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Volume 4 Detention and Corrections Caselaw Catalog 26th Ed. 2016

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DETENTION AND
CORRECTIONS
CASELAW CATALOG

26th Edition
2015-2016

Volume Four: Sec. 27-31
Rod C. Miller
Donald J. Walter
Research and Review:
Joseph Heltzel
Chris Dickey
Richard Drennon
Kyle McCarty

CRS, Inc.

A Non-Profit Organization
925 Johnson Drive
Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 338-9100
Fax (717) 718-6178
www.correction.org
rod@correction.org
Copyright 2017

Table of Contents
DETENTION AND CORRECTIONS CASELAW CATALOG
VOLUME 1
How to Use the Catalog
Index and Topic Finder
Table of Cases
1. Access to Courts
2. Administration

3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Administrative Segregation
Assessment of Costs
Attorney Fees
Bail
Civil Rights

VOLUME 2
8. Classification and Separation
9. Conditions of Confinement
10. Cruel and Unusual Punishment
11. Discipline

12. Exercise and Recreation
13. Ex-Offenders
14. Failure to Protect

VOLUME 3
15. Facilities
16. False Imprisonment/Arrest
17. Female Prisoners
18. Food
19. Free Speech, Expression, Assoc.
20. Good Time

21. Grievance Procedures, Prisoner
22. Habeas Corpus
23. Hygiene-Prisoner Personal
24. Immunity
25. Intake and Admissions
26. Juveniles

VOLUME 4
27. Liability
28. Mail
29. Medical Care

30. Mental Problems (Prisoner)
31. Personnel

VOLUME 5
32. Pretrial Detention
33. Privacy
34. Programs-Prisoner
35. Property-Prisoner Personal

36. Release
37. Religion
38. Rules & Regulations-Prisoner

VOLUME 6
39. Safety and Security
40. Sanitation
41. Searches
42. Services-Prisoner
43. Sentence
44. Standards

45. Supervision
46. Training
47. Transfers
48. Use of Force
49. Visiting
50. Work- Prisoner

CRS, Inc.
925 Johnson Drive, Gettysburg, PA 17325 (717) 338-9100
www.correction.org Fax (717) 718-6178 rod@correction.org
All Rights Reserved

SECTION 27: LIABILITY
Detention and Corrections Caselaw Catalog All Righ.ta Balerved
CRS Inc, 9'J5 Johnson Dr., Gettysburg PA 17325 (717) 338-9100 www.correction.org/
The following pages present summaries of court decisions which address this topic area. These summaries provide
reade~ with highlights of each case, but are not intended to be a substitute for the review of the full case. The cases
do not represent all court decisions which address this topic area, but rather offer a sampling of relevant holdings.
The decisions summarized below were current as of the date indicated on the title page of this edition of the
Catalog. Prior to publication, the citation for each case was verified, and the case was researched in Shepard's
Citations to determine ifit had been altered upon appeal (reversed or modified). The Catalog is updated annually.
An annual supplement provides replacement pages fur cases in the prior edition which have changed, and adds new
cases. Readers are encouraged to consult the Topic Index to identify related topics of interest. The text in the
section entitled "How to Use The Catalog" at the bP.ginning of the Catalog provides an overview which may also be
helpful to some readers.
The case summaries which follow are organized by year, with the earliest case presented first. Within each year,
cases are organized alphabetically by the name of the plaintiff. The left margin offers a quick reference, highlighting
the type ofcourt involved and identifying appropriate subtopics addressed by each case.

SEE ALSO: CHAPTER 24, IMMUNITY

1945
U.S. Supreme Court
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

GOVERNMENTAL
LIABILITY

Screws v. United States, 325 U.S. 91 (1945). Screws, Sheriff of Buker County, Georgia,
a policeman and a deputy sheriff arrested Robert Hall at his home late one night on a
warrant charging Hall with theft of a tire. Hall, a negro, was handcuffed and taken
by car to the court house. Upon alighting from the car at the court house, Hall was
beaten by the three men with fists and a blackjack for fifteen to thirty minutes. Hall
was later removed to a hospital where he died. Indictments were returned against the three
men, one count charging a violation of Section 20 of the Criminal Code (predecessor of 42
U.S.C. Section 1983) and another charging a conspiracy to violate Section 20. A district
court jury returned a verdict of guilty, and a fine and imprisonment on each count was
imposed. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed and Screws petitioned for a writ of
certiorari. (Reversed, remanded for new trial) In discussing allegations that "under color of
law" were designed to include only actions taken by officials pursuant to state law, the court
stated:
~ "It is clear that under 'color' of law means under 'pretense' of law. Thus acts of
officers in the ambit of their personal pursuit are plainly excluded. Acts of officers who
undertake to perform their official duties are included whether they hew to the line of their
authority or overstep it." 325 U.S. at 111 (emphasis added). (Buker County, Georgia)

1961
U.S. Supreme Court
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

GOVERNMENTAL
LIABILITY

Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167 (1961). Thirteen Chicago policemen broke into the
Monroe family home in the early morning, routed them from bed, and made them
stand naked in the living room while they ransacked the house. Mr. Monroe was then
taken to the police station and detained on open charges for ten hours while being
interrogated about a two day old murder. Though a magistrate was available, Monroe
was not taken before him, and he was not permitted to call hia family or attorney. He was
fmally released with no charges. The Monroe family sued the city of Chicago and the police
underR.S.
Section 1979 (42 U.S.C. Section 1983) alleging that the warrantless search and arrest were
made "under the color of statutes, ordinances, regulations, customs and usages" of the state
and city. The district court dismissed the complaint, the court of appeals affirmed, and the
Supreme Court granted certiorari and reversed the lower court ruling.
HELD: Allegation of facts constituting a deprivation under color of state authority of the
fourth amendment guaranty against unreasonable searches and seizures, made applicable to
the various states by the fourteenth amendment due process clause, satisfies to that extent
the requirement ofR.S. Section 1979 (42 U.S.C. Section 1983)
HELD: Congress in enacting R.S. Section 1979 (42 U.S.C. Section 1983) meant to give a
remedy to parties deprived of constitutional rights, privileges, and immunities by an ofticial's
abuse of his position. 365 U.S. at 172.
HELD: The statutory words "under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom,
or usage, of any state of territory" do not exclude acts of an otii.cial or policeman who can
show no authority under state law, custom or usage, to do what he did. 365 U.S. at 172.
HELD: "It is abundantly clear that one reason the legislation [R.S.

27.1

Section 1979, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983] was passed was to afford a federal right in federal
courts because, by reasons of prejudice, passion, neglect, intolerance or otherwise, state
laws might not be enforced and the claims of citizens to the enjoyment of rights,
privileges, and immunities guarant.eed by the fourt.eenth unendment might be denied by
the state agencies." 365 U.S. at 180.
HET,D, The city of Chicago and the police argued that Monroe had the benefit of a
state remedy which provided adequate relief, therefore making the federal remedy
in.appropriate. The court ruled:
'The federal remedy is supplementary to the state remedy, and the latt.er need not
be first sought and refused before the federal one is invoked."
I:m!.Q "Misuse of power, possessed by virtue of state law and made possible only
because the wrongdoer is clothed with the authority of state law is action taken 'under
color of state law." 365 U.S. at 184 Citing United States v. Classic, 313 U.~. 299, (1940);
(Screws v. United States, 325 U.S. 91 (1945).
.
HELD: It is not necessary that a specific intent to deprive a person of a federal right
be found. "Section 1979 (42 U.S.C. Section 1983 should be seen against the background of
tort liability that makes a man responsible for the natural consequences of his actions."
365 U.S. at 187.
HELD: "[W]e are of the opinion that Congress did not undertake to bring municipal
corporations within the ambit of Section 1979 [42 U.S.C. Section 1983]."
EXPANSION: 'The response of the Congress to the proposal to make municipalities
liable for certain actions being brought within federal purview by the act of April 20, 1971
[Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983] was so antagonistic that we cannot believe that
the word 'person' was used in the particular act to include them." 365 U.S. at 191.
(Footnote Omitted.) (City of Chicago)

1970
U.S. District Court
VICARIOUS

LIABILITY

Davis v. Lindsay, 321 F.Supp. 1134 (S.D. N.Y. 1970). It is not proper for court to
abstain from adjudicating detainee's claim for relief. The Commissioner of Department
of Corrections is not liable in suit by city detainee seeking release from isolation on
basis of general authority over jails. Constitutionality of adminisb:-ative segregation must
be measured by its reasonableness and effect, not the motivation. of the actors. (City Jail,
New York)
1971

U.S. District Court

REMEDIES

Jones v. Wittenberg. 330 F.Supp. 707 (N.D. Oh. 1971), aff'd. 456 F.2d 854
(6th Cir. 1972). Defendants must comply with federal court's orders regardless of
division of responsibility under state law. (Lucas County Jail, Ohio)

U.S. Appeals Court
NEGUGENCE

Kish v. County of Milwaukee, 441 F.2d 901 (7th Cir. 1971). Under negligence
concepts, in order for a prison. official to be held liable, there must be found both a
causal connection between the jailer's act and the resulting injury, and a duty for the
official to act. The courts have held that there is a fun.dam.ental duty for prison officials t.o
protect the lives and safety of inmates in their charge. (Milwaukee County Jail)

U.S. Appeals Court

Sostre v. McGinnis, 442 F.2d 178 (2d Cir. 1971). Monetary liability "is entirely
personal in nature, intended to be satisfied out of the individual's pocket." (Green
Haven Correctional Facility)
·

PERSONAL
LIABILITY

1972
U.S. Appeals Court

QUALIFlED
IMMUNlTY

Christman v. Skinner, 468 F.2d 723 (2d Cir. 1972). Where the plain.tiff alleged that
jail guards had refused to mail his lett.ers to counsel, a suit against guards' superiors
could not be dismissed since the plain.tiff might be able to prove their participation or
acquiescence. Where defendants censored mail pursuant to state regulations, and it was
not claimed that they acted maliciously or in wan.ton disregard of plain.tiff's rights,
defendants are protected from suit by a qualified privilege. Monitoring of non.-att.orney
conversation is not prohibited. (Monroe County Jail, New York)
1973

U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

GOOD FAITH
DEFENSE

IJABJLITY

U.S. District Court
DEFENSES

Collins v. Scb.oomield. 363 F.Supp.• 1152 (D. Md. 1973). In. action by prisoner against
prison. officials under 42 U.S.C. Section. 1983 for damages again.st individual defendants,
individual actions rather than general prison practices must be critically examined to
determine if a constitutional violation has occurred. If an. official has acted in good
faith reliance on. standard prison. proc:edares, he shall not be required to respond
personally in damages. (Baltimore City Jail, Maryland)
Hamilton v. Love, 858 F.Supp. 338 (E.D. Ark. 1973). In.adequate resources c:ami.ot
justify deprivation of constitutional rights. (Palaski County Jail, Arkansas)

Zl.2

U.S. Appeals Court
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

Johnson v. Glick, 481 F.2d 1028 (2nd Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 1033. Guard's
denial of prisoner's access to medical care may constitute a Section 1983 brutality
claim. (Manhattan House of Detention, New York)

U.S. Supreme Court
FEDERAL TORT
CLAIMS ACT

Logue v. United States, 412 U.S. 521 (1973). Logue was a federal prisoner being held
in a Texas county jail while awaiting trial. The county jail contracted with the federal
government to house federal prisoners. While in cust.ody, Logue committed suicide, and
his parents brought suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) which allows
individuals to sue the U.S. Government for negligent acts of an employee of the
government. The district court found the sheriff's employees failed to provide adequate
surveillance, and held the government liable. The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
reversed the decision on th~ grounds that a "contractor exclusion" clause relieved the
government of liability for the sheriff's employees' acts, and that these employees were not
acting on behalf of a federal agency in an official capacity as the act int.ended. Logue's
parents then sought certiorari from the U.S. Supreme Court. (Vacated and Remanded.)
HELD: The county jail was a contractor, not a federal agency within the meaning of
the Fl'CA. a) The U.S. Marshal had no control or authority over the Sheriff's employees;
b) The arrangement for keeping federal prisoners in the county jail clearly contemplated
that the day-to-day operation of the jail be left with contractor (sheriff).
HELD: The contention that the sheriffs employees were "acting on behalf of a federal
agency in an official capacity" and were thus employees of the government is not
consistent with the legislative intent of the Fl'CA.
NOTE: The court remanded for further proceedings the question of negligence on the
part of the U.S. Marshal in failing to order constant surveillance. (Nueces County, Corpus
Christi, Texas)
1974

U.S. District Court
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1983
GOOD FAITH
DEFENSE

Campise v. Hamilton, 382 F.Supp. 172 (S.D. Tex. 1974), cert denied, 429 U.S. 1102
(1976). Sheriff knew or should have known that the prisoner was kept under
inhumane conditions and is liable under Section 1983, which incorporates state
standards. The court rejected a sheriffs argument that he was immune from liability
in a prisoners' rights suit under theories of quasi-judicial immunity and "good faith and
probable cause.• (Brazos County Jail, Texas)
1975

U.S. District Court
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1983
TORT LAW

U.S. District Court
DEFENSES
PERSONAL
LIABILITY

DiFebo v. Keve, 395 F.Supp. 1350 (D. Del. 1975). Inmate's glasses were broken in a
scuffle, at which inmate was innocent bystander. Despite requests, he was not
examined for three months, at which time the physician found the inmate's vision to
have been permanently impaired. The court said the facts did not constitute a claim
under Section 1983, but the facts would be sufficient to establish a claim under tort law.
{Delaware Correctional Center)
Miller v. Carson, 401 F.Supp. 835 (M.D. Fla. 1975), affd, 563 F.2d 741
(5th Cir. 1977). Where jail officials are joined as defendants in prisoners' rights
litigation which commenced before said officials took office, they shall not be personally
liable in damages for events transpiring or action taken or not taken prior to the date
of their joinder, though they may be joined in both their individual and official capacities.
Financial difficulties do not provide a defense where conditions of confinement violate
minimum constitutional standards. (Duval County Jail, Florida)
1978

U.S. Appeals Court
GOOD FAITH
DEFENSE

Bryan v. Jones, 530 F.2d 1210 (5th Cir. 1976), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 865. The jury
should be allowed to consider whether a sheriff is acting in good faith jf he relies on
the district attorney's office notice that the imprisonment was legal. (Dallas County
Jail, Texas) ·
·

U.S. District Court

Doe v. Swinson, 20 Crim. L. Rptr. 2272 (E.D. Vir. 1976). Sloppy classification is liable.

Sheriff is found liable for repeated beatings of prisoner. (Fairfax County Jail, Virginia)
U.S. Appeals Court
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

Harris v. Chanclor, 537 F.2d 203 (5th Cir. 1976). A supervisory officer is liable under
42 U.S.C. Section 1983 if he refuses to intervene when his subordinates are beating an
inmate in his presence. (Glynn County Jail, Georgia)

U.S. Appeals Court
42U.S.C.A.

disregard level is sufficient to maintain a section 1983 action. (St. Clair ~ 1983

Kimbrough v. O'Neil. 545 F.2d 1059 (7th Cir. 1976). Culpability at the reckless
IDinois)

U.S. District Court
DEFENSES

Mitchell v. Untreiner, 421 F.Supp. 567 (D. Neb. 1976). Lack of funds does not excuse
unconstitutional conditions of confinement. (Escambia County Jail, Pensacola, Florida)
Z'/.3

U.S. District Court
DEFENSES

Moore v••Tanfog, 427 F.Supp. 567 (D. Neb. 1976). Lack of resources does not justify ·
denial of rights. (Douglas County Jail, Nebraska)

U.S. District Court
DEFENSES

Rodriguez v. Jiminez, 409 F.Supp. 582 (D. P.R. 1976). Inadequate resources can never
be an adequate justification for the state's depriving persons of constitutional rights.
(San Juan District Jail)

U.S. District Court

Sandlin v. Pearsall, 427 F.Supp. 494 (E.D. Tenn. 1976). Doctrine of respondeat
superior does not apply to sheriff for acts of deputies. (County Jail, Tennessee)

RESPONDEAT
SUPERIOR

U.S. District Court

Tucker v. Thompson. 421 F.Supp. 297 (M.D. Ga. 1976). In suit for wrongful death of a
detainee. liability of city may be predicated on maintenance of an actionable nuisance.
(Macon City Jail, Georgia)

1977
U.S. District Court

Cook v. Brockway. 424 F.Supp. 1046 (N.D. Tex. 1977). Where jail employee allegedly
stole prisoner's property after agreeing to sell it for the prisoner, the employee was acting
outside the scope of his duties, and the sheriff would not be held liable absent evidence of
personal involvement. (Kaufman County Jail, Texas)

U.S. Appeals Court
DEFENSES

Smith v. Sullivan, 553 F.2d 373 (5th Cir. 1977). Fiscal shortages are no defense to
constitutional violations. (El Paso County Jail, Texas)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE

Stevens v. County of Duchess, 445 F.Supp. 89 (S.D. N.Y. 1977). Sheriff is liable if
prisoner-on-prisoner attack occurs under conditions of inadequate supervision. (Duchess
County Jail, New York)

1978
U.S. District Court

Fowler v. Vincent, 452 F.Supp. 449 (S.D. N.Y. 1978). Not every batt.ery by a guard
automatically states a claim for violation of civil rights, but where the batt.ery is
unprovoked or has no relationship to the necessary operation of the institution, a claim
can be stated. (Green Haven Correctional Facility, New Yorlt)

U.S. District Court

Hamilton v. Covington, 445 F.Supp. 195 (W.D. Ark. 1978). A duty is owed by the
sheriff to provide adequate security. Liability may exist for deaths and injuries occurring
from a fire in an unatt.ended jail. (Nevada County Jail, Arkansas)

U.S. Supreme Court
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1983
GOVERNMENTAL

Monell v. Department.of Social Services of the City of New York, 98 S.Ct.
2018 (1978). Female employees of the Department of Social Services and the Board of
Education of New York City brought this class action against the department and its
commissioner, the board and its chancellor, the City of New York and its mayor under
42 U.S.C. Section 1983. In each instance, the individual defendants were sued solely
in their official capacity. The basis of the complaint was that the board and the
department had as a matt.er of official policy compelled pregnant employees to take
unpaid leaves of absence before such leaves were medically required.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York found that the women's
constitutional rights had been violated, but held that their requests for injunctive relief
were mooted by a supervisory change in official maternity leave policy. On the basis of
Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167 (1961) the court denied recovery of back pay from the
department, board, and city. Additionally and also on the basis of Monroe, the court held
that persons sued in their official capacities as offi~s of a local government enjoy the
immunity inferred on local governments by Monroe. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals
aff"umed and the Supreme Court granted certiorari. {Reversed.)
HELD: Our analysis of the legislative history of the Civil Rights Act of 1871 compels
the conclusion that Congress did intend municipalities and other local government units to
be included among the person to whom Section 1983 applies. Local governing bodies,
therefore, can be sued directly under Section 1983 for monetary, declaratory, or injunctive
relief where, as here, the action that is alleged to be unconstitutional implements or
executes a policy statement, ordinance, regulation, or decision officially adopted and
promulgated by that body's officers. 98 S.Ct. at 2035-2036. (Footnotes omitt.ed.)
HELD: [A]lthough the touchstone of the Section 1983 action against a government
body is an allegation that official policy is responsible for a deprivation of rights protected
by the Constitution, local governments, like every other Section 1~83 'person' by the very
terms of the statute, may be sued for constitutional deprivations visited

