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Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 - Police have no duty to protect civilians


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Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 - Police have no duty to protect civilians.

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Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 - Police have no duty to protect civilians

  1. 1. Page 1 444 A.2d 1, *; 1981 D.C. App. LEXIS 412, ** LEXSEE 444 A.2D 1 CAROLYN WARREN, ET AL., APPELLANTS, v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ET AL., APPELLEES; WILFRED NICHOL, APPELLANT, v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, ET AL., APPELLEES Nos. 79-6, 79-394 District of Columbia Court of Appeals 444 A.2d 1; 1981 D.C. App. LEXIS 412 April 13, 1981, Argued December 21, 1981, DecidedPRIOR   HISTORY:         [**1]     Appeals  no specific legal duty to provide pro­from   the   Superior   Court   of   the   Dis­ tection   to   the   individual   appellants trict of Columbia (Hon. Joseph M. Han­ [**2]     and   dismissed   the   complaints non, Trial Judge, No. 79­6) (Hon. Wil­ for   failure   to   state   a   claim   upon liam   C.   Pryor,   Trial   Judge,   No.   79­ which relief could be granted.  Super. 394) On Petition for Rehearing En Banc  Ct. Civ. R. 12(b) (6).   However, in a  split  decision  a  three­judge  division  of   this   court   determined   that   appel­COUNSEL:  Stephen A. Friedman for ap­ lants   Warren,   Taliaferro   and   Nichol pellants. were   owed   a   special   duty   of   care   by  the police department and reversed the Charles   L.   Reischel,   Deputy   Corpora­ trial court rulings.  The division un­tion Counsel, with whom Judith W. Ro­ animously   concluded   that   appellant gers,   Corporation   Counsel,   and   David  Douglas failed to fit within the class P. Sutton, Assistant Corporation Coun­ of persons to whom a special duty was sel,   were   on   the   petition,   for   ap­ owed,   and   affirmed   the   lower   courts pellees.   dismissal of her complaint.  The court  en   banc,   on   petitions   for   rehearing, JUDGES:  En   Banc.     Newman,   Chief  vacated   the   panels   decision.     After Judge, and Kelly, Kern, Nebeker, Har­ rearguments,   notwithstanding   our   sym­ris,   Mack,   and   Ferren,   Associate  pathy for appellants who were the tra­Judges.   Opinion for the court by As­ gic   victims   of   despicable   criminal sociate   Judge   Nebeker.     Opinion   con­ acts, we affirm the judgments of dis­curring in part and dissenting in part   Associate   Judge   Kelly,   with   whom Associate   Judge   Mack   joins.     Opinion  Appeal No. 79­6 concurring   in   part   and   dissenting   in  In the early morning hours of March part by Chief Judge Newman.   16,   1975,   appellants   Carolyn   Warren,  Joan   Taliaferro,   and   Miriam   Douglas OPINION BY: NEBEKER  were asleep in their rooming house at  1112   Lamont   Street,   N.W.   Warren   and OPINION Taliaferro shared a room on the third    [*2]     Appellants   Carolyn   Warren,  floor   of   the   house;   Douglas   shared   a Miriam Douglas, and Joan Taliaferro in  room   on   the   second   floor   with   her No. 79­6, and appellant Wilfred Nichol  four­year­old   daughter.     The   women in   No.   79­394   sued   the   District   of  were awakened by the sound of the back Columbia and individual members of the  door   being   broken   down   by   two   men Metropolitan   Police   Department   for  [**3]  later identified as Marvin Kent negligent  failure  to  provide  adequate  and   James   Morse.     The   men   entered police services.  The respective trial  Douglas second floor room, where Kent judges held that the police were under  forced   Douglas   to   sodomize   him   and 
  2. 2. Page 2 444 A.2d 1, *; 1981 D.C. App. LEXIS 412, **Morse raped her. Kents apartment.   For the next four­ teen   hours   the   women   were   held   cap­ Warren   and   Taliaferro   heard  tive, raped, robbed, beaten, forced to Douglas screams from the floor below.  commit   sexual   acts   upon   each   other, Warren telephoned the police, told the  and  made to  submit to  the sexual  de­officer on duty that the house was be­ mands of Kent and burglarized, and requested immedi­ate   assistance.     The   department   em­ Appellants   claims   of   negligence ployee   told   her   to   remain   quiet   and  included:   the   dispatchers   failure assured   her   that   police   assistance  [**5]   to  forward the  6:23 a.m.  call would   be   dispatched   promptly.     War­ with   the   proper   degree   of   urgency; rens call was received at Metropolit­ [*3]  the responding officers failure an   Police   Department   Headquarters   at  to  follow  standard  police  investigat­6:23 a.m., and was recorded as a burg­ ive   procedures,   specifically   their lary   in   progress.     At   6:26   a.m.,   a  failure to check the rear entrance and call was dispatched to officers on the  position  themselves  properly  near  the street   as   a   "Code   2"   assignment,   al­ doors and windows to ascertain whether though   calls   of   a   crime   in   progress  there was any activity inside; and the should   be   given   priority   and   desig­ dispatchers   failure   to   dispatch   the nated as "Code 1." Four police cruis­ 6:42 a.m. call.ers responded to the broadcast; three to   the   Lamont   Street   address   and   one  Appeal No. 79­394 to   another   address   to   investigate   a possible suspect. On April 30, 1978, at approximately  11:30   p.m.,   appellant   Nichol   stopped  Meanwhile,   Warren   and   Taliaferro  his car for a red light at the inter­crawled from their window onto an ad­ section   of   Missouri   Avenue   and   Six­joining roof and waited for the police  teenth  Street,  N.W.  Unknown  occupants to arrive.   While there, they saw one  in a vehicle directly behind appellant policeman drive through the alley be­ struck   his   car   in   the   rear   several hind   their   house   and   proceed   to   the  times, and then proceeded to beat ap­front   of   the   residence   without   stop­ pellant about the face and head break­ping,   leaning   [**4]     out   the   window,  ing his jaw.or getting out of the car to check the back entrance of the house.   A second  A   Metropolitan   Police   Department  officer   arrived   at   the   scene.   In   re­officer apparently knocked on the door in   front   of   the   residence,   but   left  sponse to the officers direction, ap­ pellants companion ceased any further when he received no answer.  The three officers   departed   the   scene   at   6:33  efforts   to   obtain   identification   in­ formation of the assailants. When the a.m., five minutes after they arrived. officer then failed to get the inform­ Warren  and  Taliaferro  crawled  back  ation, leaving Nichol unable to insti­inside   their   room.     