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Part Two: case summaries by major topic.

U.S. Appeals Court PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act EXHAUSTION

1. ACCESS TO COURT

Blake v. Ross, 787 F.3d 693 (4th Cir. 2015). An inmate broughta [section] 1983 action against correctional officers, alleging use of excessive force. One officer moved for summary judgment on the ground that inmate failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. The district court granted the motion and the inmate appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded. The court held that an internal investigation afforded correction officials time and opportunity to address the complaints internally, as required for an exception to the PLRA exhaustion of remedies requirement to apply, and the inmate's belief that he had exhausted administrative remedies was a reasonable interpretation of the inmate grievance procedures. (Maryland Reception Diagnostic and Classification Center)

U.S. Appeals Court APPOINTED ATTORNEY

Childress v. Walker, 787 F.3d 433 (7th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner brought an action under [section] 1983 alleging that administrators and individuals affiliated with a correctional center violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment and the Due Process Clause. The district court dismissed the action and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded. The court held that the prisoner stated a claim for relief under the Eighth Amendment with allegations that the prison administrator knew that conditions of his mandatory release included a ban on computer-related material, but nevertheless instituted, condoned, or willfully turned a blind eye to the practice that placed computer-related material among his possessions. The court also found that the district court had to determine, upon the prisoner's motion for appointment of counsel, whether the prisoner, from the confines of his present institutional situation, could adequately investigate and articulate, in accordance with established practices of [section] 1983 liability, familiarity of each defendant with the practices of the educational program that placed computer-related material among his possessions, even though the conditions of his mandatory release included a ban on computer-related material. (Big Muddy River Correctional Center, Illinois)

U.S. Appeals Court IN FORMA PAUPERIS RETALIATION

Dimanche v. Brown, 783 F.3d 1204 (11th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner brought a [section] 1983 action against prison officials, alleging he was subjected to harsh treatment in retaliation for filing grievances about prison conditions and asserting claims for cruel and unusual punishment, due process violations, and First Amendment retaliation. The district court dismissed the case for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and failure to state a claim pursuant to the in forma pauperis statute. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded. The court held that the grievance sent by the state prisoner directly to the Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) met the conditions for bypassing the informal and formal grievance steps at the institutional level under Florida law, and thus the prisoner satisfied the Prison Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA) exhaustion requirement with respect to his [section] 1983 claims alleging cruel and unusual punishment, due process violations, and First Amendment retaliation. The court noted that the prisoner clearly stated at the beginning of the grievance form that he was filing a grievance of reprisal, indicating he feared for his life and that he was "gassed in confinement for grievances [he] wrote," and clearly stated the reason for bypassing the informal and formal grievance steps, namely, his fear that he would be killed if he filed additional grievances at the institutional level, and alleged participation by high-ranking prison officials. The court found that the prisoner stated claims against prison officials for First Amendment retaliation and cruel and unusual punishment by alleging that prison guards and officials sprayed him with tear gas without provocation, denied him prompt medical care, filed false disciplinary reports, and threatened further retaliation, all in retaliation for filing grievances. (Liberty Correctional Institution, Florida)

U.S. District Court IN FORMA PAUPERIS INDIGENT INMATES

Harris v. Doe, 78 F.Supp.3d 894 (N.D. 111. 2015). In two related actions, an inmate, proceeding pro se, alleged [section] 1983 claims against prison officers for deprivations of his civil rights. The inmate sought to proceed in forma pauperis in these suits. The district court dismissed the suits, holding that the inmate's allegation of poverty in his applications to proceed in forma pauperis was untrue. The court noted that the inmate represented that he had not received more than $200 in funds over the preceding 12 months from any of numerous categories listed in the application, including a catch-all category of "any other source." According to the court, his prisoner trust fund account reflected a $3,000 deposit, the inmate quickly withdrew most of that $3,000 by writing checks to a "friend" or "friends" who in turn later re-deposited those funds into his account over the next several months, and the inmate promptly expended these re-deposits on commissary items well before he filed his suits. (Cook County Jail, Illinois)

U.S. Appeals Court PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act EXHAUSTION

Hubbs v. Suffolk County Sheriffs Dept., 788 F.3d 54 (2nd Cir. 2015). A county jail detainee brought a [section] 1983 action against a county sheriff's department, and sheriff's deputies, alleging that he was severely beaten by the deputies while in a holding cell at a courthouse. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants based on the detainee's failure to exhaust administrative remedies. The detainee appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded, finding that the affidavit of a county jail grievance coordinator, along with a handbook detailing a grievance procedure, did not establish that the detainee had an available administrative remedy, and neither the handbook nor the affidavit demonstrated that the county or sheriffs department, or any official, handled grievances arising from occurrences in the courthouse holding cells or whether remedies for such grievances were actually available. According to the court, the deputies forfeited any arguments that statutory remedies were available to the county jail detainee where the deputies failed to identify in the district court or on appeal any statutes or regulations showing that administrative remedies were available for events that took place in the courthouse holding facility. (Suffolk County Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act ACCESS TO ATTORNEY

Kervin v. Barnes, 787 F.3d 833 (7th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner brought a [section] 1983 action against prison officials, alleging that he was placed in segregation as punishment for insisting on keeping his appointment with an attorney and that he was denied due process when he sought redress from the prison's grievance system. The district court, pursuant to the screening process of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), dismissed the suit on the pleadings. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that the state prisoner did not provide any information as to the content or purpose of his meeting with the attorney, precluding any finding as to whether the meeting involved protected speech, as required to support the prisoner's [section] 1983 claim that he was punished not for his insubordinate speech to a prison guard, but rather for meeting with, and presumably talking to, an attorney. (Indiana Department of Corrections)

U.S. Appeals Court PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act EXHAUSTION

King v. McCarty, 781 F.3d 889 (7th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner brought a [section] 1983 action against a county sheriff and two jail guards, alleging the jail's use of a transparent jumpsuit during his transfer to a state prison, which exposed the prisoner's genitals, violated the prisoner's rights under the Fourth and Eighth Amendments. The district court dismissed the prisoner's Eighth Amendment claim for failure to state a claim and granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment as to the Fourth Amendment claim. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded. The court held that: (1) the prisoner was required to direct his grievance to the jail, not the state prison, in order to satisfy the Prison Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA) exhaustion requirement; (2) the jail's grievance procedure was not "available," within the meaning of PLRA; (3) allegations were sufficient to state a claim under the Eighth Amendment; and (4) the jail's requirement that the prisoner wear a transparent jumpsuit did not violate the Fourth Amendment. (Illinois Department of Corrections, Livingston County Jail)

U.S. APPEALS COURT PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act EXHAUSTION

Lee v. Willey, 789 F.3d 673 (6th Cir. 2015). A former prisoner brought a [section] 1983 claim against a part-time prison psychiatrist, alleging that he suffered sexual abuse by another prisoner as a result of the psychiatrist's deliberate indifference to his health and safety in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The district court entered summary judgment in the psychiatrist's favor. The former prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the district court's ruling that the former prisoner did not submit a substitute prison grievance letter was not clearly erroneous, and the former prisoner failed to exhaust administrative remedies prior to bringing his [section] 1983 claim. (Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center, Michigan)

U.S. Appeals Court COURT COSTS PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act IN FORMA PAUPERIS

Siluk v. Merwin, 783 F.3d 421 (3rd Cir. 2015). An indigent state prisoner who had been allowed to file in forma pauperis commenced an action alleging that the director of a county domestic relations section deprived him of his federal income tax refund, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The district court dismissed the prisoner's complaint, and ordered collection of an initial partial filing fee, followed by monthly installments. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court held that under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), monthly income of an indigent state prisoner who owed two separate court fees was subject to a single monthly 20% deduction. (State Correctional Institution, Rockview, Pennsylvania, and Perry County Domestic Relations Section)

U.S. Appeals Court PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act

Thomas v. Reese, 787 F.3d 845 (7th Cir. 2015). A state inmate filed a [section] 1983 action alleging that county correctional officers unlawfully used excessive force in the course of handcuffing him after he disobeyed an order. The district court entered summary judgment in the officers' favor and inmate the appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded, finding that the inmate was not barred by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) from bringing the action. The court noted that the inmate did not have an available administrative remedy, where the inmate did not have access to an inmate handbook that set forth the proper grievance procedure, the officer informed the inmate that he could not file a grievance, the handbook only permitted inmates to dispute alleged violations, and the inmate was not contesting his discipline, but rather was challenging the officers' conduct that occurred after his offenses. (Dane County Jail, Wisconsin)

U.S. Appeals Court PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act

U.S. v. Secretary, Florida Dept, of Corrections, 778 F.3d 1223 (11th Cir. 2015). The federal government brought an action against the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC), alleging that the DOC's failure to provide a kosher diet to all of its prisoners with sincere religious grounds for keeping kosher violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The district court granted the DOC's motion for a preliminary injunction and the federal government appealed. The appeals court vacated the district court decision and dismissed the appeal. The court held that the preliminary injunction did not comply with the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), and thus, expired after 90 days. The court noted that injunctive relief was not narrowly drawn, extended further than necessary to correct the violation of the federal right, and was not the least intrusive means necessary to correct the violation, in violation of PLRA. (Fla. Dept, of Corrections)

U.S. District Court INVESTIGATION DUE PROCESS

United States v. Binh Tang Vo, 78 F.Supp.3d 171 (D.D.C 2015). A defendant being prosecuted for an alleged conspiracy to commit visa fraud moved to quash subpoenas that were issued by the prosecutors. The defendant was housed in a District of Columbia correctional facility and the prosecutors had sought copies of visitation logs, call logs, and recorded telephone calls of two codefendants who had previously entered guilty pleas. The district court granted the defendant's motion to prevent the release of these documents. The court held that the government's subpoenas exceeded the bounds of a rule governing issuance of subpoenas in criminal cases, and the subpoenas amounted to a mere "fishing expedition," and thus retroactive approval was unwarranted. (Correctional Treatment Facility, District of Columbia)

U.S. District Court PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act EXHAUSTION

Vaden v. U.S. Department of Justice, 79 F.Supp.3d 207 (D.D.C. 2015), A federal prisoner filed suit under the Privacy Act against the Department of Justice, seeking injunctive relief for the correction of alleged inaccuracies with respect to the determination of his custody classification and security level. The prisoner sought damages. The Department filed a motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, and the prisoner filed a motion for summary judgment. The district court dismissed the action. The court held that the prisoner's failure to exhaust administrative remedies did not warrant dismissal under the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), but the prisoner's custody classification and determination of security level were part of an inmate central records system that was expressly exempt from agency obligations under the Privacy Act. (Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Penitentiary--II, Coleman, Florida)

U.S. Appeals Court PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act EXHAUSTION

Wilson v. Epps, 776 F.3d 296 (5th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner brought an action alleging prison officials violated his constitutional rights. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the Mississippi Department of Corrections' implementation of a "backlogging" policy did not abrogate the Prison Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA's) exhaustion requirement, and the prison's failure to respond at the first step of a three step grievance process did not excuse the prisoner's failure to exhaust administrative remedies. (Central Mississippi Correctional Facility)

2. ADMINISTRATION

U.S. District Court POLICIES/PROCEDURES CONTRACT SERVICES TRAINING

Await v. Marketti, 74 F.Supp.3d 909 (N.D.IU. 2014). The estate and the widow of a pretrial detainee who died in a county jail brought civil rights and wrongful death actions against jail personnel and medical care providers who serviced the jail. The county defendants and the medical defendants moved for summary judgment. The district court found that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact: (1) concerning whether failure of the sheriffs office and the jail's medical services provider to provide adequate medical training to correctional officers caused the detainee's death; (2) as to whether the sheriffs office and the jail's medical services provider had an implicit policy of deliberate indifference to medical care provided to detainees; and (3) as to whether the sheriffs office and the jail's medical services provider had an express policy that prevented a nurse from restocking a particular medication until there were only eight pills left in stock and whether that policy was the moving force behind the pretrial detainee's seizure-related death. The court denied qualified immunity from liability to the correctional officers and the sheriffs office. (Grundy County Jail, Illinois)

U.S. District Court STAFFING LEVELS POLICIES/PROCEDURES TRAINING

Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 70 F.Supp.3d 963 (N.D.Cal. 2014). Current and recently released inmates from a county jail brought an action against the county, the sheriffs office, and the private company that administered all jail health care facilities and services, alleging, on behalf of a class of inmates, that substandard conditions at the jail violated the federal and state constitutions, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, and a California statute prohibiting discrimination in state-funded programs. The inmates sought declaratory and injunctive relief. The defendants filed motions to dismiss. The district court denied the motions. The court found that the inmates sufficiently alleged that the private company that administered all jail health care facilities and services operated a place of public accommodation, as required to state a claim for violation of ADA Title III. The court noted that: "The complaint alleges a litany of substandard conditions at the jail, including: violence due to understaffing, overcrowding, inadequate training, policies, procedures, facilities, and prisoner classification; inadequate medical and mental health care screening, attention, distribution, and resources; and lack of policies and practices for identifying, tracking, responding, communicating, and providing accessibility for accommodations for prisoners with disabilities." (Monterey County Jail, California)

U.S. District Court POLICIES/PROCEDURES

Mori v. Allegheny County, 51 F.Supp.3d 558 (W.D.Pa. 2014). An inmate who was seven and one-half months into a "high risk" pregnancy brought an action under [section] 1983 against a county for deliberate indifference to her health in violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and survival and wrongful death claims for violations of the Fourteenth Amendment, after the loss of the child following a placental abruption. The county moved to dismiss. The district court denied the motion. The court held that the prisoner (1) stated an Eighth Amendment claim based on failure to monitor the unborn child after the prisoner complained of vaginal bleeding; (2) stated a claim against the county based on custom and practice; (3) sufficiently alleged a causal link between the policies and the loss of the child; (4) stated a claim against county officials for individual liability; and (5) stated wrongful death and survivor claims for the death of the child. The inmate alleged that individual policy makers, including the chief operating officer of the county jail's health services, and the jail's nursing supervisor, were responsible for the policies that led to failure to provide adequate medical treatment. The prisoner also alleged that she was made to wait over 24 hours before being sent to a hospital after her vaginal bleeding started, that she was transported by a police cruiser rather than ambulance, that it was well known that bleeding late in pregnancy often indicated serious medical issues, that the child was alive during birth, and that the delay in medical treatment contributed to the injuries during birth and the death of the child shortly after birth. (Allegheny County Jail, Pennsylvania)

U.S. Appeals Court RECORDS

King\. Zamiara, 788 F.3d 207 (6th Cir. 2015). A prisoner brought an action against prison officials under [section] 1983, alleging First Amendment retaliation arising from his transfer to a higher security prison due to his participation in a state-court class action against the prison officials. After a bench trial, the district court found in favor of the prison officials. The appeals court reversed with respect to three officials. On remand, the district court entered judgment in favor of the prisoner and ordered compensatory damages and attorney fees, but denied the prisoner's request for punitive damages and injunctive relief. Both parties appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded. The court held that: (1) the district court properly awarded prisoner compensatory damages; (2) the district court's award of compensatory damages to equal $5 a day for each day he was kept in a higher security prison was not a reversible error; (3) the district court relied on an incorrect legal standard in concluding that the prisoner was not entitled to punitive damages; (4) the prisoner was not entitled to injunctive relief requiring the department of corrections to remove certain documents from his file that allegedly violated his due process rights; and (5) the district court abused its discretion in failing to charge up to 25% of the attorney fees awarded to the prisoner against his compensatory damages award. (Conklin Unit at Brooks Correctional Facility, Chippewa Correctional Facility, Michigan)

U.S. District Court APA- Administrative Procedures Act

Sluss v. United States Department of Justice, 78 F.Supp.3d 61 (D.D.C. 2015). A federal prisoner sought to compel the Department of Justice (DOJ) to transfer him, pursuant to an international treaty, to his birthplace of Canada to carry out the remainder of his sentence. The DOJ moved to dismiss. The district court granted the motion. The court held that decisions regarding the international transfer of prisoners constituted an agency action, which was committed to agency discretion by law, and thus the decisions were not reviewable under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). (Federal Correctional Center, Petersburg, Virginia)

U.S. Appeals Court COMMISSARY PROPERTY

Sorrentino v. Godinez, 111 F.3d 410 (7th Cir. 2015). Two inmates purchased several items from a prison's commissary, but the prison later forbade the inmates to possess those items in their cells. Their property was removed, as the new rule required. They responded by filing a proposed class action in the district court, alleging that confiscation of their property was an unconstitutional taking and a breach of contract. The district court dismissed the action. The appeals court held that the district court was correct to dismiss the action, although the dismissal should have been without prejudice. One inmate had purchased a fan and signed a "personal property contract" which obligated him to follow all Department of Corrections (DOC) rules related to use, ownership, and possession of the fan. The other inmate purchased a typewriter and a fan, and he also signed a personal property contract for his fan. When a new policy banned these items from prisoners' cell, the new policy offered several options for inmates who owned the newly prohibited types of property. Inmates with typewriters could have them destroyed, give them to visitors, ship them to someone outside the prison at no cost, store them in "offender personal property" which is returned to inmates upon release from prison, or donate them to the prison library. Fans were simply placed in storage as "offender personal property." (Stateville Correctional Facility, Illinois)

3. ADMINISTRATIVE SEGREGATION

U.S. District Court CONDITIONS ASSIGNMENT SEARCHES

Little v. Municipal Corp., 51 F.Supp.3d 473 (S.D.N.Y. 2014). State inmates brought a [section] 1983 action against a city and city department of correction officials, alleging Eighth Amendment and due process violations related to conditions of their confinement and incidents that occurred while they were confined. The defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The district court granted the motion, finding that: (1) the inmates failed to state a municipal liability claim; (2) locking the inmates in cells that were flooding with sewage was not a sufficiently serious deprivation so as to violate the Eighth Amendment; (3) the inmates failed to state an Eighth Amendment claim based on the deprivation of laundry services; (4) the inmates failed to state that officials were deliberately indifferent to their conditions of confinement; (5) the inmates' administrative classification did not implicate their liberty interests protected by due process; and (6) cell searches did not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation. The court noted that the cells flooded with sewage for up to eight-and-a-half hours, during which they periodically lacked outdoor recreation and food, was undeniably unpleasant, but it was not a significantly serious deprivation so as to violate the inmates' Eighth Amendment rights. According to the court, there was no constitutional right to outdoor recreation, and the inmates were not denied food entirely, but rather, were not allowed to eat during periods of lock-down. (N.Y. City Department of Corrections)

4. ASSESSMENT OF COSTS

U.S. District Court MEDICAL COSTS

Scott v. Clarke, 61 F.Supp.3d 569 (W.D.Va. 2014). Female inmates brought a [section] 1983 action alleging that a correctional facility failed to provide adequate medical care and that Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) officials were deliberately indifferent to that failure, in violation of the inmates' Eighth Amendment rights. The inmates moved for class certification. The district court held that class certification was warranted under the subsection of the class action rale pertaining to cases where predominantly injunctive or declaratory relief was appropriate. The court found that the proposed class of approximately 1,200 female inmates housed at the state correctional facility who were subject to its medical care system was sufficiently large, on its face, to satisfy the size requirement for class certification, and that the "commonality" requirement for class certification was met. The court noted that one of the questions of fact was whether the VDOC medical contract system permitted improper cost considerations to interfere with the treatment of serious medical conditions. (Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, Virginia)

U.S. District Court MEDICAL COSTS

Sherley v. Thompson, 69 F.Supp.3d 656 (W.D.Ky. 2014). A state prisoner filed a pro se [section] 1983 action against the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC), a prison warden, and other prison officials, alleging that his conditions of confinement violated his Eighth Amendment rights, that he was deprived of medical treatment in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and was subjected to race discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The district court dismissed the case, in part. The court held that the prisoner stated claims against the warden and prison administrators for violation of his equal protection rights and his conditions of confinement. According to the court, the prisoner stated an Eighth Amendment claim against one prison nurse by alleging that the nurse failed to provide him with appropriate medical treatment for ant bites he sustained, due to his inability to pay for treatment The prisoner alleged that the prison had a policy or custom of segregating blacks and non-blacks, and that prison officials refused to place him in a non-black cell to get away from pests in his cell. The court held that the administrators allowed ants to infest his cell for weeks and that as a result, he received ant bites that caused him to scratch until his skin was broken due to severe itching, in violation of his conditions of confinement rights under [section] 1983 and the Eighth Amendment. (Little Sandy Correctional Complex, Green River Correctional Complex, Kentucky)

