1983 claim on a municipality's failure to properly train its officers, liability is based on constitutional violation committed by the policymaking official who acted with deliberate indifference to the plaintiff's constitutional rights, thereby causing the injury in question. See Simmons, 947 F.2d at 1063. In this case, as in Simmons, the individual police officer named as a defendant could be a causal conduit for the constitutional violation, without committing such a violation himself.
In City of Los Angeles v. Heller, a case alleging excessive force in arrest, a jury had concluded as a matter of fact that there had been no constitutional violation because the arresting officer had acted with reasonable cause, and had not used more force than was necessary under the circumstances. The Supreme Court concluded that since no constitutional harm had been inflicted, on those facts, the municipality could not be liable for causing any constitutional violation. In Simmons, and in the case at bar, the individual officer is found not liable based on a lack of the requisite mental state -- gross negligence or recklessness -- rather than based on a lack of any constitutional injury. Therefore, we cannot absolve the City of Lancaster based solely on our decision that Sergeant Deck was not liable.
In sum, we hold that no reasonable jury could find that the City of Lancaster, through any of its officials, acted with deliberate indifference to the plaintiffs' constitutional rights. Thus, the City cannot be held liable under § 1983.
D. Liability of Manor Township and Officer Randy Herman
As noted above, a municipality is not liable for injuries unless its customs, policies, or failure to train are the cause of plaintiffs' injuries. We need not discuss at length the policies of Manor Township, or its training programs or lack thereof, because we can find no basis in the record before us to believe that any rational jury could find that either Manor Township or Officer Herman were the proximate cause of plaintiffs' injuries. Absent that causal connection, there can be no § 1983 liability. See Jones v. Sherrill, 827 F.2d at 1107.
The court in Jones held that the police officers who pursued a fleeing intoxicated, reckless driver were not the proximate cause, in the constitutional sense, of the suspect's collision with an innocent bystander. Id. at 1103, 1107. The case at bar presents an even more remote connection between the defendant's conduct and the plaintiffs' injuries. Officer Herman did not chase Sergeant Deck into the path of plaintiffs' automobile. Instead, he was ahead of Deck, and well beyond the scene when the collision occurred.
Officer Herman participated in the pursuit of Wayne Richard Evans, but he was not involved in the collision between the plaintiffs' vehicle and Sergeant Deck's vehicle. His police cruiser was at least a quarter of a mile ahead of Deck's when the accident occurred, and was not even within visual range. There is no evidence that Herman led Deck into the collision, as plaintiffs claim, or that his presence somehow made the pursuit more dangerous or the collision more likely. In fact, the logical conclusion which the jury would be forced to reach is that the presence of Herman's flashing lights and siren made the pursuit safer, by alerting motorists to the presence of other pursuers behind him, including Sergeant Deck.
Officer Herman's remoteness from the scene of the accident, and the fact that he had no role in initiating the pursuit in question or in Sergeant Deck's decision to continue to participate in the pursuit, precludes a finding that either Herman or Manor Township were the "moving force" behind any violations of plaintiffs' constitutional rights. Not only have plaintiffs failed to show any causation here, but they have also failed to adduce any evidence indicating deliberate indifference of any policymaker of Manor Township to the constitutional rights of travelers such as plaintiffs. Just as with the City of Lancaster, there is no evidence in the record of any pattern of constitutional violations by Officer Herman, or any other employee of Manor Township. Nor is there any other evidence showing that Manor Township's officials ignored an obvious need for training or for rethinking the police department's pursuit policy.
For the foregoing reasons, plaintiffs cannot recover under 1983 from either Manor Township or Randy Herman.
E. State Law Claims
This action is essentially a tort case between citizens of the same state, and as such it belongs in the state court system. We decline to exercise our supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiffs' state law claims under 28 U.S.C. 1367, and dismiss those claims without prejudice to plaintiffs' right to reassert them in a state court proceeding.
AND NOW, this 24th day of August, 1992, upon consideration of defendants' motions for summary judgment, and plaintiffs' response thereto, it is hereby ORDERED that summary judgment is granted on Counts I and II, and JUDGMENT IS ENTERED in favor of all defendants and against all plaintiffs on Counts I and II. Counts III through XI are hereby DISMISSED without prejudice to plaintiffs' right to reassert them in state court. This case is CLOSED.
BY THE COURT
Franklin S. Van Antwerpen, J.