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Carroway v. County of Camden

October 6, 2009

MONIQUE CARROWAY, ADMINISTRATOR AD LITEM OF THE ESTATE OF THE LATE TYRONE CARROWAY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
COUNTY OF CAMDEN, CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, Docket No. L-3015-08.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 22, 2009

Before Judges Grall and Messano.

Plaintiff Monique Carroway, administratrix ad litem for the estate of her late son, Tyrone Carroway, appeals from the denial of her motion to file a late notice of claim under the Tort Claims Act (the TCA), N.J.S.A. 59:1-1 to :12-3. We have considered the arguments made in light of the record and applicable legal standards. We affirm.

The salient factual and procedural histories are undisputed.*fn1 On or about March 23, 2007, Tyrone Carroway was arrested and committed to defendant Camden County Correctional Facility operated by defendant County of Camden. Although nineteen-years-old and alleged to be in fine health when admitted to the jail, he took ill and died at the facility on June 9, 2007. Preliminary autopsy results were inconclusive as to the cause of his death. On July 20, after toxicological test results were reviewed, an amended death certificate was entered indicating that the cause of death could not be determined.

In April 2008, plaintiff retained her present attorney. Since the motion record contains no certifications by plaintiff herself, it is unclear whether she consulted any other attorney prior to April, and if not, why she failed to do so. In any event, on or about June 6, 2008, plaintiff moved for permission to file a late notice of tort claim.

In support of the motion, counsel supplied a certification noting his retention in April, and asserting that "[t]he claims of the late Tyrone Carroway are hampered by the fact that a cause of death . . . has never been determined." Counsel asserted that timely notice had not been served "due to the uncertainty of the cause or causes of death of . . . Tyrone Carroway, and whether the mentioned [d]efendants were responsible for [his] death[.]" (Emphasis added).

Defendants opposed the motion. They argued that to the extent plaintiff actually had a claim, it accrued upon the death of her son. They further contended that plaintiff had failed to demonstrate any "extraordinary circumstances" excusing the late filing of her notice of claim.

In a brief oral decision entered on the record, the motion judge agreed that plaintiff had failed to demonstrate extraordinary circumstances and denied her motion. This appeal ensued.

The TCA requires that

A claim relating to a cause of action for death . . . shall be presented . . . not later than the ninetieth day after accrual of the cause of action . . . . 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 ...


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