U.S. District Court SOCIAL SECURITY

Mackey v. United States, 79 F.Supp.3d 57 (D.D.C. 2015). An inmate incarcerated in Indiana sought a court order directing the Commissioner of Social Security to pay benefits for a period prior to his incarceration. The Commissioner filed a motion to dismiss for improper venue. The inmate in turn requested transfer to another venue, rather than dismissal. The court granted the motion to dismiss the case, holding that transfer to a federal court in Indiana, where the inmate was incarcerated, was not in the interests of justice. (Federal Correctional Facility, Terre Haute, Indiana)

U.S. Appeals Court COST OF CONFINEMENT INMATE FUNDS

Shinault v. Hawks, 782 F.3d 1053 (9th Cir. 2015). A state inmate filed a [section] 1983 action alleging that prison officials violated his constitutional rights when they froze funds in his inmate trust account to recover the cost of his incarceration. The district court entered summary judgment in the officials' favor and the inmate appealed. The appeals court affirmed, holding that the decision to freeze and withdraw funds from the inmate's trust account did not violate the Eighth Amendment. According to the court, the inmate's interest in the funds was substantial and there was risk of an erroneous deprivation, but the officials were entitled to qualified immunity because it was not clearly established that state prison officials were required by the Due Process Clause to provide a predeprivation hearing before freezing funds in an inmate's trust account The Department of Corrections transferred $65,353 into an account in the inmate's name and the inmate did not have access to the fund. (Oregon Department of Corrections)

U.S. Appeals Court COURT COSTS PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act INMATE FUNDS

Siluk v. Merwin, 783 F.3d 421 (3rd Cir. 2015). An indigent state prisoner who had been allowed to file in forma pauperis commenced an action alleging that the director of a county domestic relations section deprived him of his federal income tax refund, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The district court dismissed the prisoner's complaint, and ordered collection of an initial partial filing fee, followed by monthly installments. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court held that under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), monthly income of an indigent state prisoner who owed two separate court fees was subject to a single monthly 20% deduction. (State Correctional Institution, Rockview, Pennsylvania, and Perry County Domestic Relations Section)

5. ATTORNEY FEES

U.S. Appeals Court PREVAILING PARTY

Cortez v. Skol, 776 F.3d 1046 (9th Cir. 2015). The mother of a state inmate who suffered severe brain damage, after he was attacked by two fellow prisoners while being escorted through an isolated prison passage by a corrections officer, brought an action alleging a [section] 1983 Eighth Amendment claim against the officer and a gross negligence claim against the state. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants and the mother appealed. The appeals court reversed, finding that summary judgment was precluded by issues of material fact as to whether the corrections officer exposed the high-security inmate to a substantial risk of serious injury when he: (1) escorted the inmate and two fellow high-security prisoners through the isolated prison passage by himself; (2) did not require the prisoners to wear leg restraints; and (3) failed to physically intervene once the prisoners attacked the inmate. The court also found fact issues as to whether the officer was subjectively aware of the risk involved in the escort and acted with deliberate indifference to the inmate's safety. The court held that the mother was not the prevailing party for purposes of awarding attorney's fees. (Morey Unit, Lewis Prison Complex, Arizona)

U.S. Appeals Court PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act

King v. Zamiara, 788 F.3d 207 (6th Cir. 2015). A prisoner brought an action against prison officials under [section] 1983, alleging First Amendment retaliation arising from his transfer to a higher security prison due to his participation in a state-court class action against the prison officials. After a bench trial, the district court found in favor of the prison officials. The appeals court reversed with respect to three officials. On remand, the district court entered judgment in favor of the prisoner and ordered compensatory damages and attorney fees, but denied the prisoner's request for punitive damages and injunctive relief. Both parties appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded. The court held that: (1) the district court properly awarded prisoner compensatory damages; (2) the district court's award of compensatory damages to equal $5 a day for each day he was kept in a higher security prison was not a reversible error; (3) the district court relied on an incorrect legal standard in concluding that the prisoner was not entitled to punitive damages; (4) the prisoner was not entitled to injunctive relief requiring the department of corrections to remove certain documents from his file that allegedly violated his due process rights; and (5) the district court abused its discretion in failing to charge up to 25% of the attorney fees awarded to the prisoner against his compensatory damages award. (Conklin Unit at Brooks Correctional Facility, Chippewa Correctional Facility, Michigan)

6. BAIL

No Cases.

U.S. District Court SEX OFFENDER SELF INCRIMINATION FREE SPEECH AND ASSOCIATION

7. CIVIL RIGHTS

Reinhardt v. Kopcow, 66 F.Supp.3d 1348 (D.Colo. 2014). Inmates, parolees, and probationers, as well their family members, brought a [section] 1983 action against various employees of the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) and members of the state's Sex Offender Management Board, alleging that the state's treatment of persons convicted of sex crimes violated their rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment. The plaintiffs sought monetary damages and injunctive and declaratory relief. The defendants moved to dismiss. The district court granted the motion in part and a denied in part. The court held that the potential penalty resulting from a Colorado policy that requires inmates in the state's sex offender treatment program to admit to prior acts, was so severe as to constitute compulsion to testify, and would violate their privilege against self-incrimination. The court noted that inmates who chose to participate in the program would be compelled to make incriminating statements that could be used against them during any retrial.

The court found that individuals classified as sex offenders, both imprisoned and on probation, sufficiently alleged that Colorado policies restricting their contact with family members, and particularly with their children, were not rationally related to any legitimate penological interest, as required to support their claims that these policies violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights related to familial association and due process. The court noted that some of these individuals were not convicted of sex offenses involving children, and some of them were not convicted of any sex offense at all. The court held that CDOC employees were entitled to qualified immunity from liability, where the rights of individuals classified as sex offenders that were purportedly violated by Colorado policies restricting their contact with family members were not clearly established at the time of the alleged violation. (Colorado Dept, of Corrections, Sex Offender Management Board)

U.S. District Court SEX DISCRIMINATION EQUAL PROTECTION PROGRAMS

Sassman v. Brown, 73 F.Supp.3d 1241 (E.D.Cal. 2014). A male prisoner filed a civil rights action against the Governor of California and the Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), claiming violation of the Equal Protection Clause by exclusion of men from California's Alternative Custody Program (ACP). The California Penal Code allows only female inmates to participate in the voluntary ACP in lieu of confinement in a state prison. The prisoner moved for a preliminary injunction to prevent continued exclusion of male prisoners from ACP based on their gender. The district court denied the motion for an injunction. The district court held that the prisoner had a likelihood of success on the merits of the claim, but that it was unlikely that the prisoner could show irreparable harm absent an injunction. The prisoner had unsuccessfully applied to participate in the ACP and was similarly situated to female state prisoners who applied and were approved. According to the court, where the male prisoner met all gender-neutral eligibility criteria required by regulations implementing the ACP, and assuming that female prisoners and their children would benefit more from ACP than male prisoners and their children, perpetuated the stereotype that women were more fit to parent and more important to their families than men. The court found that restricting applicants to only women state prisoners was not substantially related to the important government interests of family reunification and community reintegration, and thus, the male prisoner had a likelihood of success on the merits of his claim. (Alternative Custody Program, California)

U.S. District Court RACIAL DISCRIMINATION EQUAL PROTECTION

Sherley v. Thompson, 69 F.Supp.3d 656 (W.D.Ky. 2014). A state prisoner filed a pro se [section] 1983 action against the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC), a prison warden, and other prison officials, alleging that his conditions of confinement violated his Eighth Amendment rights, that he was deprived of medical treatment in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and was subjected to race discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The district court dismissed the case, in part. The court held that the prisoner stated claims against the warden and prison administrators for violation of his equal protection rights and his conditions of confinement. According to the court, the prisoner stated an Eighth Amendment claim against one prison nurse by alleging that the nurse failed to provide him with appropriate medical treatment for ant bites he sustained, due to his inability to pay for treatment

The prisoner alleged that the prison had a policy or custom of segregating blacks and non-blacks, and that prison officials relused to place him in a non-black cell to get away from pests in his cell. The court held that the administrators allowed ants to infest his cell for weeks and that as a result, he received ant bites that caused him to scratch until his skin was broken due to severe itching, in violation of his conditions of confinement rights under [section] 1983 and the Eighth Amendment. (Little Sandy Correctional Complex, Green River Correctional Complex, Kentucky)

U.S. District Court CIVIL COMMITMENT SEX OFFENDER

Thomas v. Adams, 55 F.Supp.3d 552 (D.N.J. 2014). Civilly-committed sexually violent predators (SVP) brought an action against corrections officials, and other defendants, challenging the adequacy of treatment after they were transferred to a new facility for SVPs. The defendants moved to dismiss. The district court granted the motions in part and denied in part. The inmate's claimed that he was diagnosed as a sexually violent predator (SVP) requiring treatment, and after he was transferred to a different facility his prescribed amount of therapy was reduced, and eventually denied without any mental health evaluation. The inmate alleged that the denials were based on his placement in a segregated housing unit (SHU). The court held that the inmate sufficiently alleged a substantive due process challenge against high-ranking, supervising corrections officers involved in the decision to transfer SVPs to a new facility, despite the contention that the officials played no role in the inmate's day-to-day affairs. (N.J. Sexually Violent Predator Act, Special Treatment Unit at East Jersey State Prison)

U.S. District Court RELIGION DISCRIMINATION

Williams v. King, 56 F.Supp.3d 308 (S.D.N.Y. 2014). A state inmate brought a [section] 1983 action alleging that prison officials violated his rights to free exercise of religion and due process. The officials moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that summary judgment was precluded by issues of fact as to: (1) whether the alleged burdens imposed on the free exercise rights of Shiite Muslim State prison inmates actually served, or were intended to serve, any legitimate penological interests; (2) whether the inmate was denied the right to participate in a religious celebration despite having complied with the prison's registration policy; and, (3) whether the prison's selective registration policy was reasonably related to legitimate penological interests rather than motivated by discriminatory purposes.

The court found that the prisoner's allegations that the prison's Muslim chaplain and superintendent of programs were personally involved in the discriminatory policies were sufficient to state a free exercise claim and that the chaplain and superintendent were not entitled to qualified immunity. The inmate alleged that the chaplain made various decisions regarding inmates' celebrations of Muslim holy days which had the effect of allowing Sunni Muslim inmates to follow their practices while not allowing Shiite Muslim inmates to follow certain Shiite practices. He also alleged that the superintendent, despite responding to several grievances based on the chaplain's alleged denials of religious accommodations, allowed those denials to continue and consciously administered an alleged selectively discriminatory policy. (Woodbourne Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court GRIEVANCE PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act USE OF FORCE

Hubbs v. Suffolk County Sheriff's Dept., 788 F.3d 54 (2nd Cir. 2015). A county jail detainee brought a [section] 1983 action against a county sheriffs department, and sheriffs deputies, alleging that he was severely beaten by the deputies while in a holding cell at a courthouse. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants based on the detainee's failure to exhaust administrative remedies. The detainee appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded, finding that the affidavit of a county jail grievance coordinator, along with a handbook detailing a grievance procedure, did not establish that the detainee had an available administrative remedy, and neither the handbook nor the affidavit demonstrated that the county or sheriffs department, or any official, handled grievances arising from occurrences in the courthouse holding cells or whether remedies for such grievances were actually available. According to the court, the deputies forfeited any arguments that statutory remedies were available to the county jail detainee where the deputies failed to identify in the district court or on appeal any statutes or regulations showing that administrative remedies were available for events that took place in the courthouse holding facility. (Suffolk County Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court FREE SPEECH AND ASSOCIATION VISITS

Jackson v. Humphrey, 1K> F.3d 1232 (11th Cir. 2015). A wife brought an action under [section] 1983 against corrections officials, claiming that revocation of her visitation privileges with her incarcerated husband who was on a hunger strike violated the First Amendment. The district court granted summary judgment, based on qualified immunity, in favor of the officials, for their decision to terminate the wife's visitation privileges during the time of hunger strike. The court denied summary judgment to the officials for the period following the end of the hunger strike, ruling that the question of whether the officials continued to enjoy qualified immunity after the hunger strike ended was one for a jury. The officials appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded, finding that the officials were entitled to qualified immunity. According to the court, the officials' decision had been motivated by lawful considerations even though it had consequences in the future, where the husband had a considerable amount of influence over other prisoners and considered himself, and was viewed by others, to be the leader of the hunger strike. The court noted that evidence suggested that the wife had urged her husband to prolong that strike after the strike had ended, and the officials were legitimately concerned that the strike might spread, about the disruption caused by the strike, and about the security and safety of staff and inmates. (Georgia Department of Corrections, Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison Special Management Unit)

U.S. District Court CONSPIRACY USE OF FORCE PRETRIAL DETAINEES

Senalan v. Curran, 78 F.Supp.3d 905 (N.D. 111. 2015). A pretrial detainee brought a [section] 1983 action against corrections officers at a county jail, the sheriff, and the sheriffs office, alleging unlawful detention and excessive force, as well as conspiracy. The defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that the detainee's allegations were sufficient to plead excessive force and were sufficient to state a conspiracy claim. The court found that the detainee's allegations that he was pushed, pepper sprayed, stunned, beaten, and subdued in his cell by correctional officers, that he was naked and prone on the floor of a booking cell when four officers jumped on him and violently restrained him, and that he was not threatening or resisting, were sufficient to plead excessive force, as required for the detainee's [section] 1983 claim against the officers. According to the court, the detainee's allegations that correctional officers used excessive force against him, and that the officers communicated with each other prior to engaging in their use of force, were sufficient to state a [section] 1983 claim against the officers for conspiracy to deprive him of his constitutional rights. (Lake County Jail, Illinois)

U.S. Appeals Court ADA- Americans with Disabilities Act DISCRIMINATION MEDICAL CARE CONDITIONS REHABILITATION ACT

Turner v. Mull, 784 F.3d485 (8th Cir. 2015). A state inmate filed a [section] 1983 action alleging that correctional officials violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Rehabilitation Act by failing to transport him in wheelchair-accessible van, exposing him to unsanitary conditions in the van, and retaliating against him for filing a complaint. The district court entered summary judgment in the officials' favor and the inmate appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that the officials were not deliberately indifferent to the inmate's serious medical needs when they precluded him from using a wheelchair-accessible van, even if the inmate was required to crawl into the van and to his seat. The court noted that the inmate was able to ambulate, stand, and sit with the use of leg braces and crutches, the inmate did not ask to use a readily available wheelchair, no physician ordered or issued a wheelchair for the inmate, and improperly using or standing on a lift was considered dangerous due to the possibility of a fall.

According to the court, officials were not deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of the inmate in violation of Eighth Amendment when they required him to be transported and to crawl in an unsanitary van, where the inmate was exposed to unsanitary conditions on a single day for a combined maximum of approximately six hours.

The court found that prison officials did not discriminate against the inmate on the basis of his disability, in violation of the Rehabilitation Act, when they refused to transport him in a wheelchair-accessible van, where the prison's wheelchair-users-only policy was rooted in concerns over undisputed safety hazards associated with people standing on or otherwise improperly using a lift, and the inmate did not use a wheelchair or obtain a physician's order to use a wheelchair-accessible van. (Eastern Reception Diagnostic Correctional Center, Missouri)

8. CLASSIFICATION & SEPARATION

U.S. District Court HANDICAPPED INMATE

Blossom v. Dart, 64 F.Supp.3d 1158 (N.D. Ill. 2014). A disabled detainee in a county jail brought an action against a county and a county sheriff, asserting a [section] 1983 claim for deprivation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights and alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. The sheriff filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The district court denied the motion. The court held that the disabled detainee, who suffered injuries due to the lack of accommodation for his disability, sufficiently alleged that the sheriff had personal knowledge of, or involvement in, the alleged deprivation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights, so as to state a [section] 1983 claim against the sheriff in his individual capacity. The detainee alleged that the sheriff acquired personal knowledge of the fact that disabled prisoners assigned to a certain jail division had sustained injuries because shower and toilet facilities were not equipped with appropriate grab bars, toilet seats, and shower seats, and the detainee alleged that despite revising the jail's housing assignment policy for detainees who used wheelchairs, the sheriff refused to revise the policy for other disabled detainees. The court also found that the detainee sufficiently alleged that there was an official policy allowing disabled detainees to be housed in non-accessible housing units that continued to exist despite the knowledge that the policy had caused serious injuries to disabled detainees. (Cook County Jail, Illinois)

U.S. District Court LIBERTY INTEREST

Little v. Municipal Corp., 51 F.Supp3d 473 (S.D.N.Y. 2014). State inmates brought a [section] 1983 action against a city and city department of correction officials, alleging Eighth Amendment and due process violations related to conditions of their confinement and incidents that occurred while they were confined. The defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The district court granted the motion, finding that: (1) the inmates failed to state a municipal liability claim; (2) locking the inmates in cells that were flooding with sewage was not a sufficiently serious deprivation so as to violate the Eighth Amendment; (3) the inmates failed to state an Eighth Amendment claim based on the deprivation of laundry services; (4) the inmates failed to state that officials were deliberately indifferent to their conditions of confinement; (5) the inmates' administrative classification did not implicate their liberty interests protected by due process; and (6) cell searches did not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation. The court noted that the cells flooded with sewage for up to eight-and-a-half houis, during which they periodically lacked outdoor recreation and food, was undeniably unpleasant, but it was not a significantly serious deprivation so as to violate the inmates' Eighth Amendment rights. According to the court, there was no constitutional right to outdoor recreation, and the inmates were not denied food entirely, but rather, were not allowed to eat during periods of lock-down. (N.Y. City Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

Sherley v. Thompson, 69 F.Supp.3d 656 (W.D.Ky. 2014). A state prisoner filed a pro se [section] 1983 action against the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC), a prison warden, and other prison officials, alleging that his conditions of confinement violated his Eighth Amendment rights, that he was deprived of medical treatment in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and was subjected to race discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The district court dismissed the case, in part. The court held that the prisoner stated claims against the warden and prison administrators for violation of his equal protection rights and his conditions of confinement. According to the court, the prisoner stated an Eighth Amendment claim against one prison nurse by alleging that the nurse failed to provide him with appropriate medical treatment for ant bites he sustained, due to his inability to pay for treatment The prisoner alleged that the prison had a policy or custom of segregating blacks and non-blacks, and that prison officials refused to place him in a non-black cell to get away from pests in his cell. The court held that the administrators allowed ants to infest his cell for weeks and that as a result, he received ant bites that caused him to scratch until his skin was broken due to severe itching, in violation of his conditions of confinement rights under [section] 1983 and the Eighth Amendment (Little Sandy Correctional Complex, Green River Correctional Complex, Kentucky)

U.S. District Court CELL ASSIGNMENT FAILURE TO PROTECT SEPARATION

Cotta v. County of Kings, 79 F.Supp.3d 1148 (E.D.Cal. 2015). An inmate's mother, individually and as representative of the inmate's estate, as well as the prisoner's two daughters, brought an action against a county, and county jail officials, alleging that inadequate safety at the jail violated the inmate's constitutional rights and ultimately led to his death when he was killed by a cellmate. The defendants moved for summary judgment The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that: (1) the inmate's due process right to protection from violence was violated; (2) the jail's staffing policy on the night the inmate was murdered was not lacking, such that any need to remedy the staffing policy was not obvious; (3) an official's decision to house the inmate together with the cellmate was a ministerial determination that was not entitled to immunity; (4) an official did not breach her duty of care to protect the inmate from any foreseeable harm; and (5) summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to whether the county's lack of a policy requiring its employees to report safety risks was the cause of the inmate's murder and whether the county's conduct shocked the conscience. (Kings County Jail, California)

U.S. Appeals Court CUSTODY LEVEL WORK CELL ASSIGNMENT

Estate of Johnson v. Weber, 785 F.3d 267 (8th Cir. 2015). The estate of a state prison guard who was murdered by inmates who attempted to escape brought a [section] 1983 action in state court against various prison officials and the state department of corrections (DOC), alleging constitutional violations. The action was transferred to federal court. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants and the estate appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that state prison officials did not shock the conscience or act with deliberate indifference by housing two prisoners with violent criminal pasts, one with a history of multiple escapes and one with a history of planning an escape, in a medium security environment, and giving them job assignments which allowed the prisoners to move within the prison, and thus, the officials did not violate the substantive due process rights of the prison guard who was murdered by prisoners during their attempted escape. The court noted that the prisoners had no history of violence or threats while incarcerated before the murder, and one prisoner had worked in the prison for many years without creating any known threat of harm to any guard. (South Dakota State Penitentiary)

