front of a notary, so that it can be attached to the Order to Show Cause and submitted to a Judge.

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Submission to the Judge

After the Affidavit is witnessed by the clerk, the clerk will then submit your Affidavit with the Order to Show Cause to a Judge for review. You may have to wait awhile in the clerk’s office.

If your application is signed by a Judge, you will need two or three copies of the Order to Show Cause and supporting papers. You will either be given copies or lent the originals so that you can make copies yourself. There are copy machines in the clerk’s office, so bring change.

The original Order to Show Cause and Affidavit in Support goes back to the clerk. You must then serve a copy of the papers on the other side in the manner directed in the Order to Show Cause. The Order to Show Cause will often contain a provision requiring service by a specific date. If you are a respondent who has been served with a Marshal’s Notice, you will also have to serve a copy of the Order to Show Cause on the Marshal. If your Order to Show Cause contains a provision which stays any eviction until the hearing date, and if you fail to serve the Marshal after the Judge signs your Order to Show Cause, you might get evicted.

The papers should be served by someone over the age of 18, who is not a party in the action, unless the judge has permitted otherwise. The clerk will give you further instructions, or you may speak with a Housing Court counselor in the Help Center.

If you are a tenant you may refer to the Instructions for further information on serving papers.

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Opposition Papers

If you wish to oppose an order to show cause, you may prepare an Affidavit in Opposition. If you do not submit opposition papers and/or fail to appear in court to oppose the Order to Show Cause, the judge may decide to grant the relief requested based on the information in the Order to Show Cause and your default.

An affidavit is a sworn statement which must be signed in front of a notary public or a court clerk. You may attach copies of any relevant documents to the Affidavit in Opposition. You can download a free Civil Court form by at Affidavit in Opposition, you may use your own form, or obtain one from the clerk or the help center.

After you have prepared the opposition papers, follow the procedure outlined below:
1. Copies of the opposition papers must be served on all other parties.
2. Opposition papers must be served by a person who is not a party to the action and is eighteen years of age or older.
3. If a party has an attorney, the papers must be served on the attorney. Service of the opposition papers may be made by delivering the papers to the attorney personally, or by mailing the papers to the attorney.
4. After the opposition papers have been served, the person who served the papers must fill out an Affidavit of Service which states how and when the papers were served. The Affidavit of Service must be signed in front of a notary or a court clerk. You may download the free Housing Court form at Affidavit of Service.
5. Make a copy of the Affidavit of Service for your records and attach the original to the copy for the court.
6. Opposition papers can be filed in the courtroom on the date that the Order to Show Cause is heard, or in the clerk’s office before that date.

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Cross-Motions

If you have been served with an order to show cause and wish to ask the court for relief of your own, you may bring your own Order to Show Cause. Tell the clerk that you want your Order to Show Cause heard on the same day as the Order to Show Cause that is already scheduled to be heard, and if there is enough time, they can be calendared together. You can also schedule a cross-motion for the same day as the Order to Show Cause is noticed to be heard.

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Reply Papers

If you have received opposition papers prior to the hearing date of the Order to Show Cause, you may have time to prepare an affidavit in reply. You may go to Reply Affidavit to download a free Civil Court form; you may use a form of your own; or you may obtain one from the clerk or the Housing Court Help Center. You must serve a copy of the reply affidavit on the other side and bring extra copies and the original, along with proof of service, to the courtroom on the date the Order to Show Cause is to be heard. If you did not have time to prepare reply papers and feel that it is necessary, you can ask the court for an adjournment for time to prepare reply papers. The judge may or may not grant your request.

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Appearing in Court

You are required to appear in court on the date the Order to Show Cause is scheduled to be heard. You must appear at the time and place stated in the Order to Show Cause. If you need directions to the courthouse, Directions are available. In general, if you do not appear, and you are the moving party, your Order to Show Cause will be denied; if you do not oppose the motion, the Order to Show Cause may be granted on default. You should give yourself extra time to get to the courtroom since all visitors are required to go through metal detectors at the entrance to the courthouse. You should bring your copies of the papers with you and any papers and affidavits that you have not yet filed with the court.

The courtroom is presided over by a Judge, who is assisted by a court attorney, a clerk and a court officer. The court officer, wearing a uniform, maintains order in the courtroom. The clerk, sitting at a desk at the front of the courtroom, can answer any questions you have about the calendar or the judge’s rules. The Judge sits on the bench at the front of the courtroom and hears arguments for and against motions and orders to show cause, reviews stipulations of settlement, and decides request for adjournments. The court attorney assists the Judge and may hold a conference with the parties to see if the order to show cause can be settled.

There is a calendar posted outside the courtroom that lists all the cases that will be called that day. Each case has a number. You should sit quietly in the courtroom and listen for your case to be called. You will have a chance to explain your case to the judge or the judge’s court attorney. You always have the right to go before the Judge. You are not required to settle the Order to Show Cause, and you may request a hearing on the record. In that event, the Judge will decide your application.

If you are not ready to discuss the Order to Show Cause on the return date, or you need more time to prepare papers, when the case is called you can ask the court for a postponement or an adjournment of your application. If your case has been adjourned before and marked "final" it means the judge will not allow any further adjournments. For more information, refer to Adjournments.

The other side may want to discuss the Order to Show Cause with you alone to see if you can come to an agreement. If you reach an agreement, you and the other side can write the terms of your agreement into a stipulation. However, you do not have to talk to the other side alone. You can wait until your case is called by the court and the judge will decide.

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The Decision on the Order to Show Cause

If you and the other side are unable to agree about the relief being requested, the judge will make a decision on the Order to Show Cause. Sometimes, the judge makes a decision immediately. The judge has 30 days to decide the Order to Show Cause. Some Judges will mail you a copy of the order if you provide a self-addressed stamped envelope. Otherwise, you will have to go to the courthouse to get a copy of the decision. To find out where to go in your county refer to Locations.

Depending on the relief sought, the judge’s decision may award a judgment to the winning party. When the winning party enters the judgment and serves a copy of the judgment with notice of entry on the losing party, this start’s the loser’s time to appeal running. To learn more, refer to Serving Notice of Entry.

If you are unhappy with the judge’s decision and think that the judge made a legal or factual mistake, you can make a motion to reargue or renew, or file an appeal. The filing of an appeal alone does not stop or stay the execution of a judgment. An appeal requires the posting of an undertaking to stay an eviction.

An appeal must be filed within 30 days from the service of the order appealed from and written notice of entry. If neither side has served a copy of the decision and order with notice of entry, there is no time limitation on the filing of an appeal. For more information about appealing a decision, go to Appeals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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