This Central New York accident lawyer is “on tour” again, traveling across New York State teaching other New York personal injury lawyers about New York “municipal liability law”. I addressed a very welcoming and attentive room of New York personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers in Manhattan this Friday, and will be hitting Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo over the next 6 weeks.
What’s “municipal liability law“? It’s a maze of byzantine rules New York injury lawyers have to follow for suing New York State and its counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts and other governmental entities. The State and all these “subdivisions” of the State have special defenses they can raise to beat back accident and injury claims against them. I try to steer other lawyers around these blockades, and away from mistakes that might harm their injured clients’ cases
The rules are really quite complicated, and most years the courts “tweak” the rules at least a little bit in some of the cases they publish. And I read all the cases, hundreds of them, each year. I then try to distill from all this the most important changes in law, and convey that to my fellow personal injury lawyers.
Example? There is a rule that generally you can’t sue a City (or State, County, etc.) for its police officers’ failing to provide you with police protection. The City has “governmental immunity” from such a suit. But there used to be an exception by which you could sue them if a police officer had promised you some police protection, then failed provide it, you relied on that promise to your detriment, and were injured as a result.
For example, there were lots of cases with this fact scenario: Ex-boyfriend threatens to kill ex-girlfriend, girlfriend calls police for protection, police promise they will arrest him, she believes them and goes home without a worry in the world, and ex-boy friend, who was NOT arrested, is waiting at her doorstep and kills or injures her. Under the old rule, she could sue the City for negligence in withholding police protection. Now it seems the State’s highest court has changed that rule so that is impossible, or nearly impossible, for you to sue even when the police officer promises you protection and then fails to deliver it. This is because the decision of whether to provide police protection is deemed “discretionary”, and the Court is now saying, for the first time, that you can NEVER sue the government for its “discretionary” decisions.
If you are really interested in this (and unless you are a this recent Court of Appeals case.
Anyway, I am proud to be selected year after year by the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers to deliver the New York “municipal liability update”. If they choose me to teach other lawyers, they must think I am pretty good!
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer Michaels & Smolak, P.C.