U.S. Appeals Court SEGREGATION

Goguen v. Allen, 780 F.3d 437 (1st Cir. 2015). A pretrial detainee brought a [section] 1983 action against correctional officers, claiming that the defendants inflicted punishment on him without due process of law and retaliated against him for filing grievances, in violation of his rights under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The district court denied summary judgment to the defendants on qualified immunity grounds. The defendants appealed. The appeals court dismissed the appeal. The court held that the district court's determination that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to the motivations of the corrections officers in assigning a pretrial detainee to administrative segregation precluded granting the officers' motion for a sovereign immunity-based summary judgment was not subject to appellate review, where the officers on appeal did not raise any purely legal issues that called into question the denial of their summary judgment motion based on qualified immunity, but rather raised challenges to the plaintiffs evidence and recitation of facts. (Somerset County Jail, Maine)

U.S. Appeals Court RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

Harrington v. Scribner, 785 F.3d 1299 (9th Cir. 2015). An African-American inmate brought a [section] 1983 action against state prison officials, alleging that a race-based lockdown at the prison violated his equal protection rights, and that he suffered injuries related to shower restrictions in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The district court entered judgment on a jury verdict in favor of the officials. The inmate appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. The court noted that racial classifications in prisons are immediately suspect and subject to strict scrutiny, for equal protection purposes, which requires the government to prove that the measures are narrowly tailored to further a compelling government interest. The court found that the jury instructions erroneously diluted the narrow tailoring requirement for the strict scrutiny test that applied to the race-based Equal Protection claim (California State Prison-Corcoran)

U.S. Appeals Court CUSTODY LEVEL TRANSFER

Kingv. Zamiara, 788 F.3d 207 (6th Cir. 2015). A prisoner brought an action against prison officials under [section] 1983, alleging First Amendment retaliation arising from his transfer to a higher security prison due to his participation in a state-court class action against the prison officials. After a bench trial, the district court found in favor of the prison officials. The appeals court reversed with respect to three officials. On remand, the district court entered judgment in favor of the prisoner and ordered compensatory damages and attorney fees, but denied the prisoner's request for punitive damages and injunctive relief. Both parties appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded. The court held that: (1) the district court properly awarded prisoner compensatory damages; (2) the district court's award of compensatory damages to equal $5 a day for each day he was kept in a higher security prison was not a reversible error; (3) the district court relied on an incorrect legal standard in concluding that the prisoner was not entitled to punitive damages; (4) the prisoner was not entitled to injunctive relief requiring the department of corrections to remove certain documents from his file that allegedly violated his due process rights; and (5) the district court abused its discretion in failing to charge up to 25% of the attorney fees awarded to the prisoner against his compensatory damages award. (Conklin Unit at Brooks Correctional Facility, Chippewa Correctional Facility, Michigan)

U.S. Appeals Court RACIAL DISCRIMINATION CELL ASSIGNMENT RELIGION

Walker v. Beard, 789 F.3d 1125 (9th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner brought an action against prison officials challenging their classification of him as eligible to occupy a prison cell with an individual of a different race, alleging that such placement would interfere with his religious practice as an Aryan Christian Odinist, violating his rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and the First Amendment. The district court held that the prison officials' actions did not violate the prisoner's rights. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that: (1) the Aryan Christian Odinist warding ritual was a "religious exercise" under RLUIPA; (2) prison officials' classification of the state prisoner under a housing policy substantially burdened the prisoner's ritual; (3) prison officials' compliance with constitutional restrictions on racial segregation in prisons was a compelling governmental interest under RLUIPA; (4) prison officials' refusal to exempt the prisoner from the housing policy's classification scheme was the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling interest, and thus the officials' actions did not violate the prisoner's rights under RLUIPA; and (5) prison officials' interest in complying with the Equal Protection Clause was reasonably related to legitimate penological interests, and thus the officials' refusal to exempt the state prisoner from the housing policy's classification scheme did not infringe on the prisoner's rights under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

9. CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT

U.S. District Court STAFFING OVERCROWDING

Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 70 F.Supp.3d 963 (N.D.Cal. 2014). Current and recently released inmates from a county jail brought an action against the county, the sheriff's office, and the private company that administered all jail health care facilities and services, alleging, on behalf of a class of inmates, that substandard conditions at the jail violated the federal and state constitutions, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, and a California statute prohibiting discrimination in state-funded programs. The inmates sought declaratory and injunctive relief. The defendants filed motions to dismiss. The district court denied the motions. The court held that both current and recently released inmates had standing to pursue their claims against the county and others for allegedly substandard conditions at the jail, even though the recently released inmates were no longer subject to the conditions they challenged. The court noted that the short average length of stay of inmates in the proposed class, which was largely made up of pretrial detainees, was approximately 34 days, and that short period, coupled with the plodding speed of legal action and the fact that other persons similarly situated would continue to be subject to the challenged conduct, qualified the plaintiffs for the "inherently transitory" exception to the mootness doctrine.

The court found that the inmates sufficiently alleged that the private company that administered all jail health care facilities and services operated a place of public accommodation, as required to state a claim for violation of ADA Title III. The court noted that: 'The complaint alleges a litany of substandard conditions at the jail, including: violence due to understaffing, overcrowding, inadequate training, policies, procedures, facilities, and prisoner classification; inadequate medical and mental health care screening, attention, distribution, and resources; and lack of policies and practices for identifying, tracking, responding, communicating, and providing accessibility for accommodations for prisoners with disabilities." (Monterey County Jail, California)

U.S. District Court TOILET SHOWER WATER

Imhoff v. Temas, 67 F.Supp.3d 700 (W.D.Pa. 2014). A pretrial detainee brought an action against employees of a county correctional facility, alleging deliberate indifference to his serious medical need, violation of his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment with regard to conditions of his confinement, and excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The employees moved to dismiss. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court found that the detainee's allegations against the employees in their individual capacities regarding the intentional denial of medical treatment, excessive use of force, and violation of his rights under Fourteenth Amendment with regard to conditions of his confinement were sufficient to set forth a plausible claim for punitive damages. The detainee alleged that he was denied basic human needs such as drinking water, access to a toilet and toilet paper, and toiletries such as soap and a toothbrush. (Washington County Correctional Facility, Pennsylvania)

U.S. District Court SANITATION PLUMBING TOILETS LAUNDRY FOOD EXERCISE

Little v. Municipal Corp., 51 F.Supp3d 473 (S.D.N.Y. 2014). State inmates brought a [section] 1983 action against a city and city department of correction officials, alleging Eighth Amendment and due process violations related to conditions of their confinement and incidents that occurred while they were confined. The defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The district court granted the motion, finding that: (1) the inmates failed to state a municipal liability claim; (2) locking the inmates in cells that were flooding with sewage was not a sufficiently serious deprivation so as to violate the Eighth Amendment; (3) the inmates failed to state an Eighth Amendment claim based on the deprivation of laundry services; (4) the inmates failed to state that officials were deliberately indifferent to their conditions of confinement; (5) the inmates' administrative classification did not implicate their liberty interests protected by due process; and (6) cell searches did not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation. The court noted that the cells flooded with sewage for up to eight-and-a-half houis, during which they periodically lacked outdoor recreation and food, was undeniably unpleasant, but it was not a significantly serious deprivation so as to violate the inmates' Eighth Amendment rights. According to the court, there was no constitutional right to outdoor recreation, and the inmates were not denied food entirely, but rather, were not allowed to eat during periods of lock-down. (N.Y. City Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court SHOWERS PLUMBING HOT WATER

Morris v. Corrections Corporation of America, 75 F.Supp.3d 457 (D.D.C.. 2014) A former District of Columbia inmate brought a state-court negligence action against a private prison operator, seeking damages for a scrotal burn injury he allegedly sustained when the water temperature in a prison shower spiked unexpectedly. The operator moved the action to federal court, and moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion. The court held that there was no evidence that the operator had notice of allegedly dangerously high water temperatures in the prison showers, and the operator's alleged breach of its duty to properly maintain the shower facilities was not the proximate cause of the scrotal burn. (Correctional Treatment Facility, operated by Corrections Corporation of America, Washington, D.C.)

U.S. District Court CLASSIFICATION MEDICAL CARE RACIAL DISCRIMINATION SANITATION

Sherley v. Thompson, 69 F.Supp.3d 656 (W.D.Ky. 2014). A state prisoner filed a pro se [section] 1983 action against the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC), a prison warden, and other prison officials, alleging that his conditions of confinement violated his Eighth Amendment rights, that he was deprived of medical treatment in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and was subjected to race discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The district court dismissed the case, in part. The court held that the prisoner stated claims against the warden and prison administrators for violation of his equal protection rights and his conditions of confinement. According to the court, the prisoner stated an Eighth Amendment claim against one prison nurse by alleging that the nurse failed to provide him with appropriate medical treatment for ant bites he sustained, due to his inability to pay for treatment

The prisoner alleged that the prison had a policy or custom of segregating blacks and non-blacks, and that prison officials refused to place him in a non-black cell to get away from pests in his cell. The court held that the administrators allowed ants to infest his cell for weeks and that as a result, he received ant bites that caused him to scratch until his skin was broken due to severe itching, in violation of his conditions of confinement rights under [section] 1983 and the Eighth Amendment. (Little Sandy Correctional Complex, Green River Correctional Complex, Kentucky)

U.S. Appeals Court RACIAL DISCRIMINATION CLASSIFICATION

Harrington v. Scribner, 785 F.3d 1299 (9th Cir. 2015). An African-American inmate brought a [section] 1983 action against state prison officials, alleging that a race-based lockdown at the prison violated his equal protection rights, and that he suffered injuries related to shower restrictions in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The district court entered judgment on a jury verdict in favor of the officials. The inmate appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. The court noted that racial classifications in prisons are immediately suspect and subject to strict scrutiny, for equal protection purposes, which requires the government to prove that the measures are narrowly tailored to further a compelling government interest. The court found that the jury instructions erroneously diluted the narrow tailoring requirement for the strict scrutiny test that applied to the race-based Equal Protection claim (California State Prison-Corcoran)

U.S. Appeals Court CELLS EXERCISE DEATH PENALTY VISITATION

Prieto v. Clarke, 780 F.3d 245 (4th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death brought a pro se [section] 1983 action, alleging that his confinement on death row, pursuant to a state policy which required him to be in a single cell with minimal visitation and recreation opportunities, violated his procedural due process and Eighth Amendment rights. The district court dismissed the Eighth Amendment claim, and subsequently granted summary judgment in favor of the prisoner on the due process claim. Prison officials appealed. The appeals court reversed, finding that the prisoner had no due process liberty interest in avoiding confinement on death row. (Sussex I State Prison, Virginia)

U.S. Appeals Court SANITATION MEDICAL CARE

Turner v. Mull, 784 F.3d 485 (8th Cir. 2015). A state inmate filed a [section] 1983 action alleging that correctional officials violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Rehabilitation Act by failing to transport him in wheelchair-accessible van, exposing him to unsanitary conditions in the van, and retaliating against him for filing a complaint. The district court entered summary judgment in the officials' favor and the inmate appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that the officials were not deliberately indifferent to the inmate's serious medical needs when they precluded him from using a wheelchair-accessible van, even if the inmate was required to crawl into the van and to his seat. The court noted that the inmate was able to ambulate, stand, and sit with the use of leg braces and crutches, the inmate did not ask to use a readily available wheelchair, no physician ordered or issued a wheelchair for the inmate, and improperly using or standing on a lift was considered dangerous due to the possibility of a fall.

According to the court, officials were not deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of the inmate in violation of Eighth Amendment when they required him to be transported and to crawl in an unsanitary van, where the inmate was exposed to unsanitary conditions on a single day for a combined maximum of approximately six hours. (Eastern Reception Diagnostic Correctional Center, Missouri)

10. CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT

U.S. District Court FAILURE TO PROTECT MEDICAL CARE

Mori v. Allegheny County, 51 F.Supp.3d 558 (W.D.Pa. 2014). An inmate who was seven and one-half months into a "high risk" pregnancy brought an action under [section] 1983 against a county for deliberate indifference to her health in violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and survival and wrongful death claims for violations of the Fourteenth Amendment, after the loss of the child following a placental abruption. The county moved to dismiss. The district court denied the motion. The court held that the prisoner: (1) stated an Eighth Amendment claim based on failure to monitor the unborn child after the prisoner complained of vaginal bleeding; (2) stated a claim against the county based on custom and practice; (3) sufficiently alleged a causal link between the policies and the loss of the child; (4) stated a claim against county officials for individual liability; and (5) stated wrongful death and survivor claims for the death of the child.

The inmate alleged that individual policy makers, including the chief operating officer of the county jail's health services, and the jail's nursing supervisor, were responsible for the policies that led to failure to provide adequate medical treatment. The prisoner also alleged that she was made to wait over 24 hours before being sent to a hospital after her vaginal bleeding started, that she was transported by a police cruiser rather than ambulance, that it was well known that bleeding late in pregnancy often indicated serious medical issues, that the child was alive during birth, and that the delay in medical treatment contributed to the injuries during birth and the death of the child shortly after birth. (Allegheny County Jail, Pennsylvania)

U.S. District Court INJURY PLUMBING TEMPERATURE

Morris v. Corrections Corporation of America, 75 F.Supp.3d 457 (D.D.C.. 2014) A former District of Columbia inmate brought a state-court negligence action against a private prison operator, seeking damages for a scrotal burn injury he allegedly sustained when the water temperature in a prison shower spiked unexpectedly. The operator moved the action to federal court, and moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion. The court held that there was no evidence that the operator had notice of allegedly dangerously high water temperatures in the prison showers, and the operator's alleged breach of its duty to properly maintain the shower facilities was not the proximate cause of the scrotal burn. (Correctional Treatment Facility, operated by Corrections Corporation of America, Washington, D.C.)

U.S. Appeals Court EXERCISE CELLS DEATH PENALTY

Prieto v. Clarke, 780 F.3d 245 (4th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death brought a pro se [section] 1983 action, alleging that his confinement on death row, pursuant to a state policy which required him to be in a single cell with minimal visitation and recreation opportunities, violated his procedural due process and Eighth Amendment rights. The district court dismissed the Eighth Amendment claim, and subsequently granted summary judgment in favor of the prisoner on the due process claim. Prison officials appealed. The appeals court reversed, finding that the prisoner had no due process liberty interest in avoiding confinement on death row. (Sussex I State Prison, Virginia)

11. DISCIPLINE

U.S. District Court PROPERTY INTEREST ASSISTANCE EVIDENCE WITNESS GOOD TIME HEARING PUNITIVE SEGREGATION

Brooks v. Prack, 77 F.Supp.3d 301 (W.D.N.Y. 2014). A state inmate brought a [section] 1983 action against prison officials, alleging due process violations in connection with the rehearing of a misbehavior report. The officials moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim, or in the alternative, for summary judgment. The district court denied the motion. The court held that summary judgment would be premature and that the penalty imposed on the inmate implicated a property interest protected by due process. The court also found that the inmate stated procedural due process claims that he was denied adequate assistance and that he was denied the opportunity to present evidence. A penalty of 20 months in a special housing unit (SHU), loss of privileges, and loss of 20 months of recommended good time had been imposed on the inmate who was found guilty in a disciplinary rehearing of assault on staff, refusal of a direct order, and insolent language. The inmate alleged that he met with and was interviewed by his inmate assistant, that he gave the assistant a list of materials he wanted in preparation for his disciplinary rehearing, but the assistant did not give him certain requested materials, including a list of inmates in a certain block, a list of porters, photographs, and command logs. The inmate also alleged that the assistant did not give him answers to questions he proposed to ask potential witnesses and failed to provide him with witness refusal forms. According to the court, the inmate's allegations that the hearing officer recommenced a disciplinary hearing outside of the inmate's presence and stated on the record that he provided the inmate with certain materials, which the inmate claimed he never received, stated a [section] 1983 procedural due process claim related to the inmate's exclusion from a portion of the rehearing. (Southport Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. District Court WITNESS IMPARTIALITY RETALIATION

Sloane v. Borawski, 64 F.Supp.3d 473 (W.D.N.Y. 2014). A state inmate brought a [section] 1983 action alleging that correction officers used excessive force against him, denied him due process in connection with a disciplinary hearing, and denied him adequate medical treatment after the alleged excessive use of force incident. The defendants moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that: (1) exclusion of proposed witnesses at a prison disciplinary hearing did not violate the inmate's procedural due process rights where the testimony of three witnesses, who were prison employees, would have been irrelevant to the issues presented in the hearing, and another potential witness, a fellow inmate, refused to testify on the grounds that he did not know anything; (2) the hearing officer was not so partial as to violate the inmate's procedural due process rights; (3) the inmate failed to establish that retaliation was the motivating factor behind filing of an allegedly false misbehavior report; (4) summary judgment was precluded by a fact issue on the Eighth Amendment excessive force claim as to whether correction officers' use of force against the inmate was unrelated to any effort to maintain order or discipline; but, (5) the inmate's injuries, including a two-and-a-half-inch laceration to the top of his head, a laceration to his left eyebrow, and a chin abrasion, did not rise to the level of a serious medical condition warranting Eighth Amendment protection. (Attica Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. District Court EVIDENCE DUE PROCESS

Whitley v. Miller, 57 F.Supp.3d 152 (N.D.N.Y. 2014). An inmate in a state prison brought a [section] 1983 action against prison officials, claiming they violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process with respect to discipline he received due to his alleged involvement in a fight. Both parties moved for summary judgment. The district court held that the disciplinary decision violated the inmate's due process rights and the hearing officer was not entitled to qualified immunity. According to the court, evidence was insufficient to satisfy the "some reliable evidence" standard necessary to support the disciplinary hearing officer's decision finding the prisoner guilty of charges related to a fight in a prison yard, and thus the decision violated the prisoner's due process rights. The court noted that the officer was unable to identify the prisoner in a videotape of the fight, and testimony of a corrections sergeant that it was only in his estimation that the prisoner was involved in the fight due to the prisoner's presence in the area where the fight took place, did not sufficiendy corroborate the written misbehavior report that the sergeant had authored. The court held that the hearing officer violated the prisoner's clearly established due process rights, and therefore was not entitled to qualified immunity in the prisoner's [section] 1983 action, where the officer relied solely on testimony that was little more than speculation as the basis for subjecting the prisoner to discipline for his alleged involvement in a fight. (Clinton Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court EVIDENCE GOOD TIME PUNISHMENT

Austin v. Pazera, 779 F.3d 437 (7th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner petitioned for federal habeas relief, alleging that a disciplinary proceeding had denied him due process of law, primarily by convicting him on the basis of insufficient evidence. The district court denied the petition and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court reversed, finding that evidence did not support the disciplinary determination that the inmate was guilty of attempted trafficking in tobacco. According to the court, the prison disciplinary hearing officer's finding that the inmate was guilty was not supported by even "some evidence," and, thus, the subsequent revocation of his good time credit and other imposed disciplinary sanctions violated due process. The inmate's punishment consisted of losing 60 days of good-time credit which increased his period of imprisonment by 60 days, being demoted from "credit class 1 " to "credit class 2." Inmates in the first class earn one day of good time credit for each day of imprisonment, while inmates in the second class earn one day of credit for every two days of imprisonment. The inmate was also given 20 hours of extra work duty, and denied access to the prison commissary for 25 days. (Indiana Department of Corrections)

U.S. Appeals Court RETALIATION

Dimanche v. Brown, 783 F.3d 1204 (11th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner brought a [section] 1983 action against prison officials, alleging he was subjected to harsh treatment in retaliation for filing grievances about prison conditions and asserting claims for cruel and unusual punishment, due process violations, and First Amendment retaliation. The district court dismissed the case for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and failure to state a claim pursuant to the in forma pauperis statute. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded. The court held that the grievance sent by the state prisoner directly to the Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) met the conditions for bypassing the informal and formal grievance steps at the institutional level under Florida law, and thus the prisoner satisfied the Prison Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA) exhaustion requirement with respect to his [section] 1983 claims alleging cruel and unusual punishment, due process violations, and First Amendment retaliation. The court noted that the prisoner clearly stated at the beginning of the grievance form that he was filing a grievance of reprisal, indicating he feared for his life and that he was "gassed in confinement for grievances [he] wrote," and clearly stated the reason for bypassing the informal and formal grievance steps, namely, his fear that he would be killed if he filed additional grievances at the institutional level, and alleged participation by high-ranking prison officials. The court found that the prisoner stated claims against prison officials for First Amendment retaliation and cruel and unusual punishment by alleging that prison guards and officials sprayed him with tear gas without provocation, denied him prompt medical care, filed false disciplinary reports, and threatened further retaliation, all in retaliation for filing grievances. (Liberty Correctional Institution, Florida)

