How do I serve a Notice of Claim against a Public Corporation?

In addition to the other methods prescribed by law, a notice of claim against a public corporation may be served on the New York Secretary of State as the statutory agent of the public corporation pursuant to Section 53 of the General Municipal Law. The General Construction Law definition of “public corporation” includes municipal corporations, district corporations and public benefit corporations.  It does not include publically traded corporations. 

Service of a Notice of Claim on the New York Secretary of State as agent of a public corporation may be accomplished by serving an authorized person at the New York Department of State’s office at One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12231. Two copies of the notice of claim should be brought to the Customer Service Counter located on the 6th Floor. The Customer Service Counter is open 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Service by mail is not permitted. The fee for serving the Notice of Claim is $250.

To serve a Notice of Claim on the New York Secretary of State as statutory agent of a public corporation, the Notice of Claim Server will be required to:

  1. Determine the identity of the public corporation intended to be served;

  2. Complete a "Service of Process/Notice of Claim Cover Sheet;"

  3. Hand-deliver two duplicate copies of the Notice of Claim being served (with the Service of Process/Notice of Claim Cover Sheet and, if applicable, a copy of the first page of the filed Certificate of Designation for Service of Notice of Claim stapled thereto), to an authorized person at the New York Department of State’s office at One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12231. The Notice of Claim should be brought to the Customer Service Counter located on the 6th Floor.

  4. Pay the service fee of $250.

Instructions for Service of a Notice of Claim on the Secretary of State as Agent of Public Corporations

The New York Secretary of State is the statutory agent for public corporations upon whom a Notice of Claim may be served prior to commencement of any action or proceeding subject to the requirements of Article 4 of the General Municipal Law. These instructions are intended to provide guidance to Notice of Claim servers who wish to serve a Notice of Claim on the Secretary of State as agent for a public corporation.

Please note that the New York Department of State (DOS) cannot provide legal advice. Notice of Claim servers are encouraged to consult with their own attorneys for advice on any matter discussed in these instructions or regarding any other aspect of service of a Notice of Claim.

1. The Notice of Claim server must determine the identity of the public corporation intended to be served.

The Notice of Claim server, and not the DOS, is responsible for identifying precisely which public corporation is intended to be served.

The Notice of Claim server may provide DOS with the name of the public corporation intended to be served, and request DOS to search its official records for a public corporation with that name that has filed a Certificate of Designation for Service of Notice of Claim. DOS will provide the Notice of Claim server with a list of public corporations having names that are the same as, or similar to, the name provided by the Notice of Claim server. It is the responsibility of the Notice of Claim server to determine which public corporation (if any) on that list is the public corporation that is intended to be served. Note, public corporations that have not filed a Certificate of Designation for Service of Notices of Claim will not be included on the list but may still be served upon the Secretary of State. The Service of Process/Notice of Claim Cover Sheet must then indicate that the Notice of Claim is being served on a public corporation that has not filed a Certificate of Designation for Service of Notices of Claim. If the actual name of the public corporation intended to be served differs significantly from the name originally provided by the Notice of Claim server, the public corporation intended to be served may not appear on the search result list provided by DOS.

2. The Notice of Claim server must complete a "Service of Process/Notice of Claim Cover Sheet"

The Notice of Claim server will be required to complete a "Service of Process/Notice of Claim Cover Sheet" indicating the name of the public corporation to be served, the section of law under which service is being made, the manner in which the applicable fee is being paid, and the name and address of the Notice of Claim server. (A copy of the "Service of Process/Notice of Claim Cover Sheet " is annexed to these Instructions.)

3. The Notice of Claim server must hand-deliver two duplicate copies of the Notice of Claim being served (with the Service of Process/Notice of Claim Cover Sheet), and the applicable fee, to an authorized person at DOS’s office at One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue, Albany, New York (9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Section 53 of the General Municipal Law applicable to service of Notices of Claim on a public corporation specifies that service consists of personal delivery of (1) duplicate copies of the Notice of Claim and (2) the statutory fee. By serving a Notice of Claim under such statute, the Notice of Claim server is making an implied representation to DOS that the copies of the Notice of Claim delivered by the Notice of Claim server are, in fact, duplicate (i.e., identical) copies of the original Notice of Claim. DOS relies on this implied representation, and the DOS does not undertake to make a line-by-line, page-by-page review of the copies delivered to it to determine if the copies are, in fact, duplicates of each other. Nevertheless, if it becomes apparent to DOS that copies of Notice of Claim that have been delivered to DOS are not duplicates of each other, DOS will reject the service:

• If the copies delivered to DOS are not duplicate copies, the service will not comply with the applicable statute, and the service will probably be invalid; this is true even if DOS fails to notice the inconsistency and "accepts" the service. Accordingly, Notice of Claim servers should make sure the copies delivered to DOS are, in fact, duplicate copies.

4. DOS will presume that the public corporation intended to be served is the public corporation identified on the Service of Process/Notice of Claim Cover Sheet attached to the Notice of Claim being served.

In the case of service upon a public corporation that has filed a Certificate of Designation for Service of Notice of Claim, DOS sends one copy of the Notice of Claim to the public corporation served at the address provided by that public corporation. In fulfilling this obligation, DOS sends the process to the public corporation identified by the Notice of Claim server. Please note that if the Notice of Claim server identifies the wrong public corporation:

• the public corporation intended to be served will not receive the DOS mailing, and

• service will not be effective as against the public corporation intended to be served.

In the case of service upon a public corporation that has not filed a Certificate of Designation for Service of Notice of Claim, DOS does not send a copy of the Notice of Claim to the public corporation served.

In light of the foregoing, it is critically important that the Notice of Claim server (1) correctly identify the public corporation intended to be served and (2) provide DOS with a clear and unequivocal indication of the identity of the public corporation to be served.

DOS does not reject service upon a public corporation merely because the name of the public corporation as it appears on the Service of Process/Notice of Claim Cover Sheet and/or the name as it appears on the Notice of Claim being served do not match.

This means that:

  • service will be accepted by DOS on behalf of the public corporation identified on the Service of Process/Notice of Claim Cover Sheet,

  • the receipt issued by DOS will indicate that service was made on the public corporation identified on the Service of Process/Notice of Claim Cover Sheet,

  • DOS will send a copy of the process, if applicable, to the public corporation identified on the Service of Process/Notice of Claim Cover Sheet, and

  • DOS’s records will indicate that service was made on the public corporation identified on the Service of Process/Notice of Claim Cover Sheet.


The foregoing will apply even if:

  • the public corporation specified is not the same entity indicated in the Notice of Claim, or

  • the name of the public corporation specified differs in any way (e.g., in spelling, etc.] used, in the use of abbreviations versus spelling out of words in full, etc.) from the name of the public corporation as specified in the Notice of Claim.