The plaintiff led several officers of our Police Department client on a high-speed chase for over 12 miles with speeds in excess of 100 MPH through rural and residential areas resulting in a one-car accident, multiple, serious injuries necessitating a life-flight to a local hospital. The plaintiff, after being “brought back to life” on two occasions at the hospital, presented a claim alleging his 14th Amendment rights were violated due to the “outrageous” reaction of the Police Department by engaging in such a lengthy high-speed chase over a modest parole violation. Plaintiff further alleged a “state created danger” evolved when the Police in unmarked cars approached his vehicle in a dark parking lot. Additionally, the proximity of the chase amounted to a violation of the Plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment seizure rights. In addition to generally negligent conduct on behalf of the Police the Plaintiff claimed his cause was actionable per of 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.
Our Central PA based partner, Rolf Kroll, Esq., contended on behalf of the Police Department that the mere approach of police is insufficient to establish a Fourth Amendment seizure – the Court agreed and dismissed the Fourth Amendment claim in its entirety.
Rolf further contended the 14th Amendment argument was irrelevant as the Plaintiff’s parole violation was a sufficiently exigent circumstance to warrant a traditional substantive due process analysis and the Court noted in rejecting the Plaintiff’s due process violation argument that the Defendant officers were forced to make “split-second decisions… in a hyper pressurized environment…” warranting the high-speed pursuit.
The Court noted nothing about the facts alleged in Plaintiff’s Complaint “shocked” the Court’s “conscience,” and dismissed the “State Created Danger” theory and finally, the Court agreed with Rolf’s position that the Police Defendants had immunity as provided within the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act and dismissed the negligence claims. The Plaintiff’s case has been dismissed.