A Nassau County police officer was injured when he slipped and fell on front steps covered with snow at a residence while investigating a burglar alarm. He successfully recovered $1.5 million following a jury trial on his claim against the homeowners under New York’s General Municipal Law (GML) 205-e which gives New York police officers the right to sue for line-of-duty injuries where a violation of a statute, ordinance, code, rule, or regulation gives rise to the officer’s injuries. This law applies to all police officers, including members of the NYPD, and all members of police departments in Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties.
At the time of his fall, the officer was investigating the source of an alarm that had been triggered at a home. In the week before the incident, the alarm had been triggered three separate times, and the police had been notified on each occasion. The alarm company had been instructed to contact the homeowners in the event that the alarm went off, or a relative in their absence. Thus, in this case, the homeowners clearly were on notice that the police had been responding to the alarms at the residence and reasonably could be expected to do so in the future if the alarm was triggered. The snow had last fallen three days before the occurrence. There was no lighting around the home and the officer had to rely on his flashlight. The owners claimed that their home was a summer residence and so they did not hire anyone to remove snow or ice on the property. Following a jury trial in favor of the officer, the homeowners appealed. Continue reading →