The Third Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the town’s and county’s motions for summary judgment should have been granted on governmental-immunity grounds. Plaintiff’s daughter, Bynum, ingested a harmful substance at a music festival. Plaintiff sued the town and county alleging they negligently issued the permits for the festival without making sure there were adequate emergency medical services to accommodate the crowd. The Third Department held the town and county were immune from suit because the issuance of permits is a governmental function and plaintiff did not demonstrate a special relationship between Bynum and the town or county:
Where, as here, a municipality engages in a quintessential governmental function such as the issuance of permits, even if it does so negligently, the municipality is immune from liability unless it owed “a special duty to the injured person, in contrast to a general duty owed to the public” … . As relevant here, to prove a special duty to Bynum, plaintiff must establish “[t]he elements of a special relationship includ[ing] . . . direct contact between the municipality’s agents and [Bynum], and [Bynum’s] justifiable reliance . . . on the municipality’s affirmative promise to act” … .
Viewing the pleadings and submissions in the light most favorable to plaintiff and providing her with every favorable inference … , we must agree with defendants that plaintiff’s complaint and bill of particulars are devoid of factual allegations that Bynum had any direct contact with defendants, or that she relied upon any affirmative promise that defendants’ agents would keep her safe while she attended [the festival]. Bynum v Camp Bisco, LLC, 2016 NY Slip Op 00091, 3rd Dept 1-7-16
NEGLIGENCE (TOWN AND COUNTY IMMUNE FROM SUIT, NO SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP)/MUNICIPAL LAW (TOWN AND COUNTY IMMUNE FROM SUIT, NO SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP)/GOVERNMENTAL IMMUNITY (TOWN AND COUNTY IMMUNE FROM SUIT, NO SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP)