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T.D. v. Patton — F.3d —, 2017 WL 3687935 (10th Cir. August 28, 2017)

Aug 28, 2017

The defendant social worker appealed from the district court’s denial of her motion for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity in this case involving a substantive due process claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.  The plaintiff asserted that claim under the “state-created danger” theory, on the basis the social worker had temporarily placed him with his biological father – a registered sex offender who sexually and physically assaulted him – as a dependent or neglected child while in his mother’s custody.  After providing a useful discussion of the state-created danger theory, the Tenth Circuit held the social worker’s conduct violated clearly established law, such that she was not entitled to qualified immunity.