Kircher v. Jamestown

544 N.Y.S.2d 995



In order for liability to be imposed upon a municipality for the failure to provide police protection to a particular individual, there must be proof of a "special relationship" between that person and the municipality.


Plaintiff was the victim of a kidnapping and rape. Two witnesses had observed the plaintiff being forced into a car by an assailant. The two witnesses gave chase, and upon losing sight of the victim's car, they informed a police officer they saw in the street. The police officer indicated that he would make a report, but failed to take any action at all. The plaintiff filed suit against the city and an individual police officer, asserting negligence claims based on failure to provide police protection. The trial court found the officer's actions a breach of his duty, and denied the motion of the city and officer for summary judgment. The city and the officer appealed, and the appellate court reversed, noting that there could be no liability for the officer's failure to act because there was no special relationship between the victim and the city. The plaintiff appealed from the ruling.


Whether the officer could be held liable for the harm caused by the plaintiff.


No, the officer could be held liable for the harm caused by the plaintiff.


On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the appellate court's ruling, holding that the plaintiff had not been given any assurances that she would be protected, or anything that would give rise to the existence of a special duty on the part of the city toward the victim. The appellate division's ruling was affirmed.

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