LIABILITY

RESPONDEAT
SUPERIOR

pursuant to governmental 'custom' even though such a custom has not received formal
approval through the body's official decision-making channels. 98 S.Ct. at 2036.
HELD: [T]he language of Section 1983, read against the background of the same
legislative history, compels the conclusion that Congress did not intend municipalities to
be held liable unless action pursuant to official municipal policy of some nature caused a
constitutional tort. In particular, we conclude that a municipality cannot be held liable
solely because it employs a tort-feasor, or in other words, a municipality cannot be held
under Section 1983 on a respondeat superior theory. 98 S.Ct. at 2036.
HELD: Monroe v. Pape. 365 U.S. 167 is overruled "insofar as it holds Section 1983." 98
S.Ct. at 2022. (footnote omitted)
.
HELD: As the question whether local government bodies should be afforded some form
of official immunity was not presented as a question to be decided in this case, the court
expressed no view on the scope of municipal immunity, "beyond holding that municipal
bodies sued under Section 1983 cannot be entitled to an absolute immunity, lest our
decision that such bodies are subject to suit under Section 1983 'be drained of meaning.'"
98 S.Ct. at 2041. (Quoting Scgeyr v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 248. See, Owen v. City of
Independence. Missouri, 100 S.Ct. 1398 (1980).
HELD: Considerations of stare decisis do not bar overruling of Monroe v. Pape, 361
U.S. 167, insofar as it is inconsistent with this opinion. 98 S.Ct. at 2041.
RATIONALE:
a. "Monroe v. Pape... insofar as it completely immunizes municipalities from suit
under section 1983 was a departure from prior practice." 98 S.Ct. 2938.
b. Extending absolute immunity to school boards would be inconsistent with several
instances in which Congress has refused to immunize school boards from federal
jurisdiction under Section 1983. 98 S.Ct. at 2039.
c. Municipalities cannot arrange their affairs on an assumption that they can violateconstitutional rights for an indefinite period. Accordingly, municipalities have no reliance
interest that would support an absolute immunity. 98 S.Ct. at 2040.
d. "It is simply beyond doubt that, under the 1871 Congress view of the law, were
Section 1983 liability unconstitutional as to local government, it would have been equally
unconstitutional as to state officers. Yet everyone•-proponents and opponents alike--knew
Section 1983 would be applied to state officers and nonetheless stated that Section 1983
was constitutional." 98 S.Ct. at 2041.
NOTE: "Nothing we say today affects the conclusion reached in Moor [v. County of
Alameda, 411 U.S. 693], that 42 U.S.C. Section 1988 cannot be used to create a federal
cause of action where Section 1983 or the conclusion reached in City of Kenosha [v.
Brunu, 412 U.S. 507] that 'nothing... suggests that the generic word 'person' in Section
1983 was intended to have a bifurcated application to municipal corporations depending
on the nature of the relief sought against them.'" 98 S.Ct. 2041 at 66. (Department of
Social Services and the Board of Education, New York City, New York)
U.S. Supreme Court
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1983
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Procunier v. Navarette, 434 U.S. 555 (1978). Navarette, an inmate of Soledad Prison,
California, brought this 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 action against the director of the State
Department of Corrections, the warden, and assistant warden, two correctional
counselors, and a member of the prison staff in charge of handling inmate mail. The
question on which the Supreme Court granted certiorari involved Navarette's third
claim for relief. In that claim, Navarette alleged that his personal mail had not been
mailed from the prison due to the subordinate staffs negligent application of prison mail
regulations and the supervisory officer's failure to provide sufficient training. and
direction, all in violation of Navarette's constitutional rights. The U.S. District Court
granted summary judgment for the prison officials, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
reversed, and the officials petitioned for a writ of certiorari and the Supreme Court
reversed the lower court decision.
HELD: The court ruled that as prison officials, the defendants were not absolutely
immune from liability in the Section 1983 damages suit and could only rely on qualified
immunity as described in the cases of Scheur v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232 (1974); and Wood v.
Strickland, 420 U.S. 308 (1975). 434 U.S. at 561 (Qig the Scheur holding).
HELD: Using the first standard put forth in Wood v. Strickland, the immunity defense
would be unavailing to [the prison officials] if the constitutional right allegedly infringed
by them was clearly established at the time of their challenged conduct, if they knew or
should have known of that right, and if they knew or should have known that their
conduct violated the constitutional norm. 434 U.S. at 562.
HELD: [T]here was no 'clearly established' first and fourteenth amendment right with
respect to the correspondence of convicted prisoners in 1971-1972. As a matter of law,
therefore, there was no basis for rejecting the immunity defense on the ground that
petitioners knew or should have known that their alleged conduct violated a constitutional
right. Because they could not reasonably have been expected to be aware of a
constitutional right that had not been yet declared, petitioners did not act with such
disregard for the established law that their conduct 'cannot reasonably be charact:erized as
being in good faith.' (QiBY'. Wood v. Strickland] 434 U.S. at 565.
HELD: In applying the second standard of Wood v. Strickland, authorizing liability
·where the official has acted with malicious intention to deprive a person of a
27.5

constitutional right or to cause him other injury the court ruled, "[t]he prison officers were
charged with neglect and inadvert:ent interference with the mail and the supervisory
personnel with negligent failure to provide proper training. To the extent that a malicious
intent to harm is a ground for denying immunity, that consideration is clearly not
implicated by the negligence claim now before us." 434 U.S. at 566.
DICTA: "Although the court has recognized that in enacting section 1983 Congress
intended to expose state officials to damages liability in some circumstances, the section
has been consistently construed as not intending wholesale revocation of the "commonlaw" immunity afforded government officials." 434 U.S. at 561.
NOTE: Navarette's complaint contained a total of nine claims for relief. The first
three involved interference with outgoing mail, and though this issue reached the
Supreme Court, it was disposed of by an immunity analysis. The six other claims for
relief were dismissed by the U.S. District Court for failure to state a federal claim. These
claims involved:
-Termination of a law student visitation program;
-Removal of inmate plaintiff from post of prison librarian;
-The remainder sought to hold supervisory officials liable on a theory of vicarious
rather than personal liability. 434 U.S. at 558 N.4.
(Soledad Prison, California)

1979
U.S. District Court

Carwile v. Ray, 481 F.Supp. 33 (E.D. Wash. 1979). If opening of "judicial mail"
actually occurred, it was in direct disobedience to the sheriffs orders and, therefore, the
sheriff could not be liable. (County-City Jail, Spokane County, Washington)

U.S. Appeals Court

Clappier v. Flynn, 605 F.2d 519 (10th Cir. 1979). Jail administration and staff are
held liable for an inmate-on-inmate attack where evidence reveals that living areas were
patrolled only once per shift. (Laramie County Jail, Wyoming)

U.S. Appeals Court

Daily v. Byrnes, 605 F.2d 858 (5th Cir. 1979). Where a guard struck the plaintiff
prisoner in retaliation for water being thrown at the guard, there is clear violation of civil
rights. Where county jail prisoner is struck and injured by a guard and no effort is made
to secure medical attention, guard and county could be held liable for deliberate
indifference. (Escambia County Jail, Alabama)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE
VICARIOUS
LIABILITY

Davis v. Zahradnick, 600 F.2d 458 (4th Cir. 1979). If a warden fails to properly
supervise his officers and if improper supervision resulted in the guards' denial of
access to medical treatment to a prisoner who had been beaten, the warden could be
found vicariously liable for his failure to carry out the duty of supervision. (State
Prison, Virginia)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Fielder v. Bosshard, 590 F.2d 105 (5th Cir. 1979). Jury awarded $99,000
damages against jailer and sheriff for death of county jail prisoner. The deceased
prisoner was arrested and jailed for nonsupport. Although informed of the prisoner's need
for medication jail officials did not respond to his repeated requests. The jury found the
officials were callously indifferent to the prisoner's known medical needs. (Williamson
County Jail, Texas)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO

Owens v. Haas, 601 F.2d 1242 (2nd Cir. 1979), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 980
(1979). The county may be held liable for failing to properly train jail staff if that
failure amounts to "gross negligence" or "deliberate indifference" to the inevitable
consequences of a lack of training. In addition, there need not be a "pattern" of abuse
for the county to be liable, but liability under Section 1983 can arise from a single
incident if that incident is serious enough to indicate some level of "official acquiescence"
(in this case, the incident was the beating of a prisoner who refused to leave his cell, by
the defendant Officer Haas and other officers). If the plaintiff can show an official
"custom or policy" stemming from or resulting in a conspiracy, and if the conspiracy
implicates the county itself, then the county may be liable as a "person" under Title 42,
Section 1985 (the conspiracy section of the Civil Rights Act).

TRAIN

42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

1980
State Appeals Court
NEGLIGENCE

Burns v. Town of Leesville, 383 So.2d 109 (Ct. App. La. 1980). Court of appeals
affirms judgment against pretrial detainee. The plaintiff, Bill Burns, was arrested
and charged with drunkenness and was admitted to the Leesville City Jail. He was
assigned an upper bunk in a double cell. After several hours, he attempted to leave the
bunk and fell across the bottom bunk, striking his back on its metal railing. He said that
he was not able to move after his fall. requested medical attention several times, and it
was refused. Burns was released from custody the following morning and sought
treatment for his back. His injuries were diagnosed as a contusion, abrasion and acute
sprain, and he spent several days in the hospital. Burns filed suit against

27.6

the t.own of Leesville, the chief of police, and the village of New Llano (where he was
initially arrested), claiming they were responsible for his injuries. The plaintiff claimed
that the defendants should not have placed him in an upper bunk because of his physical
condition, and that they were negligent in failing t.o provide medical services. The
defendants argued that the plaintiff was negligent in attempting t.o get down from his
bunk and should be held responsible for his own actions. The trial judge concluded that
the plaintiff was not unreasonably int.oxicat.ed, and was therefore responsible for his
actions. The appeals court concurred, and ordered Burns t.o pay all court costs. {Leesville
City Jail, Louisiana)
U.S. Appeals Court
DEFENSES

Campbell v. Cauthron, 623 F.2d 503 (8th Cir. 1980). Lack of funding is not a defense
t.o performance of a constitutional duty. (Sebastian County Jail, Arkansas)

U.S. Supreme Court
FEDERAL TORT
CLAIMS ACT
DAMAGES

Carlson v. Green, 100 S.Ct. 1468 (1980). In this case, Green as administratrix of the
estat.e of her deceased son, brought suit in an Indiana U.S. district court, alleging that
while her son was an inmat.e in a Federal prison, officials failed t.o give him proper
medical attention, causing personal injuries from which he died. Green claimed this
violat.ed her son's eighth amendment prot.ection against cruel and unusual punishment.
Asserting jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. Section 1331 (a.), Green sought compensat.ory and
punitive damages. The U.S. District Court held that the complaint gave rise t.o a cause of
action under Bivens for damages, but dismissed the complaint because Illinois
survivorship and wrongful death laws limit.eel recoverable damages t.o less than the
$10,000 required t.o meet 1331 (a.) jurisdiction. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
agreed with the district court, but held that Section 1331 (a.) was satisfied because
whenever a stat.e survivorship statut.e would preclude a Bivens action, the federal common
law allows survival of the action.
HELD: In ruling that a Bivens remedy against individual federal agents was
permissible in this case, as well as an action against the federal government under the
Federal Tort Claims Act, the court stat.eel: "Plainly FTCA is not a sufficient prot.ector of the
citizens' constitutional rights, and without a clear congressional mandat.e we cannot hold
that Congress relegat.ed [Green] exclusively t.o the FTCA remedy." 100 S.Ct. at 1474.
(Federal Correctional Cent.er, Indiana)

U.S. District Court
FEDERAL TORT
CLAIMS ACT
DAMAGES

Garrett v. Unit.eel Stat.es, 501 F.Supp. 337 (N.D. Ga. 1980). An ex-inmat.e of Atlanta
Federal Penit.entiary sues for injuries inflicted upon him while he was incarcerat.ed.
The district court found that the prisoner who assault.eel the plaintiff prisoner
arrived at the federal penit.entiary in Atlanta accompanied by a file showing that he
had committed assault upon a correctional officer on three separat.e occasions, had
assault.eel another inmat.e, had murdered an inmat.e and threat.ened correctional officers,
as well as engaged in fighting and possession of dangerous weapons. The government was
negligent in failing t.o anticipate that he might harm another prisoner and
failed t.o provide closer supervision of him than was provided. He had been placed in a
large area housing 500 t.o 600 prisoners in multi-tiered cells, manned by two t.o three
guards. The court found that this negligence was proximat.e cause of prisoner's injuries so
that he would be entitled t.o damages for loss of earnings, pain he suffered after the
incident, and anxiety and mental distress. The legal standard for proximat.e cause requires
the injuries t.o have been a foreseeable result t.o the alleged negligence. However,
"foreseeability" does not require the anticipation of a particular injury t.o a particular
person but only that anticipation of a general type or cat.egory of harm which in ordinary
experience might be expected t.o flow from a particular type of negligence. Failure of the
institutional staff t.o take the individual's prior record of attacks on inmat.es and guards
int.o account when classifying him, which caused the individual t.o be placed in general
population where he was able t.o attack plaintiff, was negligence giving rise t.o liability
under the Federal Tort Claims Act. $5040 was awarded. (Federal Penit.entiary, Atlanta)

U.S. District Court
FEDERAL TORT
CLAIMS ACT

Guy v. Unit.ed Stat.es, 492 F.Supp. 571 (N.D. Calif. 1980). The evidence does not
indicat.e any negligence on the part of the institutional officials which result.eel in the
inmates who beat the plaintiff gaining access t.o alcohol. Therefore, no claim was
stat.eel under the Federal Tort Claims Act. (Federal Correctional Institut.e, California)

U.S. District Court
DEFENSES

Hutchings v. Corum, 501 F.Supp. 1276 (W.D. Mo. 1980). Class action is brought
challenging the constitutionality of numerous conditions and practices at the county
jail. The district court held that: (1) prison authorities' failure t.o immediat.ely evacuat.e
in.mat.es from any sewage contaminat.ed cell, pending thorough cleaning of cell, violat.ed
constitutional rights of inmat.es subject t.o that condition; (2) deficiencies in jail, including
lack of fire escape, absence of windows, lack of necessary fire doors, and limit.eel number of
f'll'e extinguishers amount.eel t.o constitutionally int.olerable conditions. Prison conditions
for an unconvicted person are t.o be judged against due process standards of the fifth and
fourteenth amendments and conditions within the penal institution which are
unconstitutional for the convicted person under eighth am.endmP.nt review are likewise an
abridgment of due process guarantees afforded unconvicted persons.

Deficiencies in the county jail, including lack of fire escapes, absence of windows, lack
of necessary fire doors, and limited number of fire extinguishers amounted to
constitutionally intolerable conditions. Failure of county jail authorities to provide each
inmate one hour per day of exercise outside cells was a constitutionally intolerable
condition. The claim that financial restrictions have prevented improvements in jail
conditions is not a defense to constitutional violations. (Clay County Jail, Missouri)
U.S. District Court

RESPONDEAT
SUPERIOR

Madewell v. Garmon, 484 F.Supp. 823 (E.D. Tenn. 1980). Where the state statutes
made the sheriff responsible for the operation of the jail and the plaintiff alleged the
personal involvement of the sheriff in acts directed against him, the case required a
trial to determine the sheriffs liability and could not be resolved on summary judgment on
the basis that respondent superior does not apply in civil rights cases. (County Jail,
Tennessee)

U.S. District Court
NEGLIGENCE
VICARIOUS
LIABILITY

Moomey v. City of Holland, 490 F.Supp. 188 (W.D. Mich. 1980). A superior officer is
not liable for the acts of his inferiors in a civil rights litigation without personal
involvement. Failure of the booking officer to remove the inmate's belt, with a
resulting suicide, is nothing more than negligence, and does not state a claim for
violation of civil rights. (Holland City Jail, Michigan)

U.S. District Court
FEDERAL TORT
CLAIMS ACT
DAMAGES

Picariello v. Fenton, 491 F.Supp. 1026 (M.D. Penn. 1980). Force employed by a guard
to restrain an inmate is privileged. Where the force employed is greater than
necessary or longer in duration than necessary, a claim under the Federal Tort Claims
Act is stated. An extended use of restraints (three days) was excessive under the facts.
$200 per inmate was awarded. (United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania)

U.S. Appeals Court

Streeter v. Hopper, 618 F.2d 1178 (5th Cir. 1980). The state has an obligation to
protect the safety of the inmates and where the courts have found a breach of this
duty, they have wide discretion in formulating a remedy. (State Prison, Reidsville,
Georgia)

REMEDIES

U.S. Appeals Court
GOOD FAITH
DEFENSE

Williams v. Kelly, 624 F.2d 695 (5th Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 451 U.S. 1019 (1980).
Mother of prisoner, whose death was apparently caused when jailers applied choke hold
to him, brought wrongful death action against the jailers resting on statute authorizing
a civil action for deprivation of rights. The United States District Court for the Northern
District of Georgia entered judgment in favor of the jailers and the prisoner's mother
appealed. The court of appeals held that the district court's findings that jailers applied
fatal choke hold to prisoner in order to protect their own safety and in a good faith effort
to maintain order or discipline were not clearly erroneous and therefore their conduct was
not constitutionally tortious. (Atlanta Police Station, Holding Room)

U.S. Appeals Court
42 u.s.c.A.
Section 1983

Withers v. Levine, 615 F.2d 158 (4th Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 849
(1979). The lack of a classification system which results in placements which promotes
inmate on inmate assaults was more than simple negligence and therefore, assaults
resulting from such a system stated a claim upon which relief could be granted under
U.S.C. Section 1983. (House of Corrections, Maryland)

U.S. Appeals Court

Wood v. Woracheck, 618 F.2d 1225 (7th Cir. 1980). Jailers are not liable for
incarceration of falsely arrested persons. (City Jail, Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

1981
U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983
NEGLIGENT

RETENTION
VICARIOUS
LIABILITY

Brandon v. Allen, 516 F.Supp. 1355 (1981). A Civil Rights Act suit was brought
against a police officer and the Director of the police department seeking damages
because of assault and battery committed on the plaintiffs by the officer. Default
judgment was taken against the officer. The district court held that since the city
police director should have known of officer's dangerous propensities the director was
liable in his official capacity. For one to be held liable under Civil Rights Act of 1871
he must act under color of law and in doing so he must play an affirmative part in
deprivation of the constitutional rights of another. Although the police officer was
technically off duty at the time of the alleged assault and battery, he acted under "color of
law" within the meaning of Civil Rights Act of 1871 because off-duty officers were
authorized to be armed and were required to act if they observed commission of a crime.
Since the city police director should have known of officer's dangerous propensities the
director was liable in his official capacity for violation of plaintiffs' civil rights when they
were attacked by the officer, in that the director failed to take proper action to become
informed of the officer's dangerous propensities. The officer's reputation for maladaptive
behavior was widespread among fellow officers and although at least one officer personally
informed police precinct supervisors of the fellow officer's morbid tendencies, no
investigation and action were undertaken.

27.S

Police officers are vested by the law with great responsibility and must be held to high
standards of official conduct. Officials of the police department must become informed of
the presence in the department of officers who pose a threat of danger to the safety of the
community; when knowledge of a particular officer's dangerous propensities is widespread
among the ranks of police officers, the department officials ought to be held liable for the
officer's infringement of another's civil rights. 42 U.S.C.A. Section 1983. (M~mphis Police
Department)
U.S. Appeals Court
QUASI.JUDICIAL

IMMUNITY
GOOD FAITH
IMMUNITY

Jihaad v. O'Brien. 645 F.2d 556 (6th Cir. 1981). A prison disciplinary officer is not a
quasi-judicial officer for the purpose of immunity. Therefore he has potential liability
for civil rights violations committed while administering institutional discipline. To be
liable for a violation of civil rights, the act must be malicious, i.e., the individual must
be aware that he is violating the individual's civil rights. Here there was no
established law, and the individual was acting in good faith so that he wliS not liable.
(Federal Correctional Institution, Milan, Michigan)

U.S. Appeals Court
REMEDIES

Jones v. Diamond, 636 F.2d 1364 (5th Cir. 198l)(en bane). Where the conditions of the
institution have improved but there is nothing in the record which would suggest any
basis for an assurance that the conditions would not change, injunctive relief is
warranted. An injunction prohibiting racial segregation, overcrowding and discipline,
except in accordance with the newly prescribed rules, was entered. (Jackson County Jail,
Pascagoula, Mississippi)

U.S. District Court
REMEDIES

Mercer v. Griffm. 30 CrL 2253 (1981). A consent decree entered nearly a year ago
concerning the improvement of conditions at the Chatham County (Georgia) Jail "has
been all but ignored," according to the U.s; District Court for the Southern District of
Georgia. The court postponed a contempt adjudication but issued specific orders
concerning overcrowding and other issues, stating:
'The patience of the plaintiffs and the court has apparently only permitted further
deterioration in conditions which were already deplorable. The time for patience
is at an end. In the event that Sheriff Grifrm fails to meet the deadlines [imposed
in this order], the court will be compelled to remove the jail from his control.
Should it be shown that the county commissioners have failed to provide adequate
resources to permit meeting these fundamental
requirements, the court will similarly be compelled to act. I do not relish these
responsibilities. The jail is in the first instance the responsibility of elected
officials. I have no wish to remove this public facility from the control of
representatives of the taxpayers who must in any event support it. Nor do I have
any wish to expose the defendants to the political embarrassment of removal from
their official duties. Nonetheless, the court has its own duty to the citizens of the
community, including those who find themselves incarcerated. That duty will be
fulfilled."
(Chatham County Jail, Georgia)

U.S. District Court
GOOD FAITH
DEFENSE

Nees v. Bishop, 524 F.Supp. 1310 (D.C. Colo. 1981). An FBI agent who denies a
prisoner his sixth amendment right to counsel in a criminal proceeding is not immune
from liability. Although the agent acted in good faith, his action in instructing the
sheriff not to permit the public defender access to the prisoner was not reasonable. On
appeal, the lower court decision was reversed when the appeals court determined that the
arrestee's right to counsel had not yet attached at the time his request to see a public
defender was denied. (Colorado State Penitentiary)

U.S. District Court
PERSONAL

O'Conner v. Keller, 510 F.Supp. 1359 (D. Md. 1981). Confinement in a strip cell
(isolation) does not constitute a per se violation of the eighth amendment. Where the
purpose of placing the individual in strip cell was to permit him to calm down after an
incident in the institution, the placement was reasonable. However, the continuance of
the placement for two days without providing a mattress, toilet paper, or operational
plumbing was unreasonable and violated due process, particularly where the staff
providing regular checks of the condition of the inmate had indicated that he was calm
and normal. The Court finds that the stay was at least twenty-four hours too long.
Guards who failed to act on the reports of proper behavior in isolation are liable. $200
in damages was awarded. (Maryland Correctional Institution)

LIABILITY
DAMAGES

U.S. Supreme Court
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527 (1981). The plaintiff, an inmate of a Nebraska prison,
ordered by mail certain hobby materials. After being delivered to the prison, the
packages containing the materials were lost when the normal procedures for receipt of
mail packages were not followed. The inmate brought an action in federal district court .
under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 against prison officials to recover the value of the hobby
materials, claiming that they had negligently lost the materials and thereby deprived the
inmate of property without due process of law in violation of the fourteenth amendment.
The district court entered summary judgment for the inmate, holding that negligent
actions by state officials can be a basis for an action under

