HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS ON TRIBOROUGH BRIDGE AND TUNNEL AUTHORITY

Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Logo

By Akanksha A. Panicker

To ensure that it is indeed all just water under the bridge, the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority functions as a major public benefit corporation across New York. The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA), otherwise recognized as MTA Bridges and Tunnels, is a Metropolitan Transportation Authority affiliate corporation that manages seven toll bridge structures and two tunnels in New York City. It is the foremost bridge and tunnel toll agency in the United States regarding traffic capacity, handling about a million customers per day.

The Triborough Bridge was the impetus behind the agency’s identity since it was the first crossing established.

[1.0] HOW DID THE TBTA ORIGINATE

The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority established as the Triborough Bridge Authority in 1933. In 1946, the Triborough Bridge Authority became reorganized into the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, and in 1994, it commenced using the acronym MTA Bridges and Tunnels. The TBTA was in charge of many structures, including the New York Coliseum and the East Side Airline Terminal, which were dismantled and running all nine toll crossings situated entirely inside New York City.

MTA B&T is a co-founder of the E-ZPass Interagency Group. To boost transport infrastructure, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared in October 2016 that tollbooths would be eliminated from all bridges. Since September 30, 2017, all MTA Bridges and Tunnels facilities have received toll fees via open-road contactless payment tolling. Tollbooths have been removed, and passengers would no longer be required to pay in cash at the crossings. Instead, tolls are collected using sensors installed on modern overhead gantries. Others are situated where toll booths used to be, and others are at the opposite ends of the services. A car that does not have an E-ZPass has its license plate photographed, and a toll bill is mailed to the driver. Sensors wirelessly detect E-ZPass users’ transponders.

The study of automatic number-plate recognition (ALPR) is employed to decipher the plate’s graphic into alphanumeric characters and question jurisdiction. The MTA B&T’s ALPR machine does not interpret temporary paper license plates as of 2018.   Furthermore, riders who block direct images of their license plates pose a serious risk to the device. Vehicles identified with those plates face a ticket for a hindered, incomplete, or unreadable license plate under Section 402 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law. However, no felony charges have been filed against them. Governor Cuomo’s initial Executive Budget for 2020 contained a provision classified using a changed license plate to circumvent tolls as misdemeanor theft-of-service. However, the measure was not included in the final plan.

[1.2.] NATURE OF THE TBTA AND WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SERVICE

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is a public benefit corporation chartered by the New York State Legislature. Toll revenues from TBTA help subsidize MTA’s transit and commuter rail services.  For most TBTA bridges, drivers can pay tolls either in cash or by E-ZPass. E-ZPass is an automated toll payment device that enables customers to either prepay or get tolls paid to their checking account at the end of the day.  The system has three components, [A.]a toll tag (or transponder) that can be placed inside the car, [B.] an overhead antenna located in the toll lane, which reads the toll tag and collects the toll, and [C.] cameras to identify cars without toll tags. However, at TBTA crossings gated, the cameras are part of the toll violation enforcement system. 

The TBTA, in its capacity as a  public corporation, has designated the Secretary of State of the State of New York as its agent upon whom a Notice of Claim against the public corporation may be served according to New York City Process Service. The name, post office address, and email address of an officer, person or designee, nominee, or other agent-in-fact to which the Secretary of State shall transmit a copy of any Notice of Claim served upon the Secretary of State as the Public Corporation’s agent is required to have been provided by the TBTA itself. 

New York City Process Service can also be rendered via email as long as Claim’s Notice has been provided for a tort action within ninety (90) days after the claim has arisen.

[2.0] RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE

As a precondition to the commencement of a suit, all public corporations are required to have a Notice of Claim served against them. These corporations, on the other instance, are expressly required to have submitted a certificate with the Secretary of State.  This credential is necessary for assigning the Secretary as the agent for New York City Process Service of a Notice of Claim and specifies the particulars that the state’s secretary would need to transmit the corporation its future claims correctly. This also allows the Secretary of State to protect the network date in the record, such as the name, post office address, and electronic mail address, of an officer for the corporation designated to receive the transmission notices of claim, served upon the secretary as the public corporation’s agent. 

It is necessary that any designated post office address or electronic mail address to which the Secretary of State has been sent the notice of the claim would remain until formal intimation is provided that the corporation has changed its particulars. New York City Process Service by registered or certified mail shall be complete upon deposit of Claim’s Notice, enclosed in a postpaid properly addressed wrapper, in a post office or official depository under the United’s exclusive care and custody States post office department within the state. The Secretary of State should also be intimated as to the new address as well. 

The initial filing with the Secretary of State shall also contain the applicable time limit for filing a Notice of Claim upon that public corporation fulfilling New York City Process Service requirements.  If later changed by statute, a new filing shall be made detailing the new time limit. As per the statute of limitations, the TBTA has a time limit of one year and 90 days, after which the claim is expired.

[2.1] THE TBTA REQUIREMENTS FOR NOTICE OF CLAIM.

The City of New York must be put on notice before it is issued. This is where Notice of Claim comes into play. Essentially, for an accident to be recompensed by the city, the City must be given proper legal notice within a certain window of time from the date of the incident. This must be done before any lawsuit being filed in compliance with New York City Process Service. 

In any tort case where a Notice of Claim is required by the law and New York City Process Service regulations, it should be provided within ninety days after the claim arises. However, in wrongful death actions, the ninety days begin from the appointment of a representative of the decedent’s estate.

It must be noted that the New York City Process Service conditions for the service of the Notice of Claim upon an officer, appointee, or employee of a public corporation do not preclude the commencement of an action or special proceeding against such person. If an action or special proceeding is commenced against such person, but not against the public corporation, service of the Notice of Claim upon the public corporation shall be required only if the corporation has a statutory obligation to indemnify this individual.