They   again   heard  tute legal action against his assail­Douglas   continuing   screams;   again  ants, Nichol brought a negligence ac­called   the   police;   told   the   officer  tion   against   the   officer,   the   Metro­that   the   intruders   had   entered   the  politan Police Department and the Dis­home,  and  requested  immediate  assist­ trict [**6]  of Columbia.ance.     Once   again,   a   police   officer  The   trial   judges   correctly   dis­assured them that help was on the way. This second call was received at 6:42  missed   both   complaints.     In   a   care­ fully   reasoned   Memorandum   Opinion, a.m. and recorded merely as "investig­ate the trouble" ­­ it was never dis­ Judge Hannon based his decision in No.  79­6   on   "the   fundamental   principle patched to any police officers. that   a   government   and   its   agents   are  Believing   the   police   might   be   in  under no general duty to provide pub­the   house,   Warren   and   Taliaferro  lic   services,   such   as   police   protec­called down to Douglas, thereby alert­ tion,   to   any   particular   individual ing Kent to their presence.   Kent and  citizen."  See  p.  4,  infra.   The  duty Morse then forced all three women, at  to provide public services is owed to knifepoint,   to   accompany   them   to  the   public   at   large,   and,   absent   a 
  3. 3. Page 3 444 A.2d 1, *; 1981 D.C. App. LEXIS 412, **special   relationship   between   the   po­ (placement   of   youth   with   known lice   and   an   individual,   no   specific  homicidal   tendencies   in   foster legal   duty   exists.     Holding   that   no  home);  Gardner   v.   Village   of special   relationship   existed   between  Chicago Ridge, 71 Ill.App.2d 373,  the police and appellants in No. 79­6,  219 N.E.2d 147 (1966)  (return of Judge Hannon concluded that no specif­ victim   to   scene   for   "show   up" ic  legal duty  existed.    We hold  that  identification   of   still   violent Judge Hannon was correct and adopt the  assault   suspects);  Schuster   v. relevant   portions   of   his   opinion.  City   of   New   York,   5   N.Y.2d   75, Those portions appear in the following  180 N.Y.S.2d 265, 154 N.E.2d 534 Appendix. 1 (1958)  (recruitment   of   citizen  informant   in   national   organized  1   Having based his dismissal on  violent crime case). an absence of duty, Judge Hannon  found   it   unnecessary   to   decide   [**8]  Here the effort to separate  the   hostile   assailants   from   the   vic­ the adequacy of the notice to the  District   of   Columbia   under  D.C.  tims   ­­   a   necessary   part   of   the   on­ scene responsibility of the police ­­  Code   1973,   §   12­309.     Con­ sequently, we do not review that  adds nothing to the general duty owed  the public and fails to create a rela­ issue on appeal. tionship which imposes a special legal    [**7]     Judge   Pryor,   then   of   the  duty   such   as   that   created   when   there trial court, ruled likewise in No. 79­ is a course of conduct, special know­394   on   the   basis   of   Judge   Hannons  ledge of possible harm, or the actual opinion.   In No. 79­394, a police of­ use   of   individuals   in   the   investiga­ficer   directed   Nichols   companion   to  tion.   See Falco v. City of New York,  cease efforts to identify the assail­ 34 A.D.2d 673, 310 N.Y.S.2d 524 (App. ants and thus to break off the violent  Div. 1970),  affd,  29 N.Y.2d 918, 329 confrontation.   The officers duty to  N.Y.S.2d   97,   279   N.E.2d   854   (1972) get   that   identification   was   one   dir­ (police officers   [*4]   statement to ectly related to his official and gen­ injured motorcyclist that he would ob­eral duty to investigate the offenses.  tain   name   of   motorist   who   struck   the His   actions   and   failings   were   solely  motorcycle   was   a   gratuitous   promise related to his duty to the public gen­ and   did   not   create   a   special   legal erally   and   possessed   no   additional  duty);  Jackson   v.   Heymann,   126   N.J. element   necessary   to   create   an   over­ Super.   281,   314   A.2d   82   (Super.   Ct. riding  special  relationship  and  duty.  Law   Div.   1973)  (police   officers   in­2 vestigation  of  vehicle  accident  where  pedestrian   was   a   minor   child   did   not  2   It can be seen from cases in  create a special legal duty to childs  which   a   special   duty   has   been  parents who were unsuccessful in their  found  that  an  additional  element  attempt to recover damages because po­ has   been   injected   above   the   ex­ lice   failed   to   identify   drivers   of  isting general public duty. E.g.,  vehicle).     We   hold   that   Judge   Pryor  Florence   v.   Goldberg,   44   N.Y.2d   did   not   err   in   dismissing   No.   79­394  189, 404 N.Y.S.2d 583, 375 N.E.2d  for failure to state a claim. 763 (1978) (school crossing guard  course of conduct and police re­ In  either case,  it is  [**9]    easy  quiring   replacement   of   absent  to condemn the failings of the police.  guard   together   with   reliance);  However,   the   desire   for   condemnation  McCorkle v. City of Los Angeles,  cannot satisfy the need for a special  70   Cal.   2d   252,   74   Cal.   Rptr.  relationship   out   of   which   a   duty   to  389,   449   P.2d   453   (1969)  (en  specific   persons   arises.     In   neither  banc) (use of auto accident vic­ of these cases has a relationship been  tim   to   aid   police   investigation  alleged   beyond   that   found   in   general  by walking to point of impact in  police responses to crimes.  Civil li­ street);  Johnson   v.   States,   69  ability fails as a matter of law. Cal.   2d   782,   73   Cal.   Rptr.   240,  APPENDIX 447   P.2d   352   (1968)  (en   banc) 
  4. 4. Page 4 444 A.2d 1, *; 1981 D.C. App. LEXIS 412, ** SUPERIOR   COURT   OF   THE   DISTRICT   OF  sources and upon legislative or admin­COLUMBIA CIVIL DIVISION istrative   determinations   concerning  allocation   of   those   resources.    Riss  Civil Action No. 4695­76 v. City of   [**11]    New York, supra.  CAROLYN WARREN, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,  The public, through its representative v.   DISTRICT   OF   COLUMBIA,   ET   AL.,   DE­ officials, recruits, trains, maintains FENDANTS. and   disciplines   its   police   force   and  determines the manner in which person­ MEMORANDUM OPINION  nel are deployed.   At any given time,  * * * * publicly   furnished   police   protection  may accrue to the personal benefit of  The Court, however, does not agree  individual citizens, but at all times that defendants owed a specific legal  the   needs   and   interests   of   the   com­duty to plaintiffs with respect to the  munity at large predominate.   Private allegations   made   in   the   amended   com­ resources and needs have little direct plaint   for   the   reason   that   the   Dis­ effect upon the nature of police ser­trict   of   Columbia   appears   to   follow  vices provided to the public.  