A U.S. Appeals Court backed the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by parents who alleged that Minneapolis firefighters could have done more to save the life of a 19-year-old University of Minnesota student found frozen to death in 2013 along the Mississippi River.
In upholding a U.S. District Court’s decision last year to throw out the lawsuit, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said it found no constitutional basis for the claims of Bill and Kristi Anderson against the defendants “because they require a showing of deliberate indifference on the part of the municipalities.”
Jacob W. Anderson, of Orono, was last seen at an “ugly sweater” party a few blocks away on Dec. 15, 2013. After responding to the scene, a half-mile from the party under the 10th Avenue Bridge, firefighters and paramedics checked for a pulse and found nothing.
Firefighters then pronounced him dead, and his body remained in single-digit temperatures for hours as police investigated.
The Andersons went on to sue the city, Hennepin County and Hennepin Healthcare.
The suit argued that police, firefighters and paramedics created a danger by failing to warm him and give him CPR. By failing that duty, they argued, they deprived the young man of his constitutional right to life.
The city of Minneapolis and HCMC say their first responders followed best practices and their protocols that morning.