Monday, May 15, 2017

A municipality's liability.

Practice point:  Absent a special relationship giving rise to the municipality's duty to exercise care for the benefit of a particular class of individuals, no liability may be imposed upon a municipality for failing to enforce a statute or regulation.

Case in point:  Green v. City of New York, NY Slip Op 03693 (1st Dep't May 9, 2017)

Plaintiff was injured when, while standing on the sidewalk, she was struck by a taxicab that hopped the curb. The taxi driver had numerous penalty points on his license that might have supported a suspension of his license prior to the accident, and plaintiff alleges that the failure to suspend the driver sooner was the result of a "computer glitch" at defendant Taxi & Limousine Commission. Plaintiff seeks damages for the City defendants' failure to enforce their own rules and regulations.

The Appellate Division affirmed dismissal as against the City defendants. Plaintiff alleges no facts sufficient to show that the City defendants owed a a special to her.  She sets forth no statutory provisions or other facts to show that the taxi licensing regulations under which she sued were for the benefit of a limited class of persons that included her, as opposed to the public at large. Neither does she allege that the City defendants voluntarily assumed a duty that generated reasonable reliance, or that they assumed positive direction and control in the face of a known, blatant and dangerous safety violation.

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue:  A claim of tortious interference with a contract.