Monday, November 11, 2013

Riss v. City of New York case brief

Riss v. City of New York case brief summary
240 N.E.2d 860 (1968)

Appellant contested an order of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the First Judicial Department (New York), which affirmed the lower court's dismissal of appellant's complaint alleging that respondent city was liable for its failure to protect her following threats from a rejected suitor.


  • A rejected suitor terrorized appellant by threatening to have appellant killed or maimed if she did not date him. 
  • In fear for her life, appellant went to respondent city's police for protection, which was refused. After appellant became engaged to another man, the rejected suitor hired someone to throw lye in appellant's face. 
  • Consequently, appellant was blind in one eye, lost a portion of her vision in the other eye, and her face was permanently scarred. 
  • Appellant sued respondent for its failure to protect her from harm. 
  • The lower court dismissed appellant's complaint. 
  • The appellate division affirmed.


  • On appeal, the court affirmed. 
  • The court held that there was no warrant in judicial tradition or in the proper allocation of the powers of government for the courts, in absence of legislation, to carve out an area of tort liability for respondent's failure to provide police protection to appellant or other members of the public.


The court affirmed the judgment of dismissal.

Suggested Study Aids For Tort Law

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