Medical Malpractice

Eli Fuchsberg and Celena Gonzalez Secure Right to File Late Notice of Claim Against NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation

June 3, 2024
Supreme Court

Table Of Contents

Celena Gonzalez

We are thrilled to announce a significant legal victory for our client and similarly situated plaintiffs in the case against the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (NYCHHC) and individual defendants. In a well-reasoned decision, the Court granted our motion for leave to serve a late Notice of Claim, deeming it timely nunc pro tunc. This decision paves the way for our client's claims to be heard on their merits, ensuring that justice is served. It also serves as important precedent for those seeking to bring claims against the New York City government and its counterparts.

Background of the Case

This case involves a 42-year-old male, who was married with 5 minor children, whose cancer diagnosis and treatment were impermissibly due in part to negligent care proffered by NYCHHC.

Our client, the decedent’s estate, and his wife, sought to file a late Notice of Claim against NYCHHC and several medical professionals affiliated with Jacobi Medical Center. Initially, the case was dismissed as the court found our client lacked standing at that time to file, as the wife had not been appointed administrator at the time of the filing. Our client was later appointed as the administrator of the decedent’s estate, which we used as grounds for the motion at issue.

Legal Framework and Arguments

Under General Municipal Law § 50-e(5), a notice of claim must generally be served within 90 days after the claim arises. However, courts possess the discretion to extend this time in response to a motion for late notice of claim, under specific conditions. The purpose of this statute is to protect municipalities from “stale or frivolous” claims while ensuring legitimate claims are not dismissed due to procedural errors.

In our papers, we argued that our motion to file a late notice of claim should be granted because, after refiling our case when the wife was appointed administrator, the Plaintiff had proper standing at the time the complaint was filed, the present application was timely made, and all discretionary factors to extend a notice of claim deadline under General Municipal Law §50(e)(5)  were met, including that: 1) a reasonable excuse was present, based on the plaintiff decedent’s protracted in-patient hospitalization, disability and death 2) the merits of the case, and 3) the clear lack of prejudice to the Defendants, as they had access to the plaintiff decedent’s medical records and had already been given the opportunity and taken a deposition of the proposed administrator (now administrator).

The Court’s Decision

In its deliberation, the Court considered these aforementioned key factors and found there was no prejudice to the defendants in allowing the case to proceed. The Court cited precedents emphasizing the remedial nature of General Municipal Law § 50-e(5) and its intention not to frustrate the rights of those with legitimate claims. The decision reflects a balanced approach, ensuring that meritorious cases are not dismissed due to minor procedural missteps while protecting municipal entities from unfounded claims.


This ruling is a testament to the flexibility of the judicial system in balancing the rights of claimants against the protections afforded to municipalities. It underscores the principle that procedural rules should serve as a shield for municipalities rather than a sword against valid claims.

Our client now has the opportunity to pursue their claims fully and to hold the defendants accountable for their actions.

Don't give up on the compensation you deserve

We understand the complexities of claim requirements and can fight for your right to be heard. The legal professionals at Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm are committed to support you. Contact us today for steadfast legal guidance.

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