What is sovereign immunity?

Private individuals are not the only people that need quality representation. When municipalities in New York face litigation in a myriad of legal matters, or require quality legal advice or advocacy, they need the same diligent legal representation as a private citizen in order to protect money that should serve the people of their community.

Dating back to the 1800’s “sovereign immunity” has protected the federal government and states from suit for torts caused by property or civil rights actions against their employees and agents. For a long time, New York State could bar suit related to personal injury claims because of conditions of municipal property or civil rights claims because of the actions of someone working on behalf of the municipality.

New York State has since waived sovereign immunity and allowed for private individuals to recover for damages related to property conditions and file civil rights claims against the actions of municipal employees within strict guidelines. A private citizen must file a notice of claim within 90 days of the incident in order to take advantage of the waiver for sovereign immunity. If a private citizen tries to sue the municipality after 90 days, most cases will be dismissed according to sovereign immunity.

In some cases, a court may use its discretion to allow an extension of the 90-day filing rule. They will take into account why the private citizen was unable to file within the 90 days and decide on the matter. In these cases, the municipality needs persistent and tenacious counsel in order to convince the court to bar the extension and when they decide against the city, town, or village, they need effective representation to fight the claim.