Decided: July 9, 1980.
ANGELA M. BELL, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
JOHN R. BELL, DEFENDANT, AND PORT AUTHORITY TRANSIT CORPORATION, A CORPORATE SUBSIDIARY OF DELAWARE RIVER PORT AUTHORITY, JOHN DOE(S), A FICTITIOUS NAME(S), AS EMPLOYEES OF PATCO, DELAWARE RIVER PORT AUTHORITY (DRPA), A BI-STATE AGENCY, RICHARD DOE(S), A FICTITIOUS NAME(S), AS EMPLOYEES OF DRPA AND PATCO, MR. DONALD WOLFE, WILLIAM FLOOD, FRANK PETERS, MR. FIORI, MR. KOLM, MR. WICKES, MR. COLLINS, MR. JOHNSTONE, MR. L. E. JOHNSON, AS EMPLOYEES OF PATCO AND/OR DRPA, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS, AND CONRAIL, A SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST TO PENNSYLVANIA READING SEASHORE LINES, PENNSYLVANIA READING SEASHORE LINES, BLACKACRE AGENCY, A FICTITIOUS NAME, AS A GOVERNMENTAL AND/OR PUBLIC AGENCY AND/OR AUTHORITY AND/OR BODY AND/OR CORPORATION AND/OR ENTITY, SAMUEL ROE(S), A FICTITIOUS NAME, AS AN EMPLOYEE OF BLACKACRE AGENCY, DEFENDANTS
On appeal from the Superior Court, Appellate Division.
For reversal -- Chief Justice Wilentz and Justices Sullivan, Pashman, Clifford, Schreiber, Handler and Pollock. For affirmance -- None. The opinion of the Court was delivered by Sullivan, J.
This personal injury suit was brought by plaintiff Angela M. Bell against her husband John R. Bell, the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) and its subsidiary the Port Authority Transit Corp. (PATCO).*fn1 The appeal herein, on leave granted to plaintiff, involves the issue whether DRPA (including its subsidiary) is a "Public entity"*fn2 within the meaning and scope of the New Jersey Tort Claims Act, N.J.S.A. 59:1-1 et seq. (the act), so that a tort claim against them must satisfy the following notice and filing requirements of the act:
59:8-8. Time for presentation of claims
A claim relating to a cause of action for death or for injury to person or to property shall be presented as provided in this chapter not later than the ninetieth day after accrual of the cause of action. After the expiration of 6 months from the date notice of claim is received, the claimant may file suit in an
appropriate court of law. The claimant shall be forever barred from recovering against a public entity if:
a. He failed to file his claim with the public entity within 90 days of accrual of his claim except as otherwise provided in section 59:8-9; or
b. Two years have elapsed since the accrual of the claim; or
c. The claimant or his authorized representative entered into a settlement agreement with respect to the claim.
Nothing in this section shall prohibit an infant or incompetent person from commencing an action under this act within the time limitations contained herein, after his coming to or being of full age or sane mind.
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