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Governor Cuomo Signs Lavern's Law

On January 31, 2018, Governor Cuomo signed into law, as Chapter 506 of the Laws of 2017, the bill known as Lavern's Law -- which makes changes to the medical/dental/podiatric malpractice statute of limitations.  On the same day, Governor Cuomo signed into law amendments to Lavern's Law as Chapter 1 of the Laws of 2018.  The amendments were part of a negotiated deal with the New York State Legislature to approve Lavern's Law with immediate changes.  The final version of Lavern's Law alters New York’s fixed 2 ½ year statute of limitations measured from the last date of treatment for the item being complained about to 2 ½ years from the date of discovery of the injury or the date when the injury should reasonably have been discovered.  However, the new statute of limitations applies only to cases involving undiagnosed or misdiagnosed cancers or malignant tumors.  The main change from the original Chapter 506 of the Laws of 2017 that was implemented by the final Chapter 1 of the Laws of 2018 is that the period for reviving expired malpractice cases is limited to looking back ten months instead of seven years.  Thus, cases that had the statute of limitations run out ten months before the effective date of the new law (January 31, 2018) can still be brought to court as long as they are filed within six months after January 31, 2018.  Also, cases that would have been capable of being filed on January 31, 2018, will get the new statute of limitations applied for 2 ½ years from that date going forward.  Governor Cuomo issued Approval Memo # 67 for Chapter 506 of the Laws of 2017, which can be read using the link below, but he did not issue any such memo for Chapter 1 of 2018.