Section 1983, that officials were not immune from liability, and that the deprivation of the
hobby materials implicated due process rights. The court of appeals affirmed. The United
States Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the inmate had not stated a claim for relief
under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. Pp. 531-544.
.
(a) In any Section 1983 action the initial inquiry must focus on whether the two
essential elements to a Section 1983 action are present: (1) whether the conduct
complained of was committ.ed by a person acting under color of state law; and (2) whether
this conduct deprived a person of rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
constitution or laws of the United States. Pp. 531-535.
(b) Although the inmate had been deprived of property under color of state law, he
had not sufficiently alleged a violation of the due process clause of the fourteenth
amendment. The deprivation did not occur as the result of some established state
procedure, but as the result of the unauthorized failure of state agents to follow
established state procedure. Moreover, Nebraska has a tort claims procedure which
provides a remedy to persons who have suffered a tortious loss at the hands of the state,
but which the inmate did not use. This procedure could have fully compensated the
inmate for his property loss and was sufficient to satisfy the requirements of due process.
Pp. 535-544. 620 F.2d 30, reversed. (State Prison, Nebraska)
U.S. District Court
DAMAGES
PERSONAL

LIABILITY

Pitts v. Kee, 511 F.Supp. 497 (D. Del. 1981). A United States district judge has
ordered a Delaware Correctional Center guard captain to pay $680 in damages to an
inmate for keeping him in solitary conf'mement and for preventing him from answering
charges that he helped start a prison riot. The inmate was awarded thirty dollars a
day as compensatory damages for each day he was kept in isolation after authorities had
completed their investigation of the disturbance. He was also awarded $500 in punitive
damages. (Delaware Correctional Center)

U.S. Appeals Court

Tikalslcy v. City of Chicago, 687 F.2d 175 (Chicago, Ill. 1981). A federal jury awarded
$30,000 in damages to Mary Ann Tikalsky, a former city of Chicago Clinical therapist,
who was strip searched after being arrested for complaining about a parking ticket. The
verdict was made against the city and Norman Schmiedeknecht, the police watch
commander on duty when she was searched. Two other officers were found not guilty of
the charge. Following the verdict, James O'Grady, former police superintendent for the
city issued strict guidelines as to when strip searches could be made. The Illinois General
Assembly has since passed legislation restricting such searches. (Illinois)

U.S. Appeals Court
GOOD FAITH
DEFENSE

Wolfel v. Sanborn, 666 F.2d 1005 (1981), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1115. In an action for
damages under the civil rights laws, state officials have the burden of proving that
they are entitled to qualified immunity because they acted in good faith. (Ohio Adult
Parole Authority)
1982

U.S. Appeals Court
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

Berry: v. McLemore, 670 F.2d 30 (5th Cir. 1982). A town can not be held liable under
Section 1983 for injuries sustained by an arrestee during an allegedly unlawful arrest.
No reasonable jury could have found from the evidence that the police officer's unlawful
arrest was made pursuant to any policy or custom of the town. (Maben, Mississippi)

U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

DiGiovanni v. City of Philadelphia, 531 F.Supp. 141 (E.D. Penn. 1982). A
municipality's immunity from any claim for punitive damages under 42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983 does not necessarily apply to officials and employees of municipalities.
Punitive damages may be awarded against municipal officials aIJd employees in order to
punish gross violations of constitutional rights. (Philadelphia City Jail, Pennsylvania)

U.S. District Court

Dillon v. Director, Dept. of Corrections, 552 F.Supp. 30 (W.D. Vir. 1982).
Director of state corrections agency not liable for negligent acts in local jails. Although he
had a statutory duty to implement standards and goals for local correctional facilities, the
court found that the Director of the Virginia Department of Corrections was not liable for
isolated acts of negligence that occurred in local jails. The court held that since he had no
direct control over city jail employees he could not be held vicariously liable for their
negligent acts. The plaintiff had alleged that he was the victim of a sexual assault by an
adult and two juveniles while incarcerated in the juvenile section of the Roanoke City Jail
as a result of various officials' negligence. He was also suing the City of Roanoke, the
sheriff, aIJd several jail personnel. The director was dismissed from the suit. (Roanoke
City Jail, Virginia)

U.S. Appeals Court

Freeman v. Franzen, 695 F.2d 485 (7th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 463 U.S.
1214 (1982). Guards are found to have used excessive force in moving inmat.e between
cells. The Seventh. Circuit Court of Appeals aff'irm.ed the decision of the lower court in
f'm.ding for the plaintiffs in this case. The court noted that action for excessive force
lies not only under the eighth amendment but under the due process clause of the
fourt.eenth. amendment as well.

PERSONAL
LIABILITY
DAMAGES

27.10

The incident occurred at the Stateville Correctional Cente; in Joliet, Illinois. The jury

awarded the plaintiff $2,500 compensat.ory and $1,000 punitive damages; $12,000 in
attorney fees were awarded. (Stateville Correctional Center, Illinois)
U.S. Appeals Court
NEGLIGENT
RETENTION
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE

Hirst v. Gertzen, 676 F.2d 1252 (9th Cir. 1982). The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
sent back a Montana Civil rights case t.o the lower court based on allegations by the
plaintiff concerning negligent hiring and failure t.o· supervise a deputy sheriff. In 1975,
Clayton Hirst, a Native American, was found dead in his jail cell in Cutbank, Montana,
hanged by his belt. His family brought suit alleging that he had been electrocuted and
then made t.o appear as though he had committed suiqide or ~ t he actually did commit
suicide as a direct result of the negligence of the defendant city and county and their
officials in negligently hiring and failing t.o supervise jail personnel.
The district court divided the trial int.o two parts. In the first portion, the jury
·determined that the victim's cause of death was suicide rather than electrocution. The
second half dealt with the liability of the defendants, and the district court dismissed on
all counts, finding no liability. The court of appeals remanded the case on two theories:
(l) that the county and city and their officials had a duty under state law t.o exercise care
in hiring and supervising correctional officers and (2) that the negligent hiring and failure
t.o supervise resulted in a deprivation of constitutional rights under federal law. Under
this theory, the court noted that the plaintiffs had alleged gross negligence, but even
simple negligence (any failure t.o fulfill duties which should have reasonably been expected
t.o be done) would be sufficient t.o fmd that the defendants were liable. (Glacier County
Jail, Montana)

State Appeals Court
NEGLIGENCE

Iglesia v. Wells, 441 N.E.2d 1017 (Ind. App. 1982). Sheriff's department may be held
liable under a negligence theory for release of an indigent man. The First Circuit
Court of Appeals for Indiana held that the sheriff's department owed a man a duty t.o
release him in a manner which would not subject him t.o unreasonable danger, ordering
the trial court t.o hear the evidence and decide the case. The case involved an indigent
man who was arrested for public int.oxication. After pleading guilty t.o the charge, he was
ordered t.o pay costs and a fine, but having no money, spent one week in the county jail.
He was released at one minute past midnight on the final day of his sentence. The man's
clothing was unsuitable for the cold winter weather on the night of his release. He could
not speak or understand English, he lived far from the jail and had no transportation.
Becoming disoriented, the man wandered, lost his shoes, and suffered frostbite resulting
in partial amputation of his feet. (Marion County Jail, Indiana)

U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

Juncker v. Tinney, 549 F.Supp. 574 (D. Md., 1982). Section 1983 action is prevented
for negligent deprivation of liberty interest. The Federal District Court for Maryland
has held that the Supreme Court case of Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, prevents an
inmate from recovering, under Section 1983, for burns allegedly received from a coverless
radiat.or in his cell.
The court noted that Parratt has been used for two purposes: (l) for the notion that
simple negligence may sometimes be enough t.o state a claim of action under Section 1983,
and (2) that if a state remedy is available, a negligent deprivation of a property interest is
not actionable under Section 1983.
The Maryland court reasoned that a negligent deprivation should be treated the same
whether of a liberty interest or a property interest, and held that Parratt applies in this
case and thus prevents the inmate from recovery under Section 1983.
The court outlined a four-step analysis in determining that the plaintiff was not
entitled t.o recovery in this case:
(1) if the complaint states a claim under some constitutional provision other
than the fourteenth amendment, Parratt does not apply, because it deals only
with the Due Process Clause of the fourteenth amendment;
(2) if the complaint alleges that the violation resulted from an established state
procedure, Parratt will not apply because the deprivation was not
negligent;
(3) jf the complaint alleges conduct which shocks the conscience of the court,
Parratt will not prevent the plaintiff from recovery because such conduct would
be a violation of substantive due process and Parratt deals only with procedural
due process; and
(4) even jf Parratt is applicable, if the court finds that there is no adequate state
remedy, the Section 1983 action will be allowed t.o proceed.
The plaintiff in this case did not meet any of the above criteria and the suit was
dismissed. (Maryland Correctional Institute)

U.S. District Court
REMEDIES

Miller v. Carson, 550 F.Supp. 543 (M.D. Fla. 1982). Defendants are found in contempt
for exceeding population limit. The court found the defendants individually and in
their official capacity for exceeding the capacity of the jail which was set in a permanent
injunction. A fine of $10,000 was imposed and fmes in excess of $5,000 per day were
authorized in the event of further violations. (Duval County Jail, Florida)
27.ll

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

Mosby v. Mabry, 697 F.2d 213 (8th Cir. 1982). Administrative liability for an assault
on an inmat.e exists only if the warden or jailer knew of risk of such injury or should
have known of it and failed to prevent such an attack. (Arkansas Department of
Correction)

U.S. District Court
REMEDIES

Parnell v. Waldrep. 538 F.Supp. 1203 (W.D. N.C. 1982). County fails to take remedial
action to solve exercise deficiencies. The Unit.ed Stat.es district court for the West.em
District of North Carolina found that Gaston County and its Board of Commissioners were
liable for past and continuing injury to county prisoners for unconstitutional conditions
with regard to the lack of exercise facilities. Since the county defendants knew that the
unconstitutional conditions existed and failed to remedy the situation, they are subject to
any lawful equitable remedies the court might order.
The case was filed as a class action against the sheriff and jail sergeant, complaining
of several constitutional violations, including claims that prisoners in the jail were not
allowed to receive newspapers, that they were denied access to legal mat.erials, anci that
they were denied opportunities for adequat.e exercise. The court found all three policies
unconstitutional, and the defendants were enjoined from prohibiting inmat.es' receipt of
newspaper and books, and were ordered to submit plans to the court for providing inmat.es
with adequat.e access to the courts and opportunities for exercise.
The defendants complied with the order as to the receipt of written mat.erials but
otherwise objected on the grounds that they were without the funds or authority to
comply. As a result, the court added Gaston County and the County Board of
Commissioners as defendants. The court found that the county and the Board of
Commissioners knew of the unconstitutional conditions regarding the lack of exercise but
failed to take remedial action. (Gaston County Jail, North Carolina)

U.S. District Court
PERSONAL
LIABILITY

Roscom v. City of Chicago, 550 F.Supp. 153 (N.D. Ill. 1982). Sheriff and jail director
could be individually liable if they implemented a policy permitting unconstitutional
strip searches. A woman arrest.ed for writing dishonored checks has sued the sheriff,
jail director, and various city defendants for conducting a visual strip search. Taken from
a police station to a hospital when she complained of chest pains, she was subjected to a
visual strip search upon her admission to the Cook County Jail. The Court held that even
though the sheriff and jail director were not personally involved with the search, they
could be individually liable if the policy which they implement.ed is found
unconstitutional. (Cook County Jail)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAn.URETO
DIRECT

Salinas v. Breier, 695 F.2d 1073 (7th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 104 S.Ct. 119. Police
chief is not liable for failing to establish guidelines for strip searches. An appellat.e
court has overturned the findings of a federal district court which held that a strip
search was conducted by employees in a humiliating manner and that the chief was liable
for failing to establish specific guidelines for the conduct of searches. The case was
reversed by the appellat.e court which found that the police chief was not liable because
the strip search was conducted based on probable cause that the arrest.ees possessed
controlled substances. (Milwaukee Police Department)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Saunders v. Chatham County, 728 F.2d 1367 (11th Cir. 1982). $20,000 is awarded to a
prisoner who was assaulted by another prisoner. The suit alleged that jail officials in
Chatham County, Georgia, were guilty of "gross negligence" in failing to protect the safety
of an inmat.e who was beaten by another inmat.e. (Chatham County Jail, Georgia)

Stat.e Supreme Court
DAMAGES

Valadez v. City of Des Moines, 324 N.W.2d 475 (Iowa Sup. Ct. 1982). Award of
$3,800 overturned by appellat.e court. Arrested for hit and run and. assault on an
officer, Valadez was taken to a hospital shortly aft.er admission to the jail. Upon his
return to the jail. he was released on bail. In a jury trial, he was awarded $300 in
damages and $3,500 in punitive damages for false imprisonment. On appeal, the Iowa
Supreme Court reversed the decision and ordered the lower court to rule in favor of the
defendants. The Supreme Court noted that although the plaintiff proved that detention
and restraint were against his will, the evidence at the trial failed to prove the
unlawfulness of the restraint. (Des Moines Police Department, Iowa)

U.S. Appeals Court
GOOD FAITH
DEFENSE

Williams v. Bennett, 689 F.2d 1370 (11th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 104 S.Ct. 335 (1982).
Supreme Court will not review a decision denying prison officials a "good faith"
defense. The United Stat.es Supreme Court has declined to hear a case which
established that a prisoner who was injured in an attack could sue prison officials in their
personal capacity. Stat.e prison officials were told that they might personally be liable for
damages, under the eighth amendment, by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. When an
inmat.e of Holman Prison in Alabama was stabbed by another prisoner and was rendered
a permanent quadriplegic, he brought suit alleging violation of his constitutional rights
under the eighth amendment. (Holman Prison, Alabama)

27.12

U.S. District Court

GOOD FAITH
DEFENSE

U.S. Appeals Court

GOOD FAITH
DEFENSE

Williams v. Heard, 533 F.Supp. 1153 (S.D. Tex. 1982). The sheriff is liable for the
failure of his agents to release a prisoner after he was no billed by the grand jury. A
grand jury "no bill" constitutes a direction to the jailer that demands that a prisoner
be released when the grand jury fails to find a bill of indictment for the offense charged.
The failure to release the prisoner amounted to a deprivation of the prisoner's liberty
without due process. The sheriff was not immune from liability on the basis of good faith
since his actions were not reasonable. (Harris County Jail, Texas)
Williams v. Treen, 671 F.2d 892 (1982), cert. denied, 103 S.Ct. 762 (1982).
Insofar as the conditions of confinement at a Louisiana prison contravened clearly
established state law, the state prison officials' belief in the lawfulness of those
conditions was per se unreasonable. Thus, they could not claim an immunity based on
reasonable good faith. If the officials knowingly deprived a prisoner of needed medication,
they violated the constitutional prohibition against cruel and inhuman punishment and
would not be entitled to qualified immunity. (State Penitentiary, Angola, Louisiana)

1983
U.S. District Court

GOVERNMENTAL
LIABILITY

Brown v. City of Chicago, 573 F.Supp. 1375 (N.D. Ill. 1983). City officials could be
held liable for injuries caused by prisoner transportation practices. The plaintiff, now a
quadriplegic, accused the City of Chicago of purchasing unsafe "paddy wagons," and
handcuffing prisoners in a manner which produces injuries during transport. A federal
district court had found that the city may be liable for injuries which result from the
alleged practices. (City of Chicago, Illinois)

State Court
DAMAGES

Craven v. Richmond City. (Superior Court of CA, #207934, 1983). Diabetic awarded
$1,118,434 because city jail failed to provide three meals a day. A female arrested
in Richmond City, California, was housed in the Richmond City Jail. Upon admission her
husband notified jail personnel that she was diabetic, and that she required daily insulin
injections. She was taken to a hospital each day, and a hospital physician notified jail
staff in writing that she was to receive three meals each day, instead of the two meals
which were being served to all prisoners.
The written notice was lost, and the prisoner received only two meals. After three
days she was admitted to a local hospital by jail staff, where she lapsed into a coma.
After a jury trial, the plaintiff was awarded a total of $1,718,434, which was reduced
by $600,000, the amount of a previous settlement with the city. (City Jail,
Richmond, California)

State Appeals Court
REMEDIES
GOOD FAITH
DEFENSE

Daniels v. McKinney, 193 Cal. Rptr. 842 (App. 1983). California appeals court awards
fees to inmate counsel and finds that the sheriff is not in willful contempt. In a
previous court order, the sheriff had been instructed to provide three hours of exercise
per week to all inmates, without regard to sex. Female inmates sought to hold the
sheriff in contempt of court for failing to implement the order. They prevailed and
secured their exercise privileges. Their counsel was awarded attorney's fees.
The sheriff was not held in contempt because the court determined that he made a
good faith effort to comply with the previous order, and showed a willingness to comply.
However, the court ruled that personnel shortages did not justify the failure to provide
female prisoners with exercise. (Fresno County Jail, California)

U.S. Appeals Court
STATUTES

Holman v. Hilt.on, 712 F.2d 854 (3rd Cir. 1983) aff'd 542 F.Supp. 913 (D. N.J. 1982).
Statute preventing lawsuits during confinement is held unconstitutional. The New
Jersey state tort claims act prevents prisoners from filing suits against public
entities or employees until they are released from confinement. A prisoner serving a
life sentence, who was seeking the return of personal property, filed suit.
A federal district court found that the claims act was not constitutional, and on
appeal, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has aftirmed the lower court's fmding that the
statute denied prisoners sentenced to life due process, and that the time delay contributed
to governmental error in hearing the claims. The court also found that the state's
administrative remedies available during confinement were not a valid alternative.
(Trent.on State Prison, New Jersey)

(PREVENTING

LAWSUITS)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

PERSONAL

LIABILITY

King v. Higgins, 702 F.2d 18 (1st Cir. 1983), cert. denied, 104 S.Ct. 404.
Superintendent is to pay $390 to an inmate for impr9perly conducting a disciplinary
hearing. Following an incident, the plaintiff inmate was brought before a disciplinary
board and charged with refusing to work, refusing a direct order and inciting to riot.
He was not given prior notice of the hearing, nor was he advised of his right to seek
counsel, to confront the complaining officer, nor his right to present witnesses on his own
behalf. After the disciplinary hearing, a reclassif"1Cation hearing was conducted in which it
was recommended that because of his frequent disciplinary infractions, the inmate should
be transferred t.o a more secure institution. The plaintiff inmate

27.13

brought suit alleging that the disciplinary hearing had been improperly conducted and
adversely affected his reclassification hearing. The court ordered that the inmate be
awarded $37 5 for pain and suffering during the fifteen days he was placed in isolation as
a result of the disciplinary decision, and $15 for loss of wages. The superintendent of the
facility was held liable for the $390 since he was the official designated to hear prisoner's
appeals. (Massachusetts Correctional Institute, Concord, Massachusetts)
U.S. District Court
DAMAGES
GOOD FAITH
DEFENSE

Lyons v. C,,mningham, 583 F.Supp. 1147 (S.D. N.Y. 1983). Parents awarded $24,000
for mental anguish following son's jail suicide. After an eight day trial, a federal
jury found that two of nine defendants violated the deceased inmate's constitutional
rights and awarded each parent $12,000. A third defendant was also found to have
violated the son's rights, but was afforded a good faith defense. Six other defendants were
released from responsibility. The federal court granted attorney's fees to the parents.
(New York City Detention Facility)

U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983
GOOD FAITH
DEFENSE

Marchant v. City of Little Rock, Ark., 557 F.Supp. 475 (E.D. Ark. 1983), aff'd, 741 F.2d
201 (8th Cir. 1984). Officials are not liable under Section 1983 for failing to give a
pretrial detainee prescribed medicine. A federal district court in Arkansas found no
liability on the part of the city or jail officials concerning a claim of improper medical
care. The court noted that although the jail matrons may have been negligent in not
giving the prisoner her prescribed medicine on a regular basis, there could be no recovery
for damages since the matrons defense of good faith entitled them to qualified immunity
in this Section 1983 action. Recovery under state laws was not prohibited because the
matron had not intentionally denied the detainee any constitutional rights. Because no
policy had been promulgated that violated the prisoner's constitutional rights, the city, the
chief of police, and the jail administrator could not be liable. (Little Rock City Jail,
Arkansas)

U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

Nelson v. Herdzik, 559 F.Supp. 27 (1983). Guard is not liable under Section 1983.
The plaintiff, an inmate incarcerated at the Attica Correctional Facility in New York,
filed suit under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, alleging that a prison guard at the facility, A.
Herdzik, "intentionally and maliciously denied plaintiff his civil and constitutional rights
by refusing plaintiff an hour of exercise, and continuing to do so at will." The district court
dismissed the complaint, finding it frivolous. Noting that depriving inmates of an
opportunity to exercise over prolonged periods of time has been held by numerous courts
to constitute cruel and unusual punishment to be actionable under Section 1983, the trial
court noted that plaintiffs allegation involved a denial of only one hour of exercise and,
therefore, does not present a constitutional violation. (Attica Correctional Facility, New
York)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO TRAIN
NEGLIGENT
SUPERVISION

Overbay v. Lilliman, 572 F.Supp. 174 (W.D. Mo. 1983). Sheriff and county could
be liable for failure to train and supervise deputy. A prisoner was allowed to
amend his complaint in federal district court, adding the county sheriff as a defendant.
The original complaint alleged that a deputy sheriff had violated his civil rights and
assaulted him. Later, the plaintiff asked to add the county sheriff as a defendant,
alleging that the sheriff knew of the past violent behavior of the deputy and failed to train
and supervise the deputy properly. The district court granted the plaintiffs motion, citing
several circuit court decisions which allow sheriffs to be held liable because they are
responsible for setting policy. (LaFayette County, Missouri)

U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

Reynolds v. Sheriff, City of Richmond, 574 F.Supp. 90 (E.D. Va. 1983). Sheriff may be
liable for pretrial detainee's beating while housed with convicted felons. The United
States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has refused the motion of the
defendant sheriff to dismiss him from a suit brought by a pretrial detainee.
The detainee alleges that he was beaten by convicted felons while he was detained
at the sheriffs facility. He accuses the sheriff of directing the act or acquiescing to it after
it happened.
The court did not dismiss the sheriff from the suit because the plaintiff alleged that he
established and maintained a policy of not segregating convicted felons from pretrial
detainees. Because of a lack of separation, the plaintiff was attacked. Also, the court
ruled that the case could be pursued under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 because it alleged a
violation of the plaintiff's right to be free from bodily injury, and that cruel and unusual
punishment need not be alleged. (Richmond City Jail, Virginia)

U.S. Supreme Court
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983
DAMAGES
PERSONAL

Smith v. Wade, 103 S.Ct. 1625 (U.S. Sup. Ct. 1983). Punitive damages may be
assessed against a guard in Section 1983 action. A five-to-four decision by the U.S.
Supreme Court holds that a plaintiff in a 42 U.S.C.A. Section 1983 civil rights action
may be awarded punitive damages when a government official's conduct "involves
reckless or callous indifference to the federally prot.ected rights of others." The court
rejected the argument of the defendant prison guard that the test for an award of
punitive damages is one of "actual malicious intent." The decision came on appeal of a
lower court's assessment of damages against Missouri corrections officer William Smith for
placing inmate Daniel Wade in a cell where he was beat.en and sexually assaulted.

