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Three year statute of limitations for common carriers in the First Department

M.N. Dental Diagnostics, P.C. v New York City Tr. Auth., 2011 NY Slip Op 01525 (1st Dept. 2011)

It is well settled that “the No-Fault Law does not codify common-law principles; it creates new and independent statutory rights and obligations in order to provide a more efficient means for adjusting financial responsibilities arising out of automobile accidents” (Aetna Life & Cas. Co. v Nelson, 67 NY2d 169, 175 [1986]). Since it is undisputed that there existed no contract between plaintiff’s assignor and the NYCTA, the common carrier’s obligation to provide no-fault benefits arises out of the no-fault statute. Therefore, the three-year statute of limitations as set forth in CPLR 214(2) is applicable here.

Compare – Elrac v. Suero, 38 A.D.3d 544 (2d Dept. 2007) and Spring World Acupuncture, P.C. v. NYC Transit Authority 24 Misc.3d 39 (App. Term 2d Dept. 2009).

For the record, I believe all no-fault actions should be judged by the 3-year SOL.  How do you cite Aetna and then limit its holding to self insured carriers?  This decision is schizophrenic.

The Court should have just said: “The order of the Appellate Term is hereby reversed, on the law without costs and case is dismissed.  The Clerk is directed to enter judgment accordingly.  The Statute of limitations as and against the NYTA is three years as set forth in CPLR 214(2).  The Respondent’s arguments lack merit.  We offer no other opinion.”

This would have made more sense.  Now another Pandora’s box has opened.  Does this apply to ELRAC and other self insureds?  Is the COA now going to weigh in on this issue?