Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Fireman's Rule


The Fireman's Rule
Currie v McQueen, Supreme Court, Nassau County, [Not selected for publication in the Official Reports]

A New York City police officer sued to recover damages for injuries he sustained on when, while in the course of his duties, he was assaulted by McQueen as he attempted to arrest him during a public demonstration.

McQueen contended that Currie's action for assault is barred by the “Fireman's Rule” as set out by the Court of Appeals in Santangelo v State, 71 NY2d 393.

In Santangelo, the Court of Appeals expressly barred police officers from bringing a personal injury action sounding in negligence arising from “the very situations that create the occasion for their services.”

Justice Phelan said that the holding in Santangelo and similar cases was effectively overruled by an amendment to the Section 11-106 of the General Obligations Law. Section 11-106 gives a limited right of recovery to police officers and firefighters injured by the negligence or intentional conduct of any person except an employer or co-employee.

The theory underlying this change: although public policy considerations support the preclusion of negligence claims against the governmental entities which employ firefighters and police officers are cogent, these considerations do not justify barring firefighters and police officers from recovering damages when they are injured or killed as a result of the negligence of private parties.

Expanding on this, Justice Phelan ruled that there is even less justification in barring recovery resulting from the intentional acts of a private party and rejected McQueen's motion to dismiss Currie's complaint “sounding in assault and battery.”

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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