LIABILITY

27.14

(The appeal challenged only that portion of the award assessed for punitive damages.
Punitive damages are imposed as punishment over and above actual damages that simply
compensate a victim for losses incurred.)
Smith had argued that the standard which requires actual ill will or intent to injure is
less vague than the standard which the court approved. "Reckless or callous in.difference",
he argued, "is too uncertain to achieve deterrence rationally and fairly."
However, the court stated:
Smith seems to assume that prison guards and other state officials look mainly to
the standard for punitive damages in shaping their conduct. We question the
premise. We assume, and hope that most officials are guided primarily by the
underlying standards of federal substantive law--both out of devotion to duty, and
in the interest of avoiding liability for compensatory damages...The need for
exceptional clarity in the standard for punitive damages arises only if one assumes
that there are substantial numbers of officers who will not be deterred by
compensatory damages...The presence of such officers constitutes a powerful
argument against raising the threshold for punitive damages.
The dissent by Justice Rehnquist, joined by the Chief Justice and Justice Powell,
states that the decision will encourage 1983 suits which already strain the federal
workload. Justice O'Connor, dissenting separately, said that the majority's ruling will
tend to "chill public officials in the performance of their duties.• (Missouri Reformatory For
Youths)
State Appeals Court
FAILURE TO

Solberg v. County of Yellowstone, 659 P.2d 290 (Mont. 1983). County may be liable for
alcoholic prisoner's death. An appeals court has remanded this case to trial for
resolution. A prisoner found lying face down in his cell died from a high temperature
resulting from alcohol withdrawal and delirium tremens (DT's). The plaintiff alleges that
the jailer should have recognized the symptoms of the DT's. (Yellowstone County Jail,
Montana)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO

State Bank of St. Charles v. Camic, 712 F.2d 1140 (7th Cir. 1983), cert. denied, 104
S.Ct. 491 (1983). City not liable for prisoner's suicide. The Seventh Circuit Court of
Appeals has decided that city officials were not liable for a prisoner's suicide because
they had no reason to suspect he was a danger to himself and because they had exercised
reasonable routine precautions before placing him in his cell. Upon admission, officers
observed that the prisoner was intoxicated, uncooperative and assaultive, but did not have
reason to believe that he would harm himself. The officers removed the prisoner's belt
and shoelaces prior to placing him in the cell. The prisoner subsequently hung himself by
tearing his shirt into strips which were tied together to form a rope. (Aurora Police
Lockup, Illinois)

U.S. Appeals Court

Stokes v. Delcambre, 710 F.2d 1120 (5th Cir. 1983). Award of $380,000 to a college
student is upheld by circuit court. In a civil rights suit, the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the Fifth Circuit has upheld a lower court's decision to award $380,000 in
compensatory and punitive damages against a Louisiana sheriff and his deputy.
The twenty-one year old plaintiff was arrested with three other occupants of a truck
after a beer bottle was thrown at a pedestrian. While housed in the dayroom of the local
jail, the plaintiff was beaten and forced to engage in sexual acts by two inmates. His yells
and screams for help were ignored by jail staff.
The circuit court affirmed the jury award of $205,000 in punitive damages against the
sheriff, $105,000 in punitive damages against the deputy, and $70,000 in compensatory
damages against both defendants.
The court concurred that jailers owe a constitutional duty to prisoners to provide them
protection from injury, that the evidence indicated an indifference to the safety of
prisoners, that due to the indifference a "good faith" defense was not warranted, and that
punitive damages were appropriate because the actions of the defendants were malicious,
wanton and oppressive. (Vermillion Parish Jail, Louisiana)

PROTECT

PROTECT

DAMAGES
GOOD FAITH

DEFENSE

State Appeals Court
FAILURE TO

Stout v. City of Porterville. 196 Calif. Rptr. 301 (Ca. Ct. App. 1983).
Intoxicated person is not allowed to sue a city for failing to arrest him before he was
struck by car. Although not directly a detention case, the court decision indicates that
a person must show a special relationship between himself and a governmental agency if
he is to sue for failure to provide protection.
Stout was stopped by police officers while walking, and his drunkenness was observed.
The officers did not arrest him. Subsequently he was struck by a car. Stout sued the City
of Porterville, and the California Court of Appeals decided that the city did not take action
which contributed to the accident, nor did it offer the plaintiff any assurances that it
would take care of him. (City of Porterville, California)

U.S. Appeals Court

Wolfel v. Bates, 707 F.2d 932 (6th Cir. 1983). One dollar is awarded to inmate for
being improperly disciplined. No punitive damages awarded. The plaintiff inmate
drafted a petition alleging that prison guards were harassing inmates of the Southern
Ohio Correctional Facility. The petition was sent to tb:e prison superintendent.

PROTECT

DAMAGES
GOOD FAITH
DEFENSE

27.J.5

Subsequently, a guard charged the inmate with violating a rule prohibiting the making of
unfounded complaints against staff members with malicious intent. The inmate received
an informal hearing where he was found guilty of the rule violation. A verbal reprimand
was entered on his record.
The court found that the inmate's first amendment right to petition for redress of
grievances had been unduly restricted. The inmate was awarded one dollar in nominal
damages. The court refused to award punitive damages since the guard and hearing
officer had not acted willfully or in gross disregard of the inmate's rights. The guards
claim of qualified immunity failed since they had not acted in good faith. (Southern Ohio
Correctional Facility)
State Appeals Court
GOVERNMENTAL
IMMUNITY

Young v. City of Ann Arbor, 336 N.W.2d 24 (Mich. App. 1983). Governmental
immunity is granted to police chief for arrestee's suicide in lockup. A Michigan Court
of Appeals has ruled that a police chief be granted immunity for the death of an
arrestee who hung himself with a belt in his lockup. The court decided that immunity
should be granted when the act falls within the scope of employment and granted
immunity based on this rationale. A dissenting judge argued that a more stringent test of
"ministerial discretion" be applied for acts committed within the scope of employment.
(Ann Arbor Police Department, Michigan)

1984
U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Anela v. City of Wildwood, 595 F.Supp. 511 (D. N.J. 1984), 790 F.2d 1063 (3rd Cir.
1986), U.S. cert. denied in 107 S.Ct. 434. Police chief granted summary judgment;
court finds qualified immunity against 42 U.S.C.A. 1983 action and immunity under
state tort claims act; pre-hearing detention period constitutional rights d~ssed. The
two plaintiffs, Connie Anela and Angela DiPietro, were arrested for violating a noise
ordinance and were detained overnight by city police. They brought suit in the United
States district court, claiming that the city police chief had violated their due process
rights by an unconstitutionally long detention ~ false imprisonment.
The constitutional right examined by the court was the right that the period of
detention following arrest and before the arrestee is brought before a magistrate (for bail
setting) be ''brief." In Fisher v. Wa11bingtn11 Metro Transit Authority, 690 F.2d 1133 (4th
Cir. 1982), ''brief" was defmed as no longer than is necessary for the taking of
"administrative steps incident to arrest."
As stated by Fisher:
Whether there are any direct constitutional limits on the post-arrest, pre-hearing
detention of arrested officers by state officers is a question that has not been much
before the federal courts... In a line of Section 1983 cases the former Fifth Circuit
has apparently accepted the view that there are no such constitutional limits... But
the lower federal courts have simply assumed, though fmding no violation on the
facts at hand, that independently of any state law requirements there are ultimate
durational limits derived from due process guarantees ... The Supreme Court has
not addressed the issue directly.
Based on this reasoning, the district court granted the defendant's motion for
summary judgment in its entirety. (City of Wildwood, New Jersey)

State Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

Brewer v. Perrin, 349 N.W.2d 198 (Mich. App. 1984). Detention staff may be liable
for juvenile's suicide because they failed to monitor actions and to make regular checks.
An appeals court in Michigan has ordered a case to proceed to trial in which the
plaintiffs charge the detention facility staff with responsibility for the suicide of their
fifteen year old son. The boy was arrested after assaulting his twin brother. He was
combative and belligerent during arrest and transport. Upon admission to a detention cell
he continued to yell and scream. A staff member turned off an audio monitor because he
decided the noise was interfering with department activities. After ninety minutes the
boy hanged himself. He was only checked one time by facility staff during that period.
The appeals court also instructed the jury to determine if liability might also result from
violation of the state statutes regarding juvenile detention. (Southgate City Jail,
Michigan)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES

Bush v. Ware, 589 F.Supp. 1454 (E.D. Wisc. 1984). Two correctional officers
ordered to pay prisoner $2,000 for using excessive force. Although the prisoner
had swung a towel with a metal object wrapped inside at the guards, testimony at the
trial indicated that the guards entered the cell with a flashlight and ankle restraints with
the intent to use them as weapons. The county was not found-liable, even though no
written policy existed, because it had advised all guards to USfl minima] force. (Waukesha
County Jail, Wisconsin)

State Supreme Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

Cansler v. State, 34 CrL 2372 (Kan. Sup. Ct., 1984), Officials held liable for acts
of escapees. The Kanns Supreme Court found that the state has a duty to securely
confine inmates, and having failed to do so, resulting in the escape of seven convicted
murderers, the state officials were held liable for the subsequent wounding of a law
enforcement officer.
27.16

care

Finding that the corrections employees failed to exercise reasonable
commensurat.e with the risk present.ed by the escape of violent offenders, and having
failed to prevent the escape, not notifying area residents and law enforcement agencies
immediat.ely, the court held the stat.e liable for the subsequent incident. (Department of
Corrections, Kansas)
U.S. District Court
DAMAGES

Cole v. Snow, 586 F. Supp. 655 (D. Mass. 1984) and 588 F. Supp. 1386 (D. Mass.
1984). Visitor Receives Over $175,000 for Unconstitutional Strip Searches; Sheriff Held
Liable for Policies. A woman who was subject.ed to visual cavity searches on three
occasions was awarded $150,000 as compensation and $27,040 for future medical expenses
by a federal court in Massachusetts.
The court found that the sheriff had instituted unconstitutional strip search policies,
and that he was liable in his official and individual capacity. No punitive damages were
awarded. (Plymouth County Jail, Mass.)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
NEGIJGENCE

Estat.e of Davis v. Johnson, 745 F.2d 1066 (7th Cir. 1984). Court of appeals vacat.es
district court decision to award $875,000 for wrongful death; upholds jury award for
negligence in the amount of $50,000. The decedent was a patient in a nursing home
who was picked up by police after he wandered away. He exhibit.ed obvious bizarre
behavior when he arrived at the city jail. A commander ordered the desk clerk to have
the decedent taken from the city jail to a t.emporary placement in the county jail. The
desk clerk did not transfer the inmat.e because the jail floors were being waxed and
cleaning personnel did not want transfers on the day of cleaning.
As a result, he was placed in a cell with a man arrest.ed for murdering his girlfriend.
The alleged murderer asked city jail staff not to place the decedent in the cell and stated
he was high on drugs and was hallucinating at the time. Following the placement in the
cell, the decedent was beat.en to death by his cell mat.e.
On appeal, the United Stat.es Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit found that
police officials and staff were negligent in placing a mentally ill arrestee in a holding cell
with another prisoner who subsequently beat him to death. The court did not agree with
the federal district court jury finding that the defendants were callously indifferent to the
decedent and that they had violated his civil rights.
The appeals court upheld only the negligence finding of the jury and an award of
$50,000 to the son. (Holding Facility, Police Department, Decatur, Illinois)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

Gibson v. Babcock, 601 F.Supp. 1156 (N.D. Ill. 1984). Supervisors liable for
detainee beating. A federal district court has held supervisors responsible for failing to
prot.ect a detainee from an assault by another prisoner. The court found that
knowledge of a history of violence within a jail, rather than a specific risk of harm to a
particular prisoner, was enough to hold the supervisors liable. The court found that the
eighth amendment proscription against cruel and unusual punishment does not apply to
pretrial detainees, and that a detainee need not demonstrat.e deliberat.e indifference to
stat.e a claim for denial of medical care under the due process clause of the eighth
amendment. (Lake County Jail, Waukegan, Illinois)

Stat.e Appeals Court
DAMAGES
PERSONAL

Harris County v. Jenkins, 678 S.W.2d 639 (Tex. App. 1984). Prisoner receives
$60,000 from sheriff, county and stat.e because medication withheld. A prisoner who
suffers from epilepsy reached a $20,000 settlement with the Stat.e of Texas and was
awarded $40,000 by a stat.e jury because he suffered seizures after his medication was
taken from him upon admission to the Harris County Jail.
A jury found the sheriff seventy percent liable and the county thirty percent liable for
the $40,000 award. The jury found the sheriff liable not only for withholding the
medication, but for failing to forward the prisoner's medical records when he was
transferred to a stat.e facility. The verdict was upheld upon appeal. (Harris County Jail,
Texas)

LIABILITY

Stat.e Court
NEGLIGENCE

Kanayurak v. North Slope Borough, 677 P.2d 893 (Alaska Sup. Ct. 1984). Liability for
suicide of intoxicated prisoner could result if extra precautions not taken. A stat.e court
in Alaska has ordered a case to proceed to trial in which the family of a woman who
committ.ed suicide in a lockup has alleged negligence on the part of police officials.
Testimony revealed that the officials were aware that the woman was very intoxicated,
and that she had reason to be depressed. Citing a case which held that a jailer must take
extra precautions for the safety of a prisoner if he knows the prisoner is int.oxicat.ed or
insane (Wilson v. City of Kotzebue). the court ordered the case to proceed to trial. (North
Slope Borough Lockup, Alaska)

Stat.e Court
NEGIJGENT
SUPERVISION

Kemp v. Waldron, 479 N.Y.S.2d 440 (Sup. Ct. 1984). Stat.e court finds that sheriff
and subordinat.e could be liable for negligent supervision- prisoner sues as a
result of assault by another prisoner. A New York court det.ermined that the
sheriff had a statutory duty to protect prisoners from harm while in his cust.ody, and that
he has discretion with regard to prisoner segregation.
The court referred det.ermination of whether discretion was abused to a jury, along
with a determination of the adequacy of supervision.

The county defendants were dismissed from the suit when the court found that they
were not responsible for the sheriff's actions. However, the sheriff could be held liable
along with the subordinate officer who failed to provide supervision. (Schenectady County
Jail, New York)
U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983
NEGLIGENCE

Martini v. Russell, 582 F.Supp. 136 (C.D. Ca. 1984). Federal court finds city liable
for locking children up with mother. After an officer arrested a woman for traffic ·
offenses and locked her children up with her, a federal district court found the city
liable under Section 1983, citing gross negligence on the part of the officer. State law
requires minors to be taken to the custody of probation officers and prohibits detention
under these circumstances. (Huntington Park Police Station, California)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES
GOVERNMENTAL
LIABILITY

McElveen v. Prince William County, 725 F.2d 954 (N.D. Vir. 1984), cert.
denied, 105 S.Ct. 88. $210,000 is awarded to inmates held in jail. A federal jury
awarded $210,000 to approximately 7,000 inmates held in the Prince William County
(Virginia) jail between August 1980 and January 1982. Two months before, the jury
had found that the facility was unconstitutionally crowded, exceeding at times its inmate
capacity by 400 percent. Witnesses had testified that the facility lacked medical care and
security and was unsafe. Pretrial detainees are to receive $170,000 of the award, with the
remaining funds to be divided among the sentenced prisoners held at the jail.
Meanwhile, the county has filed its own case against Virginia state corrections
officials, claiming that a chronic backlog of prisoners awaiting transfer to state facilities
contributed to the jail crowding. The jury had rejected county claims during the class
action suit that state officials should accept or share liability, after U.S. District Judge
Richard L. Williams ruled that state employees are immune under the eleventh
amendment from civil damages in their role as officials. The court continued them in the
case as individuals, but instructed the jury that they were entitled to claim they had acted
in good faith. (Prince William County Jail, Virginia)

U.S. Appeals Court
PERSONAL
LIABILITY
DAMAGES

McKinley v. Trattles, 732 F. 2d 1320 (7th Cir. 1984). Officer to pay $6,000 to
prisoner for unnecessary strip search. The United States Court of Appeals
affirmed a lower court judgment against a correctional officer but reduced the amount
of punitive damages from $15,000 to $6,000. The plaintiff, a prisoner, claimed that he
had already been searched once before returning to his cell. He was then handcuffed and
sprayed with mace in a forced attempt to subject him to a second search. The federal jury
believed the plaintiff's version of the events.

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES

Pino v. Dalsheim, 605 F.Supp. 1305 (1984). Liability of several defendants, who were
personally involved in a hearing that consisted of several basic constitutional flaws,
would be joint and several, ruled a federal district court in New York. The inmate was
awarded twenty-five dollars a day for the forty-five days he spent in a special housing
unit, and the fifty-two dollars per month income from his library clerk's job that he lost
during the forty-five-day period. Due process violations included a right to gather facts
around the marijuana incident, the failure of his assigned assistant to gather facts or
respond to his requests, and the denied right to call live witnesses. His being assigned an
employee assistant rather than choosing one from a list was in itself a violation, ruled the
court. (Downstate Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE

Poston v. Fox, 577 F.Supp. 915 (D. N.J. 1984). Plaintiffs entitled to attorney's fees
as prevailing party after consent decree signed. County jail officials agreed in a
consent decree to take steps to comply with New Jersey jail standards in a suit which
alleged constitutional violations (physical conditions, admission and processing of
prisoners, health care, discipline, grievance procedures, food and diet, recreation,
educational programs, visitation, clothing and preferential treatment). The Federal
District Court awarded $39,794 in attorney's fees to the plaintiffs, which was forty percent
less than requested because the action achieved only partial success. The court found that
the consent decree was sufficiently favorable to render the prisoners the prevailing party.
(Cape May County Jail, New Jersey)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

Raley v. Fraser, 747 F.2d 287 (5th Cir. 1984). Arrestee awarded only $1,000 for
claims of alleged excessive force during arrest and detention; court determines plaintiff
is not considered "prevailing party" for purposes of attorney's fees. The United States
Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has affirmed the decision of a federal district
court in a civil rights action against two police officers.
The plaintiff, Robert Dean Raley, was arrested for public intoxication by two Amarillo
police officers (Thomas Fraser and Gary Trupe). The officers observed Raley knock over a
sign after leaving his car at 1:00 a.m., and in the ensuing encounter Raley was not
cooperative. Raley was booked at the police station, and officer Fraser applied choke holds
on Raley four times during the process. Raley's arms were bruised, his face scraped, and
the handcuffs raised welts on his wrists. There was no permanent injury.