U.S. Appeals Court SEGREGATION RETALIATION

Fantone v. Latini, 780 F.3d 184 (3rd Cir. 2015). A state parole violator filed a [section] 1983 action alleging that prison officials caused him to be confined in a prison restrictive housing unit (RHU) in retaliation for exercising his constitutional rights, which, in turn, led the state parole board to rescind his parole. The district court dismissed the complaint and the violator appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part and reversed. The court held that the violator did not have a constitutionally protected liberty interest in being paroled before his actual release, and thus prison officials did not violate the violator's due process rights when they caused him to be confined in a prison restrictive housing unit (RHU), even though the violator was later cleared of misconduct. But the appeals court found that the violator's allegations that a prison officer retaliated against him because he refused to provide a written confession to a disciplinary charge and because he filed a grievance against the officer for threatening him during his interrogation, were sufficient to state a plausible claim against the officer for retaliation for exercising his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, even though the officer's threats all came before the violator filed his grievance, where the disciplinary charge alleged criminal conduct. (Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, State Correctional Institution-Pittsburgh)

U.S. Appeals Court SEGREGATION RETALIATION

Kervin v. Barnes, 787 F.3d 833 (7th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner brought a [section] 1983 action against prison officials, alleging that he was placed in segregation as punishment for insisting on keeping his appointment with an attorney and that he was denied due process when he sought redress from the prison's grievance system. The district court, pursuant to the screening process of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), dismissed the suit on the pleadings. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that the state prisoner did not provide any information as to the content or purpose of his meeting with the attorney, precluding any finding as to whether the meeting involved protected speech, as required to support the prisoner's [section] 1983 claim that he was punished not for his insubordinate speech to a prison guard, but rather for meeting with, and presumably talking to, an attorney. (Indiana Department of Corrections)

U.S. Appeals Court NOTICE GOOD-TIME

Santiago-Lugo v. Warden, 785 F.3d 467 (11th Cir. 2015). A prisoner filed a habeas corpus petition, seeking relief on due process grounds for disciplinary sanctions he received for possession of a cellular telephone, which included revocation of his good time credits. The district court denied the prisoner's petition and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the prisoner was given sufficient notice of the charges against him, as required by due process. (Federal Correctional Complex at Coleman Medium Prison, Florida)

U.S. Appeals Court RULES GRIEVANCE

Thomas v. Reese, 787 F.3d 845 (7th Cir. 2015). A state inmate filed a [section] 1983 action alleging that county correctional officers unlawfully used excessive force in the course of handcuffing him after he disobeyed an order. The district court entered summary judgment in the officers' favor and inmate the appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded, finding that the inmate was not barred by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) from bringing the action. The court noted that the inmate did not have an available administrative remedy, where the inmate did not have access to an inmate handbook that set forth the proper grievance procedure, the officer informed the inmate that he could not file a grievance, the handbook only permitted inmates to dispute alleged violations, and the inmate was not contesting his discipline, but rather was challenging the officers' conduct that occurred after his offenses. (Dane County Jail, Wisconsin)

12. EXERCISE AND RECREATION

U.S. District Court OUTDOOR RECREATION

Little v. Municipal Corp., 51 F.Supp3d 473 (S.D.N.Y. 2014). State inmates brought a [section] 1983 action against a city and city department of correction officials, alleging Eighth Amendment and due process violations related to conditions of their confinement and incidents that occurred while they were confined. The defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The district court granted the motion, finding that: (1) the inmates failed to state a municipal liability claim; (2) the inmates failed to state that officials were deliberately indifferent to their conditions of confinement; and, (3) cell searches did not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation. The court noted that the cells flooded with sewage for up to eight-and-a-half hours, during which they periodically lacked outdoor recreation and food, was undeniably unpleasant, but it was not a significantly serious deprivation so as to violate the inmates' Eighth Amendment rights. According to the court, there was no constitutional right to outdoor recreation, and the inmates were not denied food entirely, but rather, were not allowed to eat during periods of lock-down. (N.Y. City Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court RECREATION

Morales v. U.S., 72 F.Supp.3d 826 (W.D.Tenn. 2014). A federal prisoner brought an action against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), alleging the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) breached its duty of care, resulting in his assault and injury by another prisoner. The district court held that: (1) the prisoner's administrative claim satisfied FTCA's notice requirements; (2) the BOP breached its duty of care to the prisoner by placing him in a recreation cage with a prisoner with whom he was in "keep-away" status; and (3) the prisoner was entitled to damages under FTCA in the amount of $ 105,000. The court noted that officers were not monitoring the recreation cage at the time of attack, and, as a result of such failures, the prisoner suffered 14 stab wounds, nerve damage, and psychological harm. (Federal Bureau of Prisons, FCI-Memphis, Tennessee)

U.S. Appeals Court OUTDOOR RECREATION

Prieto v. Clarke, 780 F.3d 245 (4th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death brought a pro se [section] 1983 action, alleging that his confinement on death row, pursuant to a state policy which required him to be in a single cell with minimal visitation and recreation opportunities, violated his procedural due process and Eighth Amendment rights. The district court dismissed the Eighth Amendment claim, and subsequently granted summary judgment in favor of the prisoner on the due process claim. Prison officials appealed. The appeals court reversed, finding that the prisoner had no due process liberty interest in avoiding confinement on death row. (Sussex I State Prison, Virginia)

13. EX-OFFENDERS

U.S. District Court CLAIMS

Morris v. Corrections Corporation of America, 75 F.Supp.3d 457 (D.D.C.. 2014) A former District of Columbia inmate brought a state-court negligence action against a private prison operator, seeking damages for a scrotal burn injury he allegedly sustained when the water temperature in a prison shower spiked unexpectedly. The operator moved the action to federal court, and moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion. The court held that there was no evidence that the operator had notice of allegedly dangerously high water temperatures in the prison showers, and the operator's alleged breach of its duty to properly maintain the shower facilities was not the proximate cause of the scrotal burn. (Correctional Treatment Facility, operated by Corrections Corporation of America, Washington, D C.)

U.S. Appeals Court CLAIMS

Lee v. Willey, 789 F.3d 673 (6th Cir. 2015). A former prisoner brought a [section] 1983 claim against a parttime prison psychiatrist, alleging that he suffered sexual abuse by another prisoner as a result of the psychiatrist's deliberate indifference to his health and safety in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The district court entered summary judgment in the psychiatrist's favor. The former prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the district court's ruling that the former prisoner did not submit a substitute prison grievance letter was not clearly erroneous, and the former prisoner failed to exhaust administrative remedies prior to bringing his [section] 1983 claim. (Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center, Michigan)

U.S. Appeals Court CLAIMS

Murchison v. Rogers, 779 F.3d 882 (8th Cir. 2015). A former state prisoner filed a [section] 1983 action, alleging that prison officials violated his First Amendment rights by censoring his weekly news magazine (Newsweek). The district court dismissed claims against certain officials, and granted summary judgment in favor of the remaining officials. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that censorship of the prisoner's weekly news magazine was rationally connected to the officials' legitimate penological interest in prohibiting materials that promoted violence, disorder, or violation of the law. The court noted that the prisoner had alternative means of exercising his First Amendment right. (South Central Correctional Center, Missouri)

14. FAILURE TO PROTECT

U.S. District Court MEDICAL CARE WRONGFUL DEATH

Awalt v. Marketti, 74 F.Supp.3d 909 (N.D.Ill. 2014). The estate and the widow of a pretrial detainee who died in a county jail brought civil rights and wrongful death actions against jail personnel and medical care providers who serviced the jail. The county defendants and the medical defendants moved for summary judgment The district court held that: (1) the evidence was sufficient for a reasonable juror to find that the correctional officers and a jail superintendent were deliberately indifferent to the detainee's medical needs; (2) summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to whether the officers knew that the detainee was suffering seizures while in jail and failed to take appropriate action; (3) a reasonable juror could have found that neither a physician nor a nurse made a reasoned medical judgment not to prescribe a particular anti-seizure drug for the detainee; and, (4) in the Seventh Circuit, private health care workers providing medical services to inmates are not entitled to assert qualified immunity.

The court also found that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact: (1) concerning whether failure of the sheriff's office and the jail's medical services provider to provide adequate medical training to correctional officers caused the detainee's death; (2) as to whether the sheriff's office and the jail's medical services provider had an implicit policy of deliberate indifference to medical care provided to detainees; (3) regarding whether correctional officers knew that the detainee was suffering seizures and ignored his suffering; (5) as to whether the decision of the sheriff's office and the jail's medical services provider not to implement a standardized grievance mechanism led to a widespread practice at the jail of ignoring or delaying response to grievances and medical requests made by detainees, and as to whether this failure was the moving force behind the pretrial detainee's seizure-related death; and (6) as to whether the sheriff's office and the jail's medical services provider had an express policy that prevented a nurse from restocking a particular medication until there were only eight pills left in stock and whether that policy was the moving force behind the pretrial detainee's seizure-related death. The court denied qualified immunity from liability to the correctional officers and the sheriffs office. (Grundy County Jail, Illinois)

U.S. District Court WRONGFUL DEATH MEDICAL CARE

Awalt v. Marketti, 75 F.Supp.3d 777 (N.D. Ill. 2014). The estate and the widow of a pretrial detainee who died in a county jail brought civil rights and wrongful death action against the county, jail personnel, the medical services contractor, and the contractor's employees. Individual defendants moved to separate their cases from the claims against the county and the contractor. The district court granted the motion, finding that the potential for unfair prejudice warranted the separation. (Correctional Health Companies, Inc., Health Professional, Ltd., Grundy County Jail, Illinois)

U.S. District Court SUICIDE

Estate of Stevens ex rel. Collins v. Board of Com'rs. of County of San Juan, 53 F.Supp.3d 1368 (D.N.M. 2014). The estate of a county jail detainee who committed suicide while in custody brought a [section] 1983 action against county officials, county jail officers, and the healthcare provider that contracted with the county jail. The healthcare provider filed a partial motion to dismiss. The district court converted it to a motion for judgment on the pleadings, and granted the motion. According to the court, the estate failed to isolate the allegedly unconstitutional acts of each defendant, and thus did not provide adequate notice as to the nature of the claims against each, where the complaint generally used the collective term "defendants" and failed to differentiate between unnamed jail officers and unnamed employees of the healthcare provider when discussing the alleged wrongful action or inaction. (San Juan County Adult Detention Center, New Mexico)

U.S. District Court WRONGFUL DEATH MEDICAL CARE

Graham v. Hodge, 69 F.Supp.3d 618 (S.D.Miss. 2014). The spouse of a pretrial detainee who died of cardiac arrhythmia brought a wrongful death action against a sheriff and a county alleging deliberate indifference to the detainee's medical care under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as failure to train under [section] 1983. The defendants moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion. The court held that a nurse was not deliberately indifferent to the detainee's medical needs, notwithstanding that the nurse waited 13 days to fax a medical authorization to a care center, that she sent the detainee to a medical clinic that had no cardiologist, that she was not aware for several months that the detainee was not taking necessary heart medication, and that the detainee ultimately died of cardiac arrhythmia. According to the court, the nurse regularly treated the detainee, which included providing him with his medication once she was made aware of its necessity, and the detainee's death was not proximately caused by the months-long lack of medicine. The court found that the detainee's death was not a highly predictable consequence of failing to train the jail nurse. (Jones County Adult Detention Facility, Mississippi)

U.S. District Court MEDICAL CARE WRONGFUL DEATH

M.H. v. County of Alameda, 62 F.Supp.3d 1049 (N.D.Cal. 2014). A pretrial detainee's estate brought a civil rights action against a county, its sheriff, sheriffs deputies, and a correctional healthcare provider, alleging violations of [section] 1983 as well as common law claims for negligence, assault, and battery after the detainee died from alcohol withdrawal. The defendants moved for summary judgment. The district court held that summary judgment was precluded by fact issues: (1) with regard to the nurse who performed the detainee's medical intake assessment to determine, if she was subjectively aware of his risk of alcohol withdrawal but did nothing prior to his death; (2) as to whether the county adequately implemented its training policies concerning recognition of inmates with alcohol and other drug problems; (3) with regard to the healthcare provider for failure to supervise the nurse who performed the detainee's medical intake assessment and for failure to follow its own policies; and (4) as to whether a deputy was justified in using a stun gun against the detainee while moving him to an isolation cell and in delivering closed-fist strikes to the detainee's back after a struggle ensued. The court also found a fact issue with regard to whether a social worker was subjectively reckless when she chose to see other inmates despite knowing that the pretrial detainee was at risk for severe alcohol withdrawal. The detainee had been arrested for jaywalking. (Alameda County, Glenn Dyer Detention Facility, California)

U.S. District Court PRISONER ON PRISONER ASSAULT SUPERVISION

Morales v. U.S., 72 F.Supp.3d 826 (W.D.Tenn. 2014). A federal prisoner brought an action against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), alleging the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) breached its duty of care, resulting in his assault and injury by another prisoner. The district court held that: (1) the prisoner's administrative claim satisfied FTCA's notice requirements; (2) the BOP breached its duty of care to the prisoner by placing him in a recreation cage with a prisoner with whom he was in "keep-away" status; and (3) the prisoner was entitled to damages under FTCA in the amount of $105,000. The court noted that officers were not monitoring the recreation cage at the time of attack, and, as a result of such failures, the prisoner suffered 14 stab wounds, nerve damage, and psychological harm. (Federal Bureau of Prisons, FCI- Memphis, Tennessee)

U.S. District Court WRONGFUL DEATH MEDICAL CARE

Mori v. Allegheny County, 51 F.Supp.3d 558 (W.D.Pa. 2014). An inmate who was seven and one-half months into a "high risk" pregnancy brought an action under [section] 1983 against a county for deliberate indifference to her health in violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and survival and wrongful death claims for violations of the Fourteenth Amendment, after the loss of the child following a placental abruption. The county moved to dismiss. The district court denied the motion. The court held that the prisoner: (1) stated an Eighth Amendment claim based on failure to monitor the unborn child after the prisoner complained of vaginal bleeding; (2) stated a claim against the county based on custom and practice; (3) sufficiently alleged a causal link between the policies and the loss of the child; (4) stated a claim against county officials for individual liability; and (5) stated wrongful death and survivor claims for the death of the child. The inmate alleged that individual policy makers, including the chief operating officer of the county jail's health services, and the jail's nursing supervisor, were responsible for the policies that led to failure to provide adequate medical treatment. The prisoner also alleged that she was made to wait over 24 hours before being sent to a hospital after her vaginal bleeding started, that she was transported by a police cruiser rather than ambulance, that it was well known that bleeding late in pregnancy often indicated serious medical issues, that the child was alive during birth, and that the delay in medical treatment contributed to the injuries during birth and the death of the child shortly after birth. (Allegheny County Jail, Pennsylvania)

U.S. District Court PROTECTION FROM HARM

Morris v. Corrections Corporation of America, 75 F.Supp.3d 457 (D.D.C.. 2014) A former District of Columbia inmate brought a state-court negligence action against a private prison operator, seeking damages for a scrotal burn injury he allegedly sustained when the water temperature in a prison shower spiked unexpectedly. The operator moved the action to federal court, and moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion. The court held that there was no evidence that the operator had notice of allegedly dangerously high water temperatures in the prison showers, and the operator's alleged breach of its duty to properly maintain the shower facilities was not the proximate cause of the scrotal burn. (Correctional Treatment Facility, operated by Corrections Corporation of America, Washington, D.C .)

U.S. District Court SUICIDE WRONGFUL DEATH SUPERVISION

Nagle v. Gusman, 61 F.Supp.3d 609 (E.D.La. 2014). Siblings of a mentally ill pretrial detainee who committed suicide brought an action against numerous employees of a parish sheriffs office, alleging a due process violation under [section] 1983, and asserting claims for wrongful death and negligence under state law. The siblings moved for partial summary judgment. The district court granted the motion. The court held that: (1) a deputy had a duty to take reasonable measures to protect the detainee from self-inflicted harm; (2) the deputy breached his duty by failing to observe the detainee for long periods of time; (3) the deputy's abandonment of his post was the cause of the detainee's suicide; (4) the sheriff was vicariously liable; and (5) the deputy's repeated decision to abandon his post violated the detainee's due process right to adequate protection from his known suicidal impulses. According to the court, the detainee was suffering from psychosis and was suicidal while in custody, the detainee was placed on a suicide watch, suicide watch policies and training materials of the sheriff's office explicitly required officers to continuously monitor detainees on a suicide watch and to document that they had done so, and it was during one of the deputy's extended absences that the detainee succeeded in killing himself. The officer left his post at least three times during his suicide watch shift, to help another employee distribute meals to other inmates, to take a restroom break, and to visit the nurses' station. During these absences, the detainee went unobserved for an hour and a half, fifteen minutes, and two hours respectively. No other staff took the officer's place observing the detainee during the times when the officer abandoned his post. During the officer's final absence, an inmate notified an on-duty officer that the detainee was lying on the floor of his cell, unresponsive. It was later determined that the detainee had asphyxiated after his airway became blocked by a wad of toilet paper. (Orleans Parish Sheriffs Office, Orleans Parish Prison, Louisiana)

U.S. District Court OFFICER ON PRISONER ASSAULT FAILURE TO INTERVENE

Rowlery v. Genesee County, 54 F.Supp.3d 763 (E.D.Mich. 2014). A detainee brought an action against a county and officers and deputies in the county sheriffs department, alleging that he was assaulted by deputies on two occasions when he was lodged at the county jail. The defendants moved for partial summary judgment. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The district court held that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to: (1) whether the county adequately trained officers and deputies regarding the use of force; (2) whether certain officers and deputies came into physical contact with the detainee; (3) whether certain officers and deputies failed to act reasonably when they did not act to prevent or limit other deputies' use of force on the detainee; and (4) whether the alleged failure of certain officers and deputies to put a stop to other deputies' use of force on the detainee was the proximate cause of the detainee's injuries. (Genesee County Jail, Michigan)

U.S. Appeals Court PRISONER ON PRISONER ASSAULT FAILURE TO INTERVENE

Cortez v. Skol, 776 F.3d 1046 (9th Cir. 2015). The mother of a state inmate who suffered severe brain damage, after he was attacked by two fellow prisoners while being escorted through an isolated prison passage by a corrections officer, brought an action alleging a [section] 1983 Eighth Amendment claim against the officer and a gross negligence claim against the state. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants and the mother appealed. The appeals court reversed, finding that summary judgment was precluded by issues of material fact as to whether the corrections officer exposed the high-security inmate to a substantial risk of serious injury when he: (1) escorted the inmate and two fellow high-security prisoners through the isolated prison passage by himself; (2) did not require the prisoners to wear leg restraints; and (3) failed to physically intervene once the prisoners attacked the inmate. The court also found fact issues as to whether the officer was subjectively aware of the risk involved in the escort and acted with deliberate indifference to the inmate's safety. The court held that the mother was not the prevailing party for purposes of awarding attorney's fees. (Morey Unit, Lewis Prison Complex, Arizona)

U.S. District Court INMATE ON INMATE ASSAULT WRONGFUL DEATH

Cotta v. County of Kings, 79 F.Supp.3d 1148 (E.D.Cal. 2015). An inmate's mother, individually and as representative of the inmate's estate, as well as the prisoner's two daughters, brought an action against a county, and county jail officials, alleging that inadequate safety at the jail violated the inmate's constitutional rights and ultimately led to his death when he was killed by a cellmate. The defendants moved for summary judgment The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that: (1) the inmate's due process right to protection from violence was violated; (2) the jail's staffing policy on the night the inmate was murdered was not lacking, such that any need to remedy the staffing policy was not obvious; (3) an official's decision to house the inmate together with the cellmate was a ministerial determination that was not entitled to immunity; (4) an official did not breach her duty of care to protect the inmate from any foreseeable harm; and (5) summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to whether the county's lack of a policy requiring its employees to report safety risks was the cause of the inmate's murder and whether the county's conduct shocked the conscience. (Kings County Jail, California)

U.S. Appeals Court PRISONER ON STAFF ASSAULT WRONGFUL DEATH

Estate of Johnson v. Weber, 785 F.3d 267 (8th Cir. 2015). The estate of a state prison guard who was murdered by inmates who attempted to escape brought a [section] 1983 action in state court against various prison officials and the state department of corrections (DOC), alleging constitutional violations. The action was transferred to federal court. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants and the estate appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that state prison officials did not shock the conscience or act with deliberate indifference by housing two prisoners with violent criminal pasts, one with a history of multiple escapes and one with a history of planning an escape, in a medium security environment, and giving them job assignments which allowed the prisoners to move within the prison, and thus, the officials did not violate the substantive due process rights of the prison guard who was murdered by prisoners during their attempted escape. The court noted that the prisoners had no history of violence or threats while incarcerated before the murder, and one prisoner had worked in the prison for many years without creating any known threat of harm to any guard. (South Dakota State Penitentiary)

