Welch v. City of Biddeford Police Department, No. 20-1474 (1st Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The First Circuit affirmed in part and vacated and remanded in part the decision of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants and dismissing Plaintiffs' complaint alleging that Defendants had violated their federal constitutional substantive due process rights under the state-created danger doctrine, holding that remand was required.
In 2012, Alivia Welch, Susan Johnson, and Derrick Thompson called the Biddeford Maine Police Department and reported that their landlord, James Bak, had made death threats to them. Police Office Edward Dexter responded to the call. Officer Dexter left without ascertaining whether Bak indeed had a gun. Four minutes later, Bak shot and killed Welch and Thompson and injured Johnson. Plaintiffs - Johnson and the estates representing Welch and Thompson - filed suit. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants. The First Circuit remanded the case in light of this opinion, holding that remand was required to determine whether Officer Dexter was entitled to qualified immunity before addressing whether Officer Dexter violated Plaintiffs' substantive due process rights under the state-created danger doctrine.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on September 8, 2021.