Accord­the   well­established   rule   that   offi­ ingly,   courts   have   without   exception cial police personnel and the govern­ concluded that when a municipality or ment employing them are not generally  other   governmental   entity   undertakes liable to victims of criminal acts for  to furnish police services, it assumes failure   to   provide   adequate   police  a duty only to the public at large and protection. Compare Rieser v. District  not to individual members of the com­of   Columbia,   183   U.S.App.D.C.   375,   munity.    E.g.,   Trautman   v.   City   of 390­91,   563   F.2d   462,   477­78   (1977)  Stamford, 32 Conn. Supp. 258, 350 A.2d (rehearing  en   banc  granted   and   panel  782   (1975);  Henderson   v.   City   of   St. opinion vacated on other grounds; pan­ Petersburg, 247 So. 2d 23  [*5]  (Fla. el   opinion   reinstated   in   pertinent  Dist.   Ct.   App.   1971);  Massengill   v. part,  188   U.S.App.D.C.   384,    [**10]  Yuma   County,   supra,   and  Riss   v.   City 580 F.2d 647 (1978));  Westminster In­ of New York, supra. Dereliction in the vesting Corp. v. G.C. Murphy Co., 140  performance   of   police   duties   may, U.S.App.D.C.   247,   259­50,   434   F.2d   therefore,   be   redressed   only   in   the 521,   523­24   (1970)  and  Yohanan   v.  context   of   a   public   prosecution   and Wells,   No.   78­0671   (D.D.C.   June   28,  not  in a  private suit  for money  dam­1978), with Massengill v. Yuma County,  ages.  Massengill, supra.104 Ariz. 518, 456 P.2d 376 (1969) (en banc);  Riss   v.   City   of   New   York,   22   This  rule of  duty [**12]   owed  to N.Y.2d   579,   293   N.Y.S.2d   897,   240  the public at large has been most fre­N.E.2d 860 (1968); Annot., 46 A.L.R.3d  quently   applied   in   cases   involving 1084   (1972)   and   Annot.,   41   A.L.R.3d  complaints   of   inadequate   protection 700   (1972).   This   uniformly   accepted  during   urban   riots   or   mob   violence. rule rests upon the fundamental prin­ Many of these cases challenge the pre­ciple that a government and its agents  paredness of the police to handle such are   under   no   general   duty   to   provide  situations,   while   others,   such   as public   services,   such   as   police   pro­ Westminster   Investing   Corp.   v.   G.C.  tection,  to  any  particular  individual  Murphy Co., supra, challenge the tac­citizen.  Turner v. United States, 248  tical decisions made to curtail or re­U.S. 354, 357­58, 63 L. Ed. 291, 39 S.   move   police   protection   from   the   riot Ct. 109 (1919);  Rieser v. District of  areas.     In  Westminster,   officials   of Columbia, supra. the  Metropolitan  Police  Department  of  the   District   of   Columbia   had   decided  A  publicly  maintained  police  force  to   limit   police   presence   in   the   area constitutes  a  basic  governmental  ser­ of   the   Murphy   Companys   store   during vice provided to benefit the community  the   firey   1968   riots.   Murphys   store at   large   by   promoting   public   peace,  was destroyed and the company filed a safety and good order.  The extent and  claim against the District of Columbia quality  of  police  protection  afforded  contending  that  the  police  department to   the   community   necessarily   depends  had  deliberately  or  negligently  aban­upon   the   availability   of   public   re­
  5. 5. Page 5 444 A.2d 1, *; 1981 D.C. App. LEXIS 412, **doned  its  policing  obligations  during  officer   made   no   attempt   to   apprehend the   riots   and   thereby   permitted   ri­ the drivers or prevent their reckless oters   to   destroy   Murphys   property.  conduct.     Shortly   thereafter   the   two In affirming the dismissal of Murphys  reckless drivers collided with an on­claim against the District, the United  coming   vehicle   causing   the   deaths   of States   Court   of   Appeals   for   the   Dis­ five of the six persons involved.  The trict   of   Columbia   Circuit   held   that  Arizona   Superior   Court   had   concluded the District of Columbia had no direct  that the duty of defendants to arrest legal   obligation   to   Murphy   and   that  the   reckless   drivers   was   a   duty   owed Murphy, therefore, had "no substantive  to  the general  public and  not to  the right to recover the damages resulting  deceased   occupants   of   the   oncoming [**13]   from failure of [the] govern­ vehicle.     The   Arizona   Supreme   Court ment   or   its   officers   to   keep   the  agreed.    Accord,   Trautman   v.   City   of peace."  Id. at  252, 434  F.2d at  526,  Stamford, supra. [Footnote 1 omitted.]quoting Turner v. United States, supra  The general duty owed to the public at 358. may become a specific duty owed to an  Courts   have   also   found   no   private  individual if the police and the indi­duty and no liability in an assortment  vidual   are   in   a   special   relationship of other situations which involved al­ different   from   that   existing   between legedly   inadequate   police   protection.  the   police   and   citizens   generally. In  Henderson   v.   City   of   St.   Peters­ Thus, when the New York police depart­burg,   supra,   plaintiff   had   contacted  ment   [**15]     solicited   confidential the St.   Petersburg police department  information to aid in apprehension of and made arrangements for specific po­ gangster Willie Sutton, the police as­lice  protection  while  making  deliver­ sumed a special duty to the informant ies in a dark and secluded part of the  who came forward.  Schuster v. City of city.     Plaintiff   had   been   previously  New   York,   5   N.Y.2d   75,   180   N.Y.S.2d attacked  while  making  such  deliveries  265, 154 N.E.2d 534 (1958). Similarly, and, accordingly, relied upon the as­ a   special   relationship   was   created surances of police personnel that of­ when the police arranged a confronta­ficers would be on the scene. Follow­ tion   between   a   suspect   and   a   witness ing   carefully   the   instructions   given  to a crime,   [*6]   thereby giving the him by the police, plaintiff was, non­ suspect an opportunity to assault the etheless, shot by assailants. The or­ witness.  Gardner v. Village of Chica­der   dismissing   plaintiffs   complaint  go   Ridge,   71   Ill.   App.   2d   373,   219 against   the   city   was   affirmed   on   the  N.E.2d 147 (1966). In McCorkle v. City grounds that, in the absence of a spe­ of   Los   Angeles,   70   Cal.   2d   252,   74 cial relationship, not present in the  Cal. Rptr. 389, 449 P.2d 453 (1969), a case, the police department was under  police officer investigating a traffic no   duty   to   protect   plaintiff   Hender­ accident led plaintiff into the middle son. of   the   highway   where   plaintiff   was  then struck by another car.  The Cali­ It   was   in  Massengill   v.   Yuma  fornia Court found that a special duty County,   supra,   that   the   Arizona   Su­ had been created by the officers af­preme   Court,   in   a   unanimous   en   banc  firmative conduct.  