U.S. Appeals Court SUICIDE

Jackson v. West, 787 F.3d 1345 (11th Cir. 2015). The estate of a detainee who committed suicide while in the custody of a county jail brought a [section] 1983 action against a county sheriff and against 10 corrections officers, alleging violation of the detainee's due process rights. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of three officers on qualified immunity grounds, but denied summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds with respect to the remaining officers. The remaining officers filed an appeal. The appeals court reversed, finding that the officers lacked a subjective knowledge of a strong risk that the detainee would attempt suicide, so that the officers did not act with

deliberate indifference in failing to prevent the suicide. The court noted that the detainee had made explicit suicide threats and he was placed in the suicide prevention unit, as was proper protocol, and the detainee was released from that unit when prison medical staff later determined that he no longer presented such a risk. The court stated: "This case is troubling. The Marion County Jail tragically failed to keep Mr. James safe while he was incarcerated. Under our precedent, however, an officer is liable under [section] 1983 for the suicide of an inmate only if he had subjective knowledge of a serious risk that the inmate would commit suicide and he disregarded that known risk." (Marion County Jail, Florida)

U.S. Appeals Court PRISONER ON PRISONER ASSAULT SEXUAL ASSAULT

Lee v. Willey, 789 F.3d 673 (6th Cir. 2015). A former prisoner brought a [section] 1983 claim against a parttime prison psychiatrist, alleging that he suffered sexual abuse by another prisoner as a result of the psychiatrist's deliberate indifference to his health and safety in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The district court entered summary judgment in the psychiatrist's favor. The former prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the district court's ruling that the former prisoner did not submit a substitute prison grievance letter was not clearly erroneous, and the former prisoner failed to exhaust administrative remedies prior to bringing his [section] 1983 claim (Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center, Michigan)

U.S. Appeals Court MEDICAL CARE WRONGFUL DEATH

Letterman v. Does, 789 F.3d 856 (8th Cir. 2015). Parents of a deceased prisoner, who died from injuries suffered while in jail, brought a [section] 1983 action against a prison sergeant, lieutenant, and case manager, alleging that the employees were indifferent to the prisoner's medical needs. The prisoner had been arrested for possession of marijuana and was given a 120 "shock sentence" in confinement. He became suicidal and was transferred to a padded cell at the request of mental health personnel He was to have been personally observed every 15 minutes by staff and procedure required the prisoner to give a verbal response each time. After a shift chance, the oncoming officer decided to monitor the prisoner via closed circuit television rather than making the required in-person rounds. During the shift, the prisoner injured himself in the cell and eventually died from his injuries. The district court denied the employees' motion for summary judgment, based on assertions of qualified immunity. The employees appealed. The appeals court held that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to whether a prison sergeant, who was in charge of the unit where prisoner was kept, and a lieutenant, were deliberately indifferent to the risk of harm to the prisoner who died from injuries allegedly sustained in a padded cell. (Missouri Western Reception, Diagnostic and Correction Center)

U.S. Appeals Court PRISONER ON PRISONER ASSAULT SEXUAL ASSAULT PROTECTION FROM HARM

Makdessi v. Fields, 789 F.3d 126 (4th Cir. 2015). A prisoner brought an action against prison officials, claiming that the officials failed to protect the prisoner from repeated physical and sexual abuse by other prisoners, even after the prisoner lodged numerous complaints, in violation of the prisoner's Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment The district court entered judgment for the prison officials and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded. The court noted that "... the Supreme Court has stated, however, that the subjective 'actual knowledge' standard required to find prison officials deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of serious injury may be proven by circumstantial evidence. Prison officials may not simply bury their heads in the sand and thereby skirt liability. Rather, they may be held accountable when a risk is so obvious that it had to have been known. Because we do not believe that the court below appreciated this nuance, we vacate the dismissal of Makdessi's claims ..." (Wallens Ridge State Prison, Virginia)

U.S. District Court OFFICER ON PRISONER ASSAULT

Nagy v. Corrections Corporation of America, 79 F.Supp.3d 114 (D.D.C. 2015). A female detainee brought an action in the District of Columbia Superior Court against the operator of a correctional facility, alleging negligence, negligent supervision, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The operator moved the action to federal court and moved for summary judgment. The district court denied the motion, finding that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to: (1) whether the operator caused the detainee's injuries stemming from a second alleged assault by failing to follow up on the first alleged assault by guards at the correctional facility; (2) whether the detainee was injured by outrageous behavior of the guards; (3) whether the guards negligently handled the detainee, and (4) whether this negligence physically injured the detainee. The detainee alleged that she was abused almost immediately upon arrival at the facility, when two correctional officers grabbed her by the arms, took her to a locked cell, and threw her against the commode. She alleged that she landed sideways on her back, and that the officers kicked her on her right side, broke her ribs, and bruised her body. She reported the incident to corrections officials. Six days later, she was once again allegedly assaulted "by staff and officers." She showed her injuries to a doctor who observed bruises on her buttocks and hips "of varying stages, none that appeared newer than 2-3 days old with some yellowing and fading." (Correctional Treatment Facility, Corrections Corporation of America, District of Columbia)

U.S. District Court OFFICER ON PRISONER ASSAULT USE OF FORCE

Senalan v. Curran, 78 F.Supp.3d 905 (N.D. 111. 2015). A pretrial detainee brought a [section] 1983 action against corrections officers at a county jail, the sheriff, and the sheriffs office, alleging unlawful detention and excessive force, as well as conspiracy. The defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that the detainee's allegations were sufficient to plead excessive force and were sufficient to state a conspiracy claim. The court found that the detainee's allegations that he was pushed, pepper sprayed, stunned, beaten, and subdued in his cell by correctional officers, that he was naked and prone on the floor of a booking cell when four officers jumped on him and violently restrained him, and that he was not threatening or resisting, were sufficient to plead excessive force, as required for the detainee's [section] 1983 claim against the officers. According to the court, the detainee's allegations that correctional officers used excessive force against him, and that the officers communicated with each other prior to engaging in their use of force, were sufficient to state a [section] 1983 claim against the officers for conspiracy to deprive him of his constitutional rights. (Lake County Jail, Illinois)

15. FACILITIES

U.S. District Court ADA--Americans with Disabilities Act SHOWER TOILET HANDICAPPED

Blossom v. Dart, 64 F.Supp.3d 1158 (N.D.Ill. 2014). A disabled detainee in a county jail brought an action against a county and a county sheriff, asserting a [section] 1983 claim for deprivation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights and alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. The sheriff filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The district court denied the motion. The court held that the disabled detainee, who suffered injuries due to the lack of accommodation for his disability, sufficiently alleged that the sheriff had personal knowledge of, or involvement in, the alleged deprivation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights, so as to state a [section] 1983 claim against the sheriff in his individual capacity. The detainee alleged that the sheriff acquired personal knowledge of the fact that disabled prisoners assigned to a certain jail division had sustained injuries because shower and toilet facilities were not equipped with appropriate grab bars, toilet seats, and shower seats, and the detainee alleged that despite revising the jail's housing assignment policy for detainees who used wheelchairs, the sheriff refused to revise the policy for other disabled detainees. The court also found that the detainee sufficiently alleged that there was an official policy allowing disabled detainees to be housed in non-accessible housing units that continued to exist despite the knowledge that the policy had caused serious injuries to disabled detainees. (Cook County Jail, Illinois)

U.S. District Court PLUMBING MAINTENANCE

Morris v. Corrections Corporation of America, 75 F.Supp.3d 457 (D.D.C.. 2014) A former District of Columbia inmate brought a state-court negligence action against a private prison operator, seeking damages for a scrotal burn injury he allegedly sustained when the water temperature in a prison shower spiked unexpectedly. The operator moved the action to federal court, and moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion. The court held that there was no evidence that the operator had notice of allegedly dangerously high water temperatures in the prison showers, and the operator's alleged breach of its duty to properly maintain the shower facilities was not the proximate cause of the scrotal burn. (Correctional Treatment Facility, operated by Corrections Corporation of America, Washington, D.C.)

U.S. Appeals Court PADDED CELL

Letterman v. Does, 789 F.3d 856 (8th Cir. 2015). Parents of a deceased prisoner, who died from injuries suffered while in jail, brought a [section] 1983 action against a prison sergeant, lieutenant, and case manager, alleging that the employees were indifferent to the prisoner's medical needs. The prisoner had been arrested for possession of marijuana and was given a 120 "shock sentence" in confinement. He became suicidal and was transferred to a padded cell at the request of mental health personnel. He was to have been personally observed every 15 minutes by staff and procedure required the prisoner to give a verbal response each time. After a shift chance, the oncoming officer decided to monitor the prisoner via closed circuit television rather than making the required in-person rounds. During the shift, the prisoner injured himself in the cell and eventually died from his injuries. The district court denied the employees' motion for summary judgment, based on assertions of qualified immunity. The employees appealed. The appeals court held that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to whether a prison sergeant, who was in charge of the unit where prisoner was kept, and a lieutenant, were deliberately indifferent to the risk of harm to the prisoner who died from injuries allegedly sustained in a padded cell. (Missouri Western Reception, Diagnostic and Correction Center)

16. FALSE IMPRISONMENT/ARREST

U.S. District Court DUE PROCESS UNLAWFUL DETENTION

Liska v. Dart, 60 F.Supp.3d 889 (N.D. 111. 2014). A pretrial detainee brought an action against a county and a county sheriff, alleging under [section] 1983 that the defendants deprived him of liberty without procedural due process, and asserting claims under state law for false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The defendants moved to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that: (1) as a matter of first impression, the detainee had a liberty interest protected by procedural due process in remaining on home confinement; (2) the defendants violated the detainee's procedural due process rights; (3) the detainee sufficiently stated the sheriff's personal involvement in the alleged procedural due process violation; and (4) the sheriff was not entitled to qualified immunity. The court noted that the pretrial detainee had a liberty interest protected by procedural due process in remaining on home confinement, and thus the county and county sheriff were required to afford the detainee procedural due process prior to transferring the detainee to jail due to his alleged violation of the terms of home confinement. The detainee alleged that the sheriff was responsible for implementing the cell-box system used in the detainee's home during his home confinement, that the sheriff was aware of issues with the type and brand of system assigned to the detainee and many other home detainees, that the sheriff knew or should have known of the malfunctions of the system in the detainee's home, and that the sheriff allowed the detainee's incarceration in the county jail for violation of the terms of his home confinement despite knowledge of numerous false alarms registered by the system. (Cook County Sheriff's Department, Cook County Jail)

17. FEMALE PRISONERS

U.S. District Court PREGNANCY MEDICAL CARE

Mori v. Allegheny County, 51 F.Supp.3d 558 (W.D.Pa. 2014). An inmate who was seven and one-half months into a "high risk" pregnancy brought an action under [section] 1983 against a county for deliberate indifference to her health in violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and survival and wrongful death claims for violations of the Fourteenth Amendment, after the loss of the child following a placental abruption. The county moved to dismiss. The district court denied the motion. The court held that the prisoner: (1) stated an Eighth Amendment claim based on failure to monitor the unborn child after the prisoner complained of vaginal bleeding; (2) stated a claim against the county based on custom and practice; (3) sufficiently alleged a causal link between the policies and the loss of the child; (4) stated a claim against county officials for individual liability; and (5) stated wrongful death and survivor claims for the death of the child.

The inmate alleged that individual policy makers, including the chief operating officer of the county jail's health services, and the jail's nursing supervisor, were responsible for the policies that led to failure to provide adequate medical treatment The prisoner also alleged that she was made to wait over 24 hours before being sent to a hospital after her vaginal bleeding started, that she was transported by a police cruiser rather than ambulance, that it was well known that bleeding late in pregnancy often indicated serious medical issues, that the child was alive during birth, and that the delay in medical treatment contributed to the injuries during birth and the death of the child shortly afterbirth. (Allegheny County Jail, Pennsylvania)

U.S. District Court MEDICAL CARE

Scott v. Clarke, 61 F.Supp.3d 569 (W.D.Va. 2014). Female inmates brought a [section] 1983 action alleging that a correctional facility failed to provide adequate medical care and that Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) officials were deliberately indifferent to that failure, in violation of the inmates' Eighth Amendment rights. The inmates moved for class certification. The district court held that class certification was warranted under the subsection of the class action rule pertaining to cases where predominantly injunctive or declaratory relief was appropriate. The court found that the proposed class of approximately 1,200 female inmates housed at the state correctional facility who were subject to its medical care system was sufficiently large, on its face, to satisfy the size requirement for class certification, and that the "commonality" requirement for class certification was met. The court noted that one of the questions of fact was whether the VDOC medical contract system permitted improper cost considerations to interfere with the treatment of serious medical conditions. (Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court MEDICAL CARE

Scott v. Clarke, 64 F.Supp.3d 813 (W.D.Va. 2014). Prisoners brought a [section] 1983 action against prison officials, alleging failure to provide adequate medical care in violation of the Eighth Amendment The district court granted the prisoners' motion for summary judgment. The court held that: (1) the state department of corrections has a non-delegable duty to provide prisoners with medical care that meets constitutional minimum standards; (2) the prisoners had serious medical needs; and (3) a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the prison officials were deliberately indifferent to the prisoners' serious medical needs. The court noted that the prisoners serious medical needs included: (1) one prisoner who had sarcoidosis, which was a potentially life-threatening chronic inflammatory disease that could affect the body's vital organs; (2) another prisoner had Hepatitis C; (3) another prisoner had severely deformed ingrown toenail that made it difficult to walk when inflamed and infected, and she was profoundly hearing impaired; and (4) a final prisoner suffered from various medical problems, including degenerative disc disease affecting her neck and spine, bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome in her wrists, a bladder condition causing constant incontinence, and chronic kidney disease. The court held that summary judgment was precluded by a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the decision by prison officials to favor lower contract costs over the likely quality of resulting care was deliberate indifference to the prisoners' serious medical needs. (Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court FAILURE TO PROTECT

Nagy v. Corrections Corporation of America, 79 F.Supp.3d 114 (D.D.C. 2015). A female detainee brought an action in the District of Columbia Superior Court against the operator of a correctional facility, alleging negligence, negligent supervision, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The operator moved the action to federal court and moved for summary judgment. The district court denied the motion, finding that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to: (1) whether the operator caused the detainee's injuries stemming from a second alleged assault by failing to follow up on the first alleged assault by guards at the correctional facility; (2) whether the detainee was injured by outrageous behavior of the guards; (3) whether the guards negligently handled the detainee, and (4) whether this negligence physically injured the detainee. The detainee alleged that she was abused almost immediately upon arrival at the facility, when two correctional officers grabbed her by the arms, took her to a locked cell, and threw her against the commode. She alleged that she landed sideways on her back, and that the officers kicked her on her right side, broke her ribs, and bruised her body. She reported the incident to corrections officials. Six days later, she was once again allegedly assaulted "by staff and officers." She showed her injuries to a doctor who observed bruises on her buttocks and hips "of varying stages, none that appeared newer than 2-3 days old with some yellowing and fading." (Correctional Treatment Facility, Corrections Corp. of America, District of Columbia)

U.S. Appeals Court SEARCHES

Peters v. Risdal, 786 F.3d 1095 (8th Cir. 2015). A pretrial detainee filed a [section] 1983 action against a county, county sheriff, and jail officers alleging that she was subjected to an unreasonable search, that her right to freedom of speech was violated, and that the officers used excessive force. The district court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment on the unreasonable search claim, and after a jury verdict, in the officers' favor on the remaining claims, and denied the detainee's motion for a new trial. The detainee appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the officers did not violate the detainee's Fourth Amendment rights when they forcibly removed her clothing in a holding cell. According to the court, it was objectively reasonable for county jail officers to believe that the pretrial detainee presented a risk of harm to herself if she was permitted to retain strings on her clothing, and thus the officers did not violate her Fourth Amendment rights when they forcibly removed her clothing in a holding cell. The court noted that the detainee refused to respond to medical screening questions, refused to comply with a female officer's instruction to change into an orange jumpsuit while male officers were outside the holding cell, and acted aggressively toward the male officers when they entered. The officers restrained the detainee face down on her stomach and covered her with a paper suit while the female officer removed her clothing. (Woodbury County Jail, Iowa)

18. FOOD

U.S. District Court DENIAL OF FOOD

Little v. Municipal Corp., 51 F.Supp3d 473 (S.D.N.Y. 2014). State inmates brought a [section] 1983 action against a city and city department of correction officials, alleging Eighth Amendment and due process violations related to conditions of their confinement and incidents that occurred while they were confined. The defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The district court granted the motion, finding that: (1) the inmates failed to state a municipal liability claim; (2) locking the inmates in cells that were flooding with sewage was not a sufficiently serious deprivation so as to violate the Eighth Amendment; (3) the inmates failed to state an Eighth Amendment claim based on the deprivation of laundry services; (4) the inmates failed to state that officials were deliberately indifferent to their conditions of confinement; (5) the inmates' administrative classification did not implicate their liberty interests protected by due process; and (6) cell searches did not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation. The court noted that the cells flooded with sewage for up to eight-and-a-half hours, during which they periodically lacked outdoor recreation and food, was undeniably unpleasant, but it was not a significantly serious deprivation so as to violate the inmates' Eighth Amendment rights. According to the court, there was no constitutional right to outdoor recreation, and the inmates were not denied food entirely, but rather, were not allowed to eat during periods of lock-down. (N.Y. City Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court RELIGIOUS DIET

Thompson v. Smeal, 54 F.Supp.3d 339(M.D.Pa. 2014). A state prisoner brought a case against prison officials, alleging that denial of his request that Christian inmates be granted communal feasts on Christmas and Easter violated his religious and equal protection rights, and violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The district court granted the officials' motion for summary judgment and the inmate appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded. On remand, the officials again moved for summary judgment, and the inmate moved for partial summary judgment. The district court denied the motions. The court held that summary judgment on the prisoner's First Amendment claim was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to: (1) whether the prison's policy of refusing to provide Christmas and Easter communal meals for Christians only, with a group payer over the food, was legitimately and neutrally applied; (2) whether the prison's penological interests were served by allowing some religious meals and not others; and (3) whether there were alternative means of exercising the prisoner's right to free religious expression. According to the court, summary judgment on the RLUIPA claim was precluded by a genuine issue of material fact as to whether denying communal meals to Christian inmates at the state prison was the least restrictive means to achieve the prison's alleged compelling interests of security, space limitations, and food safety concerns. (State Correctional Institution in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania)

U.S. Appeals Court RELIGIOUS DIET

Schlemm v. Wall, 784 F.3d 362 (7th Cir. 2015). A prisoner, a Navajo Tribe member, brought an action under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) against the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, seeking an order requiring the state prison system to accommodate some of his religious practices. The district court granted the prison's summary judgment motion. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part and reversed in part. The court held that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to whether the prisoner's inability to eat game meat for a religious feast substantially burdened his religious exercise, and as to whether the prisoner's inability to wear a multicolored headband while praying in his cell and during group religious ceremonies substantially burdened his religious exercise, and whether prison had a compelling justification for prohibiting multicolored headbands. (Wisconsin Department of Corrections)

19. FREE SPEECH, EXPRESSION, ASSOC.

U.S. District Court ASSOCIATION FAMILY SEX OFFENDER

Reinhardt v. Kopcow, 66 F.Supp.3d 1348 (D.Colo. 2014). Inmates, parolees, and probationers, as well their family members, brought a [section] 1983 action against various employees of the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) and members of the state's Sex Offender Management Board, alleging that the state's treatment of persons convicted of sex crimes violated their rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment. The plaintiffs sought monetary damages and injunctive and declaratory relief. The defendants moved to dismiss. The district court granted the motion in part and a denied in part. The court held that the potential penalty resulting from a Colorado policy that requires inmates in the state's sex offender treatment program to admit to prior acts, was so severe as to constitute compulsion to testify, and would violate their privilege against self-incrimination. The court noted that inmates who chose to participate in the program would be compelled to make incriminating statements that could be used against them during any retrial.

