Yesterday, the Fifth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in cases arising out of the November 18, 1999, collapse of the "bonfire stack" that Texas A&M students traditionally built the week before the football game against the University of Texas.  The plaintiffs — estates of Aggies who died, students who suffered injuries, and relatives — alleged that Texas A&M and A&M officials deprived the victims of substantive due process by recklessly exposing them to dangers that the state institution itself created.  The court held that the "state-created danger" doctrine didn’t "clearly" exist in 1999 and that, therefore, the plaintiffs couldn’t make out a claim.  Breen v. Texas A&M Univ., No. 04-40712 (5th Cir. Apr. 24, 2007).

Barry Barnett

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