Likewise, a parole decision, affirmed the dismissal of a  officer   was   held   to   have   been   in   a complaint   [**14]     alleging   that   a  special   relationship   with   individuals deputy sheriff and the county employ­ operating   a   foster   home   and,   there­ing   him   were   negligent   in   failing   to  fore, under an obligation to disclose apprehend   two   reckless   drivers.   Ac­ the   violent   character   of   a   juvenile cording   to   the   complaint,   the   deputy  whom he sought to place in the foster sheriff   saw   two   youths   leave   a   local  home.    Johnson   v.   State,   69   Cal.   2d  tavern   and   drive   their   cars   away   at  782, 73 Cal. Rptr. 240, 447 P.2d 352  excessive speeds.   The deputy sheriff  (1968).   [**16]    2  The   United   States then allegedly followed the two cars,  Court   of   Appeals   for   the   District   of watching   them   weave   back   and   forth,  Columbia  recognized  a  similar  special drive   on   the   wrong   side   of   the   road  relationship between a government men­and   attempt   to   pass   on   a   hill.     The 
  6. 6. Page 6 444 A.2d 1, *; 1981 D.C. App. LEXIS 412, **tal hospital and the family of a viol­ held   that   plaintiffs   pleas   for   help ent,   assaultive   patient   who   the   hos­ did not create a special relationship pital planned to discharge and who the  between   herself   and   the   police   and hospital  knew  had  previously  attacked  could not serve as the basis of liab­family   members.    Hicks   v.   United  ility.States, 167 U.S.App.D.C. 169, 511 F.2d 407 (1975). The plaintiff in  Antique Arts Cor­ poration v. City of Torrance, 39 Cal.  2       A   similar   factual   situation  App.   3d  [**18]    588,   114   Cal.   Rptr.   is   presented   in  Rieser   v.   Dis­ 332 (1974), arranged to have its burg­ trict   of   Columbia,   supra.  This  lar   alarm   directly   wired   to   the   Tor­ rance police station.   Plaintiff con­ case   involved   a   woman   who   was  raped and murdered by a District  tended that the alarm went off during  the  course of  a burglary  but the  po­ of Columbia parolee who had been  assisted   by   a   parole   officer   in  lice   dispatcher   negligently   delayed  ten   minutes   before   transmitting   the  obtaining   employment   at   the  apartment   complex   where   the  alert,   thereby   allowing   the   burglars  to   escape   with   plaintiffs   goods.  murder   took   place.     The   de­ cedents   father   filed   suit   for  Plaintiff argued that the alarm hookup  created   a   special   relationship   with  damages   under   the   District   of  Columbia   Wrongful   Death   Act  the   police,   but   the   Court   rejected  this   contention,   concluding   that   "an  against the owners of the apart­ ment   complex,   the   parolee,   the  alert   from   an   alarm,   irrespective   of  how   transmitted,   is   no   more   than   a  parole   officer   and   the   District  of   Columbia.     The   Court   of   Ap­ complaint that a crime has been or is  being committed." Id. at 592, 114 Cal.  peals,   MacKinnon,   Circuit   Judge,  held  inter   alia  that   an   action­ Rptr. at 334. able duty exists where a special  As noted above, the Florida Appeals  relationship has been established  Court   dismissed   the   complaint   in  between the governmental unit and  Henderson   v.   City   of   St.   Petersburg,  plaintiff. supra,   notwithstanding   plaintiffs  having requested and specifically dis­   [**17]   Plaintiffs in this action contend that they, too, entered a spe­ cussed   plans   for   police   protection.  After reviewing cases in which the po­cial relationship with the police when Warren   and   Taliaferro   telephoned   to  lice   or   other   government   agency   were  under a special duty different from request assistance.  Courts which have had   the   opportunity   to   consider   com­ that owed to the public generally, the  Florida Court concluded that a request parable situations have concluded that a   request   for   aid   is   not   in   itself  for   police   protection,   even   when   ac­ companied by a promise that protection sufficient   to   create   a   special   duty. In  Riss   v.   City   of   New   York,   supra,  would be provided, does not create the  "special   duty"   necessary   [**19]     to the   plaintiff   had   complained   to   the police numerous times about a rejected  establish tort liability.  Id. at 25.suitor   who   had   threatened   her   re­ Plaintiffs have adopted a more nov­peatedly.   In response to plaintiffs  el theory in an attempt to distinguish desperate   pleas   for   help,   the   police  this case from those discussed above. rendered   only   nominal   assistance   and  Plaintiffs   contend     [*7]     that   al­refused   to   help   plaintiff   further.  though the Metropolitan Police Depart­Plaintiff   received   a   "last   chance"  ment may not have been under a specif­threat   from   the   suitor   and   once   more  ic   duty   to   these   plaintiffs   at   the called   the   police   without   success.  time   of   the   initial   telephone   com­The following day, the suitor carried  plaint, the police undertook an oblig­out his threat by "having a hired thug  ation   by   taking   some   action   toward throw lye in [plaintiffs] face."  Id.  rendering assistance.  Plaintiffs seem at   584,   293   N.Y.S.   2d   at   900,   240  to   be   saying   that   no   liability   would N.E.2d at 862. Distinguishing Schuster  have attached had the police operator v. City of New York, supra, the Court  refused plaintiffs call, had the dis­
  7. 7. Page 7 444 A.2d 1, *; 1981 D.C. App. LEXIS 412, **patcher   refused   to   transmit   the   mes­ the defendant police officers in this sage,   or   had   the   officers   refused   to  action,   those   alleged   omissions   and respond.     However,   plaintiffs   argu­ failures, too, constituted [**21]   no ment   continues,   once   the   operator,  more   than   a   similar   withholding   of   a dispatcher and officers took some ac­ benefit.tion   to   assist   plaintiffs,   they   all became  personally  answerable  in  money  Moreover,   volunteer   liability   is  premised   in   large   part   upon   the   as­damages for failing to render assist­ance   adequate   to   meet   plaintiffs  sumption that the volunteer is free to  assess   each   rescue   situation,   weigh needs.  Without any supporting author­ity, plaintiffs contend that defendant  the   risks   involved,   and   determine  whether to shoulder the obligation or police   employees   were   "at   least"   in the position of volunteers and must be  leave it to someone else. 3 Police of­ ficers   clearly   are   not   in   a   position held liable as volunteers for any dam­ages   resulting   from   their   negligent  to make such choices on a case by case  basis  and it  would be  absurd to  pre­omissions.    