Sorichetti by Sorichetti v. City of New York – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Sorichetti by Sorichetti v. City of New York., 65 NY2d 461, 482 N.E.2d 70, 492 N.Y.S.2d 591 (1985), the Court of Appeals found "a special duty of protection" existed which "arose . . . upon presentment of the order of protection to the police along with the allegation that it had been violated." (Id. at 468).

In that case, the Court further stated that such a duty exists in "extraordinary circumstances" (Id.)

The Court was faced with the question of whether a special relationship existed between the claimant and the municipality by virtue of:

1) the order of protection that was in effect at the time of the assaults and 2) the police department's knowledge of the assailant's history of assaultive and abusive conduct coupled with his threats to harm his infant daughter and her mother's pleas to the police for assistance.

At the trial of the matter, the jury was instructed that apart from the order of protection, they were to determine "whether the City breached a duty of care in failing to protect the Sorichetti infant plaintiff in light of its knowledge of the assailant's history and prior conduct."

While the court decision in Sorichetti focused on the violation of the order of protection in combination wit the assailant's previous "violent propensity," it must be noted that the Sorichetti decision dates from an era when police officers were permitted greater latitude in judgment in domestic violence cases, when there was no "Domestic Violence Officer" title in the police department or corresponding protocols in the police department patrol guide which mandate certain responses to domestic violence incidents.