27.18

Raley filed civil rights actions, under Section 1983, U.S.C.A. The district court found
that Officer Fraser acted "overzealously" rather than maliciously, and therefore the
plaintiff was not entitled t.o punitive damages under Section 1983. Raley was awarded
$1,000 as actual damages for pain and mental suffering, after the court found that
Fraser's actions were not want.on or malicious. The damages were awarded on a stat.e tort
claim, the court fmding against his Section 1983 claim. Raley appealed, arguing that the
trial court erred in its fmdings. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed all aspects of the
lower court decision. (Amarillo Police Department, Texas)
U.S. District Court
DAMAGES
NEGLIGENT
SUPERVISION

Slakan v. Port.er, 737 F.2d 368 (4th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 105 S.Ct. 1413 (1984).
Prisoner awarded $32,500 for officer brutality; warden and other officials not immune
and held liable for failmg t.o supervise. An inmat.e injured when prison guards used
high-pressure wat.er hoses, t.ear gas and billy clubs t.o subdue him while he was confined
in a one man cell brought a civil rights suit under Section 1983 against three gµards and
high ranking prison officials, alleging excessive force in violation of the eighth ·
amendment, and that supervisory officials were deliberat.ely indifferent t.o a known risk of
harm. The federal district court found for the plaintiff inmat.e, awarding $32,500
damages. On appeal, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court
decision, holding that: (1) the guards' heavy-handed use of force crossed the line ·
separating necessary force from brutality; (2) evidence established the supervisory liability
of the warden, direct.or of prisons and secretary of corrections; (3) supervisory officials
were not entitled t.o qualified immunity since they had explicit legal guideposts t.o follow
and were aware, or should have been aware, of a duty t.o ensure that instruments of
control were not misused. (Central Prison, Raleigh, North Carolina)

U.S. Appeals Court
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983
FAILURE TO TRAIN
GOVERNMENTAL

Tuttle v. City of Oklahoma City, 728 F.2d 456 (10th Cir. 1984), reh'g denied, 106 S.Ct.
16 (1983). Reversed by City of Oklahoma City v. Tuttle. 105 S.Ct. 2427 (1985).
Proof of single instance of unconstitutional activity not sufficient t.o impose
liability under Monell rule unless....
The widow of a man shot by a police officer brought a civil rights suit against the
officer and his employer city. The federal district court held against the city but
absolved the officer. On appeal (728 F.2d 456) the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
affirmed the lower court decision. On appeal t.o the Unit.ed Stat.es Supreme Court, the
majority reversed the lower courts' decisions, holdmg that it was a reversible error t.o
allow the jury t.o infer a thoroughly nebulous "policy" of "inadequat.e training" on the city's
part from the single shooting incident in question and at the same time sanction the
inference that the policy was the cause of the incident, thereby givmg rise t.o liability
under the Civil Rights Act of 1861.
To impose a civil rights liability on the city under Monell v. New York City
Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, for a single incident, the plaintiff must prove
that the incident was caused by an existing unconstitutional municipal policy which can
be attribut.ed t.o a municipal policymaker. The existence of the unconstitutional policy and
its origin must be separat.ely proved and where the policy relied on is not itself
unconstitutional, considerably more proof than the single incident is necessary in every
case t.o establish both the requisit.e fault on the part of the municipality and the causal
connection between the "policy" and the constitutional deprivation.
The court also held that there must be an affirmative link between the training and
adequacies alleged in the particular constitutional violation at issue. The court found that
the fact that a municipal "policy" might lead t.o police misconduct is hardly sufficient t.o
satisfy the Monell requirement for municipal liability under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.
(Oklahoma City)

LIABILITY

1985
U.S. Supreme Court
FAILURE TO TRAIN
DAMAGES
GOVERNMENTAL

LIABILITY

City of Shepherdsville, Kentucky v. Rymer, 105 S.Ct. 3518 (6th Cir. 1985)
(Memorandum Decision). Supreme court remands case for further consideration
in light of Oklahoma city ruling. Ruling on Rymer v. Davis, 754 F.2d 198
(1984). City police were found by the federal district court t.o have used excessive force
during the arrest of the plaintiff. The court of appeals upheld the finding of the lower
court, including award of $32,000 compensatory damages against the police officer,
$50,000 punitive damages against the city and $25,000 compensatory damages against the
city. The appeals court ruled that the city's failure t.o train police officers regarding arrest
procedures was a proper basis for liability in a civil rights action arising from injuries
sustained by the arrestee, and that official acquiescence in police misconduct may be
inferred from lack of training even in the face of only one incident of brutal misconduct.
The Supreme Court vacat.ed the appeals court decision, remanding it for further
consideration in light of its decision in City of Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, 105 S.Ct. 2427
(1985). In that decision, the court ruled that proof of a single instance of unconstitutional
activity is not sufficient t.o impose civil rights liability on a city under the Monell rwe
unless proof of the incident includes proof that it was caused by an existing
unconstitutional municipal policy, which can be attribut.ed t.o a municipal policymaker.
(City of Shepherdsville, Kentucky)
27.19

U.S. District Court
GOVERNMENTAL
LIABILlTY

Cook v. Housewright, 611 F.Supp. 828 (D. Nev. 1985). Officials not liable for
isolated incident of improper medical care. A prisoner sued officials of the
Nevada Department of Prisoners alleging indifference to his medical needs (in delaying
a knee operation). The director of the department and the warden argued that they were
not liable because they were not directly involved with the incident. Although the court
noted that direct involvement is not the only basis for determining liability. it found that
the prisoner's rights had not been violated. Since other prisoners were regularly provided
with medical care and there was no evidence of a policy discouraging the provision of care,
the court viewed this as an isolated incident, relieving officials from responsibility.
(Nevada State Prison)

State Appeals Court
CONTRACT
SERVICES

Craven County Hosp. Corp. v. Lenoir County, 331 S.E.2d 690 (N.C. App. 1985).
A hospital tried to collect medical costs from a sheriff, the county, or the city for
treating a man who died in the hospital, after city police had him transported there.
Police found him intoxicated and were making arrangements to place him in the jail until
he was sober, when he fell and injured his head, requiring immediat.e medical treatment.
The court refused to hold the city liable. because it had not contracted with the
hospital to pay the medical costs. nor did it have a statutory duty t.o pay medical services
for people in its custody. The court said it was up to the legislature, not it, to create such
a duty. Whether the man was considered to be in the "custody" of police was not relevant
to finding an absence of liability. However. the court determined that the man had not
been arrest.ed but was merely being assisted by the officers, who were authorized to take
to the county jail people found drunk in public. (Kingst.on Police Department, North
Carolina)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

Estate of Cartwright v. City of Concord, Cal., 618 F.Supp. 722 (U.S. D.C., N.D. Cal.
1985). Jail defendants were not liable for a prisoner suicide that occurred aft.er the
decedent had "joked" about it with a friend by shouting back and forth between their
separate cells. The decedent and his female companion were brought to jail under the
influence of alcohol and Valium. The two were laughing, shouting, and joking from their
individual cells that they were going to kill themselves. His female friend faked a suicide,
and when the jailers responded to it seriously. she bragged out loud that she had fooled
them. Thereafter. the jailers increased the frequency of jail inspections. In fact, the
decedent was checked about fifteen minutes to a half hour before he was found hanging by
a torn bed blanket. The evidence was inconclusive as to whether the decedent was merely
trying to fake a suicide, and lost consciousness due to his intoxicated and drugged state, or
whether his suicide was actually motivated by serious intentions. Jailers had talked to
him earlier and found no reason to believe he was suicidal or depressed. He hung himself
by using the edge of his bed to tear a strip off a blanket and tied it around one of the high
bars of his cell. The defendants were not liable for failing to prevent the death or for their
actions after discovering the hanging. The aid given following the discovering was
adequat.e and so was the investigation of events. (Concord City Jail, California)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES

Ferola v. Moran. 622 F.Supp. 814 (D.C. R.I. 1985). An inmate brought a civil rights
action charging that defendants subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment by
deeying him psychiatric care and by cruelly and abusively shackling him to his bed. The
United States District Court held that: (1) a record of care afforded the prisoner did not
reflect denial of psychiatric care or deliberate indifference to his psychiatric needs; (2)
shackling of the defendant violated the eighth amendment: (3) the director of Department
of Corrections was liable; (4) the inmate was entitled to damages of $1,000 for physical
and psychological injury suffered; and (5) shackling of the inmate warranted equitable
relief. Because the warden had set no policies that would safeguard inmates against the
unconstitutional conduct of his subordinates. he was responsible for damages in the
amount of $1,000 for the plaintiff's trauma, pain, and suffering. Judgment was also
entered against a supervisor on duty who participated in the shackling. (Adult
Correctional Institution, Rhode Island)

U.S. Appeals Court
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

Ganey v. Edwards, 759 F.2d 337 {4th Cir. 1985). Attorney fees awarded although
no damages obtained. A federal jury found that a state prisoner had been denied
access to a prison law library but awarded no actual or nominal damages. On appeal,
the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the finding and lack of damages award,
but concluded that the prisoner was entitled to an award of costs and attorney fees as the
prevailing party in this Section 1983 acti~n. (North Carolina Central Prison, Raleigh,
North Carolina)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
FAILURE TO TRAIN
NEGLIGENT
SUPERVISION

Goodson v. City of Atlanta, 763 F.2d 1381 (11th Cir. 1985). Detainee awarded
$50,000 damages for conditions of detention. The plaintiff was held as a rape
suspect in the Atlanta jail. A jury concluded that he was subjected to unconstitutional
conditions of confinement (sanitation, toilet facilities, medical care, lack of bedding. lack
of heating, roach infested food). The jury believed th.at the City of Atlanta and the jail

administrat.or knew of these conditions and had even made public statements t.o the media
that the jail was "unfit for human habitation". Concluding that the administrat.or had
failed t.o properly train and supervise staff, they held him liable for $5,000 damages, and
held the city liable for $45,000 compensat.ory damages. (Atlanta City Jail, Georgia)
U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT
DAMAGES

Hayes v. Vessey. 777 F.2d 1149 (6th Cir. 1985). Although a corrections officer was
perhaps incompetent and held animosity t.oward a teacher because she was a woman,
he was not liable for failing t.o protect her from being raped while he was on lunch
reak., ruled the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The teacher claimed discrimination and
denial of equal protection because the guard had not ticketed the rapist earlier in the day
when discovered on the grounds without authorization. She claimed he set the t.one for
extremely lax security which caused her t.o be raped. He was not liable on such a theory
because as a subordinate employee he had no authority t.o set a security policy, nor was he
responsible for not ticketing the rapist earlier because such action was t.oo remote from
causatjon. Another teacher allowed the rapist t.o regain entry during lunch by unlocking
the gate in violation of school rules. Finally, even if the guard had been at his station
during the fifteen minute attack, he would not have been able t.o hear the woman's cries
for help. His station was located at the end of the hall, and her room was soundproof.
The court reversed a jury's judgment against the officer for $200,000 in compensat.ory
damages and $100,000 in punitive damages. Also at issue was whether the teacher could
collect from other prison officials for negligence in ignoring high levels of sexual tension,
condoning an attitude of indifference t.oward danger t.o female employees, failing t.o require
adequate security for female employees, assigning her t.o work in a remot.e area more
dangerous than areas assigned t.o male teachers, and defeating aut.omatic locking systems
which led t.o the unauthorized entry of the rapist. The court found no liability for the
random act and ruled that the plaintiff's remedy in worker's compensation precluded suit.
She received compensation disability benefits which contained special provisions for prison
employees injured by inmates, provisions not applicable t.o other employees. (State Prison
at Jackson, Michigan)

U.S. Supreme Court
PERSONAL

Kentucky v. Graham, 105 S.Ct. 3099 (1985). A Section 1983 suit was brought against
the commissioner of the Kentucky State Police "individually and as the Commissioner"
seeking damages for alleged deprivation of federal constitutional rights in a warrantless
raid and arrest by the state police. The commonwealth, which was sued only for fees
should the plaintiff eventually prevail, was dismissed on eleventh amendment grounds.
Following a settlement, the plaintiff moved for costs and attorney's fees. The United
States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky awarded costs and fees against
the Commonwealth. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in an unpublished
opinion, 742 F.2d 1455, affirmed. Certiorari was granted. The Supreme Court, held that:
(1) liability on the merits and responsibilities for fees go hand in hand and, hence, where
a defendant has not been prevailed against, Section 1988 does not authorize a fee award
against that defendant; (2) a suit against a government official in hilf}ier personal
capacity cannot lead t.o imposition of fee liability on the governmental entity; and (3) the
instant suit was necessarily litigated as a personal-capacity action, thereby precluding a
fee award against the Commonwealth, notwithstanding that the Commissioner was sued
in both his "individual" and "official" capacities. Personal-capacity civil rights suits seek
t.o impose personal liability on a government official for actions he takes under color of
state law; in contrast, official-capacity suits generally represent only another way of
pleading an action against the entity of which the officer is an agent. (State Police,
Kentucky)

LIABILITY

U.S. Appeals Court
PERSONAL

LIABILITY
DAMAGES

U.S. District Court
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1983
PERSONAL

LIABILITY

Leggett v. Badger, 759 F.2d 1556 (11th Cir. 1985). State t.o pay attorney's fees for
judgment against officer in his individual capacity. Using the Glover v. Alabama
Department of Corrections, (734 F.2d 691) decision as precedent the court determined
that the state could be asse~ attorney's fees for the defendant officer, even th~h
the state was not held liable. The lower court had found that the officer intentionally beat
a prisoner, and awarded $1,500 compensat.ory damages and $25,000 punitive damages
against the officer. (Florida State Prison)
Madden v. City of Meriden, 602 F.Supp. 1160 (D. Conn. 1985). Police officers can
be held liable under Section 1983 for beating mentally ill arrestee. The
adrninist.rat.or of the estate of a mentally ill man who hanged himself while detained by
police itled suit against two officers and the city, alleging that the officers beat the
prisoner, denied him medical care for the resulting serious injuries and placed him
alone in a cell where he hanged himself. The prisoner could not be observed in his cell
because the television monit.oring system was not operating, nor was there an audio
monit.oring system. The plaintiff further alleged that although the officers knew of
previous suicide attempts they did not take away objects that the prisoner could use t.o
injUl'f! himself. The defendants f'tled a motion for dismissal which was denied by a
magistrat.e. On appeal, the federal district court affirmed the magistrate's order, finding
that the police officers could be liable under Section 1983. (Meriden Police Lockup,
Connecticut)
27.21

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Madison County Jail Inmates v. Thompson, 773 F.2d 834 (7th Cir. 1985), Appeals.
court does not reinstate jury verdict for $500,000 damages; nominal damages upheld.
Having convinced a federal jury that conditions at the jail were substandard, they
awarded damages of between ten to thirteen dollars. per day to plaintiff prisoners in this
class action suit.
The award would have exceeded $500,000. The trial court entered a judgment
reducing the award to nominal damages. On appeal, the Seventh Circuit concurred with
the jury fmding of unconstitutional conditions, but concluded that "the plaintiffs failed to
present evidence which would support a finding of consequential injury to the class as a
whole." The majority refused to permit damages, citing the courts reluctance in Doe v.
District of Columbia, 697 F.2d 1115 (CADC 1983). "to grant money damages to a class of
prisoners in mass that includes many prisoners who are causing the conditions
complained of and who will not cooperate to correct them." (Madison County Jail, Indiana)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO TRAIN
GOVERNMENTAL
IJABILJTY

Marchese v. Lucas, 758 F.2d 181 (6th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 107 S.Ct. 1369. Court
upholds $125,000 award for failure to train and discipline officers; sheriff and county
held liable. The plaintiff alleged that he was beaten upon entering the detention area
following his arrest, and that a deputy later opened his cell door, allowing another
beating to be administered. A federal jury believed his story, awarding $125,000 to the
plaintiff. Under the Michigan constitution, the sheriff is the law enforcement arm of the
county and makes policy in police matters for the county. The court held that the ·
government entity is responsible when the execution of a government's policy (in this case,
brutality), inflicts an injury.
The plaintiff alleged that the county and the sheriff failed to train and discipline the
officers and failed to order an investigation of the incident after it came to the attention of
county officials. The sheriff claimed that he knew nothing of the incident until years
later, just before the trial. The court ruled that even though the sheriff did not know of
the incident, he should have known and found him jointly liable with the county. The
county shared liability with the sheriff because of its close relationship with the sheriff,
who was an elected official and made policy for the county. The county board of
supervisors appropriated funds and established the budget for the sheriffs department.
(Wayne County Jail, Michigan)

U.S. Supreme Court
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1983
FAILURE TO TRAIN
GOVERNMENTAL

Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, 105 S.Ct. 2427 (1985), cert. denied, 106 S.Ct. 16 (1983).
Supreme court limits municipal liability for police acts. In an important clarification of
Monell v. New York City Department of Social Services (1978), a seven member
majority ruled that absent "an affirmative link between the policy and the
particular constitutional violation alleged," a municipality may not be held liable for a
police officer's violations of a citizen's constitutional rights on the grounds that the
officer's act resulted from government policy. In Monell the court ruled that
municipalities are liable for civil damages for such acts if the violations occur pursuant to
that government's "policy or custom."
In this case, the widow of a man who was shot by a rookie police officer sued under
Section 1983, claiming that the shooting unconstitutionally deprived Tuttle of his life
without due process, or that the officer had used excessive force in Tuttle's apprehension
in violation of his civil rights. Although the plaintiff acknowledged that a municipalicy is
not liable under civil rights laws for an employee's single act but argued that the act was
so excessive that it indicated grossly inadequate training, resulting from a government
training policy.
In this case, the court held that even if it could be established under Monell that the
city had a policy of inadequate training, "some limitation must be placed on establishing
municipal liability through policies that are not themselves unconstitutional." The court
further stated that "where the policy relied upon is not itself unconstitutional,
considerably more proof than the single incident will be necessary in every case to
establish both the requisite fault on the part of the municipality and the causal connection
between the policy and the constitutional deprivation." (Oklahoma City)

LIABILITY

U.S. Appeals Court

FAILURE TO
PROTECT

U.S. Appeals Court

FAILURE TO
PROTECT

O'Quinn v. Manuel, 767 F.2d 174 (5th Cir. 1985). Local government can be liable
for jail conditions. A jail prisoner filed suit against Louisiana parish officials alleging
that while he was detained he was beaten by prisoners and suffered severe injuries.
The plaintiff argued that the assault and resulting injuries were the result of a failure to
adequately supervise and protect prisoners. The appeals court found that parish officials
could be held liable for the assault if they knew of jail defu:iencies and failed to fund or
otherwise support corrective actions. The case was remanded to the district court.
(Caleasieu Parish Jail, Louisiana)
Partridge v. Two Unknown Police Officers. 751 F.2d 1448 (5th Cir. 1985). City can be
sued for failing to prevent prisoner suicide in lockup. An arrestee apparently became
violent and agitated when he was arrest.eel, attempting to kick the doors and windows
out of the police car in which he was transported. By the time he arrived at the city jail
he was composed, and the transporting off:icers did not call attention to his

27.22

behavior during booking. The booking officer did not check the prisoner's previous record,
which showed a prior suicide attempt. The prisoner's father told officials that his son was
unstable, and the son was wearing medical alert bracelets.
The prisoner was placed in solitary confinement, where he hanged himself within a
few hours of his arrest. The parents sued the City of Houston, and the Circuit Court of
Appeals ruled that their suit alleged a legitimate constitutional claim because the city had
been deliberately indifferent to the prisoner's serious medical needs, determining that
suicidal behavior constituted a serious need and that protecting prisoners from themselves
is "an aspect of the broader constitutional duty to provide medical care.... " (City Jail,
Houston, Texas)
U.S. Appeals Court
GOVERNMENTAL

LIABILITY
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

Roberts v. City of Troy, 773 F.2d 720 (6th Cir. 1985). Pretrial detainees not
protected by eighth amendment, but rights are analogized to those of detainees under
fourteenth amendment to avoid ext.ending greater constitutional protection to sentenced
offenders. Shortly after admission to the City of Troy jail, a prisoner committed
suicide. His mother sued the city under 42 U.S.C.A. Section 1983 and under state law,
claiming that officials should have identified him as suicidal during admission and
should have supervised him more closely. A federal jury found for the defendants; on
appeal, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the jury verdict concerning Section 1983
claims but reversed the prior summary judgment which released Chief of Police Fisher
from liability for state claims. In reaching its conclusions, the appeals court noted that
although pretrial detainees are not protected by the eighth amendment, those protections
must be analogized under the fourteenth amendment. (Troy City Jail, Michigan)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Thomas v. Booker, 762 F.2d 654 (8th Cir. 1985), cert. denied in 106 S.Ct. 1975. City
jail chief of security held liable for prisoner-on-prisoner attack; plaintiff awarded
$13,000. The defendant was initially assigned to a one man cell in the St. Louis City Jail's
administrative segregation unit. He was subsequently assigned to the general population
but was placed in disciplinary segregation when a homemade knife was found in his cell.
He was returned to the general population, where he was attacked by another prisoner.
After treatment, he was again returned to the same four man cell where he was again
injured in a fight between cell mates. The prisoner filed suit against several city jail
officials for violating his constitutional rights by not adequately protecting him from
physical assaults from other prisoners. During the trial, testimony indicated that he had
asked to be placed in administrative segregation because he feared injury and that he told
the defendant several times that he feared for his safety. The court found that the
defendant had acted with reckless disregard for the safety of the plaintiff, awarding
$13,000 in damages. Other defendants were not found liable. (St. Louis City Jail,
Missouri)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO DIRECT
DAMAGES

Thomson v. Jones. 619 F.Supp. 745 (7th Cir. 1985). A state prison inmate brought
action under the Federal Civil Rights statute against correctional officers and warden
seeking damages arising out of beating and hearing loss. The district court held that:
(1) the guards' use of excessive force violated the inmate's eighth and fourteenth
amendment rights; (2) a warden was not liable on ratification theory for failure to
discipline guards; (3) an award of $25,000 was neither inadequate nor excessive
compensation for permanent hearing loss; and (4) a punitive damages award of $10,000
against the guard who actually caused the hearing loss, and $5,000 against the guard who
acquiesced in the first guard's use of force, was proper.
A prison guard's acquiescence and failure to intercede in another guard's beating of an
inmate was proximate cause of the inmate's injuries, rendering the acquiescing guard
·jointly and severally liable with other guard for compensatory damages due inmate as
result of consequent hearing loss. (Stateville Correctional Center, Illinois)

U.S. Appeals Court

Thorne v. Jones. 765 F.2d 1270 (lrst Cir. 1985). cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1016. Strip
search of prisoners' mother upheld, se~ of father not proper but no civil liability
results. Prison officials required the mother of two prisoners, one of whom was known to
be receiving drugs, to submit to a strip search as a condition of visiting her sons.
The plaintiffs sued, alleging that the requirement infringed on their first amendment
rights for association. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that the search
requirement for the mother, who was suspected of supplying drugs, was constitutional
because it was reasonably related to security concerns. The court noted that the
Constitution affords convicted prisoners and their families no absolute right of visitation,
and that any qualified right which may exist is derived from a source other than the first
amendment. The court held that the fourth amendment was infringed when the prisoners'
father was required to submit to a strip search to visit his sons, because officials had no
suspicion as to the father. Since the law on this point was not clear in late 1981 (when
the search took place), the officials escaped civil liability according to the court.
(Louisiana State Penitentiary)

