Irish v. Fowler, No. 20-1208 (1st Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
In this case, the First Circuit held that a viable substantive due process state-created danger claim was presented against two Maine State Police officers and that the district court erred in granting the officers' summary judgment motion on qualified immunity grounds.
This 42 U.S.C. 1983 action arose out of the attacks, murder, and rapes committed in 2015 by Anthony Lord against Brittany Irish and those close to her (Plaintiffs) after actions and inactions by the defendant officers. Plaintiffs sought relief based on the state-created substantive due process danger doctrine, under which officers may be held liable for failing to protect plaintiffs from danger created or enhanced by their affirmative acts. The district court granted summary judgment to the officers on the grounds of qualified immunity. The First Circuit (1) affirmed the district court's ruling that a jury could find that the officers violated Plaintiffs' substantive due process rights; and (2) reversed the grant of Defendants' summary judgment motion on qualified immunity grounds, holding that a reasonable jury could conclude that the facts of this case could give rise to a constitutional violation under the state-created danger doctrine.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on November 12, 2020.