NY Education Law § 3813(2) requires a notice of claim to be served on a public school. In Matter of New York Charter Schools Assn., Inc. v. DiNapoli, 13 NY.3d 120 (2009), the NY Court of Appeals acknowledged that “a charter school has been deemed by the Legislature to be an independent and autonomous public school.”
In turn, several New York trial courts have held that charter schools are public, and thus a plaintiff must serve them with notice of claim as condition precedent to commencing an injury lawsuit. J.P. v Bronx Community Charter Sch., 2017 NY Slip Op 31720[U] (Sup Ct, Bronx County 2017); M.M. v City of NY, 2020 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 6948 [Sup Ct, Bronx County Aug. 7, 2020, No. 31288/19); (C.G. v Bronx Learning Inst., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 23886 [Sup Ct, Bronx County Sep. 12, 2019, No. 20010/2019E).
In J.P. v. Bronx Community Charter Sch, plaintiff served a notice of claim on The City of New York and The New York City Department of Education, but not Bronx Community Charter School where the accident happened. The charter school moved to dismiss on grounds that plaintiff failed to timely serve it with a notice of claim. The trial court held a notice of claim was required to be filed on the charter school. Luckily for the plaintiff, the court granted leave to file a late notice of claim on the charter school nunc pro tunc.
The plaintiffs were not so lucky in M.M. v. City of NY and in C.G. v. Bronx Learning Inst, where the charter schools obtained full dismissal of the negligence action for plaintiff’s failure to file a notice of claim.
In sum, if you have been injured on property owned or operated by a charter school or represent such a client, file a notice of claim directly on the charter school! Contact our experienced attorneys at (718) 550-7019 for more information.