CIVIL LIABILITY

27.23

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

Warner v. County of Washoe. 620 F.Supp. 59 (D.C.Nev. 1985). The court ordered
further proceedings to determine whether county commissioners had a duty to prisoners
by virtue of a Nevada statute requiring periodic inspection and supervision. The
statute reads, in part. as follows:
... Duty of County commissioners: Supervision; inspection; precautions. The
board of county commissioners:
1. Is responsible for building, inspecting and repairing any county or branch county
jail locat.ed in its county,
2. Once every 3 months, shall inquire int.o the security of the jail and the
treatment and condition of prisoners.
3. Shall take all necessary precautions against escape, sickness or infection.
The commissioners could possibly be found liable for a brutal rape and attack of a county
jail inmate by fellow inmates. (Washoe County Jail, Nevada)
1986

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

Albert v. DePint.o. 638 F.Supp. 1307 (D,Conn. 1986). The plaintiffs brought a civil
rights action against police officers and the city alleging use of excessive force by
officers. The district court held that: (1) the city was not liable for damages under the
civil rights statute for the acts of individual officers; (2) there was evidence from which
a reasonable jury could have found that the officers either used unconstitutionally
excessive force against one plaintiff or knew that other officers were using force but did
nothing t.o st.op them; and (3) a reasonable jury could have found sufficient evidence of
pain and suffering experienced by plaintiffs, and reckless and callous disregard of
constitutional rights t.o justify substantial compensat.ory and punitive damages.
A plaintiff. who seeks t.o hold a municipality liable in damages under a civil rights
statute must establish that an official policy or cust.om was cause of deprivation of
constitutional rights.
The city was not liable for damages because evidence established that police officers
were provided with police department rules and regulations. stating that the use of
physical and deadly force would be in accordance with current departmental directives
and state statutes; that police officers were unaware of any recent "directives" on the
subject of physical force that might have been issued by the police department; and that.
while they received training in the appropriate use of physical force at the time they
joined the police department they received no refresher courses. (New Britain Police
Department, Connecticut)

U.S. Appeals Court
GOVERNMENTAL
LIABILITY

Anela v. City of Wildwood. 790 F.2d 1063 (3rd Cir. 1986). cert. denied, 479 U.S. 949.
Female detainees confined overnight were denied fourt.eenth amendment rights; city
could be held liable for conditions. Nine females and one male, ages seventeen t.o
twenty, were arrest.ed at 11:15 p.m. by city police for loud radio playing. The male
arrestee was able t.o post bail and was released. The females were held until 11:00 the
following morning. The females filed suit, alleging that their confinement in cells without
drinking water. food or mattresses violat.ed their constitutional rights. The federal district
court dismissed several counts prior t.o trial and direct.ed a verdict against the plaintiffs
following a trial.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that: (1) the district court
properly denied the plaintiffs' motion t.o reopen the case and did not err in its direct.ed
verdict for the individual defendants on the plaintiffs' denial of equal prot.ection claim; (2)
the District Court erred in dismissing the plaintiffs' fourth amendment claims on the
ground of collateral est.oppel; (3) the city is responsible for the use of a bail schedule in
violation of a rule of the New Jersey Supreme Court; (4) the conditions of confmement t.o
which the non-disruptive. non-violent, non-alcoholic women were subject.ed constitut.ed
privation and punishment in violation of the fourteenth amendment; and (5) the city may
be held liable under Monell for the conditions of conf"mement, even if the practices with
respect t.o jail conditions were followed without formal city action. because it appears that
they were the norm and had become acceptable standard and practice for the city. (City of
Wildwood. New Jersey)

State Appeals Court
FAILURE-TO
PROTECT

Baker v. State Dept. of Rehabilitation, 502 N.E.2d 261 (Ohio App. 1986). An inmate
filed a complaint against the state alleging that injuries following an assault by other
inmates were the result of correctional officers' negligence. The Court of Claims
entered judgment for the state, and the inmate appealed. The Court of Appeals for
Franklin County held that: (1) the state was not liable for failure t.o provide protective
cust.ody, as guards did not have adequate notice of the impending assault because the
inmate's vague statements regarding a need t.o be moved, unaccompanied by a specific
request for prot.ection or direct expression of fear of being assaulted, did not provide
guards with adequate notice of an impending assault; and (2) the state was not liable for
failure to have sufficient guards. in view of expert testimony that procedures followed
were adequate. (Columbus Correctional Facility, Ohio)

27.24

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES

Burris v. Kirkpatrick, 649 F.Supp. 740 (N.D. Ind. 1986). An inmate brought action
against a prison guard for injuries resulting when the guard threw hot water into the
inmate's cell. The district court held that the guard who threw hot water into cell of two
inmates following argument between guard and one inmate was liable to the non- ·
offending inmate for resulting injuries, as his act amounted to deliberate indifference to
the inmate's constitutional rights. Where substantive constitutional rights are violated,
damages can be presumed even in absence of discernible consequential damages. (Indiana
State Prison)

U.S. Appeals Court
PERSONAL

Burt.on v. Livingst.on, 791 F.2d 97 (8th Cir. 1986). A prisoner stated a claim against a
guard for cruel and unusual punishment. The complaint stated that the guard pointed
a lethal weapon at the prisoner, cocked it and threatened him with instant death. The
incident occurred immediately after the prisoner had given testimony against another
guard in a Section 1983 action. The death threat was accompanied by racial epithets. In
determining whether the conduct of a prison guard has impermissibly infringed the
protected right of a prisoner, the court of appeals must consider need for guard's action,
the relationship between that necessity and amount of force actually used, the degree of
injury to the prisoner's retained rights, and whether the conduct was a good-faith effort to
maintain discipline or engaged in maliciously and sadistically for the sole purpose of
causing harm. (Department of Corrections, Arkansas)

LIABILITY

U.S. Appeals Court
PERSONAL

LIABILITY

Chapman v. Pickett, 801 F.2d 912 (7th Cir. 1986). A prison warden was personally
liable to a prisoner whose eighth amendment rights were violated when he was kept in
segregation for nine months as a result of his refusal on religious grounds to clean
pork off food trays. The warden admitted to knowing of the prisoner's confinement and
doing nothing about it, even after he received a letter from his supervisor. He was in the
best position to know that a constitutional deprivation had occurred and had the authority
to remedy the situation but did nothing. The United States District Court for the Central
District of Illinois awarded the inmate $7,000 against prison officials, and the officials
appealed. The Court of Appeals held that: (1) the award of $7,000 was not an abuse of
discretion; (2) the court could properly deny punitive damages on the grounds that
defendants acted in good faith; and (3) the warden, associate warden, and members of
adjustment committee were all properly held liable. (Federal Penitentiary, Illinois)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO TRAIN

Chinchello v. Fenton, 805 F,2d 126 (3rd Cir. 1986). A prisoner failed to establish a
Bivens claim against the director of the Bureau of Prisons for failing to train officers
allegedly responsible for opening the prisoner's mail and keeping the prisoner in
administrative detention. The prisoner did not allege that the director had
contemporaneous knowledge of the offending incidents or knowledge of a prior pattern of
similar incidents and did not allege circumstances under which the director's inaction
could have been found to have communicated a message of approval to the offending
officers. "Special mail" is mail from a federal prisoner directed to attorneys, designated
state and federal officials, and representatives of news media, and it is not to be opened
by prison officials. (Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma)

U.S. Supreme Court
NEGLIGENCE

Daniels v. Williams, 106 S.Ct. 662 (1986). Supreme Court rules that prisoners may
not use -civil rights actions to sue prison officials for negligence. Finding that
the fourteenth amendment due process clause was not intended to be •a font of tort law to
be superimposed upon whatever systems may already be administered by the states," the
Supreme Court affirmed its conclusion that civil rights suits are not appropriate avenues
for pursuing claims which involve negligence (!!!! parallel ruling in Davidson v. Cannon,
106 S.Ct. 668). In this case a county jail inmate slipped on a pillow which had been
negligently left by a jail officer on a flight of stairs. The prisoner claimed that he was
provided a constitutional right to be free from injury under the due process clause of the
fourteenth amendment.
In this decision, the Court overturned one part of a recent decision which had
suggested that negligence could state a claim under the due process clause when the
plaintiff had no other effective state remedy; in Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527 (1981) the
Court had conditioned pursuit of claims on the lack of effective state remedies. (Richmond
Jail, Virginia)

U.S. Supreme Court
NEGLIGENCE

Davidson v. Cannon, 106 S.Ct. 668 (1986). Supreme Court rules the prisoners may
not use civil rights actions to sue prison officials for negligence. According to the U.S.
Supreme Court, prisoners do not have a constitutional right to sue prison officials or the
state in a civil rights action for negligence when they are injured, alleging due process
violations. In this case, the plaintiff prisoner alleged that prison officials ignored his plea
for assistance before he was stabbed by a fellow prisoner. The prisoner sued in federal
court that this violated his due process rights under the Constitution.

27.25

The Supreme Court held that "... lack of care simply does not approach the sort of
abusive government conduct that the due process clause was designed to prevent. The
guaranty of due process has never been understood to mean that the state must guarantee
due care on the part of its officials."
The Court noted that remedies for such injuries are usually available through other
actions, such as tort claims, although in this case the New Jersey prison officials are
protected from liability for injuries caused by one prisoner to another.
The ruling followed a companion case, Daniels v. Williams. which reached a similar
conclusion. In reaching this conclusion, the Court overturned one part of a recent decision
which had suggested that negligence could state a claim under the due process clause
when the plaintiff had no other effective state remedy; in Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527
(1981) the Court had conditioned pursuit of claims on the lack of effective state remedies.
(New Jersey State Prison)
U.S. Appeals Court
PERSONAL
LIABILITY

H.C. by Hewett v. Jarrard, 786 F.2d 1080 (11th Cir. 1986). A juvenile, who had been
confined at a juvenile detention center pending a trial on delinquency charges, brought
action for imposition of isolation without notice or hearing, excessive length and
conditions of isolation, unjustified and excessive force applied to him by superintendent of
the center, and denial of medical care. The United States District Court awarded nominal
damages on claims that isolation without notice and hearing and conditions of isolation
violated due process and determined that the juvenile had not been deliberately deprived
of medical attention, and that battery of the juvenile by the superintendent did not rise to
a constitutional violation.
The juvenile appealed. The court of appeals held that: (1) the superintendent's battery
of the juvenile violated the juvenile's liberty interests protected by the fourteenth
amendment; (2) the superintendent was liable both personally and in his capacity as the
center's superintendent for denying the juvenile medical care; (3) compensatory damages
should have been awarded to the juvenile for imposition of isolation without procedural
due process, for being a period beyond the maximum period set out in relevant
regulations, and for his humiliation and dejection sustained as a result of such isolation;
and (4) the superintendent's conduct warranted the award of punitive damages. (Volusia
Regional Juvenile Detention Center, Florida)

U.S. Appeals Court
NEGLIGENCE

Johnston v. Lucas, 786 F.2d 1254 (5th Cir. 1986). Prison officials released from
liability for prisoner stabbing by appeals court in light of recent Supreme Court rulings. A
federal district court awarded a prisoner monetary damages from guards and prison
officials for improperly placing him with another prisoner who had known animosity
toward him. The appeals court noted that the eighth amendment affords prisoners
protection against injury at the hands of another prisoner, but that the Supreme Court
had recently stated that ''the protections of the Due Process Clause, whether procedural or
substantive, are not just triggered by lack of due care by prison officials." Davidson v.
Cannon, 106 S.Ct. 668 (1986).
While each official bore responsibility for exposing the prisoner to danger, the court
found it arguable that their default could be considered an abuse of power and an eighth
amendment deprivation. As stated in Whitley v. Albers, 106 S.Ct. 1078 (1986), the
deliberate indifference standard articulated in Estelle v. Gamble is appropriate in this
case. The appeals court concluded that none of the defendants could be shown to be liable
because none of them was guilty of conscious indifference to the danger of or infliction of
unnecessary pain. (Parchman State Penitentiary, Mississippi)

U.S. Appeals Court
NEGLIGENCE

Justice v. Dennis, 793 F.2d 573 (4th Cir. 1986). The lower court's jury instruction,
setting out a spectrum in which intentional conduct was contrasted with simple
negligence and failing to suggest that conduct short of intentional wrongdoing, such as
wantonness. recklessness, or gross negligence, was sufficient for imposition of liability,
constituted reversible error in the pretrial detainee's action against a state highway patrol
trooper for alleged unconstitutionally excessive force used while the detainee was held in
the county courthouse jail.
The source of constitutional protection against the use of excessive force on a pretrial
detainee is the detainee's liberty interest in bodily security, grounded in the fifth and
fourteenth amendments rather than the fourth amendment. The fundamental inquiry in
all excessive force cases, regardless of protected interest's fourth, fifth, or eighth
amendment origins, is whether the degree of force used against the arrestee was necessary
to protect legitimate state interest and, thus, was permissible under all the circumstances.
(Onslow County, North Carolina)

U.S. District Court
NEGLIGENCE

Lewis v. O'Leary. 631 F.Supp. 60 (N.D. Ill. 1986). State prison officials not liable
for prisoner-on-prisoner assault in light of recent Supreme Court decisions. Given the
recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Davidson v. Cannon and Daniels v. Williams, a
federal district court concluded that prison officials could not be held liable for failing to
protect a prisoner because: "... the law in this area has been significantly altered. It is
now definitively established that while a correctional official who recklessly disregards a
substantial risk of danger to an inmate may be liable under the Eighth Amendment, one
who negligently fails to take reasonable steps is not." In this case,
2:[ .2R,

prison officials called the plaintiff prisoner t.o their office t.o t.ell him that they had received
anonymous t.elephone calls threatening his life. When the prisoner did not express
concern, they t.ook no action. He was attacked and repeat.edly stabbed several days lat.er.
The court ruled that prison officials failure t.o transfer the inmat.e did not rise t.o "reckless"
conduct, since the inmat.e himself t.old officials there was only a "mere possibility" not a
"strong likelihood" of attack. (Stat.eville Correctional Cent.er, Illinois)
U.S. Appeals Court
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1983
NEGLJGENCE

Maddox v. City of Los Angeles, 792 F.2d 1408 (9th Cir. 1986). The jury was not
erroneously instructed t.o consider the police officers' •stat.e of mind" in det.ermining
whether the officers violat.ed the arrest.ee's fourt.eenth amendment due process rights.
The plaintiff brought an action alleging that the death of the arrestee was due t.o the
police officers' use of a chokehold. Negligent conduct by a stat.e official is not enough t.o
stat.e a claim under Section 1983 based on an alleged violation of the due process clause.
(City of Los Angeles, California)

U.S. Supreme Court
DAMAGES
42 u.s.c.A.
Section 1983

Memphis Community School Dist. v. Stachura, 106 S.Ct 2537 (1986). Supreme Court
rules that damages in U.S.C.A. Section 1983 action must be real; abstract "yalue" or
"importance" of constitutional rights are not an element of compensat.ory damages. A
t.enured elementary school t.eacher sued his school district after he was suspended
because parents complained about his t.eaching methods in a seventh grade science course,
alleging violation of his first and fourt.eenth amendment rights. A federal district court
jury awarded the plaintiff $275,000 in compensat.ory damages and $46,000 in punitive
damages.. This award was reduced by the district court judge t.o $266,750 compensatory
and $36,000 punitive damages. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed
the lower court actions. The Supreme Court reviewed the lower court decisions t.o
det.ermine the appropriat.eness of the district court instructions t.o the jury, authorizing not
only compensat.ory and punitive damages, but also damages for the deprivation of "any
constitutional right." The Court concluded that the district court had erred, and that the
abstract "value" or "importance" of constitutional rights are not an element of
compensat.ory damages. The case was remanded for a new trial on compensat.ory
damages. (Memphis Community School District, Michigan)

U.S. Appeals Court

Owens v. City of Atlanta, 780 F.2d 1564 (11th Cir. 1986). City not liable for
prisoner death in police det.ention facility. The decedent was arrest.ed while int.oxicat.ed by
Atlanta police. He became disruptive while in cust.ody and was placed on a wooden bench
in the back of his cell. His arms were crossed in front of him and were cuffed t.o the
bench. His ankles were locked in leg irons, stretched and attached t.o the cell wall (called
the "stretch" hold position). He died from asphyxiation after he fell off the bench, with his
face forward. The district court found that the individual officers were not liable in this
civil rights suit for merely negligent conduct, and that the city was not liable for its policy,
as there was no evidence that police had previously misused the restraining device. The
appeals court affirmed. (Atlanta, Georgia)

U.S. Supreme Court
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1988
MUNICIPAL

Pembaur v. City of Cincinnati, 106 S.Ct. 1292 (1986). Municipal liability under 42
U.S.C.A. Section 1988 m!.'l be imposed for a single decision by municipal
policymakers under appropriat.e circumstances. A physician who was indicted and
eventually acquitt.ed of fraud charges was convicted for obstructing police. He f"tled suit
alleging violation of his rights under the fourth and fourt.eenth amendments. Sheriffs'
deputies had att.empt.ed t.o serve capiases on two of the physician's employees at his clinic
and were refused entry; ·after receiving instructions from the county prosecut.or t.o "go in
and get" the employees, the deputies tried t.o force the door and then chopped the door
down with an axe. The physician's suit was dismissed by the federal district court on the
grounds that the deputies were not acting pursuant t.o the kind of "official policy" that is a
requisit.e for liability under Monell v. New York City Dept. of Social Services, 98 S.Ct
2018. The appeals court aff"mned, holding that the plaintiff failed t.o prove the existence
of a policy because he had shown nothing more than that on "this one occasion" the
prosecut.or and the sheriff decided t.o force entry. The Supreme Court reversed the lower
court decisions. The majority held that the "official policy" requirement of Monell was
int.ended t.o distinguish the acts of the municipality from the acts of its employees; in this
case, the municipality should be held liable for the actions of its employees because it
officially ordered and sanctioned them. "With this undemanding, it is plain that
municipal liability may be imposed for a single decision of municipal policymakers under
appropriat.e circumstances. If the decision t.o adopt a particular course of action is directed
by those who establish governmental policy, the municipality is equally responsible
whether the action is t.o be taken only once or t.o be taken repeat.edly." (City of Cincinnati,
Hamilt.on County, Ohio)

LIABILJTY

U.S. District Court
PERSONAL

LIABILITY

Quinones v. Durkis, 638. F.Supp. 856 (S.D. Fla. 1986). A sheriff could be sued
individually under Section 1988 for his actions which allegedly result.ed in the
deprivation of the plaintiffs' constitutional rights. However, the plaintiffs would be
required t.o establish that the sheriff was either personally involved in the wrongful acts,
or that he breached a duty imposed by stat.e law in order t.o be held accountable for his
actions. (Hendry County, Florida)
·
7'1:J:1

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE

Ruiz v. McCotter, 661 F.Supp. 112 (S.D.Tex. 1986). The Texas Department of
Corrections was in contempt of court for failure to afford sufficient single-occupancy
cells, in failing to assign housing to prisoners according to their respective custody
classifications, in failing to maintain a specified number of personnel, and to deploy staff
in the housing areas, in failing to employ a substantial number of health care
professionals, in failing to meet the needs of the physically handicapped, in failing to
afford prisoners in administrative segregation appropriate housing facilities, and in failing
to build and properly equip recreation yards and gymnasiums. On the whole, the court
found, TDC had been habitually and inexcusably dilatory in complying with the orders in
question. The court noted that contempt represents more than delay in performance or
lack of perfection. It is, instead, failure to accomplish what was ordered in meaningful
respects. Defendants may defeat finding of contempt by demonstrating that they
employed, in good faith, utmost diligence in discharging their responsibilities. Prison
inmates were not required to show that Texas Department of Corrections had violated the
Eighth Amendment or to develop a method by which the Department could achieve
compliance with consent decree in order to support a finding of contempt for violating the
decree. Rather, inmates were required to establish by clear and 'convincing· evidence that
the Department had inappropriately mixed custody classifications or had housed prisoners
not in minimum custody status in dormitories, and had done both, in violation of
stipulations forming bases for district court orders. Motions to modify so as to alleviate or
eliminate conditions or restrictions imposed by prior court order require a clear showing of
grievous wrong evoked by new and unforeseen conditions. Texas Department of
Corrections' alleged change in philosophy to a belief that dormitories provide adequate,
secure housing for women prisoners in medium and close custody classifications was not
sufficient to require modification of stipulations incorporated in court orders requiring
inmates to be housed with inmates of like classification, in light of the fact that certain
women inmates had been moved to cell housing, and conflicting testimony regarding
appropriateness of dormitory housing for women requiring medium or close custody.
(Texas Department of Corrections)

State Appeals Court
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

Smith v. City of Westland, 404 N.W. 2d 214 (Mich. App. 1986). The placement of an
intoxicated arrestee in a regular jail cell, instead of a detoxification cell, was not a
violation of his rights and did not constitute a deliberate indifference to his medical
needs. The arrestee was intoxicated at the time he was placed in the cell and had not
exhibited any dangerous behavior. The detainee committed suicide by hanging himself
with his shirt. The court noted that "intoxication in and of itself is not normally a serious
medical need." Although there was an insufficient basis for attaching liability under
federal law for a civil rights violation, the defendants had reached a settlement on the
state law claims for negligence. (Westland City Jail, Michigan)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Thomas v. Booker, 784 F.2d 299 (8th Cir, 1986), cert. denied, 106 S.Ct. 1975.
Damages awarded to prisoner against jail employees as a result of prisoner-on-prisoner
beating. The plaintiff sued the chief of security, the supervisor of _correctional officers, and
a correctional officer. The appeals court affirmed a judgment awarding $3,000 actual
damages and $10,000 punitive damages against the chief of security, and $1,000 actual
damages against the correctional officer. The court also reinstated a jury verdict of
$10,000 against the correctional officer which had been set aside by the trial court. The
supervisor was not found liable, because he had instructed the plaintiff to discuss his
fears with the chief of security when he was told of them. The correctional officer was on
duty when the assault occurred and was supposed to have made rounds every fifteen or
twenty minutes. Apparently, rounds were not made as appropriate, and the fight was not
discovered. (St. Louis City Jail, Missouri)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Walker v. Rowe, 791 F.2d 507 (7th Cir. 1986), U.S. cert. denied in 107 S.Ct. 597.
Appeals court rules that due process clause does not assure safe working conditions for
public employees and reverses lower court awards. On July 22, 1978, inmates of the
Pontiac Correctional Center, a maximum security prison, were being returned t.o their
cells after exercise in the courtyard. The prisoners killed three guards, injured others,
and set fire to part of the prison. Three of the injured guards and the estates of the three
deceased guards filed suit against the director of the Illinois Department of Corrections,
and the Assistant Warden of Operations at Pontiac, alleging that they deprived them of
their constitutional right to a safe working environment.
A federal district court jury returned verdicts against the defendants totalling
$706,845, and the district court added $145,792 in attorney's fees and costs. These
recoveries were in addition to workers' compensation awards ($250,000 death benefits and
burial expenses for each of the three deceased guards) and other benefits afforded by state
law. (Pontiac Correctional Center, Illinois)

