Carmen Valdez obtained an order of protection from her boyfriend, Felix Perez. She was assured by police officers that Felix would be arrested if he threatened her in violation of the order of protection, issued by the Bronx Criminal Court. Thereafter, Mr. Perez shot Carmen Valdez. Bullets pierced her face and her arm. Felix Perez killed himself with the same gun. Carmen Valdez sued the City of New York for failure to arrest Felix Perez and protect her pursuant the order of protection.
City of New York Not Liable to Carmen Valdez
The New York State Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court) in a 5-2 decision in the matter of Valez v. The City of New York, found that New York City would not be liable for damages to Carmen Valdez for her gunshot wounds. Even though she was assured by a police officer that her ex-boyfriend would be arrested when he threatened her, the City of New York still could not be held liable. The Court found that Ms. Valdez did not establish or create a “special relationship” between her and New York City based on the promise of a police officer to arrest her boyfriend when he threatened her on the phone. The court stated in its decision Carmen did not have “a justifiable reliance” on the City’s affirmative undertaking of the promise of the police officer to keep her safe. Even though Ms. Valdez, in compliance with her order of protection, reported to a police officer that her boyfriend threatened to kill her “the officer’s statement did not create a special relationship that would create liability upon the City of New York.” So much for the protection offered by an order of protection issued by a Criminal Court!
The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been protecting women involved in domestic violence situation, by obtaining orders of protection for them in both the Criminal Courts and Family Courts for more than 30 years. We also represent men and women in issues concerning child abuse, child neglect, divorce related issues, child custody issues, mother’s rights and father’s rights issues as well as drafting pre nuptial and post nuptial agreements. Feel free to call for a free consultation.