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Articles by David Reutter

Sixth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity for Failure to Protect Michigan Prisoner from Unsafe Working Conditions

by David M. Reutter

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held on August 24, 2021, that two Michigan prison employees were not entitled to qualified immunity in a lawsuit alleging they were deliberately indifferent to a prisoner’s safety.

The case involved an October 15, 2015, incident in ...

Activists Play Whack-a-Mole Closing ICE Detention Centers

by David M. Reutter

A Bloomberg Equality report published on January 11, 2022, gave little hope that the omicron variant behind a resurgence in the COVID-19 pandemic would spare immigrant detainees held for federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with 1,254 people in isolation out of 22,142 in custody, a ...

$900,000 Settlement in Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Securus Recorded California Prisoner-Attorney Calls

Company Walks From Similar Case in Maine

by David M. Reutter

In November 2021, a year after a federal district court in California approved a $900,000 settlement in a class-action lawsuit alleging Securus Technologies, Inc. unlawfully recorded privileged calls between detainees and attorneys, the prison phone giant was still fighting ...

Qualified Immunity Granted in Suit Challenging Policy of “Checking-In” on Nevada Prisoner’s Legal Calls

by David M. Reutter

On July 8, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit refused a request to rehear en banc a decision by a three-judge panel of the Court that three months earlier affirmed a grant of qualified immunity to a guard who monitored phone calls ...

California Appeals Court Reverses Dismissal of Charges Against Prisoners Charged in Pelican Bay Riot

by David M. Reutter

On June 9, 2021, the California Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal to a decision handed down by the state’s First District Court of Appeal on March 29, 2021, reinstating most charges that a trial court had dismissed against four prisoners involved in a riot ...

Fourth Circuit Grants Qualified Immunity to Prison Official Who Gave Prisoner No Notice Before Hearing That Resulted in Transfer to Security Detention

by David M. Reutter

In a ruling on March 30, 2021, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity because it was not clearly established that a prisoner had a right to fair notice of a security detention hearing.

The Court’s opinion was ...

$150,000 Paid to Family of California Pretrial Detainee Who Died from Valley Fever

by David M. Reutter

A California federal court approved a $150,000 settlement on October 13, 2021, for the estate of a prisoner who died of valley fever at the Merced County Jail.

The prisoner, 29-year-old Luis Patino, was booked into the county’s main jail on June 24, 2017, dutifully reporting ...

$650,000 Jury Verdict Upheld in NY Prisoner’s Excessive-Force Claim; Motion for Fees Denied Due to Contingency Agreement

by David M Reutter

On October 20, 2020, a federal judge in New York refused to overturn a $650,000 award made by a jury earlier that year to a state prisoner on his excessive-use-of-force claim.

The action took place in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, ...

HRDC Advances in Suit Against Centurion to Obtain New Mexico Prisoner Medical Litigation Records

by David M. Reutter

On December 11, 2021, New Mexico’s First Judicial District Court, County of Santa Fe, denied a motion to dismiss a suit filed by the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), publisher of Prison Legal News (PLN) and Criminal Legal News (CLN), against Centurion Correctional Healthcare of New ...

$281,000 Awarded to Colorado Prisoner Retaliated Against for Grievances

by David M. Reutter

On August 14, 2020, a federal judge in Colorado refused to set aside a judgment for a state prisoner who won $180,002 the year before when a jury agreed that guards retaliated against him for exercising “his right to grieve/complain.” Then the court added another award ...