conscience," Nicini, 212
F.3d at 810 (citations omitted), I cannot find that plaintiffs offered
sufficient evidence to satisfy the second prong of Kniepp.
3. Foreseeable Plaintiff
The third element required by Kniepp is that the plaintiff be
foreseeable. The Third Circuit, when interpreting this prong of the
state-created danger theory, has found liability in cases "where the
state acted in such a way as to leave a `discrete plaintiff vulnerable to
a foreseeable injury.'" Morse, 132 F.3d at 912 (quoting Kniepp, 51 F.3d
at 1153). Plaintiffs seem to argue that, had the police not taken Raymond
into custody, an emergency medical services crew might have arrived and
somehow succeeded where the doctors at MCP Hospital failed. They have
not, however, substantiated this argument with any evidence of the
frustrated arrival of a rescue crew or the superior life-saving potential
of an emergency medical services team.*fn1 Absent such testimony, a
reasonable jury could not find that the state left Raymond vulnerable to
foreseeable injury. Because plaintiffs present no evidence that Raymond's
death was a foreseeable consequence of defendants' decisions about
whether and how to protect Raymond's life, I find that Hattie and Raleigh
Hansberry are not foreseeable plaintiffs.
4. Creating an Opportunity for Harm
The fourth element of the Kniepp test is whether "the state actors used
their authority to create an opportunity that otherwise would not have
existed for the third party's crime to occur." Kniepp, 95 F.3d at 1208
(quoting Mark, 51 F.3d at 1141). Plaintiffs allege that defendants
created an opportunity for harm by transporting Raymond away from 30th
and Norris Streets, suggesting that this act fatally denied Raymond
access to the ambulance that eventually arrived. As stated earlier,
however, the record shows that the ambulance arrived after Raymond had
already reached the hospital. Plaintiffs have not suggested why an
ambulance crew might have done a better job of saving Raymond's life than
the staff of MCP Hospital. Without any such evidence the plaintiffs
cannot raise a material issue as to whether the defendants caused
Raymond's death. When the police arrived, Raymond was lying unresponsive
on the ground, with blood flowing from his mouth. He had been shot at
five times. Pl.'s Ex. C, at 2. Plaintiffs have not presented any evidence
of how the police created an opportunity for harm separate and apart from
the deplorable acts of Raymond's assailant. They therefore cannot satisfy
the fourth prong of the Kniepp test.
Plaintiffs have failed to present evidence of a state-created danger.
Therefore, under DeShaney and its progeny, which deny plaintiffs a
generalized right to life-saving aid, no violation of Raymond's
constitutional rights could, as a matter of law, have occurred.
Defendants' Claims of Qualified Immunity
Defendants assert that plaintiffs' claims against the individual
officers are barred by the doctrine of qualified immunity. The Supreme
Court recently held that "[i]n a suit against an officer for an alleged
violation of a constitutional right, the requisites of a qualified
immunity defense must be considered in a proper sequence." Saucier v.
Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 200 (2001). Interpreting this decision, the Third
Circuit has held that:
"After Saucier it is clear that claims of qualified
immunity are to be evaluated using a two-step
process. First, the court must determine whether the
facts, taken in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff, show a constitutional violation. If the
plaintiff fails to make out a constitutional
violation, the qualified immunity inquiry is at an
end; the officer is entitled to immunity."
Bennett v. Murphy, 274 F.3d 133, 136 (3d Cir. 2002). As stated above, I
find that plaintiffs failed to produce evidence of a constitutional
violation under either Kniepp or DeShaney. Bennet therefore dictates that
the officers are entitled to immunity. See id.
C. Plaintiffs' Claim against the City of Philadelphia
Plaintiffs second claim is against the City. They allege that:
(i) a City policy or custom deprived Raymond of his
constitutional rights, and
(ii) the City is liable for its failure to train its
police officers adequately.
Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of the City of New York,