NY: No-knock warrant execution creates “special duty” for NY negligence law

For purposes of NY negligence law, execution of a no-knock warrant creates a “special duty” between the police and the public. Ferreira v. City of Binghamton, 2022 NY Slip Op 01953, 2022 N.Y. LEXIS 392 (Mar. 22, 2022):

The execution of a no-knock warrant is a charged and volatile situation undertaken at the direction and supervision of municipal actors, who plan and execute the warrant and who can reasonably foresee and take steps to avoid many of the risks occasioned by uncertain reactions to chaotic events when the police forcefully cross the threshold of someone’s home. In a no-knock warrant situation, the police exercise extraordinary governmental power to intrude upon the sanctity of the home and take temporary control of the premises and its occupants. In such circumstances, the police direct and control a known and dangerous condition, effectively taking command of the premises and temporarily detaining occupants of the targeted location. As a result, the municipality’s duty to the individuals in the targeted premises, a limited class of potential plaintiffs, exceeds the duty the municipality owes to the members of the general public. A special duty therefore arises when the police plan and execute a no-knock search warrant at an identified residence, running to the individuals within the targeted premises at the time the warrant is executed. In other words, in those circumstances, the police take positive control of a known and dangerous condition, creating a special duty under the third situation recognized by this Court.

NYLJ: No-Knock Warrants Trigger State’s Special Duty Rule, Court of Appeals Holds (“That duty, which makes government entities liable for injury to individuals, is owed to persons named in warrants and also extended to other individuals who may be present at a targeted premises when a raid is carried out.”)

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