standards for the utilization of such personnel. Id.
A court, in rendering a decision on a motion to dismiss, must
accept the veracity of the plaintiffs allegations. See Scheuer
v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90
(1974); White v. Napoleon, 897 F.2d 103, 106 (3d Cir. 1990). A
court should "not inquire whether the plaintiffs will ultimately
prevail, only whether they are entitled to offer evidence to
support their claims." Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir.
1996). "[A] complaint should not be dismissed for failure to
state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff
can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would
entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46,
78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957).
The test in reviewing a motion to dismiss for failure to state
a claim is whether, under any reasonable reading of the
pleadings, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief. See Holder
v. City of Allentown, 987 F.2d 188, 194 (3d Cir. 1993)
(citation omitted). Additionally, a court must accept as true
the factual allegations in the complaint and all reasonable
inferences that can be drawn from them. See Markowitz v.
Northeast Land Co., 906 F.2d 100, 103 (3d Cir. 1990); Indep.
Enters., Inc. v. Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Auth., 103 F.3d 1165,
1168 (3d Cir. 1997).
1. Constitutional Claims Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
To state a viable claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
plaintiff must allege that a person, acting under color of state
law, deprived or knowingly caused the deprivation of rights
secured by the Constitution.*fn3 42 U.S.C. § 1983. "When a
public employee asserts a defense of qualified immunity,
however, the court must determine as a threshold matter whether
the defendant is entitled to that defense."*fn4 D.R. v.
Middle Bucks Area Vocational Technical Sch., 972 F.2d 1364,
1368 (3d Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 1079, 113 S.Ct.
1045, 122 L.Ed.2d 354 (1993) (citing Harlow v. Fitzgerald,
457 U.S. 800, 818, 102 S.Ct. 2727, 73 L.Ed.2d 396 (1982)). "Until
this threshold immunity question is resolved, discovery should
not be allowed." Harlow, 457 U.S. at 818, 102 S.Ct. 2727.
Generally, governmental officials performing discretionary
functions are "shielded from liability for civil damages insofar
as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory
or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have
known." Harlow, 457 U.S. at 818, 102 S.Ct. 2727. "`A necessary
concomitant to the determination of whether the constitutional
right asserted by the plaintiff is clearly established at the
time the defendant acted is the determination of whether the
plaintiff has asserted a violation of a constitutional right at
all.'" D. R., 972 F.2d at 1368 (emphasis in original) (quoting
Siegert v. Gilley, 500 U.S. 226, 111 S.Ct. 1789, 114 L.Ed.2d
"Normally, it is only then that a court should ask whether the
right allegedly implicated was clearly established at the time
of the events in question." County of Sacramento v. Lewis,
523 U.S. 833, 841 n. 5, 118 S.Ct. 1708, 140 L.Ed.2d 1043 (1998).
Adhering to this precedent, the predicate question is whether
the plaintiff has alleged a deprivation of any right secured by
the constitution. D. R., 972 F.2d at 1368.
Pahler's claim under section 1983 rests on the substantive
component of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In an effort to demonstrate a constitutional deprivation, the
plaintiff has identified two legal theories to which his factual
allegations are addressed: (1) state created danger; and (2)
failure to train. Each will be addressed in turn.
a. State Created Danger
In general, state actors have no affirmative obligation to
protect citizens from injuries caused by others or themselves.
DeShaney v. Winnebago County Dep't of Soc. Servs.,
489 U.S. 189, 195-96, 109 S.Ct. 998, 103 L.Ed.2d 249 (1989). This general
rule is subject to two exceptions: (1) the special relationship
exception, which allows the plaintiff to recover when the state
enters into a special relationship with a particular citizen and
fails to protect the health and safety of the citizen to whom it
owes an affirmative duty; and (2) the state created danger
exception, which allows the plaintiff to recover when a state
actor creates a danger that causes harm to an individual. Morse
v. Lower Merion School District, 132 F.3d 902, 907 (3d Cir.
1997). Here, the plaintiff advances the latter exception.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has
adopted the "state created danger" theory as a "viable
mechanism" for imposing a constitutional violation under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Kneipp v. Tedder, 95 F.3d 1199, 1201 (3d Cir.
1996). In order to find someone constitutionally liable under
such theory, four elements must be satisfied:
(1) the harm ultimately caused was foreseeable and
(2) the state actor acted in willful disregard for
the safety of the plaintiff;*fn5
(3) there existed some relationship between the
state and the plaintiff; and
(4) the state actors used their authority to
create an opportunity that otherwise would not
have existed for the harm to occur.
Id. at 1208. Subsequent to the Kneipp decision, the United
States Supreme Court, in County of Sacramento v. Lewis,