Caffaro v. Trayna

35 N.Y.2d 245, 360 N.Y.S.2d 847, 319 N.E.2d 174 (1974)

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Caffaro v. Trayna

New York Court of Appeals
35 N.Y.2d 245, 360 N.Y.S.2d 847, 319 N.E.2d 174 (1974)

Facts

Dr. John Trayna (defendant) treated John Caffaro (John) (plaintiff) for throat problems between September 1966 and May 1967. Contending that Trayna failed to diagnose him with larynx cancer, John sued Trayna in December 1968 for personal injuries John suffered due to Trayna’s malpractice. In June 1968, while that suit was pending, John died from his larynx cancer. John’s will was probated in September 1972, after which Josephine Caffaro (plaintiff) was substituted as the plaintiff in his capacity as his personal representative. In January 1973, Josephine moved to amend the complaint to add a wrongful-death claim. The supreme court denied Josephine’s motion, ruling that a wrongful-death claim would be time-barred because the statute of limitations for wrongful death was two years from the date of death and thus had expired in June 1970. The appellate division affirmed. Josephine appealed, arguing that a wrongful-death claim would be timely if it were joined with John’s preexisting personal-injury claim pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) § 203(e).

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jones, J.)

Dissent (Breitel, C.J.)

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