Attorneys at Siana Bellwoar were successful in defeating a plaintiff’s state created danger claim asserted against a local municipality stemming from a police chief’s motor vehicle accident.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District court’s dismissal of a Complaint brought against the township, it’s supervisors and police chief. The history of the claim includes that the police chief suffered a brain injury and, three years later, suffered a seizure while on duty, and was involved in a motor vehicle accident. He immediately notified the township and Department of Motor Vehicles, took a medical leave and voluntarily turned in his driver’s license. Following a treatment he returned to active duty and his driver’s license was restored. Approximately three years after returning to work he was involved in a motor vehicle accident with the plaintiff, wherein the plaintiff claimed that the accident resulted from the police chief suffering from a seizure. A state created danger claim was alleged due to the Township having permitted the police chief to return to work, even though he was medically cleared and cleared by PennDot to drive. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the matter and determined that the plaintiff failed to meet various requisites of a state created danger claim including that the plaintiff, a driver on a roadway, was not a foreseeable victim and no action of the municipality, in permitting him to return to his duties, constitute an affirmative act; nor did the conduct of the supervisors and/or the police chief shocked the conscience. The Third Circuit thereby affirmed the dismissal of all Section 1983 claims. Accordingly, all civil rights claims against the township, it’s supervisors and the police chief were dismissed, with prejudice.
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