The notice shall be in writing, sworn to by or on behalf of the claimant. This would require [A.] the name and post-office address of each claimant, and his attorney if any; [B.] the nature of the claim; [C.] the time when the place where and how the claim arose; and [D.] the items of damage or injuries claimed to have been sustained so far to adhere to New York City Process Service. Against any municipal corporation, the claim usually will not have several damages stated. Additionally, any service by electronic mail should contain the legend I certify that all information contained in this notice is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. I understand that the willful making of any false statement of material fact herein will subject me to criminal penalties and civil liabilities.” Service of the notice shall be complete upon successful transmission of the notice. This means that an electronic receipt should be provided to the city’s claimant, with a receipt number being provided to comply with New York City Process Service. 

Service of a Notice of Claim necessitates both the replicated copy and the contractual charge as an assurance by the process server. New York City Process Service stipulates that the copies are precise replicas of the initial Notice of Claim. This implies that the server now bears the responsibility for consistency and authentication under New York City Process Service regulations. Since the DOS receives so many papers, it isn’t easy to correctly and thoroughly check any single claim made to it. However, it is also the duty of the DOS to ensure that the notices received are duplicates of each other. If the Notice of Claim copies is not duplicated, the service can be terminated automatically. Even if the DOS ignores the discrepancy, the service is null since it explicitly violates the New York City Process Service laws under which it was set. 

It has hitherto been questioned as to whether the TBTA is a subsidiary of the MTA. However, this is an erroneous classification insofar as the TBTA functions as an affiliate to the MTA and is qualified to receive service designated to the Secretary of State. This distinction is crucial since the provisions of Public Authorities Law that the TBTA comes under -which relate to the requirement for service of a notice of claim- cannot apply to a subsidiary corporation of the authority. 

MTA performs planning and other functions both personally and by its branches and associations, and it offers supervision to these subordinate bodies, referred to collectively as “The Related Entities.” The Related Entities are a group of formerly operating agencies that have been integrated into the MTA. Excluding MTA Bridges and Tunnels and MTA Capital Construction, these formerly existing entities were descendants to private companies’ property that delivered fundamentally the same support.

Generating millions of dollars in toll revenue annually, the TBTA – legally retaining this name despite being called MTA Bridges and Tunnels- is thus a powerful city agency capable of funding large capital projects. 

For more information on serving legal papers, contact New York City Process Service (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1. New York Consolidated Laws, Public Authorities Law – PBA § 569-a. Actions against the authority

In every action against the authority for damages, for injuries to real or personal property, or the destruction thereof, or personal injuries or death, the complaint shall contain an allegation that at least thirty days have elapsed since the demand, claim, or claims upon which such action is founded were presented to a member of the authority, or its secretary, or its chief executive officer and that the authority has neglected or refused to make an adjustment or payment thereof for thirty days after such presentment.

2.Except in action for wrongful death, an action against the authority for damages for injuries to real or personal property, or the destruction thereof, or for personal injuries alleged to have been sustained, shall not be commenced more than one year and ninety days after the cause of action, therefore, shall have accrued, nor unless a Notice of Claim shall have been filed within the time limit established by and in compliance with section fifty-e of the general municipal law. An action against the authority for wrongful death shall be commenced by the Notice of Claim and time limitation provisions of title eleven of article nine of this chapter TBTA’s total operating revenue for 2016 was approximately $1.9 billion

3. TBTA is part of a consortium of 26 agencies in 15 states that participate in the E-ZPass system.

4. Any statutory provisions uniquely about the public corporation and the commencement of an action or proceeding against it are as follows: General Municipal Law Section 50-e(see subdivision 1[a]); Public Authorities Law Sections 569-a (see subdivisions 1 and 2) and 2980

5. Post Office Address:

M. MARGARET TERRY, GENERAL COUNSEL

TRIBOROUGH BRIDGE AND TUNNEL AUTHORITY

2 BROADWAY, 24TH FLOOR

NEW YORK, NY 10004

6. MTERRY@MTABT.ORG

7. Inclusive of  person, or designee, nominee, or other agent-in-fact

8. f)Service of a Notice of Claim on the Secretary of State as an agent of any public corporation, as defined in subdivision one of section sixty-six of the general construction law, whatsoever created or existing by the laws of the state of New York upon whom service of a Notice of Claim is required as a condition precedent to being sued, may be made by personally delivering to and leaving with the Secretary of State or a deputy, or with any person authorized by the Secretary of State to receive such service, at the office of the department of state in the city of Albany, duplicate copies of such Notice of Claim together with the statutory fee, which fee shall be a taxable disbursement but only in the amount equal to the portion of the fee collected by the public corporation by subdivision four of this section. Service on such public corporation shall be complete when the Secretary of State is so served. Within ten days after receiving a Notice of Claim, the Secretary of State shall either: (1) send one of such copies by certified mail, return receipt requested, to such public corporation, at the post office address on file in the department of state, specified for the purpose; or (2) electronically transmit a copy to such public corporation at the electronic address on file with the department of state specified for that purpose; or (3) transmit a copy to such public corporation by any other such means or procedure established by the Secretary of State, provided that such other means or procedure of transmittal must be verifiable.

9. This is for other than a city with a population of one million or more persons shall not state the number of damages to which the claimant deems himself entitled, provided, however, that the municipal corporation, other than a city with a population of one million or more persons, may at any time request a supplemental claim setting forth the total damages to which the claimant deems himself entitled. A supplemental claim shall be provided by the claimant within fifteen days of the request. In the event the supplemental demand is not served within fifteen days, the court, on motion, may order that the claimant provide it.

10. New York Consolidated Laws, Public Authorities Law – PBA § 1276. Actions against the authority

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