NYC Law Department – Torts unit – as well as NYC Early Settlement Unit is a mess! What’s going on?
I have multiple Personal Injury cases with NYC as well as NYC Transit. Settling with New York City is a nightmare. If a case is not filed, the procedure is to try to settle with the ESU (Early Settlement Unit). If the case is filed and in litigation, the case is then transferred to the NYC Law Department. In both situations on whether the case is in Litigation or not, in order for the case to be settled, the NYC Comptrollers office need to provide monetary authority and this is where the problem is… Moving the file along to get to the NYC Comptrollers office is a nightmare!
If I ever hated any type of case, municipal cases are at the top of the list. Negotiating or even pushing the case forward for possible settlement is a pure nightmare that lasts for years. Here’s why: After the 50H (sworn statement) is complete, we will have an “opportunity” to send a settlement package to the ESU (Early Settlement Unit). Conveniently, no one ever picks up the phone and there is no general email. I personally have some representatives’ emails and that’s how I manage to send some settlement packages through, but for the most part, unless you have those contacts saved, there is virtually no way. If I do manage to reach someone on the phone, and manage to get a contact at the Early Settlement Unit, and manage to send the settlement package to the correct examiner, that examiner will want you to send him a settlement package directly. Once you have done that, that examiner will claim that he sent the settlement package to the comptroller’s office for authority to settle. After months of following up, that examiner may get reassigned or go MIA. The new examiner will want you to send them the settlement package because the examiner will claim that the file is empty. This can go on for years.
If the case is in litigation, good luck reaching the attorney that’s actually assigned to the case because chances are, that attorney will have no clue what’s going on with the case because all he does is sign off on the pleadings and there is a separate attorney that can negotiate the case. Just like the examiners, the settlement attorneys also randomly rotate; even though they may claim that they are the head attorney for whatever county the case is in. For the most part, unless it’s a problematic case or a soft-tissue case that’s not worth litigating, I generally leave these cases alone and wait until they call me. I refuse to spend months or years on a circlejerk with NYC.
Even if you do manage to settle the case with the city, it takes another 90 days at least to even get the settlement check. That’s if you filled out the 15-page closing documents they have prepared for you, which you also had to wait at least a month to receive. This is what happens when democrats run anything. Nothing works the way it should.