Sunday, June 14, 2020

Comptroller Stringer Releases New York City Claims Report for FY 2019


In FY 2019, 13,712 claims and lawsuits against New York City were resolved for $975.0 million compared to 14,390 claims and lawsuits resolved for $1.1 billion in FY 2018

  New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer released the Annual Claims Report, covering data for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. The Claims Report includes breakdowns of personal injury and property damage claims as well as other categories of claims filed against the City and settlement costs paid by the City in the past fiscal year.

“As our City grapples with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to be smart and strategic about how we’re using taxpayer dollars. That’s why we believe in taking a data-driven approach to the City claims process to measure tangible results and identify areas for improvement,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “Our analysis backs up this approach; fewer claims filed and a decrease in payouts indicate that City agencies are working to streamline their operations, reduce costs, and implement best practices that avoid claims from arising altogether. We will continue to build on this progress by partnering with agencies to target more areas for improvement and make sure taxpayer dollars deliver results for the New Yorkers who need our help the most.”
In FY 2019, 13,712 claims and lawsuits against New York City were resolved for $975.0 million compared to 14,390 claims and lawsuits resolved for $1.1 billion in FY 2018.
Total Number of Claim Settlements & Judgments FY 2018 vs. FY 2019
Total Amount of Claim Settlements & Judgments Paid FY 2018 vs. FY 2019
Tort Claims
For a second fiscal year, FY 2019 saw a decline in the City’s payouts on personal injury and property damage claims (collectively, tort claims), which include allegations of slip and falls, medical malpractice, police action, and motor vehicle property damage claims. While the number of tort claims filed in FY 2019 decreased slightly by one percent, the amount paid out in settlements and judgments in FY 2019 decreased by seven percent. Yet, New Yorkers continue to pay for claims that were filed more than a decade ago.
  • In FY 2019, the City paid out $611.7 million in tort claims, $48.1 million less than the $659.83 million paid out in FY 2018.
  • In FY 2019, the City paid out $46.6 million for tort claims that were filed prior to FY 2010 (legacy claims).
  • Excluding payments on legacy claims, payouts declined from $595.3 million in FY 2018 to $559.3 million in FY 2019.
Labor and Employment Claims
Historically, claims by City employees relative to the terms and conditions of their employment have been recorded as either personal injury civil rights claims or law salary claims depending on the nature of the claim. Beginning in FY 2019, the Comptroller’s Office began recording all claims filed by City employees relative to the terms and conditions of their employment as labor and employment claims. In the FY 2019 Claims Report, the Comptroller’s Office continues to report claims data for FY 2019 labor and employment claims under its historic claim types for analysis continuity.
Law Claims
Law claims include disputes arising from City contracts, equitable claims, refund claims, City employee salary disputes, claims involving Department of Education (DOE) special education matters, sidewalk assessments, and affirmative claims that are brought by the City against individuals, companies, corporations, and other entities for torts, breaches of contract, and as remedies for violations of civil codes.
  • In FY 2019, the City paid out $363.2 million in law claims, a nine percent decrease from the $401.0 million paid out in FY 2018.
  • Seventy-nine percent of all law claim payments in FY 2019 were related to claims for reimbursement of the cost of special education services.
Under the New York City Charter, the Comptroller has the power to settle or adjust all claims in favor of or against the City. This work is performed by the Comptroller’s Office Bureau of Law and Adjustment (BLA), which, under the direction of the Comptroller and the Assistant Comptroller for BLA, comprises attorneys, claims professionals, engineers, and administrative staff.
In 2014 the Comptroller’s Office introduced ClaimStat, a data-driven analysis of claims filed against the City. ClaimStat was conceived as a way for City agencies to review claims data in real time, identify claim filing trends that are costly to the City, and implement policies and best practices to mitigate risk or avoid filing of claims altogether. ClaimStat has proven to be a valuable device for agency’s using risk analysis to reduce the number of claims filed against the City and, in turn, limit the City’s financial exposure.
Currently, the Comptroller’s Office shares real-time data and coordinates with the Department of Correction (DOC), the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), and the New York City Police Department (NYPD). The Comptroller’s Office continues to work to expand coordinated efforts with City agencies to mitigate risk and to help implement best practices.
To read the Annual Claims Report for Fiscal Year 2019, click here.

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