GOVERNOR ACTS TO SIMPLIFY THE PROCEDURE
TO NOTIFY GOVERNMENT ENTITIES OF INTENDED LEGAL ACTION
New York State Bar Association President Seymour W. James, Jr. today
commended Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing into law a measure that
adopts a uniform process for notifying a government entity—whether
it be a municipality, school district or public authority—before
commencing a lawsuit.
"The new law gives individuals a better chance of having their day in
court," said James (The Legal Aid Society in New York City). "The
current system, which imposes a patchwork of differing rules and time
limits, is so confusing that individuals can be barred from ever filing
a lawsuit based on procedural grounds."
Under existing law, anyone wishing to file a lawsuit against a
municipality, school district, public authority or other government
entity must first file a "notice of claim." However, lawsuits are too
often rejected because the notice of claim was sent to the wrong entity
or because the time limit has expired.
The new law seeks to address both those barriers to bringing a case
to court. First, it provides the option of filing a notice of claim with
the New York secretary of state, who then would forward it to the proper
agency. For example, in a case involving a hazardous sidewalk, an
individual might not be able to determine whether the sidewalk belongs
to a city, school district or public authority. The secretary of state
would make that determination. Second, the law imposes a uniform statute
of limitations for all actions against a government entity.
The legislation (S.7641-B and A.10657-A) was introduced by Senator
Jack M. Martins (R-Nassau County) and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein
The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest
voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207 PH: (518) 463-3200 SECURE FX: (518) 463-5993