CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-14TH AMENDMENT-DUE PROCESS-SUBSTANTIVE DUE PROCESS-STATE CREATED DANGER CLAIM-POLICE OFFICER TRAINING

January 4th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Constitutional Law

Joan Kedra v. Schroeter, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 23982 (3rd Cir. November 28, 2017) Krause, C.J.  This case arises from the death of a state trooper who was shot and killed by his instructor during a routine firearms training.  The training officer treated the gun as though it were unloaded instead of loaded.  He pointed at a person instead of a safe target, and he bypassed the required visual and physical inspection before pulling the trigger, aimed at plaintiff’s decedent’s chest.  The district court threw out the case, stating that it did not fulfill the requirements of a state-created danger in violation of the 14th Amendment substantive due process rights.  The court therefore found qualified immunity.  In other words, there was no deliberate indifference because the objective theory of deliberate indifference was not clearly established at the time of the shooting.  However, because obviousness of risk is relevant to proving actual knowledge and the allegations of the complaint are more than sufficient to support a reasonable inference that the trainer had such knowledge, we conclude that the complaint adequately pleads a state created danger claim under a then clearly established theory of liability.  We therefore reverse the district court’s grant of qualified immunity and remand for further proceedings.

Attorney Cliff Rieders

Attorney Cliff RiedersCliff Rieders is a Nationally Board Certified Trial Lawyer practicing personal injury law. A large part of his practice involves multi-district litigation, including cases related to pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and medical devices. He is admitted in several state and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is the past regional president of the Federal Bar Association and is a life member of the distinguished American Law Institute, which promulgates proposed rules adopted by many state courts. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, he served on the Board for 15 years.

Not only has Rieders held many highly esteemed, leadership positions, he authored legislation related to the Patient Safety Authority and the Mcare Act, which governs medical and hospital liability actions in Pennsylvania. He authored texts upon which both practitioners and judges rely, including Pennsylvania Malpractice Laws and Forms, and Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania, the latter governing auto and truck collisions in Pennsylvania. In addition, he wrote several books on the practice of law in Pennsylvania regarding wrongful death and survivor actions, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice claims and worker rights, among others. Rieders also serves as a resource to practitioners as a regular speaker for Celesq, an arm of the world’s largest legal publisher, Thomson Reuters West Publishing.

As recognition of his wide range of contribution to his profession and of his dedication to protecting the rights of his clients, he received numerous awards, among them the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, the Milton D. Rosenberg Award, the B’nai B’rith Justice Award, and awards of recognition from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. [ Attorney Bio ]

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