Schindler Elevator v. NYC Housing Authority
NEW YORK COUNTY
Justice Doris Ling-Cohan
Schindler Elevator sued New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) for damages alleging it breached the parties' contract by failing to pay for services performed. NYCHA moved for dismissal based on documentary evidence, and the fact the action was not timely commenced. NYCHA argued a notice of claim was not served, and if it was, it was not timely, noting the contract required a notice of claim within 20 days after its accrual. The court noted the contract plainly stated filing of a notice of claim was a condition precedent to contractor's right to sue to recover, or resulted in a waiver of all claims for compensation. Also, §55(a) of the contract set forth a one year limitations period, and the court stated the statute of limitations set by law may be changed by written contract to a shorter, but reasonable period. Yet, the parties differed in their interpretation of when the limitations period began to run, but the court found the contract was clear that the statute of limitations began to run, if the contract was terminated, upon the termination date. Thus, as plaintiff had from June 15, 2010 to timely commence the action, but failed to do so, NYCHA's motion to dismiss was granted as the notice of claim was not filed, and the action was untimely.