Plaintiffs  argument  mis­apprehends   both   the   legal   status   of  sume that an individual assumes a per­ manent "volunteer" status when he be­the   police   officer   and   [**20]     the legal status of the volunteer. comes a police officer. Again, in the  words of Judge Cardozo: In the classic case, H.R. Moch Co.,   Inc. v. Rensselaer Water Co., 247 N.Y.     An intention to assume an 160,   159   N.E.   896   (1928),   then   Judge  obligation of indefinite ex­Cardozo delineated the liability of a  tension   to   every   member   of volunteer: the public is seen to be the   more  improbable  when  we  re­       It   is   ancient   learning  call   the   crushing   burden  that one who assumes to act,  that   the   obligation   would  even   though   gratuitously,  impose   .   .   .     A   promisor  may   thereby   become   subject  will   not   be   deemed   to   have  to the duty of acting care­ had   in   mind   the   assumption  fully, if he acts at all . .  of   a   risk   so   overwhelming  . .  The hand once set to a  for   any   trivial   reward.  task may not always be with­ [Id.   at   166,   159   N.E.   at  drawn   with   impunity   though  897­98.] liability   would   fail   if   it  had   never   been   applied   at    all   .   .   .     If   conduct   has  gone forward to such a stage  that inaction would commonly  3       The   District   of   Columbia  result,   not   negatively  Court   of   Appeals   recently   re­ merely  in  withholding  a  be­ frained from implying an adoption  nefit,   but   positively   or  of   the   rescue   doctrine   in   this  actively   in   working   an   in­ jurisdiction.  Gillespie v. Wash­ jury,   there   exists   a   rela­ ington, D.C.App., 395 A.2d 18, 21  tion   out   of   which   arises   a  (1978).   This   Courts   discussion  duty to go forward.  [Id. at  of   the   rescue   doctrine   and   its  167, 159 N.E. at 898.] applicability   to   plaintiffs  claim should likewise not be con­  sidered   an   adoption   of   the   doc­The  Moch  case involved a suit against  trine.a water company for failure to supply    [**22]   Plaintiffs have also con­adequate   water   to   fight   a   city   fire. Judge   Cardozo   found   that   the   failure  strued the issues in this case as giv­ ing rise to "negligent performance of to provide adequate water to fight the fire   constituted,   at   most,   a   nonac­ police duties." In an attempt to avoid  the   overwhelming   case   law   barring tionable   withholding   of   a   benefit. Whatever the omissions and failures of  private suits over negligent omissions  in   the   performance   of   police   duties, 
  8. 8. Page 8 444 A.2d 1, *; 1981 D.C. App. LEXIS 412, **plaintiffs   seek   to   bring   this   action  Department,   officers   are   subject   to within the orbit of cases allowing re­ criminal charges and a penalty of two covery   for   injuries   caused   by   negli­ years imprisonment [**24]  for failure gent   acts   of   police   officers   in   the  to   arrest   law   breakers.     D.C.   Code performance  of  their  official  duties.  1973, § 4­143.  Additionally, officers The cases cited by plaintiffs include  are answerable to their superiors and the   negligent   handling   of   a   police  ultimately   to   the   public   through   its dog,   negligent   operation   of   a   police  representatives,   for   dereliction   in vehicle,   and   the   negligent   use   of   a  their assigned duties. D.C. Code 1973, police   weapon.     Such   cases   involve  § 4­121.acts   of   affirmative   negligence,   for  The absence of a duty specifically which anyone ­­ police or civilian ­­ would be liable: negligent handling of  enforceable   by   individual   members   of  the community is not peculiar to pub­an attack dog, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and negligent use of  lic police services.  Our representat­ ive form of government is replete with a firearm.   Those acts   [*8]   of or­dinary   negligence   do   not   change   in  duties owed to everyone in their capa­ city   as   citizens   but   not   enforceable character because they happen to have been committed by a police officer in  by anyone in his capacity as an indi­ vidual.    Through  its  representatives, the course of his duties. However, the allegations   of   negligence   in   the  the  public  creates  community  service;  through  its  representatives,  the  pub­present   case   derive   solely   from   de­fendants   status   as   police   employees  lic establishes the standards which it  demands   of   its   employees   in   carrying and   from   plaintiffs   contention   that defendants   failed   to   do   what   reason­ out   those   services   and   through   its  representatives,   the   public   can   most ably   prudent   police   employees   would [**23]     have   done   in   similar   circum­ effectively enforce adherence to those  standards   of   competence.     As   members stances.     The   difference   is   between ordinary   negligence   on   the   one   hand  of   the   general   public,   individuals  forego   any   direct   control   over   the and a novel sort of professional mal­practice on the other.   A person does  conduct   of   public   employees   in   the  same   manner   that   such   individuals not, by becoming a police officer, in­sulate   himself   from   any   of   the   basic  avoid   any   direct   responsibility   for  compensating public employees.duties   which   everyone   owes   to   other people, but neither does he assume any  Plaintiffs   in   this   action   would greater obligation to others individu­ have   the   Court   and   a   jury   of   twelve ally.  The only additional duty under­ additional   community   representatives taken by accepting employment as a po­ join in the [**25]   responsibility of lice  officer is  the duty  owed to  the  judging   the   adequacy   of   a   public   em­public at large. ployees   performance   in   office.  The   public   duty   concept   has   drawn  Plaintiffs  proposition  would  lead  to  results   which   the  Massengill  Court some  criticism  for  purportedly  creat­ing the rule that: "Because we owe a  aptly  described  as  "staggering."  Mas­duty   to   everybody,   we   owe   it   to  sengill v. Yuma County, supra at 523, nobody."  Riss   v.   City   of   New   York,  456   P.2d   at   381.   In   this   case  plaintiffs   ask   the   Court   and   jury   to supra at 585, 293 N.Y.S.2d at 901, 240 N.E.2d   at   862  (Keating,   J.,   dissent­ arrogate   to   themselves   the   power   to  determine,   for   example,   whether   de­ing).     A   duty   owed   to   the   public, however,   is   no   less   enforceable   be­ fendant   Officer   Thompson   acted   in   a  manner   consistent   with   good   police cause it is owed to "everybody." Pub­lic officials at all levels remain ac­ practice when he volunteered to stake  out a suspects house rather than vo­countable to the public and the public maintains  elaborate  mechanisms  to  en­ lunteering   to   report   to   the   crime  scene. Consistent with this contention force   its   rights   ­­   both   formally   in the   courts   and   less   formally   through  then, should a Court and jury also un­ dertake to sift through clues known to internal disciplinary proceedings.  In the   case   of   the   Metropolitan   Police  the   police   in   order   to   determine  whether   a   criminal   could   reasonably 
