Municipal Corporations – Tort Liability – Duty to Protect Police Informer
Decedent furnished information leading to the arrest of the notorious “Willie the Actor” Sutton. The police, after being notified of anonymous threats to decedent’s person, furnished protection, which was later withdrawn. Soon afterwards, decedent was murdered by unknown assailants. Decedent’s administrator brought this action to recover damages for his death, claiming that there was a failure to provide adequate police protection. The trial court dismissed the action. On appeal, held, affirmed per curiam, one justice dissenting. As a member of the general public, no duty of special protection was owed the decedent. Even assuming such a duty existed, it required protection only against known assailants from whom violence could reasonably have been anticipated. Schuster v. City of New York, 286 App. Div. 389, 143 N.Y.S. (2d) 778 (1955).