U.S. Appeals Court

Weber v. Dell, 804 F.2d 796 (2nd Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 483 U.S. 1020. The arrestee
brought a civil rights action challenging the county jail policy authorizing strip.b\BtLITY
cavity searches of arrestees, regardless of whether they were reasonably suspected of
concealing contraband. The district court, 630 F.Supp. 255, granted summary judgment

GOVERNMENTAL

27.28

in favor of county and sheriff, and the arrest.ee appealed. The court of appeals held that:
(1) the strip-body cavity search of an arrestee who had been arrest.ed for misdemeanor
offenses was unconstitutional, where jail authorities had no reasonable suspicion that the
arrestee was concealing weapons or other contraband; (2) .the county could be held liable
for search because the highest ranking law enforcement official in the county, the sheriff,
established the policy; and (3) the sheriff was not entitled t.o good faith immunity defense.
The county was liable for damages caused by a policy providing for strip-body cavity
searches of all arrestees, where the sheriff, who was highest ranking law enforcement
official in county, established such policy. The sheriff who promulgated unconstitutional
jail policy authorizing strip-body cavity searches of arrestees, regardless of whether they
were reasonably suspected of concealing contraband, was not entitled t.o good-faith
immunity from Section 1983 claim brought by arrestee who was subjected t.o strip-body
cavity search, considering that three circuit court decisions holding similar policies
unconstitutional antedated the search in question, and thus law was clearly established at
time of search. (Rochest.er Police Depar1m.ent, New York)
1987
State Appeals Court
NEGLIGENCE

Baker v. North Carolina Dept. of Corrections, 354 S.E.2d 733 (N.C. App. 1987). The
North Carolina Dept. of Corrections was found liable for inmate employee's negligently
injuring a fellow inmate during job performance. Although the State Industrial
Commission had ruled that an employee inmate was negligent when he shut a window
and it slammed on a fellow inmate's fingers, the State Appeals Court reversed this ruling
and found that the employee inmate was not negligent because, although he knew fellow
inmates were cleaning windows, he had no reason t.o believe that the plaintiff was at the
very window he was about t.o shut. (Iredell County Unit, North Carolina Department of
Corrections)

U.S. District Court
NEGLIGENCE
TORI' LIABILITY

Beck v. Kansas University Ps;ychiatey Foundation, 671 F.Supp. 1552 (D. Kan. 1987).
Two persons who worked in a hospital emergency room were shot by a paroled prisoner
with mental problems. Their families filed a lawsuit against the members of the
Kansas Adult Authority, charging that the prisoner's release was negligent under state
law and that the two persons who were killed were denied ·constitutional rights by the
release. The court held that the individual members of the Kansas Adult Authority were
immune from liability on the basis of the Kansas Tort Claims Act, but allowed claims
against the Secretary of Corrections and the direct.or of the Penitentiary t.o proceed
because they had not raised their immunity under Kansas Tort Claims Act as a defense.
(Kansas Adult Authority)

U.S. Appeals Court
GOOD FAITH
DEFENSE

Brown v. Smith, 813 F.2d 1187 (11th Cir. 1987). Whether a prison guard's application
of force t.o an inmate is actionable turns on whether that force was applied in a good
faith effort t.o maintain or restore discipline. According t.o an appeals court, neither
judge nor jury is free t.o substitute its own judgment for that of prison officials. A mere
conclusory allegation by a prison inmate that a guard acted with malice when he placed
his riot stick across the inmate's throat after the inmate refused t.o go back int.o his cell
was not sufficient t.o establish the liability of the guard where the actual facts would not
support a reliable inference of want.onness. (West Jefferson yorrectional Facility,
Alabama)

U.S. Appeals Court
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983
PERSONAL
LIABILITY
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE

Carlson v. Conklin, 813 F.2d 769 (6th Cir. 1987). The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
ruled that placing a man convicted of armed robbery in a community corrections center
("half-way house") was no basis t.o find the Direct.or of the Depar1m.ent of Corrections
liable for the man's subsequently abducting a woman and sexually assaulting her. The
court found that the crime was "too remote" from the actions of the Director t.o attach
liability. The court's decision t.o dismiss the Section 1983 suit reversed the district
court's ruling. The district court had allowed the claim t.o continue based on the
following allegations: (1) the defendant authorized departmental policies in placing known
dangerous prisoners in half-way houses; (2) that it was foreseeable that assaults would
occur in the surrounding communities; and (3) that the defendant owed the victim a duty
of care t.o prevent injury. The appeals court ruled that there is no duty t.o protect the
general public from criminals, unless promises of protection are made t.o individual
members. According t.o the appeals ruling, no duty was owed t.o the woman as a member
of the public absent a special relationship. (Department of Corrections, Michigan)

U.S. District Court
42U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

Davis v. City of Camden, 657 F.Supp. 396 (D.N.J. 1987) A suit was filed against
county officials by a woman who came t.o the police station t.o file a complaint against
her neighbors was arrest.eel and strip searched. Police officials found that the woman
had several outstanding arrest warrants when they ran an identification check. She was
arrest.ed and sent t.o the Camden County Jail in New Je~y. At the jail a strip search
was conducted by a female officer. The policy at the jail was t.o conduct a strip

search on any person arrested who could not post bail. The court found that policy
unconstitutional. The suit was filed against the sheriff and the matron who performed the
search claiming the strip search was illegal. While the court did not hold the sheriff and
matron liable, it did find the county liable because "We believe that a municipality should
be held liable under Section 1983 when it officially adopts a policy that subsequently is
declared unconstitutional, notwithstanding the fact that the policy was mandated by state
law." The court reasoned that, for purposes of determining whether a particular strip
search is justified, reasonable suspicion that a particular arrestee is concealing weapons or
contraband can arise not only from specific circumstances relating to the arrestee or
arrests, but also from the nature of the charged offense. (Camden County Jail, New
Jersey)
U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE

Doe v. United Social and Mental Health Services, 670 F.Supp. 1121 (D. Conn. 1987).
A prisoner who had a history of psychiatric problems and alcohol and drug abuse was
sentenced to seven to seventeen years in custody for the shooting of a female bank
teller during a robbery. After being paroled, he was sent to a halfway house drug
treatment center where he had a prohibition on traveling. Having immediately
violated his parole, he stabbed a woman to death in another state. Shortly after being
returned to custody, and reparoled, he kidnapped a woman, sexually assaulted her and
attempted to strangle her. Section 1983 lawsuits against members of the Parole Board,
parole officers, and a number of other defendants were brought by the estate of the
murdered woman and the victim of the sexual assault. Members of the Parole Board were
found absolutely immune from liability. The court found the parole officers who allegedly
failed to supervise the second parole properly or order the parolee's arrest at the
appropriate time, were not absolutely immune. However, the officers were still not found
liable, since they did not assume any "special relationship" with the woman who was
sexually assaulted, even though they allegedly knew that the parolee had violated a nodrinking condition of parole shortly before the assault. (Connecticut Parole Board)

State Appeals Court
RESPONDEAT
SUPERIOR

Duhon v. Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. 517 So.2d 1016 (La. App. 3 Cir. 1987).
According to a state appeals court, the Louisiana Department of Corrections owes
prison inmates the duty of providing equipment and machinery that is safe for tasks
the inmates are required to perform. However, the Department is not the insurer of the
safety of inmates in prison, and is not required to anticipate and warn against every
possible danger to which inmates may be exposed. While participating as a farm crew
member in the work program of a minimum security facility, an inmate suffered back
injuries when the tractor/trailer he rode on hit a rut in the road and bounced him to the
ground. Since the inmate driver was acting within the scope of his employment, the
sheriff was found liable for $6,515.60 under the doctrine of respondeat superior. (Calcasieu
Parish Vocational Rehabilitation Center)

U.S. Appeals Court
PERSONAL
LIABILITY

Gill v. Mooney. 824 F.2d 192 (2nd Cir. 1987). According to a federal court of appeals,
employees may be liable if they overrule a doctor's orders that an inmate participate in
a prescribed exercise program. As treatment for injuries sustained from falling off a
ladder during a work assignment, a doctor ordered Anthony Gill to be permitted
additional time in the facility gym for rehabilitative therapy. On two separate occasions,
Gill was refused access to the prescribed exercise program by both the gym supervisor and
a correctional officer. Gill was again denied access to the gym after the doctor had heard
about the incidents and allegedly signed a new order directing additional exercise. The
deliberate defiance of expressed instructions of a prisoner's doctor by prison officials is
deliberate indifference to the prisoner's medical needs, ruled the federal appeals court.
Further, if Gill's allegations are true, the employees could be liable for causing him
unnecessary pain, even though he suffered no permanent injuries. (Great Meadow
Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREES

Gill v. Neaves, 657 F.Supp. 1394 (W.D. Tex. 1987). Having previously accepted over 12
petitions by an inmate who had also filed at least 16 in another court, the court clerk
was ordered not to accept any more of his filings unless directed to do so. The inmate was
described as an "abuser of the judicial process" because he filed numerous frivolous,
malicious, bad faith or meritless motions or petitions which include claims that his legal
papers were destroyed, his property was illegally searched, and that he was subjected to
bodily injury from other inmates because of correctional guards informing fellow prisoners
that he passed information about them to officials. The inmate also brought a civil suit
claiming that the Sheriff and Bexar County Jail officials violated his constitutional rights
by violating a consent decree concerning jail conditions. It was ruled by the court that the
inmates' claim was without merit because ''the mere approval by the Court of a consent
decree by parties to a civil action does not raise the status of that decree to the status of
"rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws" of the United
States. Any violation of a court-ordered consent decree in a jail case is more properly
brought through the enforcement provisions of the decree rather than an individual civil
rights suit, the court rationalized. (Bexar County Jail)

'l:1.30

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Ivey v. Wilson, 832 F.2d 950 (6th Cir. 1987). · A federal appeals court found that
alleged verbal abuse and harassment did not constitute punishment, let alone "cruel
and unusual punishment," and that strip searches and testing for intoxicants were
reasonable. The case was filed by an inmate who was charged with interfering with a
correctional officer because he threatened t.o file a grievance when he was strip searched
and subjected t.o a body cavity search. The inmate was also tested for alcohol and drug
use because officers thought they smelled "home brew" on his breath. Since no evil
motive, recklessness or callous disregard t.o the inmate's rights were shown, the appeals
court reversed a punitive damage award from the lower court, but it upheld an award of
$51 in damages against one defendant and $76 against three others. (Kentucky State
Penitentiary)

U.S. District Court
PERSONAL

Jackson v. Elrod. 671 F.Supp. 1508 (N.D.lll. 1987). A pretrial detainee challenged a
policy of barring the receipt of all hardcover books and failing t.o notify detainees of the
rejection of these books when mailed t.o them by filing a federal lawsuit. A federal
district court ruled that a policy of prohibiting all hardcover books, regardless of content
or source, could not meet a test of being reasonably related t.o a legitimate penological
interest. While the court held that the jail's corrections head, security chief and division
superintendents were properly liable for making and administering these policies, it
ordered further proceedings on whether the sheriff was liable, since the policy differed
from a written handbook sent out by his office. (Cook County Jail, Illinois)

LIABILITY

U.S. Appeals Court

POLicmw

PROCEDURES
42U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

U.S. District Court
GOOD FAITH
DEFENSE
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE

LaBoy v. Coughlin, 822 F.2d 3 (2nd Cir. 1987). A federal district court upheld the
dismissal of a Section 1983 lawsuit by a prisoner. The plaintiff sued the commission of
correctional services and various correctional officers alleging that they violated the
prisoner's Fourteenth Amendment due process rights when they t.ook discipiinary
actions against the prisoner based on prison regulations which had not been filed with
the New York Secretary of State. The court noted that the inmate did not claim that the
hearings conducted were otherwise inadequate, or that he did not have adequate notice of
the regulations. The mere allegation that a state procedural requirement was not followed
is not adequate grounds for a federal civil rights claim. (Clint.on Correctional Facility.
New York)
LaMarca v. Turner, 662 F.Supp. 647 (S.D. Fla. 1987). As a result of a former prison
superintendent's indifference t.o prisoners' rights, prisoners who were gang raped or
assaulted were entitled t.o relief under SectiQn 1983 according t.o a federal district
court. With respect t.o all of the inmates except two, the superintendent was in a
position t.o take steps that could have averted the attacks but, through his callous
indifference, failed t.o do so. The prisoners were entitled t.o injunctive relief, including
establishment of committees t.o advise the court in the formulation of specific injunctive
relief. The court ruled that a prisoner has a right t.o be protected from the constant threat
of violence and from sexual assault. Prison officials' failure t.o control or segregate
prisoners who endanger the safety of other prisoners and who cause a high level of
violence, constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment. A law was clearly established that
required a prison superintendent with knowledge of the pervasive risk of harm t.o inmates
t.o take reasonable steps t.o prevent that harm, and, thus, the former prison
superintendent did not act in good faith and was not entitled t.o qualified immunity for
liability for violating the prisoners' Eighth Amendment right t.o reasonable protection from
rapes and assaults. (Glades Correctional Institution)
Lane v. Griffin, 834 F.2d 403 (4th Cir. 1987). A federal appeals court ruled that a
restriction on inmates' constitutional·rights that is reasonably related t.o legitimate
penological interest is valid, whether imposed by a prison regulation or by a policy
decision made by a prison official and that the lower court had improperly informed the
jury that the prison regulation had t.o be no broader than necessary rather than
reasonably related t.o a legitimate security interest. A state prisoner brought a civil rights
action against the prison superintendent, alleging that a prison restriction imposed by the
superintendent violated the prisoner's First Amendment right of freedom of religion. The
trial court was directed t.o consider, on remand, whether the superintendent was entitled
t.o qualified immunity for his action. This is based on whether the law governing the
scope of the inmate's right t.o participate in religious services, at the time of his request,
was sufficiently clear so that the superintendent could have known whether his conduct
violated the inmate's constitutional rights. (McCain Correctional Center, McCain, North
Carolina)

Morales Feliciano v. Hernandez Colon, 672 F.Supp. 627 (D. Puerto Rico 1987). Puerto
Rican prison authorities moved t.o modify stipulation and an order that they provide
each prisoner with at least 35 square feet of living space. The District Court held that: (1)
prison authorities were not entitled t.o relief under subsection of federal rule allowing
modification on the ground that changed circumstances would make further compliance
with order unjust; (2) prison authorities failed t.o show that compliance would result in
pernicious consequences, and failed t.o show changed circwnstances

27.31

warranting relief; and (3) building project undertaken to increase dramatically available
beds for housing did not entitle prison authorities to relief. The possible release_ of
prisoners by Puerto Rican prison authorities as a result of compliance with a court order
that they provide each prisoner with at least 35 square feet of living space was not a

"pernicious consequence" of compliance and did not entitle them to relief from order under
Rule 60(b)(6); there was little factual support for assertion that all persons presently
incarcerated in Puerto Rico would present danger to the community if released, argument
had an undertone of disingenuity, and compliance would not int.erfere with efforts of
Commonwealth as to enforcement of criminal law or any other policy decision of that
entity. The court ruled that prison authorities should have known that the population
projection figure on which they relied was, in all probability, inaccurat.e, and, even if they
did not properly assess information available at that time, they certainly knew by the end
of 1986 that they had drastically underestimated the actual rat.e of growth, but did not
make the motion for relief from the stipulation, informally apprise the court of predictable
problems in compliance, solicit assistance of monitor or seek discussions with plaintiffs'
counsel. (Puerto.Rico System)
U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

N"ishiyama v. Dickson County, Tenn., 814 F.2d 277 (6th Cir. 1987). Reversing a lower
court ruling, an appeals court held that the practice of allowing an inmat.e to drive an
official patrol car was action taken under the color of stat.e law, establishing a claim
that the conduct of a sheriff and deputy deprived their daught.er of constitutionally
prot.ected int.erest in life. The court found reckless indifference to risk posed by actions
of the sheriff and deputy sheriff in permitting the inmat.e to have the use of an official
patrol car--resulting in an inmat.e murdered their daught.er while driving an official car
with permission--and that this was sufficient to establish violation of substantive due
process under section 1983. (Dickson County Sheriff Department)

U.S. District Court

Ortiz v. Turner, 651 F.Supp. 309 (S.D. Ill. 1987). A proceeding was institut.ed on the
motion of Illinois correction officials to dismiss a complaint alleging a failure to enforce
minimum physical standards for the county jail. The district court held that the
obligation imposed upon correction officials by an Illinois statut.e to set minimum physical
standards for the county jail and to petition an appropriat.e court in the event of
noncompliance did not include enforcement and, hence, did not impose liability upon
correction officials for acts of noncompliance by county officials who were given
responsibility by other Illinois statut.es for maint.erumce of the jail. The failure of
correction officials in Illinois to ensure compliance with minimum physical standards for
the county jail could not be causally linked to conditions existing at the jail so as to place
liability on the correction officials, notwithstanding a stat.ement of the sheriff that he
would have acted to comply with minimum standards had the correction officials
threat.ened him with legal action, where the stat.ement could not be given credence in view
of the sheriff's repeated history of false assurances that the county jail would be brought
up to minimum standards. A decision by a federal court as to whether county officials
were in compliance with minimum physical standards set for the county jail would have
amounted to an intrusion by the federal court into a decision making process of stat.e
officials offensive to the eleventh amendment. (Alexander Co., Illinois)

Stat.e Appeals Court
NEGLIGENCE
FAILURE TO

Perro v. Stat.e, 517 So.2d 258 (La. App. 1 Cir. 1987). An inmat.e who cut off two of his

PROTECT

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT
NEGLIGENCE

fingers and damaged his thumb while using a skillsaw to cut some plastic to fut a
toilet seat sued claiming negligence on the part of the stat.e. He noted that there was
no guard on the blade. The court found the stat.e was negligent in not providing a
safe place to work. However, since the inmat.e had worked in the shop for eight months
and had enough experience to know the saw was for cutting wood, not plastic, he could
not recover for injuries since a more appropriat.e tool was available and he chose to use
the skillsaw. The court also barred the inmat.e from recovering under the theory that the
saw, as a dangerous instrument, was in the care and custody of the institution and was
def~ve. (Jackson Barracks, New Orleans, Louisiana)
Rios v. Lane, 812 F.2d 1032 (7th Cir. 1987). A federal appeals court denied prison
officials a defense of qualified immunity for disciplining an inmat.e pursuant to a vague
rule forbidding gang activity. The inmat.e was given no prior warning that his conduct
in passing a 3" by 5" not.ecard to another inmat.e containing information about the
schedule of Spanish speaking radio stations violated any regulation. The court explained
that aside from the sparse ten of the rule itself, there was no material available to fully
explain what conduct was prohibited by the rule. (Graham Correctional Cent.er, Illinois)
Rondon Pinto v. Jimenez Nettleship, 660 F.Supp. 255 (D. Puerto Rico 1987). A prison
official's detailed swom stat.ement explaining the actions he took to improve prison
safety, and his lack of knowledge that the plaintiffs' son was in any particular danger,
clearly showed an absence of deliberat.e or gross indifference. Therefore, the official ·
was not liable for the son's death. Moreover, the situation did not even rise to the level of
mere negligence, unless prison cust.odians are held to absolut.e standard of liability,
responsible for any injuries suffered by any inmat.e. (Bayamon Regional Jail)

27.32

State Supreme Court
NEGLIGENCE
TORI' LIABILITY
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

Silva v. State, 745 P.2d 380 (N.M. 1987) After an inmate committed suicide, using his
shirt to hang himself his personal representatives brought a wrongful death action
against the State Corrections Department and others. The court rejected the argument
that the inmate's shirt was "machinery" within the Tort Claims Act's waiver of
immunity for negligence in the operation or maintenance of machinery or building.
The plaintiff claimed that because the prison officials had not removed the clothing from
the inmate there was failure to "properly maintain machinery" and that the "design of the
building" allowed him to hang himself. The claims were dismissed. (Corrections and
Criminal Rehabilitation Department of the State of New Mexico)