The court found that individuals classified as sex offenders, both imprisoned and on probation, sufficiently alleged that Colorado policies restricting their contact with family members, and particularly with their children, were not rationally related to any legitimate penological interest, as required to support their claims that these policies violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights related to familial association and due process. The court noted that some of these individuals were not convicted of sex offenses involving children, and some of them were not convicted of any sex offense at all. The court held that CDOC employees were entitled to qualified immunity from liability, where the rights of individuals classified as sex offenders that were purportedly violated by Colorado policies restricting their contact with family members were not clearly established at the time of the alleged violation. (Colorado Department of Corrections, Sex Offender Management Board)

U.S. Appeals Court HUNGER STRIKE

Jackson v. Humphrey, 776 F.3d 1232 (11th Cir. 2015). A wife brought an action under [section] 1983 against corrections officials, claiming that revocation of her visitation privileges with her incarcerated husband who was on a hunger strike violated the First Amendment. The district court granted summary judgment, based on qualified immunity, in favor of the officials, for their decision to terminate the wife's visitation privileges during the time of hunger strike. The court denied summary judgment to the officials for the period following the end of the hunger strike, ruling that the question of whether the officials continued to enjoy qualified immunity after the hunger strike ended was one for a jury. The officials appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded, finding that the officials were entitled to qualified immunity. According to the court, the officials' decision had been motivated by lawful considerations even though it had consequences in the future, where the husband had a considerable amount of influence over other prisoners and considered himself, and was viewed by others, to be the leader of the hunger strike. The court noted that evidence suggested that the wife had urged her husband to prolong that strike after the strike had ended, and the officials were legitimately concerned that the strike might spread, about the disruption caused by the strike, and about the security and safety of staff and inmates. (Georgia Department of Corrections, Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison Special Management Unit)

U.S. Appeals Court CLOTHING PRIVACY

King v. McCarty, 781 F.3d 889 (7th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner brought a [section] 1983 action against a county sheriff and two jail guards, alleging the jail's use of a transparent jumpsuit during his transfer to a state prison, which exposed the prisoner's genitals, violated the prisoner's rights under the Fourth and Eighth Amendments. The district court dismissed the prisoner's Eighth Amendment claim for failure to state a claim and granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment as to the Fourth Amendment claim. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded. The court held that: (1) the prisoner was required to direct his grievance to the jail, not the state prison, in order to satisfy the Prison Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA) exhaustion requirement; (2) the jail's grievance procedure was not "available," within the meaning of PLRA; (3) allegations were sufficient to state a claim under the Eighth Amendment; and (4) the jail's requirement that the prisoner wear a transparent jumpsuit did not violate the Fourth Amendment. (Illinois Department of Corrections, Livingston County Jail)

U.S. Appeals Court CENSORSHIP PUBLICATIONS

Murchison v. Rogers, 779 F.3d 882 (8th Cir. 2015). A former state prisoner filed a [section] 1983 action, alleging that prison officials violated his First Amendment rights by censoring his weekly news magazine (Newsweek). The district court dismissed claims against certain officials, and granted summary judgment in favor of the remaining officials. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that censorship of the prisoner's weekly news magazine was rationally connected to the officials' legitimate penological interest in prohibiting materials that promoted violence, disorder, or violation of the law. The court noted that the prisoner had alternative means of exercising his First Amendment right. (South Central Correctional Center, Missouri)

20. GOOD TIME

U.S. District Court REVOCATION

Brooks v. Prack, 77 F.Supp.3d 301 (W.D.N.Y. 2014). A state inmate brought a [section] 1983 action against prison officials, alleging due process violations in connection with the rehearing of a misbehavior report. The officials moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim, or in the alternative, for summary judgment. The district court denied the motion. The court held that summary judgment would be premature and that the penalty imposed on the inmate implicated a property interest protected by due process. The court also found that the inmate stated procedural due process claims that he was denied adequate assistance and that he was denied the opportunity to present evidence. A penalty of 20 months in a special housing unit (SHU), loss of privileges, and loss of 20 months of recommended good time had been imposed on the inmate who was found guilty in a disciplinary rehearing of assault on staff, refusal of a direct order, and insolent language. The inmate alleged that he met with and was interviewed by his inmate assistant, that he gave the assistant a list of materials he wanted in preparation for his disciplinary rehearing, but the assistant did not give him certain requested materials, including a list of inmates in a certain block, a list of porters, photographs, and command logs. The inmate also alleged that the assistant did not give him answers to questions he proposed to ask potential witnesses and failed to provide him with witness refusal forms. According to the court, the inmate's allegations that the hearing officer recommenced a disciplinary hearing outside of the inmate's presence and stated on the record that he provided the inmate with certain materials, which the inmate claimed he never received, stated a [section] 1983 procedural due process claim related to the inmate's exclusion from a portion of the rehearing. (Southport Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court REVOCATION DUE PROCESS

Austin v. Pazera, 779 F.3d 437 (7th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner petitioned for federal habeas relief, alleging that a disciplinary proceeding had denied him due process of law, primarily by convicting him on the basis of insufficient evidence. The district court denied the petition and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court reversed, finding that evidence did not support the disciplinary determination that the inmate was guilty of attempted trafficking in tobacco. According to the court, the prison disciplinary hearing officer's finding that the inmate was guilty was not supported by even "some evidence," and, thus, the subsequent revocation of his good time credit and other imposed disciplinary sanctions violated due process. The inmate's punishment consisted of losing 60 days of good-time credit which increased his period of imprisonment by 60 days, being demoted from "credit class 1" to "credit class 2." Inmates in the first class earn one day of good time credit for each day of imprisonment, while inmates in the second class earn one day of credit for every two days of imprisonment. The inmate was also given 20 hours of extra work duty, and denied access to the prison commissary for 25 days. (Indiana Department of Corrections)

U.S. Appeals Court REVOCATION

Santiago-Lugo v. Warden, 785 F.3d 467 (11th Cir. 2015). A prisoner filed a habeas corpus petition, seeking relief on due process grounds for disciplinary sanctions he received for possession of a cellular telephone, which included revocation of his good time credits. The district court denied the prisoner's petition and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the prisoner was given sufficient notice of the charges against him, as required by due process. (Federal Correctional Complex at Coleman Medium Prison, Florida)

21. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES, PRISONER

U.S. District Court PROCEDURES RIGHT OF ACCESS

Await v. Marketti, 74 F.Supp.3d 909 (N.D.Ill.2014). The estate and the widow of a pretrial detainee who died in a county jail brought civil rights and wrongful death actions against jail personnel and medical care providers who serviced the jail. The county defendants and the medical defendants moved for summary judgment. The district court held that: (1) the evidence was sufficient for a reasonable juror to find that the correctional officers and a jail superintendent were deliberately indifferent to the detainee's medical needs; (2) summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to whether the officers knew that the detainee was suffering seizures while in jail and failed to take appropriate action; (3) a reasonable juror could have found that neither a physician nor a nurse made a reasoned medical judgment not to prescribe a particular anti-seizure drug for the detainee; and, (4) in the Seventh Circuit, private health care workers providing medical services to inmates are not entitled to assert qualified immunity. The court also found that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to whether the decision of the sheriff's office and the jail's medical services provider not to implement a standardized grievance mechanism led to a widespread practice at the jail of ignoring or delaying response to grievances and medical requests made by detainees, and as to whether this failure was the moving force behind the pretrial detainee's seizure-related death. (Grundy County Jail, Illinois)

U.S. Appeals Court PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act EXHAUSTION

Blake v. Ross, 787 F.3d 693 (4th Cir. 2015). An inmate brought a [section] 1983 action against correctional officers, alleging use of excessive force. One officer moved for summary judgment on the ground that inmate failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. The district court granted the motion and the inmate appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded. The court held that an internal investigation afforded correction officials time and opportunity to address the complaints internally, as required for an exception to the PLRA exhaustion of remedies requirement to apply, and the inmate's belief that he had exhausted administrative remedies was a reasonable interpretation of the inmate grievance procedures. (Maryland Reception Diagnostic and Classification Center)

U.S. Appeals Court RETALIATION PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act

Dimanche v. Brown, 783 F.3d 1204 (11th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner brought a [section] 1983 action against prison officials, alleging he was subjected to harsh treatment in retaliation for filing grievances about prison conditions and asserting claims for cruel and unusual punishment, due process violations, and First Amendment retaliation. The district court dismissed the case for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and failure to state a claim pursuant to the in forma pauperis statute. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded. The court held that the grievance sent by the state prisoner directly to the Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) met the conditions for bypassing the informal and formal grievance steps at the institutional level under Florida law, and thus the prisoner satisfied the Prison Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA) exhaustion requirement with respect to his [section] 1983 claims alleging cruel and unusual punishment, due process violations, and First Amendment retaliation. The court noted that the prisoner clearly stated at the beginning of the grievance form that he was filing a grievance of reprisal, indicating he feared for his life and that he was "gassed in confinement for grievances [he] wrote," and clearly stated the reason for bypassing the informal and formal grievance steps, namely, his fear that he would be killed if he filed additional grievances at the institutional level, and alleged participation by high-ranking prison officials. The court found that the prisoner stated claims against prison officials for First Amendment retaliation and cruel and unusual punishment by alleging that prison guards and officials sprayed him with tear gas without provocation, denied him prompt medical care, filed false disciplinary reports, and threatened further retaliation, all in retaliation for filing grievances. (Liberty Correctional Institution, Florida)

U.S. Appeals Court RETALIATION

Goguen v. Allen, 780 F.3d 437 (1st Cir. 2015). A pretrial detainee brought a [section] 1983 action against correctional officers, claiming that the defendants inflicted punishment on him without due process of law and retaliated against him for filing grievances, in violation of his rights under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The district court denied summary judgment to the defendants on qualified immunity grounds. The defendants appealed. The appeals court dismissed the appeal. The court held that the district court's determination that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to the motivations of the corrections officers in assigning a pretrial detainee to administrative segregation precluded granting the officers' motion for a sovereign immunity-based summary judgment was not subject to appellate review, where the officers on appeal did not raise any purely legal issues that called into question the denial of their summary judgment motion based on qualified immunity, but rather raised challenges to the plaintiff's evidence and recitation of facts. (Somerset County Jail, Maine)

U.S. Appeals Court RIGHT OF ACCESS PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act EXHAUSTION PROCEDURES

Hubbs v. Suffolk County Sheriff's Dept., 788 F.3d 54 (2nd Cir. 2015). A county jail detainee brought a [section] 1983 action against a county sheriffs department, and sheriffs deputies, alleging that he was severely beaten by the deputies while in a holding cell at a courthouse. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants based on the detainee's failure to exhaust administrative remedies. The detainee appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded, finding that the affidavit of a county jail grievance coordinator, along with a handbook detailing a grievance procedure, did not establish that the detainee had an available administrative remedy, and neither the handbook nor the affidavit demonstrated that the county or sheriffs department, or any official, handled grievances arising from occurrences in the courthouse holding cells or whether remedies for such grievances were actually available. According to the court, the deputies forfeited any arguments that statutory remedies were available to the county jail detainee where the deputies failed to identify in the district court or on appeal any statutes or regulations showing that administrative remedies were available for events that took place in the courthouse holding facility. (Suffolk County Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act RETALIATION

Kervin v. Barnes, 787 F.3d 833 (7th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner brought a [section] 1983 action against prison officials, alleging that he was placed in segregation as punishment for insisting on keeping his appointment with an attorney and that he was denied due process when he sought redress from the prison's grievance system. The district court, pursuant to the screening process of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), dismissed the suit on the pleadings. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that the state prisoner did not provide any information as to the content or purpose of his meeting with the attorney, precluding any finding as to whether the meeting involved protected speech, as required to support the prisoner's [section] 1983 claim that he was punished not for his insubordinate speech to a prison guard, but rather for meeting with, and presumably talking to, an attorney. (Indiana Department of Corrections)

U.S. Appeals Court PLRA--Prison Litigation Reform Act EXHAUSTION

King v. McCarty, 781 F.3d 889 (7th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner brought a [section] 1983 action against a county sheriff and two jail guards, alleging the jail's use of a transparent jumpsuit during his transfer to a state prison, which exposed the prisoner's genitals, violated the prisoner's rights under the Fourth and Eighth Amendments. The district court dismissed the prisoner's Eighth Amendment claim for failure to state a claim and granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment as to the Fourth Amendment claim. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded. The court held that: (1) the prisoner was required to direct his grievance to the jail, not the state prison, in order to satisfy the Prison Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA) exhaustion requirement; (2) the jail's grievance procedure was not "available," within the meaning of PLRA; (3) allegations were sufficient to state a claim under the Eighth Amendment; and (4) the jail's requirement that the prisoner wear a transparent jumpsuit did not violate the Fourth Amendment. (Illinois Department of Corrections, Livingston County Jail)

U.S. Appeals Court PLRA--Prison Litigation Reform Act EXHAUSTION

Lee v. Willey, 789 F.3d 673 (6th Cir. 2015). A former prisoner brought a [section] 1983 claim against a part-time prison psychiatrist, alleging that he suffered sexual abuse by another prisoner as a result of the psychiatrist's deliberate indifference to his health and safety in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The district court entered summary judgment in the psychiatrist's favor. The former prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the district court's ruling that the former prisoner did not submit a substitute prison grievance letter was not clearly erroneous, and the former prisoner failed to exhaust administrative remedies prior to bringing his [section] 1983 claim. (Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center, Michigan)

U.S. Appeals Court RIGHT OF ACCESS PLRA--Prison Litigation Reform Act PROCEDURES

Thomas v. Reese, 787 F.3d 845 (7th Cir. 2015). A state inmate filed a [section] 1983 action alleging that county correctional officers unlawfully used excessive force in the course of handcuffing him after he disobeyed an order. The district court entered summary judgment in the officers' favor and inmate the appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded, finding that the inmate was not barred by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) from bringing the action. The court noted that the inmate did not have an available administrative remedy, where the inmate did not have access to an inmate handbook that set forth the proper grievance procedure, the officer informed the inmate that he could not file a grievance, the handbook only permitted inmates to dispute alleged violations, and the inmate was not contesting his discipline, but rather was challenging the officers' conduct that occurred after his offenses. (Dane County Jail, Wisconsin)

U.S. Appeals Court PLRA--Prison Litigation Reform Act EXHAUSTION

Wilson v. Epps, 776 F.3d 296 (5th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner brought an action alleging prison officials violated his constitutional rights. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the Mississippi Department of Corrections' implementation of a "backlogging" policy did not abrogate the Prison Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA's) exhaustion requirement, and the prison's failure to respond at the first step of a three step grievance process did not excuse the prisoner's failure to exhaust administrative remedies. (Central Mississippi Correctional Facility)

22. HABEAS CORPUS

U.S. Appeals Court DISCIPLINE GOOD TIME

Austin v. Pazera, 779 F.3d 437 (7th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner petitioned for federal habeas relief, alleging that a disciplinary proceeding had denied him due process of law, primarily by convicting him on the basis of insufficient evidence. The district court denied the petition and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court reversed, finding that evidence did not support the disciplinary determination that the inmate was guilty of attempted trafficking in tobacco. According to the court, the prison disciplinary hearing officer's finding that the inmate was guilty was not supported by even "some evidence," and, thus, the subsequent revocation of his good time credit and other imposed disciplinary sanctions violated due process. The inmate's punishment consisted of losing 60 days of good-time credit which increased his period of imprisonment by 60 days, being demoted from "credit class 1 " to "credit class 2." Inmates in the first class earn one day of good time credit for each day of imprisonment, while inmates in the second class earn one day of credit for every two days of imprisonment. The inmate was also given 20 hours of extra work duty, and denied access to the prison commissary for 25 days. (Indiana Department of Corrections)

U.S. Appeals Court GOOD TIME DISCIPLINE

Santiago-Lugo v. Warden, 785 F.3d467 (11th Cir. 2015). A prisoner filed a habeas corpus petition, seeking relief on due process grounds for disciplinary sanctions he received for possession of a cellular telephone, which included revocation of his good time credits. The district court denied the prisoner's petition and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the prisoner was given sufficient notice of the charges against him, as required by due process. (Federal Correctional Complex at Coleman Medium Prison, Florida)

23. HYGIENE-PRISONER PERSONAL

U.S. District Court WATER HYGIENE ITEMS TOILETS

Imhoff v. Temas, 67 F.Supp.3d 700 (W.D.Pa. 2014). A pretrial detainee brought an action against employees of a county correctional facility, alleging deliberate indifference to his serious medical need, violation of his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment with regard to conditions of his confinement, and excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The employees moved to dismiss. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The detainee had initially been refused admission to the jail because he displayed signs of a drug overdose and he was admitted to a local hospital. After hospital personnel determined he was stable he was admitted to the jail. At one point in his confinement, the detainee acted out and banged his cell door with a plastic stool. This resulted in the retrieval of the stool by jail officers and, while he was held down by one officer, he was kicked in the face by another officer. When he yelled for help, an officer responded by choking the detainee and then spraying him with pepper spray, and he was not permitted to shower to remove the pepper spray for thirty minutes. The court found that the detainee's allegations against the employees in their individual capacities regarding the intentional denial of medical treatment, excessive use of force, and violation of his rights under Fourteenth Amendment with regard to conditions of his confinement were sufficient to set forth a plausible claim for punitive damages. The detainee alleged that he was denied basic human needs such as drinking water, access to a toilet and toilet paper, and toiletries such as soap and a toothbrush. (Washington Co. Corre'l. Facility, Pennsylvania)

U.S. District Court PESTS/RODENTS

Sherley v. Thompson, 69 F.Supp.3d 656 (W.D.Ky. 2014). A state prisoner filed a pro se [section] 1983 action against the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC), a prison warden, and other prison officials, alleging that his conditions of confinement violated his Eighth Amendment rights, that he was deprived of medical treatment in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and was subjected to race discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The district court dismissed the case, in part. The court held that the prisoner stated claims against the warden and prison administrators for violation of his equal protection rights and his conditions of confinement. The prisoner alleged that the prison had a policy or custom of segregating blacks and non-blacks, and that prison officials refused to place him in a non-black cell to get away from pests in his cell. The court held that the administrators allowed ants to infest his cell for weeks and that as a result, he received ant bites that caused him to scratch until his skin was broken due to severe itching, in violation of his conditions of confinement rights under [section] 1983 and the Eighth Amendment. (Little Sandy Correctional Complex, Green River Correctional Complex, Kentucky)

24. IMMUNITY

U.S. District Court QUALIFIED IMMUNITY

Liska v. Dart, 60 F.Supp.3d 889 (N.D. 111. 2014). A pretrial detainee brought an action against a county and a county sheriff, alleging under [section] 1983 that the defendants deprived him of liberty without procedural due process, and asserting claims under state law for false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The defendants moved to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that: (1) as a matter of first impression, the detainee had a liberty interest protected by procedural due process in remaining on home confinement; (2) the defendants violated the detainee's procedural due process rights; (3) the detainee sufficiently stated the sheriffs personal involvement in the alleged procedural due process violation; and (4) the sheriff was not entitled to qualified immunity. The court noted that the pretrial detainee had a liberty interest protected by procedural due process in remaining on home confinement, and thus the county and county sheriff were required to afford the detainee procedural due process prior to transferring the detainee to jail due to his alleged violation of the terms of home confinement. The detainee alleged that the sheriff was responsible for implementing the cell-box system used in the detainee's home during his home confinement, that the sheriff was aware of issues with the type and brand of system assigned to the detainee and many other home detainees, that the sheriff knew or should have known of the malfunctions of the system in the detainee's home, and that the sheriff allowed the detainee's incarceration in the county jail for violation of the terms of his home confinement despite knowledge of numerous false alarms registered by the system. (Cook County Sheriff's Department, Cook County Jail)

U.S. Appeals Court SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY

Crabbs v. Scott, 786 F.3d 426 (6th Cir. 2015). An acquitted defendant brought an action against a sheriff in his official capacity under [section] 1983 for violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, arising out of the sheriff's requiring him to submit to a cheek swab for a DNA sample before he could be released from jail, after he was acquitted of felony charges by a jury: The district court denied the sheriff's motion for summary judgment based on sovereign immunity and the sheriff appealed. The appeal court affirmed, finding that the sheriff was generally considered a county official and thus not afforded immunity as a state actor, and the sheriff was not required by state law to the collect defendant's DNA prior to releasing him from jail following his acquittal, and thus the sheriff was acting as a county official and not entitled to immunity. (Franklin County, Ohio)

25. INTAKE AND ADMISSIONS

U.S. District Court MEDICAL SCREENING USE OF FORCE

M.H. v. County of Alameda, 62 F.Supp.3d 1049 (N.D.Cal. 2014). A pretrial detainee's estate brought a civil rights action against a county, its sheriff, sheriff's deputies, and a correctional healthcare provider, alleging violations of [section] 1983 as well as common law claims for negligence, assault, and battery after the detainee died from alcohol withdrawal. The defendants moved for summary judgment. The district court held that summary judgment was precluded by fact issues: (1) with regard to the nurse who performed the detainee's medical intake assessment to determine, if she was subjectively aware of his risk of alcohol withdrawal but did nothing prior to his death; (2) as to whether the county adequately implemented its training policies concerning recognition of inmates with alcohol and other drug problems; (3) with regard to the healthcare provider for failure to supervise the nurse who performed the detainee's medical intake assessment and for failure to follow its own policies; and (4) as to whether a deputy was justified in using a stun gun against the detainee while moving him to an isolation cell and in delivering closed-fist strikes to the detainee's back after a struggle ensued. The court also found a fact issue with regard to whether a social worker was subjectively reckless when she chose to see other inmates despite knowing that the pretrial detainee was at risk for severe alcohol withdrawal. The detainee had been arrested for jaywalking. (Alameda County, Glenn Dyer Detention Facility, California)

U.S. Appeals Court SCREENING SEARCHES

Peters v. Risdal, 786 F.3d 1095 (8th Cir. 2015). A pretrial detainee filed a [section] 1983 action against a county, county sheriff, and jail officers alleging that she was subjected to an unreasonable search, that her right to freedom of speech was violated, and that the officers used excessive force. The district court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment on the unreasonable search claim, and after a jury verdict, in the officers' favor on the remaining claims, and denied the detainee's motion for a new trial. The detainee appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the officers did not violate the detainee's Fourth Amendment rights when they forcibly removed her clothing in a holding cell. According to the court, it was objectively reasonable for county jail officers to believe that the pretrial detainee presented a risk of harm to herself if she was permitted to retain strings on her clothing, and thus the officers did not violate her Fourth Amendment rights when they forcibly removed her clothing in a holding cell. The court noted that the detainee refused to respond to medical screening questions, refused to comply with a female officer's instruction to change into an orange jumpsuit while male officers were outside the holding cell, and acted aggressively toward the male officers when they entered. The officers restrained the detainee face down on her stomach and covered her with a paper suit while the female officer removed her clothing. (Woodbury County Jail, Iowa)

26. JUVENILES

No Cases.

