Injury/Accident

Police Officer's Trip and Fall is barred by Firefighter's Rule


This case discusses the New York firefighter rule. Based on that rule, the Queens Supreme Court granted the Defendant's summary judgment in this case. The Plaintiff was a New York City Police Officer who allegedly tripped and injured herself. She sued under General Municipal Law § 205-e (not discussed here) and for negligence. "[T]he defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, contending that the action was barred by the firefighter rule, that they did not have actual or constructive notice of any dangerous condition, and that the provisions alleged by the injured plaintiff to be predicates for liability under General Municipal Law §205-e were not proper to sustain that claim." Pp. 2

Rule: "The firefighter rule provides that police and firefighters may not recover in common-law negligence for line-of-duty injuries resulting from risks associated with the particular dangers inherent in that type of employment." Pp. 2 (citing Wadler v. City of New York, 14 NY3d 192, 194; Gammons v. City of New York, 109 AD3d 189, 193, affd 24 NY3d 562). "[T]he rule bars an officer's… recovery 'when the performance of his or her duties increased the risk of the injury happening, and did not merely furnish the occasion for the injury'" (Wadler v. City of New York, 14 NY3d at 194-195, quoting Zanghi v. Niagara Frontier Transp. Commn., 85 NY2d 423, 436).

The Plaintiff failed to established that her lawsuit was not barred by the firefighter's rule - "The injured plaintiff's injury did not occur during an act in furtherance of a police function which exposed her to a heightened risk of sustaining that injury. The performance of her duties merely furnished the occasion for the injury." Pp. 2.

Kelly v. NYC, 9335/10, NYLJ 1202743888076, at *1 (App. Div., 2nd, Decided December 2, 2015) (available at: http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/id=1202743888076/Kelly-v-City-of-New-York-933510#ixzz3tTCXC2sj).

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