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Just Another Accident Case

Case of Slow Ambulance Response to a 911 Call is Dismissed

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2020 | Firm News, Negligence |

Plaintiff  was having a medical emergency and called 911 for assistance and an ambulance. The ambulance arrived 20 minutes later.  Due to the delay there were additional medical problems. A lawsuit was brought, however it was dismissed because the Appellate Division-Second Department determined the municipality did not have a duty or obligation. The following is a summary of the law from the decision: When a negligence claim is asserted against a municipality, the first issue for a court to decide is whether the municipal entity was engaged in a proprietary function or acted in a governmental capacity at the time the claim arose’” (Turturro v City of New York, 28 NY3d 469, 477, quoting Applewhite v Accuhealth, Inc., 21 NY3d 420, 425; see Tara N.P. v Western Suffolk Bd. of Coop. Educ. Servs., 28 NY3d 709, 713). “A government entity performs a purely proprietary role when its activities essentially substitute for or supplement traditionally private enterprises’” (Applewhite v Accuhealth, Inc., 21 NY3d at 425, quoting Sebastian v State of New York, 93 NY2d 790, 793; see Granata v City of White Plains, 120 AD3d 1187, 1188). “In contrast, a municipality will be deemed to have been engaged in a governmental function when its acts are undertaken for the protection and safety of the public pursuant to the general police powers” (Applewhite v Accuhealth, Inc., 21 NY3d at 425 [internal quotation marks omitted]). If it is determined that a municipality was exercising a governmental function at the time of the alleged negligence, it will not be held liable unless it owed a “special duty” to the injured party (id. at 426; see Tara N.P. v Western Suffolk Bd. of Coop. Educ. Servs., 28 NY3d at 714; Turturro v City of New York, 28 NY3d at 478).

The Court held that the municipality was exercising a “Governmental” function and the City could not be liable.

What is the moral of this story:  When thinking about your case, the attorney must determine if there is a ‘duty” or obligation on behalf of the defendant.

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