Committee Reports

Amicus Brief in Ferreira v. City of Binghamton


The Civil Rights Committee filed an amicus brief in the New York Court of Appeals in Ferreira v. City of Binghamton. At issue in the case is whether, when municipal employees are negligent and inflict injury, the municipality can nevertheless avoid liability by virtue of the “special duty rule.” The special duty rule requires a plaintiff to prove that the duty breached by a municipality was more than that owed to the public generally. It typically applies when a third party commits the harm, and not where a municipal employee purportedly caused the injury. The City Bar’s amicus brief presents several arguments against expanding the special duty rule to cases involving injuries inflicted by government employees, including (1) that such expansion would contradict New York’s long standing policy of holding municipalities accountable for wrongdoing; (2) that such expansion is contrary to the purposes of New York tort law; and (3) that it would exacerbate racial injustice by failing to deter police violence and by preventing compensation for victims of police violence.