27. LIABILITY

U.S. District Court PRIVATE PROVIDER

Awalt v. Marketti, 74 F.Supp.3d 909 (N.D.Ill. 2014). The estate and the widow of a pretrial detainee who died in a county jail brought civil rights and wrongful death actions against jail personnel and medical care providers who serviced the jail. The county defendants and the medical defendants moved for summary judgment. The district court held that: (1) the evidence was sufficient for a reasonable juror to find that the correctional officers and a jail superintendent were deliberately indifferent to the detainee's medical needs; (2) summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to whether the officers knew that the detainee was suffering seizures while in jail and failed to take appropriate action; (3) a reasonable juror could have found that neither a physician nor a nurse made a reasoned medical judgment not to prescribe a particular anti-seizure drug for the detainee; and, (4) in the Seventh Circuit, private health care workers providing medical services to inmates are not entitled to assert qualified immunity. The court also found (hat summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact: (1) concerning whether failure of the sheriffs office and the jail's medical services provider to provide adequate medical training to correctional officers caused the detainee's death; (2) as to whether the sheriffs office and the jail's medical services provider had an implicit policy of deliberate indifference to medical care provided to detainees; (3) regarding whether correctional officers knew that the detainee was suffering seizures and ignored his suffering; (5) as to whether the decision of the sheriffs office and the jail's medical services provider not to implement a standardized grievance mechanism led to a widespread practice at the jail of ignoring or delaying response to grievances and medical requests made by detainees, and as to whether this failure was the moving force behind the pretrial detainee's seizure-related death; and (6) as to whether the sheriffs office and the jail's medical services provider had an express policy that prevented a nurse from restocking a particular medication until there were only eight pills left in stock and whether that policy was the moving force behind the pretrial detainee's seizure-related death. The court denied qualified immunity from liability to the correctional officers and the sheriffs office. (Grundy County Jail, Illinois)

U.S. District Court INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY

Blossom v. Dart, 64 F.Supp.3d 1158 (N.D.Ill. 2014). A disabled detainee in a county jail brought an action against a county and a county sheriff, asserting a [section] 1983 claim for deprivation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights and alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. The sheriff filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The district court denied the motion The court held that the disabled detainee, who suffered injuries due to the lack of accommodation for his disability, sufficiently alleged that the sheriff had personal knowledge of, or involvement in, the alleged deprivation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights, so as to state a [section] 1983 claim against the sheriff in his individual capacity. The detainee alleged that the sheriff acquired personal knowledge of the fact that disabled prisoners assigned to a certain jail division had sustained injuries because shower and toilet facilities were not equipped with appropriate grab bars, toilet seats, and shower seats, and the detainee alleged that despite revising the jail's housing assignment policy for detainees who used wheelchairs, the sheriff refused to revise the policy for other disabled detainees. The court also found that the detainee sufficiently alleged that there was an official policy allowing disabled detainees to be housed in non-accessible housing units that continued to exist despite the knowledge that the policy had caused serious injuries to disabled detainees. (Cook County Jail, Illinois)

U.S. District Court CLASS ACTION FAILURE TO TRAIN

Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 70 F.Supp.3d 963 (N.D.Cal. 2014). Current and recently released inmates from a county jail brought an action against the county, the sheriffs office, and the private company that administered all jail health care facilities and services, alleging, on behalf of a class of inmates, that substandard conditions at the jail violated the federal and state constitutions, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, and a California statute prohibiting discrimination in state-funded programs. The inmates sought declaratory and injunctive relief. The defendants filed motions to dismiss. The district court denied the motions. The court held that both current and recently released inmates had standing to pursue their claims against the county and others for allegedly substandard conditions at the jail, even though the recently released inmates were no longer subject to the conditions they challenged. The court noted that the short average length of stay of inmates in the proposed class, which was largely made up of pretrial detainees, was approximately 34 days, and that short period, coupled with the plodding speed of legal action and the fact that other persons similarly situated would continue to be subject to the challenged conduct, qualified the plaintiffs for the "inherently transitory" exception to the mootness doctrine.

The court found that the inmates sufficiently alleged that the private company that administered all jail health care facilities and services operated a place of public accommodation, as required to state a claim for violation of ADA Title III. The court noted that: "The complaint alleges a litany of substandard conditions at the jail, including: violence due to understaffing, overcrowding, inadequate training, policies, procedures, facilities, and prisoner classification; inadequate medical and mental health care screening, attention, distribution, and resources; and lack of policies and practices for identifying, tracking, responding, communicating, and providing accessibility for accommodations for prisoners with disabilities." (Monterey County Jail, California)

U.S. District Court PUNITIVE DAMAGES INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY

Imhoff v. Temas, 67 F.Supp.3d 700 (W.D.Pa. 2014). A pretrial detainee brought an action against employees of a county correctional facility, alleging deliberate indifference to his serious medical need, violation of his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment with regard to conditions of his confinement, and excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The employees moved to dismiss. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that the detainee stated a claim against the employees for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need under the Fourteenth Amendment, where the detainee alleged that he informed facility personnel of his extensive drug use, that he had repeatedly requested medical assistance when he began experiencing seizures and hallucinations in conjunction with his drag withdrawal in the presence of facility personnel, and that he was provided no medical treatment for at least eight days despite his requests for medical attention. The court held that the employees were not entitled to qualified immunity from liability because a county correctional facility's constitutional obligation to provide care to inmates suffering unnecessary pain from a serious medical need was clearly established at the time the pretrial detainee allegedly began experiencing seizures in conjunction with drag withdrawal and was not provided medical treatment

The detainee had initially been refused admission to the jail because he displayed signs of a drug overdose and he was admitted to a local hospital. After hospital personnel determined he was stable he was admitted to the jail. At one point in his confinement, the detainee acted out and banged his cell door with a plastic stool. This resulted in the retrieval of the stool by jail officers and, while he was held down by one officer, he was kicked in the face by another officer. When he yelled for help, an officer responded by choking the detainee and then spraying him with pepper spray, and he was not permitted to shower to remove the pepper spray for thirty minutes.

The court found that the detainee's allegations against the employees in their individual capacities regarding the intentional denial of medical treatment, excessive use of force, and violation of his rights under Fourteenth Amendment with regard to conditions of his confinement were sufficient to set forth a plausible claim for punitive damages. The detainee alleged that he was denied basic human needs such as drinking water, access to a toilet and toilet paper, and toiletries such as soap and a toothbrush. (Washington County Correctional Facility, Pennsylvania)

U.S. District Court MUNICIPAL LIABILITY

Little v. Municipal Corp., 51 F.Supp3d 473 (S.D.N.Y. 2014). State inmates brought a [section] 1983 action against a city and city department of correction officials, alleging Eighth Amendment and due process violations related to conditions of their confinement and incidents that occurred while they were confined. The defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The district court granted the motion, finding that: (1) the inmates failed to state a municipal liability claim; (2) locking the inmates in cells that were flooding with sewage was not a sufficiently serious deprivation so as to violate the Eighth Amendment; (3) the inmates failed to state an Eighth Amendment claim based on the deprivation of laundry services; (4) the inmates failed to state that officials were deliberately indifferent to their conditions of confinement; (5) the inmates' administrative classification did not implicate their liberty interests protected by due process; and (6) cell searches did not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation. The court noted that the cells flooded with sewage for up to eight-and-a-half hours, during which they periodically lacked outdoor recreation and food, was undeniably unpleasant, but it was not a significantly serious deprivation so as to violate the inmates' Eighth Amendment rights. According to the court, there was no constitutional right to outdoor recreation, and the inmates were not denied food entirely, but rather, were not allowed to eat during periods of lock-down. (N.Y. City Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court FCTA- Federal Tort Claims Act DAMAGES

Morales v. U.S., 72 F.Supp.3d 826 (W.D.Tenn. 2014). A federal prisoner brought an action against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), alleging the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) breached its duty of care, resulting in his assault and injury by another prisoner. The district court held that: (1) the prisoner's administrative claim satisfied FTCA's notice requirements; (2) the BOP breached its duty of care to the prisoner by placing him in a recreation cage with a prisoner with whom he was in "keep-away" status; and (3) the prisoner was entitled to damages under FTCA in the amount of $105,000. The court noted that officers were not monitoring the recreation cage at the time of attack, and, as a result of such failures, the prisoner suffered 14 stab wounds, nerve damage, and psychological harm. (Federal Bureau of Prisons, FCI- Memphis, Tennessee)

U.S. District Court INDIVIDUAL LIABILITY

Mori v. Allegheny County, 51 F.Supp.3d 558 (W.D.Pa. 2014). An inmate who was seven and one-half months into a "high risk" pregnancy brought an action under [section] 1983 against a county for deliberate indifference to her health in violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and survival and wrongful death claims for violations of the Fourteenth Amendment, after the loss of the child following a placental abruption. The county moved to dismiss. The district court denied the motion. The court held that the prisoner: (1) stated an Eighth Amendment claim based on failure to monitor the unborn child after the prisoner complained of vaginal bleeding; (2) stated a claim against the county based on custom and practice; (3) sufficiently alleged a causal link between the policies and the loss of the child; (4) stated a claim against county officials for individual liability; and (5) stated wrongful death and survivor claims for the death of the child. The inmate alleged that individual policy makers, including the chief operating officer of the county jail's health services, and the jail's nursing supervisor, were responsible for the policies that led to failure to provide adequate medical treatment The prisoner also alleged that she was made to wait over 24 houts before being sent to a hospital after her vaginal bleeding started, that she was transported by a police cruiser rather than ambulance, that it was well known that bleeding late in pregnancy often indicated serious medical issues, that the child was alive during birth, and that the delay in medical treatment contributed to the injuries during birth and the death of the child shortly after birth. (Allegheny County Jail, Pennsylvania)

U.S. District Court VICARIOUS LIABILITY

Nagle v. Gusman, 61 F.Supp.3d 609 (E.D.La. 2014). Siblings of a mentally ill pretrial detainee who committed suicide brought an action against numerous employees of a parish sheriffs office, alleging a due process violation under [section] 1983, and asserting claims for wrongful death and negligence under state law. The siblings moved for partial summary judgment. The district court granted the motion. The court held that: (1) a deputy had a duty to take reasonable measures to protect the detainee from self-inflicted harm; (2) the deputy breached his duty by failing to observe the detainee for long periods of time; (3) the deputy's abandonment of his post was the cause of the detainee's suicide; (4) the sheriff was vicariously liable; and (5) the deputy's repeated decision to abandon his post violated the detainee's due process right to adequate protection from his known suicidal impulses. According to the court, the detainee was suffering from psychosis and was suicidal while in custody, the detainee was placed on a suicide watch, suicide watch policies and training materials of the sheriffs office explicitly required officers to continuously monitor detainees on a suicide watch and to document that they had done so, and it was during one of the deputy's extended absences that the detainee succeeded in killing himself. The officer left his post at least three times during his suicide watch shift, to help another employee distribute meals to other inmates, to take a restroom break, and to visit the nurses' station. During these absences, the detainee went unobserved for an hour and a half, fifteen minutes, and two hours respectively. No other staff took the officer's place observing the detainee during the times when the officer abandoned his post. During the officer's final absence, an inmate notified an on-duty officer that the detainee was lying on the floor of his cell, unresponsive. It was later determined that the detainee had asphyxiated after his airway became blocked by a wad of toilet paper. (Orleans Parish Sheriffs Office, House of Detention at Orleans Parish Prison, Louisiana)

U.S. District Court FAILURE TO INTERVENE FAILURE TO TRAIN

Rowlery v. Genesee County, 54 F.Supp.3d 763 (E.D.Mich. 2014). A detainee brought an action against a county and officers and deputies in the county sheriffs department, alleging that he was assaulted by deputies on two occasions when he was lodged at the county jail. The defendants moved for partial summary judgment. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The district court held that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to: (1) whether the county adequately trained officers and deputies regarding the use of force; (2) whether certain officers and deputies came into physical contact with the detainee; (3) whether certain officers and deputies failed to act reasonably when they did not act to prevent or limit other deputies' use of force on the detainee; and (4) whether the alleged failure of certain officers and deputies to put a stop to other deputies' use of force on the detainee was the proximate cause of the detainee's injuries. (Genesee County Jail, Michigan)

U.S. District Court INJUNCTION

Sassman v. Brown, 73 F.Supp.3d 1241 (E.D.Cal. 2014). A male prisoner filed a civil rights action against the Governor of California and the Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), claiming violation of the Equal Protection Clause by exclusion of men from California's Alternative Custody Program (ACP). The California Penal Code allows only female inmates to participate in the voluntary ACP in lieu of confinement in a state prison. The prisoner moved for a preliminary injunction to prevent continued exclusion of male prisoners from ACP based on their gender. The district court denied the motion for an injunction. The district court held that the prisoner had a likelihood of success on the merits of the claim, but that it was unlikely that the prisoner could show irreparable harm absent an injunction. The prisoner had unsuccessfully applied to participate in the ACP and was similarly situated to female state prisoners who applied and were approved. According to the court, where the male prisoner met all gender-neutral eligibility criteria required by regulations implementing the ACP, and assuming that female prisoners and their children would benefit more from ACP than male prisoners and their children, perpetuated the stereotype that women were more fit to parent and more important to their families than men. The court found that restricting applicants to only women state prisoners was not substantially related to the important government interests of family reunification and community reintegration, and thus, the male prisoner had a likelihood of success on the merits of his claim. (Alternative Custody Program, California)

U.S. District Court CLASS ACTION CONTRACT SERVICES

Scott v. Clarke, 61 F.Supp.3d 569 (W.D.Va. 2014). Female inmates brought a [section] 1983 action alleging that a correctional facility failed to provide adequate medical care and that Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) officials were deliberately indifferent to that failure, in violation of the inmates' Eighth Amendment rights. The inmates moved for class certification. The district court held that class certification was warranted under the subsection of the class action rule pertaining to cases where predominantly injunctive or declaratory relief was appropriate. The court found that the proposed class of approximately 1,200 female inmates housed at the state correctional facility who were subject to its medical care system was sufficiently large, on its face, to satisfy the size requirement for class certification, and that the "commonality" requirement for class certification was met. The court noted that one of the questions of fact was whether the VDOC medical contract system permitted improper cost considerations to interfere with the treatment of serious medical conditions. (Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Corrections)

U.S. Appeals Court FAILURE TO INTERVENE NEGLIGENCE

Cortez v. Skol, 776 F.3d 1046 (9th Cir. 2015). The mother of a state inmate who suffered severe brain damage, after he was attacked by two fellow prisoners while being escorted through an isolated prison passage by a corrections officer, brought an action alleging a [section] 1983 Eighth Amendment claim against the officer and a gross negligence claim against the state. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants and the mother appealed. The appeals court reversed, finding that summary judgment was precluded by issues of material fact as to whether the corrections officer exposed the high-security inmate to a substantial risk of serious injuty when he: (1) escorted the inmate and two fellow high-security prisoners through the isolated prison passage by himself; (2) did not require the prisoners to wear leg restraints; and (3) failed to physically intervene once the prisoners attacked the inmate. The court also found fact issues as to whether the officer was subjectively aware of the risk involved in the escort and acted with deliberate indifference to the inmate's safety. The court held that the mother was not the prevailing party for purposes of awarding attorney's fees. (Morey Unit, Lewis Prison Complex, Arizona)

U.S. Appeals Court COMPENSATORY DAMAGES

PUNITIVE DAMAGES INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

King v. Zamiara, 788 F.3d 207 (6th Cir. 2015). A prisoner brought an action against prison officials under [section] 1983, alleging First Amendment retaliation arising from his transfer to a higher security prison due to his participation in a state-court class action against the prison officials. After a bench trial, the district court found in favor of the prison officials. The appeals court reversed with respect to three officials. On remand, the district court entered judgment in favor of the prisoner and ordered compensatory damages and attorney fees, but denied the prisoner's request for punitive damages and injunctive relief. Both parties appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded. The court held that: (1) the district court properly awarded prisoner compensatoiy damages; (2) the district court's award of compensatory damages to equal $5 a day for each day he was kept in a higher security prison was not a reversible error; (3) the district court relied on an incorrect legal standard in concluding that the prisoner was not entitled to punitive damages; (4) the prisoner was not entitled to injunctive relief requiring the department of corrections to remove certain documents from his file that allegedly violated his due process rights; and (5) the district court abused its discretion in failing to charge up to 25% of the attorney fees awarded to the prisoner against his compensatory damages award. (Conklin Unit at Brooks Correctional Facility, Chippewa Correctional Facility, Michigan)

U.S. Appeals Court FAILURE TO PROTECT

Makdessi v. Fields, 789 F.3d 126 (4th Cir. 2015). A prisoner brought an action against prison officials, claiming that the officials failed to protect the prisoner from repeated physical and sexual abuse by other prisoners, even after the prisoner lodged numerous complaints, in violation of the prisoner's Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. The district court entered judgment for the prison officials and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded. The court noted that "... the Supreme Court has stated, however, that the subjective 'actual knowledge' standard required to find prison officials deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of serious injury may be proven by circumstantial evidence. Prison officials may not simply bury their heads in the sand and thereby skirt liability. Rather, they may be held accountable when a risk is so obvious that it had to have been known. Because we do not believe that the court below appreciated this nuance, we vacate the dismissal of Makdessi's claims..." (Wallens Ridge State Prison, Virginia)

U.S. Appeals Court INJUNCTIVE RELIEF PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act

U.S. v. Secretary, Florida Dept, of Corrections, 778 F.3d 1223 (11th Cir. 2015). The federal government brought an action against the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC), alleging that the DOC's failure to provide a kosher diet to all of its prisoners with sincere religious grounds for keeping kosher violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLU1PA). The district court granted the DOC's motion for a preliminary injunction and the federal government appealed. The appeals court vacated the district court decision and dismissed the appeal. The court held that the preliminary injunction did not comply with the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), and thus, expired after 90 days. The court noted that injunctive relief was not narrowly drawn, extended further than necessary to correct the violation of the federal right, and was not the least intrusive means necessary to correct the violation, in violation of PLRA. (Florida Department of Corrections)

28. MAIL

U.S. Appeals Court CENSORSHIP

Murchison v. Rogers, 779 F.3d 882 (8th Cir. 2015). A former state prisoner filed a [section] 1983 action, alleging that prison officials violated his First Amendment rights by censoring his weekly news magazine (Newsweek). The district court dismissed claims against certain officials, and granted summary judgment in favor of the remaining officials. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that censorship of the prisoner's weekly news magazine was rationally connected to the officials' legitimate penological interest in prohibiting materials that promoted violence, disorder, or violation of the law. The court noted that the prisoner had alternative means of exercising his First Amendment right. (South Central Correctional Center, Missouri)

29. MEDICAL CARE

U.S. District Court PRIVATE PROVIDER MEDICATION TRAINING DELIBERATE INDIFFERENCE

Await v. Marketti, 74 F.Supp.3d 909 (N.D.Ill. 2014). The estate and the widow of a pretrial detainee who died in a county jail brought civil rights and wrongful death actions against jail personnel and medical care providers who serviced the jail. The county defendants and the medical defendants moved for summary judgment The district court held that: (1) the evidence was sufficient for a reasonable juror to find that the correctional officers and a jail superintendent were deliberately indifferent to the detainee's medical needs; (2) summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to whether the officers knew that the detainee was suffering seizures while in jail and failed to take appropriate action; (3) a reasonable juror could have found that neither a physician nor a nurse made a reasoned medical judgment not to prescribe a particular anti-seizure drug for the detainee; and, (4) in the Seventh Circuit, private health care workers providing medical services to inmates are not entitled to assert qualified immunity.

