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Suit Over Mental Patient’s Murder Dismissed

The decedent was strangled by another mental patient, who had the previous day threatened to kill someone in order to be transferred to the other building, and who had attempted to choke another patient previously. The defendant doctor had met with the assailant the previous day and noted no sign of further hostility or aggressiveness (though he was restrained when the doctor left at the end of the day), and he had a history of making threats and not carrying them out.

The deceased mental patient's Fourteenth Amendment conditions of confinement claim is assessed under the Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim. The defendant doctor made a medical judgment that the assailant was not homicidal or suicidal after examining him. Youngberg says that decisions by medical professionals are entitled to a presumption of correctness, and there is no evidence to rebut it. See: Coley v. Castillo, 115 F.Supp.2d 1383 (M.D.Ga. 2000).

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Related legal case

Coley v. Castillo