Thursday, September 22, 2011

The application of the doctrine of governmental immunity in the context of acts of terrorism


The application of the doctrine of governmental immunity in the context of acts of terrorism
Matter of World Trade Ctr. Bombing Litigation, 2011 NY Slip Op 06501, Court of Appeals

In this appeal addressing litigation arising from the 1993 terrorist bombing incident in the parking garage of the World Trade Center complex, the Court of Appeals held that the New York-New Jersey Port Authority is entitled to the protection of "governmental immunity."

The court explained that “…….our precedent dictates that the provision of security for the benefit of a greater populace involving the allocation of police resources constitutes the performance of a governmental function [and] the governmental immunity doctrine requires [the court] to find the Port Authority insulated from tortious liability.”

The court’s rationale: “Our courts simply cannot ignore that this policy-based doctrine is intended to afford deference to the exercise of discretion by the officials of municipalities and governmental entities, especially with respect to security measures and the deployment of limited police resources. Governmental entities cannot be expected to be absolute, infallible guarantors of public safety, but in order to encourage them to engage in the affirmative conduct of diligently investigating security vulnerabilities and implementing appropriate safeguards, they must be provided with the latitude to render those critical decisions without threat of legal repercussion.”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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