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Gianaris Calls on NY State to Expand “Good Samaritan” Law


Dec. 24, 2011 By Christian Murray

An Astoria man fled from an attacker and sought refuge in a store early this summer. However, the store owner turned the man away claiming that he might get embroiled in a lawsuit.

To combat such scenarios, State Sen.  Michael Gianaris  (who represents Sunnyside and Woodside) has  introduced new legislation expanding New York’s “Good Samaritan” laws. The legislation would protect local businesses and non-profits offering themselves as safe havens from being held liable for damages or injuries that may have occurred while helping a victim.

Gianaris held a press conference at Dazies, a well known Sunnyside restaurant.

“Protecting small businesses that rush to aid someone in distress will increase the safe havens available to crime victims and make our streets safer,” Gianaris said. “By encouraging businesses to act in good faith in an emergency, this legislation creates a stronger safety net for individuals who may otherwise feel apprehensive about travelling alone or in unknown neighborhoods.”

Currently, “Good Samaritan” laws only protect individuals from liability for damages or injuries incurred by a victim while seeking assistance in an emergency. Gianaris’ bill would extend those laws to pertain to local businesses and non-profits acting as safe havens to help individuals who feel at risk or victimized.

In November, politicians held an anti-crime rally with local leaders to protest the recent, unusual uptick in crime in western Queens. The elected officials used the rally to announce new crime-fighting initiatives to increase safety in the neighborhood, including the Gianaris measure to expand the “Good Samaritan” laws.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas from Astoria.

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E. A. Bartholomew

Sorry Raquel, can you please explain why a business owner would get sued or arrested for helping a victim of a violent crime? Maybe I lack imagination, but I can’t see how that makes any sense.


Dear Mr. Angray.. the purpose of the good samartian law is to protect the person who comes to the aid of someone who is in needof help so they will not get sued becuse if they come into your business looking for a safe haven and you provide it you do not want to get sued if someone get hurt inthe process…. I do understand that…. I wanted safe haven worked on in May and brammer was afraid of pedafiles in the store will asult kids needs protetion from somonw bothering them.. so he lookied into it I was told and he did not want to touch it… you need to do a backgroiund check and everyone in the business has to do it… if one person refuses then the business in not eligible for a safe haven… if get difficult to get done..


Damn it, we need a law to protect people who help protect others from danger? I can guarantee you that most of the time the guy who gets attacked would sue the store if there is no law. I blame lawyers for all this crap.


Sunnysider – Not sure you comprehend what the post is about. I also hope you are more eloquent in person, otherwise it is no wonder JVB disregarded you.


I have been trying for safe haven in our town and brammer refused to help me… I am glad genaris is behind it… the councilman in bklyn was startying this but it was a very slow process… he really did not care… but I am thriled it iwll finaly happen… safe haven is very, very importnat



You can thank lawyers for the sad state of affairs this country is in. They’re blood-sucking vampires who prey on decent people.

E. A. Bartholomew

I’d be more concerned with my personal safety, the safety of my customers, the reputation of my establishment, and a lot of other things before worrying about a lawsuit. Not sure what the lawsuit would be about. But it only makes sense for a business owner to want to keep violence out of his/her establishment.


This is a sad state of affairs where someone would deny refuge to someone in trouble for fear of a lawsuit. What has this world come to?


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