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Riss v. City of New York

Court of Appeals of New York
240 N.E.2d 860 (N.Y. 1968)


Linda Riss (plaintiff) was terrorized by a stalker named Burton Pugach for more than six months. On multiple occasions, Pugach threatened to harm or kill Riss. Riss repeatedly sought help from the police department of the City of New York (defendant), but the police did nothing to protect her. After Pugach told Riss that it was her “last chance,” Riss again asked the police for protection. The police did not respond to her plea, and Pugach paid someone to throw lye in Riss’s face. Riss was blinded in one eye and permanently disfigured. Only then did the city provide protection for Riss. Riss sued the City of New York for failing to protect her from her stalker. The trial court dismissed the complaint before the matter could be submitted to the jury. A divided appellate court affirmed the dismissal. Riss appealed to the New York Court of Appeals.

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Dissent (Keating, J.)

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