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Jail Liable for Labeling Arrestee’s Cell as “HIV Positive Inmate”

Jail Liable for Labeling Arrestee's Cell as "HIV Positive Inmate"

The plaintiff was arrested and informed the police he was HIV positive. They put a pink sign on his holding cell door saying HIV POSITIVE INMATE, which was removed on his request after it had been there for three hours. His suit was removed from state court.

The district court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiff's state statutory privacy claim; although it is clear that verbal (sic) disclosure of a prisoner's HIV status violates the statute, it is not clear that this type of nonverbal (sic) disclosure does. (The plaintiff argued for abstention and the defendants argued for supplemental jurisdiction.) However, the court declines the plaintiff's request for Pullman abstention from decision of the federal claims, since the constitutionality of state statutes is not drawn into issue.

The individual defendants are entitled to qualified immunity based on the state of the law in 1997. The municipality, however, is not entitled to qualified immunity. The plaintiff's allegations of failure to train, supervise, and enforce lawful policies are sufficient at the pleading stage. See: Roe v. City of Milwaukee, 26 F.Supp.2d 1119 (E.D.Wis. 1998).

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Related legal case

Roe v. City of Milwaukee