  9. 9. Page 9 444 A.2d 1, *; 1981 D.C. App. LEXIS 412, **have   been   apprehended   before   commit­ (In Part) ting  a second  crime?    Should a  Court also be empowered to evaluate, in the  DISSENT   BY:   KELLY (In Part); NEWMAN context of a tort action, the handling  (In Part) of a major fire and determine whether the hoses were properly placed and the  DISSENTfiremen correctly allocated?   Might a  KELLY,   Associate   Judge,   with   whom Court   also   properly   entertain   a   tort claim over a school teachers ability  MACK,  Associate  Judge,  joins,  concur­ ring in part and dissenting in part:to teach seventh grade English or over a   postmans   failure   to   deliver  The   basic   premise   underlying   the promptly an important piece of mail? dismissals of these complaints is cor­ Establishment [**26]   by the Court  rect:   unless   a   "special   duty"   to   a  particular   individual   can   be   shown, of   a   new,   privately   enforceable   duty to   use   reasonable   diligence   in   the  public   officials   and   governmental  units   owe   only   a   general,   nonaction­performance  of  public  functions  would not   likely   improve   services   rendered  able duty to members of the public to  provide services such as fire and po­to  the public.   The  creation of  dir­ect,   personal   accountability   between  lice protection.  Chandler v. District each   government   employee   and   every  of   Columbia,   D.C.App.,   404   A.2d   964 member of the community would effect­ (1979);  Duran   v.   City   of   Tucson,   20 ively   bring   the     [*9]     business   of  Ariz.   App.   22,   509   P.2d   1059   (1973); government   to   a   speedy   halt,   "would  Trautman v. City of Stamford, 32 Conn. dampen  the ardor  of all  but the  most  Supp.   258,   350   A.2d   782   (1975); resolute, or the most irresponsible in  Trujillo   v.   City   of   Albuquerque,   93 the unflinching discharge of their du­ N.M.  564, 603  P.2d 303  (1979);  18 E. ties," 4 and dispatch a new generation  McQUILLAN,   MUNICIPAL   CORPORATIONS  [**28]     §§   53.04a,   b   (3d   ed.   1977). of   litigants   to   the   courthouse   over grievances   real   and   imagined.     An  As   stated   in   2   T.   COLLEY,   LAW   OF  TORTS:enormous   amount   of   public   time   and money would be consumed in litigation         The rule of official re­of private claims rather than in bet­tering   the   inadequate   service   which  sponsibility,   then,   appears  to be this: That if the duty draws the complaints.   Unable to pass the   risk   of   litigation   costs   on   to  which the official authority  imposes upon an officer is a their   "clients,"   prudent   public   em­ployees   would   choose   to   leave   public  duty to the public, a fail­ ure to perform it, or an in­service. adequate   or   erroneous   per­ formance,  must  be  a  public,  4     Gregoire v. Biddle, 177 F.2d  579, 581 (2d Cir. 1949). not   an   individual   injury,  and must be redressed, if at  Although recognizing the obligation  all, in some form of public of public employees to perform [**27]  prosecution.     On   the   other their duties fully and adequately, the  hand, if the duty is a duty law properly does not permit that ob­ to   the   individual,   then   a ligation   to   be   enforced   in   a   private  neglect to perform it, or to suit for money damages.   Accordingly,  perform   it   properly,   is   an the   Court   concludes   that   plaintiffs  individual   wrong,   and   may have failed to state claims upon which  support an individual action relief may be granted and accordingly,  for   damages.     "The   failure the action is dismissed as to all de­ of a public officer to per­fendants.  [Footnote 5 omitted.] form a public duty can con­ stitute   an   individual   wrong  JOSEPH M. HANNON, Judge only   when   some   person   can  Dated: November 21, 1978  show that in the public duty  was involved also a duty to CONCUR   BY:    KELLY (In Part); NEWMAN  himself   as   an   individual, 
  10. 10. Page 10 444 A.2d 1, *; 1981 D.C. App. LEXIS 412, ** and   that   he   has   suffered   a  Stamford,   supra,   a   plaintiff   who   was  special   and   peculiar   injury  struck   by   a   car   while   standing   on   a  by reason of its nonperform­ public sidewalk sued the city and two  ance." [Id. § 300, at 385­86  police  officers,  alleging  a  negligent  (4th ed. 1932); citation and  failure   to   stop   drag   racing   on   the  footnotes omitted.] street   adjacent   to   the   sidewalk.     In  finding that no special duty was owed   the plaintiff, the court stated, "the  allegations   of   the   instant   case  This  general  duty/special  duty  di­ nowhere   assert   any   conduct   directed chotomy is illustrated by our decision  specifically   by   the   defendant   police in  Chandler   v.   District   of   Columbia,  officers   toward   the   plaintiff   indi­supra.  There,   the   District   of  vidually.   The conduct of the defend­Columbia,   for   financial   reasons,   de­ ant patrolmen is directed . . . toward cided to close several randomly chosen  the   general   public   of   which   the fire   [**29]     stations,   one   of   which  plaintiff happened to be a part at the was near Mrs. Chandlers home.   After  time   in   question."  Id.   at   259,   350 a fire broke out in her home and her  A.2d   at   783.   The   same   rule   has   been two   children   died   from   smoke   inhala­ applied in finding no special duty to tion, Mrs. Chandler sued for wrongful  protect a young man from violence in a death,   alleging   that   her   childrens  city   park,  Trujillo   v.   City   of   Al­deaths   resulted   from   the   Districts  buquerque, supra; to warn a motel em­negligence   in   closing   the   fire   sta­ ployee   of   suspicious   persons   in   the tion.  Recognizing the general rule of  motel   parking   lot,  Sapp   v.   City   of municipal   nonliability,   this   court  Tallahassee, 348 So.2d 363 (Fla. Dist. found that the facts of Mrs. Chandler­ Ct.   App.   1977);   to   arrest   a   drunk s case did not give rise to a special  driver   whose   car   collided   with   the duty or "special relationship." Id. at  plaintiffs decedents car, Massengill 966­67.   By   way   of   further   analysis,  v.   Yuma   County,   104   Ariz.   518,   456 fire protection services are meant to  P.2d 376 (1969); to protect [**31]   a benefit the community as a whole, and  young lady from the threats of her es­because  Mrs.  