Tuesday, April 26, 2016

An assault on Transit Authority property.

Practice point:  The Appellate Division affirmed the granting of defendant's motion for summary judgment in this action to recover damages for personal injuries. The defendant-Transit Authority demonstrated that it had no special relationship with the plaintiff, thereby establishing its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, and, in opposition, the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact. The plaintiff's claims that a Transit employee observed another passenger injuring her on Transit property and failed to summon emergency assistance in a timely manner from a position of safety is based on speculation and conjecture, and thus, is insufficient to defeat the motion.

Student note:  Generally, the Transit Authority owes no duty to protect a person on its premises from assault by a third person, absent facts establishing a special relationship between the agency and the person assaulted. A "special relationship" requires justifiable reliance by a plaintiff upon an affirmative undertaking by the municipal defendant to act on the plaintiff's behalf.  However, a Transit employee's unreasonable failure to summon aid upon observing an injury being inflicted from a vantage point offering both safety and the means to summon help without danger may fall within the narrow range of circumstances which could be actionable.

Case:  Jacobs v. Transit Authority, NY Slip Op 02776 (2d Dep't 2016)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue:  Derivative suits and the futility of making a demand of the board.