In Sanchez, the survivors of a fire in a multiple dwelling in the Village of Liberty brought wrongful death actions against a village and its building inspector, among others, in connection with the deaths of their spouses and children.Summary of this case from O'Connor v. City of New York
Argued May 4, 1977
Decided June 9, 1977
Appeal from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Third Judicial Department, DE FOREST C. PITT, J.
Gerald Orseck for appellants-respondents.
Jed B. Wolkenbreit and Robert P. Roche for respondents-appellants.
Lawrence E. Lagarenne for respondent.
Order modified, without costs, and the complaint as to defendants Village of Liberty and John Como dismissed.
Absent a special relationship creating a municipal duty to exercise care for the benefit of a particular class of individuals, no liability may be imposed upon a municipality for failure to enforce a statute or regulation (Motyka v City of Amsterdam, 15 N.Y.2d 134, 139; see Smullen v City of New York, 28 N.Y.2d 66, 72). Because the statutes and ordinances involved in the case at bar create no such special relationship, no liability may be imposed. Nor may liability be imposed on the "dangerous instrumentality" theory advanced in Runkel v City of New York with respect to an abandoned building attracting children from the abutting public thoroughfare ( 282 App. Div. 173, 176; see Runkel v Homelsky, 286 App. Div. 1101, affd 3 N.Y.2d 857; cf. Martinez v Kaufman-Kane Realty Co., 34 N.Y.2d 819, 821).
Chief Judge BREITEL and Judges JASEN, GABRIELLI, JONES, WACHTLER, FUCHSBERG and COOKE concur.
Order modified, without costs, in accordance with the memorandum herein and, as so modified, affirmed. Question certified answered in the affirmative.