Chandlers  children  were  tranged boyfriend, Riss v. City of New members   of   the   general   public,   with  York, 22 N.Y.2d 579, 293 N.Y.S.2d 897, nothing to single them out as specific  240 N.E.2d 860 (1968); and to protect individuals   to   whom   a   duty   was   owed,  property   during   a   civil   disturbance, no   special   duty   had   arisen.     Without  Westminster   Investing   Corp.   v.   G.C.  the   critical   element   of   duty,   an   ac­ Murphy Co., 140 U.S.App.D.C. 247, 434 tion in negligence does not lie. 1 F.2d 521 (1970). 1       The  Chandler  case   was   also  The  general,  nonactionable  duty  to  decided on the basis of sovereign  provide   police   services   may   narrow,  immunity; because the decision to  however, to a special, actionable duty  close the stations was a discre­ if   two   factors   are   present.     First,  tionary   act,   the   city   could   not  there   must   be   some   form   of   privity  be sued.   Id. at 966.  See gener­ between the police department and the  ally   Wade   v.   District   of   victim that sets the victim apart from  Columbia, D.C.App., 310 A.2d 857   the general public. See, e.g., City of  (1973) (en banc). Tampa   v.   Davis,   226   So.   2d   450,   454   (Fla.   Dist.   Ct.   App.   1969).   That   is,  As   the  Chandler  court   noted,  the   victim   must   become   a   reasonably  the   questions   of   sovereign   im­ foreseeable  plaintiff.    Second,  there  munity  and  duty  require  separate  must be specific assurances of protec­ analysis.    Chandler,   supra.  No  tion that give rise to justifiable re­ question of sovereign immunity is  liance by the victim.  See, e.g., Sapp  raised in these appeals. v. City of Tallahassee, supra at 365­  [**30]   [*10]  The same reasoning  66.applies   in   police   protection   cases.  In  Bloom   v.   City   of   New   York,   78  For   example,   in  Trautman   v.   City   of  Misc.2d 1077, 357 N.Y.S.2d 979 (1974), 
  11. 11. Page 11 444 A.2d 1, *; 1981 D.C. App. LEXIS 412, **several store owners sued the city for  busy   intersection   in   Brooklyn.     For negligent   failure   to   protect   their  the first two weeks of school, the in­property during a civil disturbance in  fant   plaintiffs   mother   accompanied 1968.     The   complaints   alleged   that  him to school and saw a guard at the city   officials   gave   specific   assur­ intersection   every   day.     When   the ances of police protection, but negli­ mother   accepted   employment,   she   sent gently [**32]  failed to take steps to  the child to school by himself, rely­carry   out   the   promises.     The   city  ing on the guards presence at the in­moved to dismiss the complaint, rely­ tersection.  [*11]  One day, the guard ing   on   the   general   rule   of   municipal  was   ill   and   the   police   department nonliability.     The   court   denied   the  failed to provide a replacement or to motion, easily distinguishing the case  notify   school   officials   that   there from those cases in which there is no  would be no guard at the crossing. The special duty: child was struck by a taxi cab as he   tried   to   cross   the   street   alone;   the      In the case at bar it is  mother   sued   the   city   in   negligence.  alleged   that   the   plaintiffs  Upholding   a   jury   verdict   for   the  were ready, willing and able  child,   the   court   emphasized   two  to   protect   their   premises  factors  distinguishing  that  case  from  but   that   they   were   re­ general   duty   cases.     First,   the   duty  strained   by   the   police   who  assumed   by   the   police   was   a   limited  assured them that proper po­ one; it was directed toward a specific  lice   protection   would   be  class   of   individuals   rather   than   to­ provided.     There   is   there­ ward   the   public   in   general.     Id.   at  fore   alleged   an   affirmative  196­97,   404   N.Y.S.2d   at   587,   375  series of acts by which the  N.E.2d at 767. Second, the mother had  city   assumed   a   special  witnessed   the   provision   of   services  duty . . . .  [Id. at 1078,  and   had   relied   to   her   detriment   on  357 N.Y.S.2d at 981.] [**34]   the guards performance.   Id.  The   combination   of   these   two   factors   led   the   court   to   conclude   that   the See   also   Silverman   v.   City   of   Fort  general   duty   to   provide   police   ser­Wayne,   171   Ind.   App.   415,   357   N.E.2d  vices   had   become   a   special   duty   owed 285   (Ind.   App.   1976)  (dismissal   of  to that child. 3negligence   complaint   arising   from failure   to   protect   property   during  3     Appellees attempt to distin­riot   reversed   in   light   of   personal  guish  Florence  from   the   case   at promise of protection). 2 bar by arguing that the police in  Florence  breached   a   statutory  2       The   allegations   of   specific  duty  to  provide  crossing  guards.  assurances of protection in Bloom  It   is   clear   from   the   opinion,  and  Silverman  distinguish   those  however,  that  the  police  depart­ cases   from  Westminster   Investing  ment   regulations   referred   to   by  Corp. v. G.C. Murphy Co., supra,  appellees   dealt   only   with   the  a   case   relied   on   by   the   trial  procedures   to   be   followed   if   a  judge   in   No.   79­6.     The  school   guard,   once   gratuitously  plaintiffs   in  Westminster  were  assigned,   was   unable   to   report  members of the general public, to  for  duty.  The  initial  assumption  whom   no   promises   of   protection  of the duty to provide a crossing  had   been   made,   and   to   whom   the  guard   was   completely   voluntary.  District   therefore   owed   no   spe­ Florence,   supra   at   196,   404   cial duty. N.Y.S.2d   at   587,   375   N.E.2d   at  767.   [**33]     In  Florence   v.   Goldberg, 44   N.Y.2d   189,   404   N.Y.S.2d   583,   375  As   both   the  Bloom  and  Florence N.E.2d 763 (1978), the police depart­ courts   noted,   the   concept   of   special ment   voluntarily   assigned   a   school  duty  is actually  no more  than an  ap­crossing guard to cover a particularly  plication of the cardinal principal of 
