The family of a 12 year-old New Yorker has filed a Notice of Claim (notice of an intention to sue) against the City of New York for releasing an MRSA infected boy from the emergency room of Kings County Hospital, a city hospital (via ATL). The child later died.
The big-number headline, a demand for $25M, reveals a quirk in New York law. While a claimant is forbidden from making a demand for damages in a Complaint that starts a suit (see: New York Cleans Up Claims Act), one is required to put a demand in the pre-suit Notice of Claim against the City of New York (or the Health and Hospitals Corporation that actually runs the city hospitals).
The amount claimed, by the way, is well in excess of any amount the courts of New York would uphold, even if a jury awarded it (see: How New York Caps Personal Injury Damages). While the amount claimed in such a notice might be a ceiling for a recovery, and thus provide an incentive to use the highest legally sustainable amount, the amount here is utterly ridiculous under New York law. The claim will be limited to the pain and suffering of the child and the pecuniary loss of the parents due to the child’s wrongful death (assuming liability is established). That actual pecuniary loss will be, by definition, limited due to the fact the child was 12.
New York law does not, sadly, allow compensation for parental grief (see, The September 11th Lawsuits And The Problem Of Compensable Grief in NY). In that regard, we are in the dark ages as most states now allow it.