Case Brief - Anthony Mastroianni vs County of Suffolk

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Anthony Mastroianni v. County of Suffolk
Case Decided in 1997

Facts of the Case:

Law at Issue:
The law at issue is Tort Liability for Municipal Corporation through the formation of a "special relationship between the municipality and the injured party" as outlined in Cuffy v. City of New York, 60 NY2d 225, 260. (Page 2 first full paragraph)

Legal Issue:
Whether the Municipal Corporation failed to provide reasonable protection to the decedent despite the existence of an order of protection under the Family Court Act section 842, knowledge by the municipality's agents that inaction could lead to harm, extensive direct contact involving the municipality's agents and the decedent, and the decedent's justifiable reliance on the municipality's agents affirmative under taking on her behalf, and whether these elements established a "special relationship" between the decedent and the municipality? (Page 2 first full paragraph, Page 5 second full paragraph)

Holding:
Yes, the Municipal Corporation failed to provide adequate protection to the decedent when a "special relationship" was establishing liability in the tort claim. (Page 6)

Legal Reasoning:
The Court stated a municipality generally may not be held liable for in juries resulting from the failure to provide police protection. However, a recognized exception to this rule upheld in a tort claims is when a "special relationship" exists between the municipality and the injured party. The elements necessary to constitute a special relationship are, "(1) an assumption by the municipality, through promises or actions, of an affirmative duty to act on behalf of the party who was injured; (2) knowledge on the part of the municipality's agents that inaction could lead to harm; (3) some form of direct contact between the municipality's agents and the injured party and (4) that party's justifiable reliance on the municipality's undertaking." The Court found all of four elements were because the issuing of...
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