New York City Had No "Special Relationship" to Man Killed by Pit Bulls; Not Liable for Negligence.

Court: Supreme Court, Richmond County, New York

Case: Elaine Sutton, as Executor of the Estate of Henry Piotrowksi, Deceased v. City of New York

Date: Aug. 13, 2012

From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Queens; Queens injury attorney)

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Facts: On July 1, 2008, two pit bulls attacked 90 year-old Henry Piotrowski. He died in the hospital some six weeks later. The dog owners were convicted of a felony.

This negligence case claims that the City of New York had received many 911 calls complaining about the pit bulls before the accident and failed to take proper action.

The City of New York has made this motion for summary judgment or, alternatively, to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint.

Held: The City of New York can't be sued for negligence or accidents based on claimed failure in its performance of its governmental function, unless it has a "special relationship" with the injured person. In other words, the municipality must have acted affirmatively to cause the injured person to rely upon it.

There is no showing here that the City of New York assumed a duty to the deceased. In fact, the 911 calls were made by his neighbors and not by him, so he didn't even have direct contact with the City.

Case dismissed.

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