Getting a Recovery from New York City; Yes, You Can Sue City Hall

NYC: City Hall by wallyg.

There is a popular saying that “you can’t sue City Hall.”

This is not true.  You can sue and recovery against the City.  Indeed, in our experience it is much easier to get a recovery from the City than other governmental entities.

Based on my experience:

  • New York City–As compared to New York State and the United States, a recovery against the City is more likely.  One reason is that cases against NYC  are heard in the Supreme Court and are decided by juries.  The right to trial by jury is one of the most important rights that an injured person has.  Due to the large number of cases against the City, it is more likely to settle for a reasonable amount on a good number of cases.  Also, City cases are the least “worked-up” from a defense viewpoint in view of the City’s strained and limited resources at the Corporation Counsel.
  • New York State–Cases against New York State are heard exclusively in the Court of Claims.  All trials are non-jury.  Therefore, few cases settle.  Most of the time the Attorney General’s Office will seek a trial rather than settle.  The Attorney General has greater resources than the City’s Corporation Counsel. 
  • United States–Similarly, cases against the USA are also non-jury cases.  These cases are tried in the US. District Court.  The USA is defended either by the local US Attorney’s Office or the local office of the US Attorney General.  The USA has at its disposal the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate accident cases!  You can well imagine that an accident witness will cooperate fully when an FBI agent knocks on the door.  Generally, the USA will not settle cases, and it will go to a trial.  Of all of the government attorneys, the USA attorneys are the most professional and most prepared.  They have huge resources.

In addition to the foregoing governments, there are government authorities, such as

  • New York City Transit Authority;
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority;
  • New York City Housing Authority; and
  • New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.

Injured persons have the right to sue these government authorities in the Supreme Court and have their cases decided by juries.

Although cases against NYS and USA are difficult, recoveries can be obtained in the right case with the right facts and injuries.  We have obtained excellent settlements and recoveries against NYC, NYS, and USA.  Therefore, if you have been injured due to negligence by a government agency, please call me at 800-581-1434 for a free consultation.

Mark E. Seitelman, 4/8/09,


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