William Anderson, as trustee for the next-of-kin of Jacob William Anderson (deceased) Plaintiff - Appellant
City of Minneapolis; County of Hennepin; Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc.; Dr. Brian Mahoney, M.D., as then-Medical Director of the HCMC Ambulance Service; Shana D. York; Anthony J. Buda; Raul A. Ramos, and John Doe individuals to be determined, Individual Fire Department Personnel in Their Individual Capacities; Daniel F. Shively, and John Doe individuals to be determined, Individual HCMC Ambulance Services Personnel in Their Individual Capacities; Mitchel Morey, M.D., Individual Medical Examiner's Office Personnel, in his Individual Capacity; Daniel J. Tyra; Shannon L. Miller; Dustin L. Anderson; Scott T. Sutherland; D. Blaurat; Emily Dunphy; Christopher Karakostas; Matthew George; Joseph McGinness; Calvin Pham; Arlene M. Johnson; Matthew T. Ryan, and John Doe individuals to be determined, Individual Police Officers in Their Individual Capacities Defendants - Appellees
Submitted: March 12, 2019
from United States District Court for the District of
Minnesota - Minneapolis.
SHEPHERD, ARNOLD, and KOBES, Circuit Judges.
district court noted, this is a tragic case. Jacob Anderson
(Jacob) died of hypothermia in Minneapolis, Minnesota on
December 15, 2013. His father, William Anderson (Anderson),
brought this suit alleging federal constitutional and state
tort claims against the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County,
and several city and county employees. The district
court granted defendants' motions to dismiss
with prejudice. Anderson appeals the dismissal of his
constitutional claims, and we affirm.
fall of 2013, Jacob was a 19-year old freshman at the
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He was an active member
of the university community. On the night of December 14,
2013, he attended a party with several other students. He
left around 11:15 p.m.
was discovered the next morning, lying face down in the snow
in a remote area of Minneapolis near the Mississippi River.
The passerby who found him called 911 at 8:44 a.m. The first
responders, employees of the Minneapolis Fire Department,
arrived on the scene ten minutes later. The fire department
defendants, some of whom were certified emergency medical
technicians, performed a 30-second check on Jacob's pulse
by holding his wrist, which was frostbitten and cold to the
touch. Failing to find a heartbeat, the fire department
defendants pronounced him dead at 8:57 a.m.
declared Jacob dead, the fire department defendants cancelled
the ambulance and called police to the scene. However, the
paramedics had already arrived. The paramedic defendants
spoke with the fire department defendants but did not
separately evaluate Jacob's condition and left after
about two minutes. Several police officers arrived next.
Shortly after the first police defendants arrived, the fire
department defendants left. The police treated the area as a
potential crime scene and notified the Hennepin County
Medical Examiner's Office at 10:30 a.m.
medical examiner's office sent two investigators to the
scene. After conducting an examination of Jacob's body,
which was still where it had been found almost two hours
earlier, the investigators called defendant Assistant Medical
Examiner Mitchel Morey, M.D. Based on the investigators'
report, Morey did not visit the scene. Eventually, the
medical examiner's office conducted an autopsy and
determined that Jacob died of hypothermia. The autopsy listed
the time of death as 8:48 a.m. Anderson alleges that Jacob
may have in fact died several hours later, after emergency
responders had declared him dead.
is a medical condition that occurs when a body falls below 95
degrees Fahrenheit and cannot produce enough heat to replace
what it loses. App. 86. Frostbite is a medical condition
that occurs when the skin and underlying tissues freeze. App.
87. Hypothermia and frostbite act together in ways that often
disguise signs of life and make it particularly difficult for
first responders to determine whether an individual is
actually dead or just in a severely hypothermic condition.
appearances, individuals can make remarkable recoveries from
even severe hypothermia. App. 88. As a result, first
responders are trained to provide treatment even to
apparently deceased hypothermia victims. For example,
Minneapolis Fire Department standard operating procedures
prescribe that first responders "[b]egin CPR immediately
when [a] patient is found cold in a cold environment."
App. 93. The Hennepin EMS protocol specifically notes that
"clinical signs of death may be misleading" and
instructs medical personnel to transport any bodies with a
temperature below 86 degrees Fahrenheit in a cold environment
to facilities prepared "for active internal
rewarming." App. 104. Anderson alleges that Jacob passed
away because these guidelines were not followed in this case.
December 8, 2016, Anderson and his wife, Kristi Anderson,
filed a complaint in the district court against individual
responders and the entities that responded to the 911 call.
The complaint listed ...