NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A8852B
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the civil practice law and rules, in
relation to requiring all personal injury or wrongful death causes of
action to include a prayer for general relief; and to amend the general
municipal law, in relation to exempting notices of claim from such
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
To amend sections 305 (b) and 3017 of the civil practice law and rules,
as well as a conforming change to section 50-e of the general municipal
law, to prohibit the inclusion in a summons with notice of a prayer for
specific monetary relief in actions for personal injury or wrongful
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of this bill amends subdivision b of rule 305 of the civil
practice law and rules, regarding the inclusion in a summons with notice
for personal injury or wrongful death.
Section 2 amends subdivision c of section 3017 of the civil practice law
and rules to include prayer for general relief for all personal injury
or wrongful death causes of action.
Section 3 amends subdivision 2 of section 50-e of the general municipal
law to account for both sexes-male and female.
Section 4 establishes the effective date.
In 2003, CPLR 3017 was amended to broaden the proscription against
including prayers for specific money damages from medical or dental
malpractice actions against municipalities, to all types of personal
injury or wrongful death actions. Chapter 694 of 2003.
This chapter proscribed including such prayers for relief in a
complaint, counter-claim, cross-claim, interpleader complaint, and a
third-party complaint in these types of actions.
The sponsor's memo for said bill explained the rationale for same as
At the outset of a personal injury case, it is difficult to fairly esti-
mate what the plaintiff's total damages may be. Present law encourages
claimants and their lawyers to claim a large dollar amount for damages,
out of a concern that a demand may turn out to be too low and, there-
fore, limit an eventual recovery. This bill would extend to all personal
injury and wrongful death cases the rule that presently exists for
medical and dental malpractice cases and cases against municipalities.
However, the above-described methods of commencing an action did not
include all manner of commencement of an action. Specifically, an action
can be brought by filing and serving a summons with notice pursuant to
CPLR 304 (a) and CPLR 305 (b), but without complying with CPLR 3017, as
commencement via summons with notice was not among the methods of bring-
ing a claim as set forth in Chapter 694 of 2003. While noted Professor
David Siegel had oft cautioned attorneys not to commence actions in this
manner, there have been instances where commencement in this fashion has
This bill adds "summons with notice" to the above list of methods of
bringing a claim such as would proscribe a prayer for specific monetary
relief, thus eliminating a statutory loophole concerning commencement of
personal injury and wrongful death actions.
The bill also makes a conforming change to section 50-e of the general
municipal law to eliminate the requirement that an amount be specif-
ically sought by a claimant in a notice of claim for cities over one
million in population. Previous amendments to the general municipal law
and court of claims act had eliminated this requirement for claims
against smaller localities and claims against the state. Nevertheless,
a governmental entity covered by section 50-e may still issue a request
for particularized damages information via supplemental demand. Thus, no
party would be prejudiced by such an amendment.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
The thirtieth day after it shall become law, and shall apply to all
actions commenced after such date.