New Jersey Supreme Court Decides 911 Operators Entitled To Immunity

The New Jersey Supreme Court filed a decision in Paris Wilson v. City of Jersey City this morning (Thursday, March 08, 2012).
United States Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration
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The New Jersey Supreme Court filed a decision in this morning (Thursday, March 08, 2012). The issue in this appeal was whether the 911 immunity statute, N.J.S.A 52:17C-10 provides immunity to 911 operators and their public-entity employers from civil liability for the negligent mishandling of emergency calls; in this case, the handling of an emergency call reporting a disturbance that, in fact, turned out to be a horrific multiple homicide involving a mother and her children. The court concluded that 911 operators in public entities had immunity from negligence in connection with the delivery of 911 services, including the mishandling of 911 calls. Arguing the case on behalf of the City of Jersey City was Stephen M. Orlofsky, Blank Rome LLP.

This is a significant victory for the City of Jersey City, which, like many public entities in New Jersey and across the country, is facing considerable financial strains. It is also significant to the residents of the City of Jersey City because had immunity not been provided in this case, many 911 call centers may have been forced to close due to the high costs of insurance coverage, assuming a carrier was willing to write such coverage. The decision is also likely to be followed throughout the United States, as many states have similar 911 immunity statutes.

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