  12. 12. Page 12 444 A.2d 1, *; 1981 D.C. App. LEXIS 412, **tort  law that,  even where  no duty  to  ances   of   police   services   that   create act may exist originally, once one un­ justifiable   reliance   by   the   victim. dertakes to act, he has a duty to do  Without   both   of   these   elements,   the so with due care.  [**35]   Florence v.  duty   to   provide   police   services   re­Goldberg,   supra   at   196,   404   N.Y.S.2d  mains a general, nonactionable duty to at   587,   375   N.E.2d   at   766;  Bloom   v.  the public at large.City of New York, supra  at       , 357  IIN.Y.S.2d   at   981.    Cf.     Security   Na­tional   Bank   v.   Lish,   D.C.App.,   311  In   reviewing   the   trial   courts A.2d 833, 834 (1973) ("one who assumes  grants of the motions to dismiss, "we to act, even though gratuitously, may  must accept every well­pleaded allega­thereby become subject to the duty of  tion   of   material   fact   .   .   .   as   true acting carefully, if he acts at all.")  and  indulge  all  reasonable  inferences (quoting  Glanzer v. Shepard, 233 N.Y.  which may arise therefrom." Early Set­236,   239,   135   N.E.   275,   276   (1922)).  tlers   Insurance   Co.   v.   Schweid,  More precisely, one who begins to per­ D.C.App.,   221   A.2d   920,   922   (1966). form   a   service   to   another,   whether  The dismissals will be sustained only gratuitously or not must perform with  if   it   appears   "beyond   doubt   that   the reasonable   care;   thus,   he   subjects  plaintiff[s] can prove no set of facts himself   to   liability   for   any   harm  in   support   of   [their   claims]   which suffered  because  the  other  reasonably  would entitle [them] to relief."  Con­and   foreseeably   relied   upon   the   act­ ley   [**37]    v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41,  ors performance.  See W. PROSSER, THE  45­46,   2  L.   Ed.  2d   80,  78   S.  Ct.   99 LAW OF TORTS § 56 (4th ed. 1972); 2 F.  (1957). See also Owens v. Tiber Island HARPER and F. JAMES, THE LAW OF TORTS  Condominium Association, D.C.App., 373 § 18.6 (1956); 2  RESTATEMENT (SECOND)  A.2d 890, 893 (1977).OF TORTS § 323  (1965).   In the words of Chief Judge Cardozo:   [*12]   Under this standard of re­  view, I would hold that the complaints       If conduct has gone for­ of  appellants  Warren,  Taliaferro  (No.  ward   to   such   a   stage   that  79­6),   and   Nichol   (No.   79­394),   con­ inaction would commonly res­ tain facts that, if proved, are suffi­ ult,   not   negatively   merely  cient to establish that the Police De­ in   withholding   a   benefit,  partment owed each a special duty. Ap­ but   positively   or   actively  pellants Warrens and Taliaferros ur­ in  working  an  injury,  there  gent telephone calls to the Metropol­ exists   a   relation   out   of  itan   Police   Department   removed   them  which   arises   a   duty   to   go  from   the   broad   class   of   the   general  forward.  [Moch Co. v. Rens­ public. Appellant Nichols direct con­ selaer   Water   Co.  [**36]    ,  tact with the officer on the scene of  247 N.Y. 160, 167, 159 N.E.  the   assault   made   him   a   reasonably  896,   898   (1928);   citation  foreseeable   plaintiff.     Any   duty   as­ omitted.] sumed by the police from those points  on was not a duty to the community as   a whole, but a specific duty to iden­This   is   not,   of   course,   a   theory   of  tifiable persons.strict liability; the actor need only  All three of these appellants have do that which is reasonable under the  also   alleged   specific   assurances   of circumstances.  PROSSER, supra. police   protection   that   may   have   cre­ To   summarize,   there   are   two   pre­ ated   justifiable   reliance   on   their requisites   to   a   finding   of   a   special  parts.     When   a   police   department   em­duty. First, there must be direct con­ ployee tells frantic callers that help tact   or   some   other   form   of   privity  is on the way, as in No. 79­6, or that between the victim and the police de­ he   will   obtain   vital   information   for partment so that the victim becomes a  an   injured   person,   as   in   No.   79­394, reasonably   foreseeable   plaintiff.  it   is   reasonably   foreseeable   [**38] Second, there must be specific assur­ that the persons so assured may fore­ go, to their detriment, other avenues 
  13. 13. Page 13 444 A.2d 1, *; 1981 D.C. App. LEXIS 412, **of   help.     Once   the   police   embarked  a  reasonable  fashion  in  the upon   services   under   circumstances  context   of   actions   arising where   it   was   reasonably   foreseeable  from   the   negligent   acts   of that   a   citizen   might   rely   on   their  police . . . personnel. The performance,   they   assumed   a   duty   to  argument is . . . made as if perform with due care. there   were   no   such   legal  principles as fault, proxim­ Appellant   Douglas   does   not   fit  ate cause or foreseeability, within the class of persons to whom a  all of which operate to keep special   duty   was   owed.   Although   she  liability   within   reasonable arguably meets the first prerequisite,  bounds.   No one is contend­4   she   does   not   fulfill   the   second.  ing that the police must be Because she was unaware of either the  at the scene of every poten­telephone   calls   to   the   police   or   the  tial   crime   .   .   .   .     They polices   assurances   to   the   other   wo­ need   only   act   as   a   reason­men,   she   could   not   have   justifiably  able   man   would   under   the relied   to   her   detriment   on   those   as­ circumstances.     [Riss   v. surances.  Therefore,  the  dismissal  as  City   of   New   York,   supra   at to her must be affirmed. 586,   293   N.Y.S.2d   at   902,   240  N.E.2d  at  863  (Keating,  4       Whether   she   removed   herself  J., dissenting).] from   the   class   of   the   general  public   is,   as   stated,   a   factual    question: from the point of view  of   the   police   department,   with    its  knowledge  from  the  telephone   [**40]   call,   was   appellant   Douglas   a  foreseeable   victim   or   merely  5   See Appendix infra at 9. still   a   member   of   the   general  public? In   my   judgment,   the   complaints   of  appellants   Warren,   Taliaferro   and  I   do   not   ignore   appellees  Nichol   contain   sufficient   facts   from "floodgates [**39]  of litigation" ar­ which   they   may   prove   that   a   special gument   and   have   carefully   considered  duty   was   owed   to   them;   consequently, the trial judges fear that "the cre­ the   trial   judges   erred   in   dismissing ation of a direct, personal accountab­ their complaints for failure to state ility between each government employee  a   claim   upon   which   relief   could   be and   every   member   of   the   community  granted.  To me, also, gratuitous com­would   effectively   bring   the   business  ments  about  condemning  the  recognized of government to a speedy halt . . .  "failings"   of   the   police   in   these and dispatch a new generation of lit­ cases   is   no   substitute   for   an   inde­igants   to   the   courthouse   over   griev­ pendent  and  objective  decisional  ana­ances   real   and   imagined."  5  The   duty  lysis   of   an   important   and   sensitive which I recognize in this opinion will  issue.not   create   such   broad   liability. Moreover, the argument NEWMAN,  Chief  Judge,  concurring  in   part and dissenting in part:    assumes that a strict li­ ability   standard   is   to   be  I concur in the majority opinion as  to   appellant   Nichol   (No.   79­394).     I  imposed  and  that  the  courts  would   prove   completely   un­ join the dissent as to appellants War­ ren,   Douglas   and   Taliaferro   (No.   79­ able  to  apply  general  prin­ ciples  of  tort  liability  in  6).