AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Civil Liability
of Law Enforcement Agencies & Personnel


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Police Plaintiff: Premises Liability

     In a lawsuit against the City of New York by a police officer who tripped and fell on a stairway while engaged in responding to a domestic violence complaint at another officer's apartment, common law negligence claims were barred by the firefighter's rule. The officer could, however, pursue claims against the city under General Municipal Law Sec. 205-e based on purported violations of the City's obligation under its administrative code to maintain illumination in a building's exits and stairways. Sec. 205-e grants police officers the right to recover damages for personal injuries or death resulting from another personís negligence in failing to comply with statutory or regulatory requirements. The officer claimed that she could not be sure of the cause of her fall because of the lack of lights at the building on the stairway and rear exit. Foley v. City of New York, No. 1485, 2007 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 9695 (A.D. 1st Dept.).
     Police officer could properly be awarded damages for injuries he suffered when he slipped and fell because of ice that formed at the bottom of a flight of stairs leading to a subway station. The jury could reasonably have concluded that the transit authority had constructive notice of the presence of the ice, which was an inch thick, but failed to remedy it. Anthony v. N.Y. City Transit Authority, 2005-08085, (Index No. 39516/96), 2007 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 2550 (2nd Dept.).
     Building owner was not liable for injuries police officer suffered on the premises when one of the steps on a stairway broke. Officer failed to show that the owner created the alleged defect on the stairs or had prior notice of it, or that there was a violation of a city building code provision. Crespi v. M.E.I.T. Associates, LLC, 795 N.Y.S.2d 275 (A.D. 2d Dept. 2005). [N/R]
     Officer who was injured from a slip and fall allegedly caused by cracked and unstable marble step in building's common stairwell was properly awarded $400,000 in damages against the building owner by a jury. Evidence showed that the defect in the stair had been there for an "appreciable length of time" prior to the injury, demonstrating "culpable negligence" by the building owner. O'Neill v. Julav Realty, Ltd., 769 N.Y.S.2d 223 (A.D. 1st Dept. 2003). [N/R]
     Officer who was injured while pursuing intruders at construction site after being summoned there by private security personnel could pursue his claim for damages against general contractor and owner of site. There were genuine issues as to whether the defendants had notice of the loose construction strut that allegedly caused the officer to fall on an unlit stairway. Sanchirico v. Nickerson Terrace Redevelopment Associates, L.P., 751 N.Y.S.2d 187 (A.D. 1st Dept. 2002). [N/R]
     Building owner was not liable to deputy sheriff for dog bite suffered while attempting to serve process on a tenant in an eviction case. Landlord was not reasonably on notice of the presence of the dog on the building premises simply because of dog droppings in the yard. Landlord was also entitled to protection under the one-bite rule even if they knew of the dog's presence, when they had no knowledge of this dog's dangerous propensities. Montier v. Silver Lake I, L.P., #2001-514, 813 A.2d 978 (RI 2003). [N/R]
     City was not entitled to summary judgment in lawsuit for personal injuries brought by police officer who was injured in a slip and fall in a building it owned. There were genuine issues of fact as to whether the city had notice of the alleged defective condition in the building which caused the fall. Malanga v. City of New York, 752 N.Y.S.2d 391 (A.D. 2002). [N/R]
     Police officer could not recover damages, under New York state law, from building owner for his injuries after he fell from an allegedly wobbly ladder borrowed from nearby gas station while checking the building's roof for criminal activity. Officer did not show a connection between his injury and the building owner's alleged negligent maintenance of his yard. Sconzo v. Emo Trans, Inc., 744 N.Y.S.2d 471 (A.D. 2002). [N/R]
     346:156 City drainage ditch located on homeowner's property, obscured by bushes, was not a "mantrap or pitfall"; no liability to officer who fell into ditch after coming onto the property while chasing a suspect. Aldredge v. Symbas, No. A01A0025, 547 S.E.2d 295 (Ga. App. 2001).
     337:9 Owner of property containing tree from which limb fell onto road could not be held liable for accident in which motorist struck officer summoned to the scene because the limb was blocking traffic; tree and its limb did not cause the officer's injuries when motorist stated that her inability to see officer before striking him was based on poor visibility from "fog" inside her vehicle and rain. Ashy
     v. Migues, No. W99-1498, 768 So. 2d 97 (La. App. 2000).
     295:107 Alleged deficiencies in internal conditions of housing authority building did not provide a basis, under New York law, to impose liability on authority for shooting of police officer by criminals who were using unlocked building basement to attempt to rob another undercover officer Aversa v. New York City Housing Authority, 650 N.Y.S.2d 117 (A.D. 1996).

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