The court also found that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact: (1) concerning whether failure of the sheriff's office and the jail's medical services provider to provide adequate medical training to correctional officers caused the detainee's death; (2) as to whether the sheriffs office and the jail's medical services provider had an implicit policy of deliberate indifference to medical care provided to detainees; (3) regarding whether correctional officers knew that the detainee was suffering seizures and ignored his suffering; (5) as to whether the decision of the sheriffs office and the jail's medical services provider not to implement a standardized grievance mechanism led to a widespread practice at the jail of ignoring or delaying response to grievances and medical requests made by detainees, and as to whether this failure was the moving force behind the pretrial detainee's seizure-related death; and (6) as to whether the sheriffs office and the jail's medical services provider had an express policy that prevented a nurse from restocking a particular medication until there were only eight pills left in stock and whether that policy was the moving force behind the pretrial detainee's seizure-related death. The court denied qualified immunity from liability to the correctional officers and the sheriffs office. (Grundy County Jail, Illinois)

U.S. District Court RECORDS PRIVACY

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

Doe v. Beard, 63 F.Supp.3d 1159 (C.D.Cal. 2014). A state prisoner who was HIV-positive, brought an action against a medical technician, the technician's supervisor, corrections officers, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), alleging violations of his right to privacy under the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause and the California constitution, based on the defendants' failure to retrieve the prisoner's medical file, which had been delivered to another prisoner. The defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The district court denied the motion. The court held that the prisoner stated a [section] 1983 claim against corrections officers and a medical technician for violation of his right to privacy under the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause by alleging that they acted with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of serious harm when they failed to retrieve his medical file, even after the prisoner explained that it had fallen into the hands of another prisoner and that he was receiving threats based on his HIV-positive status. The court found that prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity from the prisoner's [section] 1983 claim, where the prisoner's right to medical privacy was clearly established and a reasonable prison official would have been on notice that he or she could not violate the prisoner's right to medical privacy without a legitimate penological objective. (California Institute for Men)

U.S. District Court FAILURE TO PROVIDE CARE TRAINING MEDICATION

Graham v. Hodge, 69 F.Supp.3d 618 (S.D.Miss. 2014). The spouse of a pretrial detainee who died of cardiac arrhythmia brought a wrongful death action against a sheriff and a county alleging deliberate indifference to the detainee's medical care under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as failure to train under [section] 1983. The defendants moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion. The court held that a nurse was not deliberately indifferent to the detainee's medical needs, notwithstanding that the nurse waited 13 days to fax a medical authorization to a care center, that she sent the detainee to a medical clinic that had no cardiologist, that she was not aware for several months that the detainee was not taking necessary heart medication, and that the detainee ultimately died of cardiac arrhythmia. According to the court, the nurse regularly treated the detainee, which included providing him with his medication once she was made aware of its necessity, and the detainee's death was not proximately caused by the months-long lack of medicine. The court found that the detainee's death was not a highly predictable consequence of failing to train the jail nurse. (Jones County Adult Detention Facility, Mississippi)

U.S. Appeals Court PRIVATE PROVIDER ADA- Americans with Disabilities Act REHABILITATION ACT HANDICAP

Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 70 F.Supp.3d 963 (N.D.Cal. 2014). Current and recently released inmates from a county jail brought an action against the county, the sheriff's office, and the private company that administered all jail health care facilities and services, alleging, on behalf of a class of inmates, that substandard conditions at the jail violated the federal and state constitutions, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, and a California statute prohibiting discrimination in state-funded programs. The inmates sought declaratoiy and injunctive relief. The defendants filed motions to dismiss. The district court denied the motions. The court held that both current and recently released inmates had standing to pursue their claims against the county and others for allegedly substandard conditions at the jail, even though the recently released inmates were no longer subject to the conditions they challenged. The court noted that the short average length of stay of inmates in the proposed class, which was largely made up of pretrial detainees, was approximately 34 days, and that short period, coupled with the plodding speed of legal action and the fact that other persons similarly situated would continue to be subject to the challenged conduct, qualified the plaintiffs for the "inherently transitory" exception to the mootness doctrine.

The court found that the inmates sufficiently alleged that the private company that administered all jail health care facilities and services operated a place of public accommodation, as required to state a claim for violation of ADA Title III. The court noted that: "The complaint alleges a litany of substandard conditions at the jail, including: violence due to understaffing, overcrowding, inadequate training, policies, procedures, facilities, and prisoner classification; inadequate medical and mental health care screening, attention, distribution, and resources; and lack of policies and practices for identifying, tracking, responding, communicating, and providing accessibility for accommodations for prisoners with disabilities." (Monterey County Jail, California)

U.S. District Court FAILURE TO PROVIDE CARE DELAY IN CARE ALCOHOL/DRUGS

Imhoff v. Temas, 67 F.Supp.3d 700 (W.D.Pa. 2014). A pretrial detainee brought an action against employees of a county correctional facility, alleging deliberate indifference to his serious medical need, violation of his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment with regard to conditions of his confinement, and excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The employees moved to dismiss. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that the detainee stated a claim against the employees for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need under the Fourteenth Amendment, where the detainee alleged that he informed facility personnel of his extensive drag use, that he had repeatedly requested medical assistance when he began experiencing seizures and hallucinations in conjunction with his drag withdrawal in the presence of facility personnel, and that he was provided no medical treatment for at least eight days despite his requests for medical attention. The court held that the employees were not entitled to qualified immunity from liability because a county correctional facility's constitutional obligation to provide care to inmates suffering unnecessary pain from a serious medical need was clearly established at the time the pretrial detainee allegedly began experiencing seizures in conjunction with drag withdrawal and was not provided medical treatment

The detainee had initially been refused admission to the jail because he displayed signs of a drag overdose and he was admitted to a local hospital. After hospital personnel determined he was stable he was admitted to the jail. At one point in his confinement, the detainee acted out and banged his cell door with a plastic stool. This resulted in the retrieval of the stool by jail officers and, while he was held down by one officer, he was kicked in the face by another officer. When he yelled for help, an officer responded by choking the detainee and then spraying him with pepper spray, and he was not permitted to shower to remove the pepper spray for thirty minutes.

The court found that the detainee's allegations against the employees in their individual capacities regarding the intentional denial of medical treatment, excessive use of force, and violation of his rights under Fourteenth Amendment with regard to conditions of his confinement were sufficient to set forth a plausible claim for punitive damages. The detainee alleged that he was denied basic human needs such as drinking water, access to a toilet and toilet paper, and toiletries such as soap and a toothbrush. (Washington County Correctional Facility, Pennsylvania)

U.S. District Court ALCOHOL/DRUGS FAILURE TO PROVIDE CARE POLICIES

M.H. v. County of Alameda, 62 F.Supp.3d 1049 (N.D.Cal. 2014). A pretrial detainee's estate brought a civil rights action against a county, its sheriff, sheriff's deputies, and a correctional healthcare provider, alleging violations of [section] 1983 as well as common law claims for negligence, assault, and battery after the detainee died from alcohol withdrawal. The defendants moved for summary judgment. The district court held that summary judgment was precluded by fact issues: (1) with regard to the nurse who performed the detainee's medical intake assessment to determine, if she was subjectively aware of his risk of alcohol withdrawal but did nothing prior to his death; (2) as to whether the county adequately implemented its training policies concerning recognition of inmates with alcohol and other drug problems; (3) with regard to the healthcare provider for failure to supervise the nurse who performed the detainee's medical intake assessment and for failure to follow its own policies; and (4) as to whether a deputy was justified in using a stun gun against the detainee while moving him to an isolation cell and in delivering closed-fist strikes to the detainee's back after a straggle ensued. The court also found a fact issue with regard to whether a social worker was subjectively reckless when she chose to see other inmates despite knowing that the pretrial detainee was at risk for severe alcohol withdrawal. The detainee had been arrested for jaywalking. (Alameda County, Glenn Dyer Detention Facility, California)

U.S. District Court DELAY IN CARE FAILURE TO PROVIDE CARE

Mori v. Allegheny County, 51 F.Supp.3d 558 (W.D.Pa. 2014). An inmate who was seven and one-half months into a "high risk" pregnancy brought an action under [section] 1983 against a county for deliberate indifference to her health in violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and survival and wrongful death claims for violations of the Fourteenth Amendment, after the loss of the child following a placental abruption. The county moved to dismiss. The district court denied the motion. The court held that the prisoner: (1) stated an Eighth Amendment claim based on failure to monitor the unborn child after the prisoner complained of vaginal bleeding; (2) stated a claim against the county based on custom and practice; (3) sufficiently alleged a causal link between the policies and the loss of the child; (4) stated a claim against county officials for individual liability; and (5) stated wrongful death and survivor claims for the death of the child. The inmate alleged that individual policy makers, including the chief operating officer of the county jail's health services, and the jail's nursing supervisor, were responsible for the policies that led to failure to provide adequate medical treatment. The prisoner also alleged that she was made to wait over 24 hours before being sent to a hospital after her vaginal bleeding started, that she was transported by a police cruiser rather than ambulance, that it was well known that bleeding late in pregnancy often indicated serious medical issues, that the child was alive during birth, and that the delay in medical treatment contributed to the injuries during birth and the death of the child shortly after birth. (Allegheny County Jail, Pennsylvania)

U.S. District Court FEMALE PRISONERS COSTS

CONTRACT SERVICES

Scott v. Clarke, 61 F.Supp.3d 569 (W.D.Va. 2014). Female inmates brought a [section] 1983 action alleging that a correctional facility failed to provide adequate medical care and that Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) officials were deliberately indifferent to that failure, in violation of the inmates' Eighth Amendment rights. The inmates moved for class certification. The district court held that class certification was warranted under the subsection of the class action rule pertaining to cases where predominantly injunctive or declaratory relief was appropriate. The court found that the proposed class of approximately 1,200 female inmates housed at the state correctional facility who were subject to its medical care system was sufficiently large, on its face, to satisfy the size requirement for class certification, and that the "commonality" requirement for class certification was met. The court noted that one of the questions of fact was whether the VDOC medical contract system permitted improper cost considerations to interfere with the treatment of serious medical conditions. (Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court COSTS CONTRACT SERVICES INADEQUATE CARE

Scott v. Clarke, 64 F.Supp.3d 813 (W.D.Va. 2014). Prisoners brought a [section] 1983 action against prison officials, alleging failure to provide adequate medical care in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The district court granted the prisoners' motion for summary judgment. The court held that: (1) the state department of corrections has a non-delegable duty to provide prisoners with medical care that meets constitutional minimum standards; (2) the prisoners had serious medical needs; and (3) a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the prison officials were deliberately indifferent to the prisoners' serious medical needs. The court noted that the prisoners serious medical needs included: (1) one prisoner who had sarcoidosis, which was a potentially life-threatening chronic inflammatory disease that could affect the body's vital organs; (2) another prisoner had Hepatitis C; (3) another prisoner had severely deformed ingrown toenail that made it difficult to walk when inflamed and infected, and she was profoundly hearing impaired; and (4) a final prisoner suffered from various medical problems, including degenerative disc disease affecting her neck and spine, bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome in her wrists, a bladder condition causing constant incontinence, and chronic kidney disease. The court held that summary judgment was precluded by a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the decision by prison officials to favor lower contract costs over the likely quality of resulting care was deliberate indifference to the prisoners' serious medical needs. (Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court FAILURE TO PROVIDE CARE COSTS DENIAL

Sherley v. Thompson, 69 F.Supp.3d 656 (W.D.Ky. 2014). A state prisoner filed a pro se [section] 1983 action against the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC), a prison warden, and other prison officials, alleging that his conditions of confinement violated his Eighth Amendment rights, that he was deprived of medical treatment in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and was subjected to race discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The district court dismissed the case, in part. The court held that the prisoner stated claims against the warden and prison administrators for violation of his equal protection rights and his conditions of confinement. According to the court, the prisoner stated an Eighth Amendment claim against one prison nurse by alleging that the nurse failed to provide him with appropriate medical treatment for ant bites he sustained, due to his inability to pay for treatment

The prisoner alleged that the prison had a policy or custom of segregating blacks and non-blacks, and that prison officials refused to place him in a non-black cell to get away from pests in his cell. The court held that the administrators allowed ants to infest his cell for weeks and that as a result, he received ant bites that caused him to scratch until his skin was broken due to severe itching, in violation of his conditions of confinement rights under [section] 1983 and the Eighth Amendment. (Little Sandy Correctional Complex, Green River Correctional Complex, Kentucky)

U.S. District Court MENTAL HEALTH EXAMINATIONS MEDICATION

Trueblood v. Washington State Dept, of Social and Health Services, 73 F.Supp.3d 1311 (W.D.Wash. 2014). Pretrial detainees brought a class action against the Washington Department of Social and Health Services and two state hospitals, alleging that in-jail waiting times for court-ordered competency evaluations and restoration services violated their Fourteenth Amendment due process rights. The detainees moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion, finding that in-jail waiting times for court-ordered competency evaluations and restoration services violated the Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process rights of mentally incapacitated pretrial detainees. The court noted that detainees were incarcerated for many weeks, not because they were convicted, found to be dangerous, or posed a flight risk, but because Department of Social and Health Services and state hospitals did not have sufficient bed space or available staff to provide the services they were required to provide. Some detainees were held in solitary confinement due to space issues, exacerbating any mental illness, and the rate of medication compliance was lower in jail. (Washington State Dept, of Social and Health Services, Western State Hospital and Eastern State Hospital)

U.S. Appeals Court DENIAL OF CARE

Dimanche v. Brown, 783 F.3d 1204 (11th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner brought a [section] 1983 action against prison officials, alleging he was subjected to harsh treatment in retaliation for filing grievances about prison conditions and asserting claims for cruel and unusual punishment, due process violations, and First Amendment retaliation. The district court dismissed the case for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and failure to state a claim pursuant to the in forma pauperis statute. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded. The court held that the grievance sent by the state prisoner directly to the Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) met the conditions for bypassing the informal and formal grievance steps at the institutional level under Florida law, and thus the prisoner satisfied the Prison Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA) exhaustion requirement with respect to his [section] 1983 claims alleging cruel and unusual punishment, due process violations, and First Amendment retaliation. The court noted that the prisoner clearly stated at the beginning of the grievance form that he was filing a grievance of reprisal, indicating he feared for his life and that he was "gassed in confinement for grievances [he] wrote," and clearly stated the reason for bypassing the informal and formal grievance steps, namely, his fear that he would be killed if he filed additional grievances at the institutional level, and alleged participation by high-ranking prison officials. The court found that the prisoner stated claims against prison officials for First Amendment retaliation and cruel and unusual punishment by alleging that prison guards and officials sprayed him with tear gas without provocation, denied him prompt medical care, filed false disciplinary reports, and threatened further retaliation, all in retaliation for filing grievances. (Liberty Correctional Institution, Florida)

U.S. Appeals Court SUICIDE

Jackson v. West, 787 F.3d 1345 (11th Cir. 2015). The estate of a detainee who committed suicide while in the custody of a county jail brought a [section] 1983 action against a county sheriff and against 10 corrections officers, alleging violation of the detainee's due process rights. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of three officers on qualified immunity grounds, but denied summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds with respect to the remaining officers. The remaining officers filed an appeal. The appeals court reversed, finding that the officers lacked a subjective knowledge of a strong risk that the detainee would attempt suicide, so that the officers did not act with deliberate indifference in failing to prevent the suicide. The court noted that the detainee had made explicit suicide threats and he was placed in the suicide prevention unit, as was proper protocol, and the detainee was released from that unit when prison medical staff later determined that he no longer presented such a risk. The court stated: "This case is troubling. The Marion County Jail tragically failed to keep Mr. James safe while he was incarcerated." (Marion County Jail, Florida)

U.S. Appeals Court DELIBERATE INDIFFERENCE SUICIDE

Letterman v. Does, 789 F.3d 856 (8th Cir. 2015). Parents of a deceased prisoner, who died from injuries suffered while in jail, brought a [section] 1983 action against a prison sergeant, lieutenant, and case manager, alleging that the employees were indifferent to the prisoner's medical needs. The prisoner had been arrested for possession of marijuana and was given a 120 "shock sentence" in confinement. He became suicidal and was transferred to a padded cell at the request of mental health personnel. He was to have been personally observed every 15 minutes by staff and procedure required the prisoner to give a verbal response each time. After a shift chance, the oncoming officer decided to monitor the prisoner via closed circuit television rather than making the required in-person rounds. During the shift, the prisoner injured himself in the cell and eventually died from his injuries. The district court denied the employees' motion for summary judgment, based on assertions of qualified immunity. The employees appealed. The appeals court held that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to whether a prison sergeant, who was in charge of the unit where prisoner was kept, and a lieutenant, were deliberately indifferent to the risk of harm to the prisoner who died from injuries allegedly sustained in a padded cell. (Missouri Western Reception, Diagnostic and Correction Center)

U.S. Appeals Court ADA- Americans with Disabilities Act DISCRIMINATION REHABILITATION ACT WHEELCHAIR

Turner v. Mull, 784 F.3d 485 (8th Cir. 2015). A state inmate filed a [section] 1983 action alleging that correctional officials violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Rehabilitation Act by failing to transport him in wheelchair-accessible van, exposing him to unsanitary conditions in the van, and retaliating against him for filing a complaint. The district court entered summary judgment in the officials' favor and the inmate appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that the officials were not deliberately indifferent to the inmate's serious medical needs when they precluded him from using a wheelchair-accessible van, even if the inmate was required to crawl into the van and to his seat. The court noted that the inmate was able to ambulate, stand, and sit with the use of leg braces and crutches, the inmate did not ask to use a readily available wheelchair, no physician ordered or issued a wheelchair for the inmate, and improperly using or standing on a lift was considered dangerous due to the possibility of a fall.

According to the court, officials were not deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of the inmate in violation of Eighth Amendment when they required him to be transported and to crawl in an unsanitary van, where the inmate was exposed to unsanitary conditions on a single day for a combined maximum of approximately six hours.

The court found that prison officials did not discriminate against the inmate on the basis of his disability, in violation of the Rehabilitation Act, when they refused to transport him in a wheelchair-accessible van, where the prison's wheelchair-users-only policy was rooted in concerns over undisputed safety hazards associated with people standing on or otherwise improperly using a lift, and the inmate did not use a wheelchair or obtain a physician's order to use a wheelchair-accessible van. (Eastern Reception Diagnostic Correctional Center, Missouri)

U.S. Appeals Court WHEELCHAIR TRANSPORTATION ADA- Americans with Disabilities Act REHABILITATION ACT

Wagoner v. Lemmon, 778 F.3d 586 (7th Cir. 2015). A paraplegic inmate filed a [section] 1983 action alleging that a state department of corrections and its commissioner failed to properly accommodate his disability, in violation of his constitutional rights, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act. The district court entered summary judgment in the defendants' favor and the inmate appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The court found that the officials did not violate the paraplegic inmate's rights under Title II of ADA or the Rehabilitation Act as a result of their failure to provide him with an adequate wheelchair backrest or a wheelchair-ready van, despite the inmate's allegation that he was inconvenienced with longer waits and humiliation, as when he had to crawl off a regular van because it did not accommodate his wheelchair. The court noted that the inmate did not assert that he was denied all access to some programs and activities, or that his access to others was severely limited, and the state provided the inmate with a new wheelchair before he filed his grievance about the backrest. (Indiana Department of Corrections)
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Title Annotation:p. 25-61
Publication:Detention and Corrections Caselaw Quarterly
Article Type:Case overview
Date:Nov 1, 2015
Words:35063
Previous Article:Part One: complete case summaries in alphabetical order.
Next Article:Part Two: case summaries by major topic.
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