NEW YORK SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISION, FIRST DEPARTMENT
July 22, 2009
RICHARD DENISE, M.D., P.C. A/A/O IRENE TRAPP, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT AUTHORITY, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.
Plaintiff appeals from an order of the Civil Court of the City of New York, Bronx County (Francis M. Alessandro, J.), dated May 7, 2007, which granted defendant's motion for leave to amend its answer to assert the affirmative defense of statute of limitations, and, upon amendment, to dismiss the complaint as time-barred.
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This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the printed Miscellaneous Reports.
PRESENT: McKeon, P.J., Heitler, J.
Order (Francis M. Alessandro, J.), dated May 7, 2007, reversed, without costs, motion denied and complaint reinstated.
Defendant New York City Transit Authority concedes that as a self-insurer, it is subject to the provisions of the no-fault law to the same extent as an insurer (see Insurance Law § 5103[a]; Vehicle and Traffic Law § 321; Public Authorities Law § 1215; Dermatossian v New York City Tr. Auth., 67 NY2d 219 ), and that actions to recover no-fault benefits are generally governed by a six-year statute of limitations (see CPLR 213; Matter of Travelers Indem. Co. of Conn. v Glenwood Med., P.C., 48 AD3d 319 ). It argues, however, that while an injured claimant has six years to assert a no-fault claim against an insured owner, a claimant must assert an identical claim against a self-insurer within three years, since the liability of a self-insurer for the payment of no-fault benefits is derived strictly from statute. We disagree.
Defendant's responsibility to provide no-fault coverage is mandatory and the obligation is not decreased merely because defendant is self-insured (see Matter of Allstate Ins. Co. v Shaw, 52 NY2d 818, 820 ). As in the case of an uninsured motorist claim (see Matter of ELRAC v Suero, 38 AD3d 544 , lv denied 9 NY3d 811 ), the right to obtain no-fault coverage, from an injured claimant's perspective, "is no less than the corresponding right under a policy issued by an insurer" (id. at 545; see also Spring World Acupuncture, PC v New York City Tr. Auth., -- Misc 3d --, 2009 NY Slip Op 29229 ). The Suero court held that although a claim for uninsured motorist benefits against a self-insurer is statutorily mandated, such a claim remains contractual in nature and thus, is subject to a six-year statute of limitations. Since we find no basis in law or compelling reasons of policy to distinguish between the right to uninsured motorist benefits and the right to no-fault benefits, we hold that a claim for no-fault benefits against a self-insurer, such as defendant here, is governed by a six-year statute of limitations.
THIS CONSTITUTES THE DECISION AND ORDER OF THE COURT.
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