Counterclaims in New York Supreme Court — the Rules of Civil Procedure

This post gives an introduction to the rules of civil procedure applicable to counterclaims in the New York Supreme Court.  For a more detailed treatment, including up-to-date local rules, please see the SmartRules New York Supreme Court Guides:  Counterclaim.

Filed By/Against

A counterclaim can be filed by any defendant or person a defendant represents, against any plaintiff or person a plaintiff represents, as well as additional persons alleged to be liable. CPLR 3019(a).


A counterclaim may assert any claims the counterclaimant has against the plaintiff, regardless of whether those claims are related to the subject matter of plaintiff’s action. CPLR 3019(b).

Counterclaim Rules

Caselaw establishes that any counterclaim may be asserted in a responsive pleading or a separate action. Unlike in federal practice, there are no compulsory counterclaims.

A counterclaim may be asserted by a third party defendant. CPLR 1008.

In an action originally brought by a trustee as plaintiff, counterclaims may only be asserted against the party beneficially interested in the plaintiff’s action, and only to the extent of the claims asserted in the plaintiff’s action. CPLR 3019(c).

Other Rules and Requirements

New York Supreme Court Counterclaim guides cover counterclaim rules and requirements in depth.

The following are some of the topics covered:

  • Initiation
  • Timing
  • Formatting
  • Particularity
  • Verification
  • Statute of Limitations
  • Preservation
  • Time-Barred Counterclaims
  • Counterclaims in Amended Pleadings
  • Counterclaims Against Nonparties
  • Replies
  • Special Requirements

For a full treatment, please see the New York Supreme Court SmartRules Counterclaim Guides.

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