In a case about a school district’s liabilty for a student’s assault of another student, the Fifth Circuit declined to recognize a “state-created danger” exception to district officials’ immunity. The Court summarized:
The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides that “[n]o State shall . . . deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” “The Due Process Clause . . . does not, as a general matter, require the government to protect its citizens from the acts of private actors.” We have recognized just one exception to this general rule: “when [a] ‘special relationship’ between the individual and the state imposes upon the state a constitutional duty to protect that individual from known threats of harm by private actors.” However, “a number of our sister circuits have adopted a ‘state-created danger’ exception to the general rule, under which a state actor who knowingly places a citizen in danger may be accountable for the foreseeable injuries that result.” …
The problem for [Plaintiff] is that “the Fifth Circuit has never recognized th[e] ‘state-created-danger’ exception.” In our published, and thus binding, caselaw, “[w]e have repeatedly declined to recognize the statecreated danger doctrine.” For this reason, [Plaintiff] “ha[s] not demonstrated a clearly established substantive due process right on the facts [she] allege[s].” The district court thus erred in denying qualified immunity to Appellants.
Fisher v. Moore, No. 21-20553-CV (March 16, 2023) (footnotes omitted).
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