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NY Governor Signs Uniform Notice of Claim Act

December 20, 2012

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed the Uniform Notice of Claim Act.  Until now, public entities have been governed by numerous inconsistent procedural rules and time limits when it comes to notices of claims. But these inconsistencies are no more. The new Act sets forth a uniform procedure for claims against public entities in New York.

Highlights from the act include the following:

  • Service on secretary of state – The NY General Municipal Law is amended to add new sections stating that claimants are allowed to serve a notice of claim on a public entity by serving the secretary of state.  The secretary of state then has to send a copy of the notice of claim to the public entity within 10 days. Public entities need to file a certificate with the secretary of state designating the secretary as agent for service, and the certificate has to provide the name and contact information for the transmittal of notices. Public entities should be aware that service on the secretary of state could lead to delays in the public entity actually receiving the notice. So once public entities receive the notices, they may have to move more quickly in demanding a 50-h examination within the requisite 90 day period.
  • Uniform 90 day period for serving notice of claim – The CPLR and other statutes are amended to state that no action against a public entity for damages, injuries to property, or personal injuries or wrongful death, can be commenced unless the claimant served a notice of claim in compliance with General Municipal Law § 50-e, including the 90 day time limit.
  • Uniform one year and 90 day statute of limitations – The CPLR and other statutes are amended to state that except for wrongful death actions, all actions against public entities for damages, injuries to property, or personal injuries, are subject to a one year and 90 day statute of limitations or another applicable statute of limitations prescribed by law, whichever is longer.
  • Leave to serve a late notice of claim – Claimants can file an application with the court to extend the time to serve any notice of claim.  The court will consider all relevant facts and circumstances in determining whether to exercise its discretion and allow the late claim.

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