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Florida Court Permits Female Prisoner's Lawsuit for Forced Sex with Guard to Go Forward

By Derek Gilna

A Florida District Court has permitted parts of a lawsuit by a female prisoner for being forced into sex by a male prison guard to go forward, finding that questions of fact precluded whether he was negligently supervised and retained by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The prisoner, Bobbie Bolton, was coerced into having sex with Jeffrey Linton, A BOP prison guard, according to the facts alleged in the complaint.

Pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), prisoner Bolton was obligated to pursue administrative remedies prior to commencing a lawsuit. After being confronted at the initial, "informal resolution" stage, Linton resigned, ending the administrative process. The court held that Bolton was not required to go further in the administrative review process because of that resignation. The court also held that although Bolton presented no evidence as to negligent hiring or training by the government, she did offer evidence that "when viewed with all inferences in her favor as required for summary judgment purposes, would support a finding that Captain Ron Horton (Linton's supervisor) knew that Ms. Bolton was at risk of an attack by Mr. Linton but failed to act."

The court also permitted the claim for the intentional tort of battery against the United States, based upon the proviso in 28 U.S.C. Section 2680(h) that specifically permits such claims if committed by "law enforcement officers of the United States Government."

The order of the District Court in this case means that the Plaintiff Bolton can now go forward with her lawsuit, at which time she will still have to prove her case to prevail.
See: Bolton v. United States, 4:03 CV 307-RH/WCS, U.S. District Court, N.D. Florida, Tallahassee Division, (2004).

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Related legal case

Bolton v. United States