U.S. District Court
DEFENSES

Shropshire v. Duckworth, 654 F.Supp. 369 (N.D. Ind. 1987). An inmate filed a suit
alleging that his civil rights had been violated. Prison officials filed a motion for
summary judgment. The district court held that: (1) the state policy governing
institutional transfers did not create a liberty interest protected by the fourteenth
amendment; (2) any claims against prison officials in their official capacities were barred
by the eleventh amendment; and (3) the procedures used, before the inmate was placed in
administrativ~ segregation, satisfied the minimµm.requirements of due propess. .
Procedures accorded an inmate when he was placed in administrative segregation satisfied
minim.um requirements of due process. The inmate received a hearing within eight days
of being placed in administrative segregation. He received notice of the hearing three
days prior to it. He was permitted to speak on his own behalf and present evidence, call
witnesses and have lay advocate. He was in fact assisted by lay advocate of his choice.
(Indianapolis, Indiana)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Vaughn v. Ricketts, 663 F.Supp. 401 (D. Ariz. 1987). Prisoners brought action against
prison officials to challenge legality of digital, rectal cavity searches. A federal district
court held that: (1) prison officials needed reasonable grounds to conduct digital. body
cavity searches of prisoners, and (2) the law governing cavity searches was clearly
established when searches were conducted, and thus, officials did not enjoy qualified ·
immunity from liability. According t.o the court, rectal cavity searches of prisoners must
be reasonably conducted in order t.o withstand fourth amendment scrutiny. Prison
officials had duty to conduct digital, rectal cavity searches of prisoners in a manner that
was not brutal, offensive t.o human dignity, or shocking to conscience and had duty not t.o
violate due process. (State Prison, Florence, Arizona)
1988

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

Anderson v. Gutschenritter, 836 F.2d 346 (7th Cir. 1988). A pretrial detainee was
stabbed by his cellmate. The detainee had informed the prison authorities .that he had
heard rumors that "someone was out to get him." The due process clause protects
pretrial detainees from both deliberat.e exposure to violence, and from a failure to prot.ect
when prison authorities know of a strong likelihood that an inmate will be assaulted or
injured. According t.o the appeals court, evidence presented by the pretrial detainee would
have permitted a reasonable jury t.o conclude that a sheriff and a warden failed to protect
the detainee. (Sangamon County Jail)

Anderson v. Sullivan, 702 F.Supp. 424 (S.D.N.Y. 1988). An inmate sued correction
U.S. District Court
PERSONAL LIABILITY officials alleging excessive use of force, in violation of his civil rights. The U.S. District
Court held that officers did not use excessive force in handcuffing the inmate. According
t.o the court, an inmate's constitutional protection against excessive force by correction
officers is nowhere nearly so extensive as that afforded by common-law t.ort action for
battery.
The court found that the officers did not use excessive force on the prisoner, in
violation of his eighth amendment rights, when they pushed him int.o a bar and put his
hands behind his back t.o apply handcuffs. The amount of force was not significantly
disproportional t.o a legitimate goal of handcuffing the inmate while transporting him
within the facility, and the incident resulted in little or no harm t.o the inmate.
The court also ruled that the prison superintendent could not be held liable for the
correction officers' alleged excessive use of force against an inmate absent an allegation
that the superintendent was directly involved in the incident, that he had an opportunity
to remedy an alleged wrong, that he created the policy under which the violation occurred,
or that he was grossly negligent in managing subordinates•. (Sing Sing Correctional
Facility, New York)
U.S. District Court
RESPONDEAT
SUPERIOR

Brassfield v. County of Cook, 701 F.Supp. 679 (N.D. Ill. 1988). A prisoner ftled a civil
rights action against the county, former county department of corrections' executive
direct.or, the executive director's immediate subordinate, unnamed supervisor of guards
at the county jail, and a guard, alleging the failure to provide the prisoner with prompt
and effective medical care after he suffered a severe beating at the hands of fellow
inmates. In a sua sponte opinion, the district court found that the responsibility for the
county jail was vested in the sheriff, not the county, and the potential respond.eat

27.33

superior liability on the county for the jail officials' actions did not extend to civil rights
actions. The court also found a complaint alleging that the sheriff, executive director,
executive director's immediate subordinate, and the guard supervisor failed to train and
supervise jail personnel was insufficient to sustain a civil rights action against them.
(Cook County Jail, Illinois)
U.S. District Court
PERSONAL
LIABILITY

Brody v. McMahon, 684 F.Supp. 354 (N.D.N.Y. 1988). An inmate filed a complaint
against the New York Commission of Corrections seeking to hold individual members
liable for the conditions of the prison. The court ruled that members of the
Commission could not be held personally liable for conditions at the prison because the
Commission is simply a "watchdog" agency and has no direct power to control or direct
customs and policies of prison facilities in New York. (New York State Commission of
Correction)

U.S. Appeals Court
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

Cabrales v. County of Los Angeles, 864 F.2d 1454 (9th Cir. 1988). A civil rights suit
was brought against the county, the commander of the county jail, _and others for the
death of a pretrial detainee. Following a verdict again.st the county and-jail
commander, motion for judgment was denied by the U.S. District Court and attorney
fees were awarded. The appeals court affirmed the lower court ruling, noting that the
sufficiency of evidence could not be reviewed except for plain error absent a motion for
directed verdict at the close of all the evidence.
There were issues of the fact as to the liability of the county and the jail commander
on the ground of the policy of deliberate indifference to the detainee's medical needs. In
order to impose liability on the county under a civil rights statute in the suicide on a
theory that the county had a policy of deliberate indifference to the detainee's medical
needs, it was not necessary to establish that any policymaker may have, by affirmative
acts, established or adopted such a policy; rather, the notion of deliberate indifference
connoted a regime where neglect of medical and psychological needs would suffice to prove
a constitutional violation; acts of omission, as well as commission, may constitute
predicate for finding of liability.
Even though the detainee was not denied access to medical and psychiatric help, but
was in fact evaluated on several occasions by medical personnel, this did not preclude the
finding of deprivation of constitutional rights without due process based on a deliberate
indifference to medical needs, in light of the demonstration of inadequate staff such that
psychiatric staff could only spend minutes per month with disturbed inmates, so that any
psychological illness would go undiagnosed and untreated.
It was also found by the court that the plaintiff's unsuccessful claims against
individual county officers were related to successful claims against the county and the
commander of the county jail that inadequate psychiatric care led to the pretrial detainee's
suicide. There was no abuse of discretion in reducing the attorney fee award by 25% to
reflect limited success, where the plaintiff's overall relief was materially diminished for a
failure to make out claims against individual defendants who could have been found
individually liable for their own deliberate indifference to a detainee's medical and
psychiatric needs. (Los Angeles County Jail, California)

State Appeals Court
NEGLIGENCE
DAMAGES

Calloway v. City of New Orleans, 524 So.2d 182 (La. App. 4 Cir. 1988). The mother of
a prematurely born infant brought a wrongful death action against the sheriff of the
jail in which she was held prior to the birth. She also sued the hospital. A lower
court found the sheriff and hospital liable and awarded the mother $150,000 in damages.
On appeal, the court reduced the damages award to $30,000, cited the mother's neglect to
seek out and carry out proper medical care and contracting syphilis, as well as her
reluctance to see the child. According to the court, in all negligence cases, the responsible
party must have breached a duty which encompasses a foreseeable risk of harm to the
plaintiff. While the court ruled that a jail corpsman should not be held to the same
standard of care as a medical doctor, his standard is above that of an ordinary layman.
When determining an award of damages for the wrongful death of a baby, the
determination is predicated on the bond between parent and child, and presumably the
longer a child lives, the greater parental bond and greater loss upon a child's death.
Finally, when a damage award is excessive, the reviewing court's function is to lower it to
the highest reasonable amount. (Orleans Parish Prison)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

Colburn v. Upper Darby Township. 838 F. 2d 663 (3rd Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 109
S.Ct. 1338. The estate of a detainee who committed suicide while incarcerated brought
action against township and police officials. The district court dismissed the case and
the plaintiffs appealed. The appeals court held that: (1) the allegation that custodial
personnel knew or should have known that the detainee was a suicide risk was
sufficient to state a Section 1983 claim against official; and (2) the allegation that the
township had a custom of inadequately monitoring jail for potential suicides was sufficient
to state a cause of action. Further, the court found that the fact that the deceased inmate
was the third person to commit suicide while in custody of the same jail was reason to
state a Section 1983 claim. The court noted that a detainee is

27.34

entitled under a due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment t.o, at minimum, no less
protection for personal security than that afforded to convicted prisoners under the
Fourteenth Amendment and, no less a level of medical care than that required for
convicted prisoners by the Eighth Amendment. Though custodial officials cannot be
placed in a position of guaranteeing that inmates will not commit suicide, such officials
know or should know of a particular vulnerability. Prior suicides could be viewed as
providing a governing body with knowledge of its alleged custom. The appeals court
ruled, however, that the police commissioner and mayor could not be held personally liable
in a Section 1983 action arising out of suicide of a detainee absent allegations that either
was personally involved in any activity related to detainee's death. (Upper Darby Police
Department)
·
U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

State Appeals Court
SOVEREIGN

IMMUNITY
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY
42U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

U.S; Court of Appeals
GOVERNMENTAL
IMMUNITY
FAILURE TO

Cort.es-Quinones v. Jimenez-Nettleship. 842 F.2d 556 (1st Cir. 1988), cert. denied. 109
S.Ct. 68. The death of a psychiatrically disturbed prisoner whose body was
dismembered a few months aft.er his transfer to a district jail was caused by the
deliberate indifference" of prison officials to his health or safety problems, accol'.(ling to a
federal appeals court. The court ruled found that information about the prisoner's
psychiatric history was, or should have been, in his prison files, and that prison officials
who approved of the transfer should have known of the inmate's psychological problem
and that there was evidence that the inmate should never have been in the general prison
population. According to the court, it was unlikely that the inmate would have been killed
if any of the officials had acted t.o segregate him from mentally sound prisoners at the jail.
According to the appeals court, when prison officials intentionally place prisoners in
dangerous circumstances, when they intentionally ignore prisoners' serious medical needs,
or when they are deliberately indifferent either to a prisoner's health or safety, they
violate the constitution. (Arecibo District Jail)
Dept. of Health & Rehab. Serv. v. WhaleY, 531 So.2d 723 (Fla.App. 4 Dist. 1988). A
juvenile detainee was awarded $100,000 in damages and his father was awarded $5,575
in damages, for injuries sustained as a result of an alleged sexual assault by a fellow
detainee in a juvenile detention intake facility. The white, 14-year-old, 98 pound
youth, was arrested for burglary and placed in a holding cell with two older black
youths, 15 and 16 years old, weighing 160 and 195 pounds respectively. The other two
youths were charged with burglary and armed robbery. While one had a history of several
violent crimes charged (most of which had been dismissed), there was no past history of
sexual assault. The two allegedly forced him to perform fellatio on one of them.
Following the youth's release, he received psychiatric treatment for "post-traumatic stress
syndrome", but no medical treatment for any physical injury was required. The appeals
court upheld the jury verdict, noting that there was a duty to protect an alleged juvenile
delinquent in custody from potential harm by third persons where the risk of such harm is
foreseeable. The court rejected an argument that sovereign immunity applied in this
instance, noting that insurance for just such liability exist.eel. (Juvenile Detention Intake
Facility, West Palm Beach, Florida)
Eastwood v. Dept. of Corrections of State of Okl., 846 F.2d 627 (10th Cir. 1988). A
federal appeals court ruled that a Department of Corrections investigator who asked
irrelevant questions concerning the sexual history of a female employee who had
charged a fellow employee with sexual assault was not entitled to qualified immunity.
When the female employee reported the sexual assault incident, the departmental
investigator allegedly told her that she would not be harassed or fired if she revealed
everything about the assault. She filed a lawsuit claiming that she was threatened with
termination if she did not sign a statement promising to forget the incident if the other
employee resigned. The lawsuit also claimed that the investigator forced her to reveal
facts about her sexual history. Furthermore, the investigator and several other
Department of Corrections employees created an offensive work environment by harassing
her with additional questions about her sexual history, "publishing offensive and insulting
drawings" within the Department of Corrections facility, and repeatedly making insulting
remarks, which led up to her resignation when she could no longer tolerate the abuse.
The court found that under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, these allegations were sufficient to
state a claim. Since the unlawfulness of such questions were clearly established by prior
case law establishing a right of privacy, citing Thorne v. City of. EI Segundo, 726 F.2d
459 (9th Cir. 1983), cert denied, 469 U.S. 979 (1984), ("unbounded, standardless inquiry"
in personal life of applicant for police job violated right to privacy). An individual's
interest in avoiding disclosure of personal matters and interest in being independent when
making certain kinds of personal decisions are two kinds of privacy interests prot.ect.ed by
the penumbra of the Bill of Rights. (Oklahoma Department of Corrections)
Farrish v. Mississippi State Parole Board, 836 F.2d 969 (5th Cir. 1988). A form.er
director of corrections was held liable for failure to establish adequate procedures
governing the use of hearsay testimony at parole revocation hearings. The plaintiff, a
parolee, was subjected to a preliminary parole revocation hearing following hili)~or
the sale of marijuana. He continually objected to the introduction of statements

27.35

given at the hearing by a person whose statement to the police provided the soie basis for
the charge against him. The statements were admitted and the plaintiff's parole was
revoked even though he contended that the statements should not be considered unless he
was present for confrontation and cross-examination. The federal appeals court noted that
the U.S. Supreme Court held in 1972 that "on the request of a parolee, a person who has
given adverse information on which parole revocation is based is to be made available for
questioning" in the presence of the parolee, except when the hearing officer determines
that an informant would be subject to harm if his identity was revealed. According to the
court, this case presented a classic example of when the use of hearsay impermissibly
violates the right to confront and cross-examine because the statements were the sole
evidence against the plaintiff. The director of corrections was not entitled to absolute
immunity and was liable for failing to establish. adequate policies or procedures to govern
the calling of witnesses _in preliminary hearings. The court said the direct.or should have
known that this violated Farrish's clearly established rights. (Mississippi Department of
Corrections)
U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT
FAILURE TO
TRAIN
42U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

Francis v. Pike County. Ohio, 708 F.Supp. 170 (S.D. Ohio 1988)_. The administrator
and personal representative of a deceased arrestee brought a Section 1983 action
against the city, county, and their law enforcement officers for the failure to remove a
belt of the deceased arrestee who then committed suicide while in a cell. The
defendants moved for a summary judgment. The district court found that the police
officers did not use excessive force in arresting the arrestee. It was also found that
neither the city nor its police officers were liable for the arrestee's suicide while in the
county jail following the arrest assisted by the city officer. Since the arrestee was not in
their custody or control at the time of the suicide, the county deputies' failure to remove
the drunk driving arrestee's belt before placing him in a holding cell, without knowledge
or reason to know that the arrestee would commit suicide, did not impose a civil rights
liability on them after the arrestee committed suicide. The lack of allegations or evidence
that the county was grossly negligent in training its law enforcement officers precluded its
liability. (Pike County Jail, Ohio)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
TRAIN
42U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983
NEGLIGENCE

Freedman v. City of Allentown, Pa.• 853 F.2d 1111 (3rd Cir. 1988). The
parent of an inmate who committed suicide while detained in jail brought an
Section 1983 action against the city, chief of police, individual police officers,
and a state probation officer. The U.S. District Court dismissed the complaint
and appeal was taken. The appeals court, affirming the lower court decision,
found that the failure of jail officials to recognize scars on the inmate's wrists,
inside of his elbows and neck as suicide hesitation cuts amounted only to negligence and
would not support a Section 1983 claim. The civil rights claimant failed to establish that
the city deliberately elected not to fund or carry out the training of police officers in the
handling of mentally disturbed persons. The state probation officer's action in failing to
caution detaining officers about the jail inmate's prior suicide attempt and suicidal
tendencies was at most negligent and did not rise to a level of reckless indifference of the
inmate's rights as to support the Section 1983 action. The parent of the prisoner failed to
establish that the city and supervisory officials did not have a procedure, system, or
equipment whereby prison officials could maintain visual surveillance or otherwise
monitor prisoners with known suicidal tendencies for the purpose of maintaining a Section
1983 action, especially in light of the fact that the complainant referred to the existence of
a booking cell in the detective bureau where prisoners could be watched closely.
(Allentown Police Station, Pennsylvania)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT
NEGLIGENCE
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

Gardner v. Cato, 841 F.2d 105 (5th Cir. 1988). An inmate f'tled a civil rights lawsuit
against the county jail and its personnel, after he had without notice or warning,
gotten a dark liquid thrown in his face by his mentally unstable cellmate. The court
found that placement of the prisoner in a cell with a mentally unstable inmate who
had access to cleaning chemicals at best raised an issue of negligence by the
defendants, a claim not seen as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment in a civil
rights action. Because he was given extensive medical treatment, the court found that it
was "frivolous" to claim that the defendants displayed a deliberate indifference or
disregard for the inmate's medical needs. (Guadalupe County Jail)

State Supreme Court
PERSONAL
LIABllJTY
SOVEREIGN
IMMUNITY

Grantham v. Dept. of Corrections, 522 So.2d 219 (Miss. 1988). The Supreme
Court of Mississippi held that a woman attacked by a paroled prisoner can
bring a lawsuit against individual members of the Parole Board for their
alleged gross disregard for her safety in granting the parole. The paroled
prisoner served twelve years and three months of a life sentence for murder.
The court noted that the plain.tiff alleged that the parolee and seventy-two other inmates
were approved for parole and release on the same day and that the Parole Board members
approved the parolee's petition without reviewing all the pertinent information required
by state law, such as the circumstances of the prisoner's offense,

27.36

his previous social hist.ory and criminal record, his conduct, employment and attitude
while in the cust.ody of the Department, and the reports of such physical and mental
examinations as have been made. Claims against the Parole Board, Department of
Corrections and Commissioner of Corrections were dismissed on the basis of sovereign
immunity. The individual Board members, however, the court stat.eel, were charged in the
plaintiff's complaint with "reckless disregard" for her safety. It was alleged that their
failure t.o consider pertinent information was a substantial departure from their duties.
The court found these allegations sufficient t.o "pierce the shield of these officials' qualified
immunity t.o suit.• The court carefully not.ed that it int.ended that "not the slightest hint
be perceived how this case ought ultimately be decided." (Mississippi Department of
Corrections)

U.S. District Court
NEGLIGENCE
FEDERAL TORT
CLAIMS ACT

Harris v. U.S., 677 F.Supp. 403 (W.D.N.C. 1988). A mother brought an action
against the government in damages for the death of her son, a federal prison ·
inmate. The district court found that the intentional t.ort proviso of the Tort
Claims Act did not restrict the category of intentional t.orts for which
sovereign immunity w~ waived on those committed in the course of the search, seizure, or
arrest, and the mother's action against the government for the death of her son, who died
when a government employee wrongfully or negligently applied an elastic bandage and
duct tape over substantially all of his head and face, could be maintained under the
intentional t.ort proviso of the Tort Claims Act. The court rejected the government's
motion for summary judgment. The government argued that 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1346, the
Federal Tort Claims Act, waiving sovereign immunity for intentional t.orts in Section
2680(h), only applied t.o actions of law enforcement officials committed during the course
. of a search, a seizure or an arrest, citing Pooler v. Unit.ed Stat.es, 787 F.2d 868 (3d Cir.
1986), which so held. This court rejected that limitation, finding that the context in which
the intentional wrongdoing was committed was not limited, as long as the officer fit the
definition of "investigative or law enforcement officer." The court also cited Crow v.
Unit.eel States, 659 F.Supp. 556 (D.Kan. 1987), which also rejected the holding in Pooler.
(Unit.ed States Bureau of Prisons)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

Harris by and Through Harris v. MaYI181'd, 843 F.2d 414 (10th Cir. 1988). Prison
officials were not immune from liability under 42 U;S.C.A. Section 1983 for_ a deceased
inmate's unexplained and violent murder in the prison facility. Want.on or obdurate
disregard of or deliberate indifference t.o· a prisoner's right t.o life as a condition of
confinement was a substantive constitutional deprivation. Material issues of fact
exist.ed as t.o whether state correctional officials evidenced deliberate indifference in
connection with an inmate's unexplained death. Summary judgment was precluded. The
inmate's mother had made phone calls t.o prison officials expressing her son's _need for
protection from other inmates. The order requiring separation of the inmate from fellow
inmates was not enforced, and the inmate's mother had been denied access t.o the deceased
inmate's personal effects, including threatening letters from the other inmate. (McAlester,
Oklahoma Priso~

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE

Heath v. DeCourcy. 704 F.Supp. 799 (S.D. Ohio 1988). An action was brought
challenging conditions of confinement at a county facility. A motion was Illed
t.o modify an agreed modification of a consent decree. The district court, denying the
motion in part and granting the motion in part, found that the agreed modification would
be modified in part as requested with respect t.o the classification of inmates permitted t.o
be double-celled at the facility. According t.o the court, a consent decree may be modified
where a better appreciation of facts in light .of experience indicates that the decree is not
properly adopt.eel t.o accomplishing its purposes. The defendant seeking t.o modify the
consent decree has a burden of showing his entitlement t.o relief sought based on
evidentiary record. The parties in this class action suit entered int.o a Consent Decree
which became a final judgment in this case in 1985. An Agreed Modif'ication of Agreed
Final Judgment (Agreed Moc:lif'lcation) was negotiated by the parties and ~ a final
judgment in this case in 1988. This modified Consent Decree permitted double-celling of
inmates in the Justice Complex in 168 cells, set an inmate population _limit in the Jail
Annex of 162 and in the Justice Complex of 1016, provided for an inmate safety and wellbeing, gave defendants the authority t.o comply with the maximum population limits by
releasing inmates based upon set criteria and by refusing admission of inmates, and
authority t.o set staffmg limits. Over the inmates objections, the court approved as eligible
for double-celling inmates being held pretrial on misdemeanor or felony charges and
eligible inmates split-sentenced on felony charges, provided the double-celling should be
implemented only when absolutely necessary and required by the penological program,
and then ocly for the minimum time required, and that other requirements for "minimum
security" classif'u:ation be met. All parties agreed that the classification requirements
paragraph in the agreed modif"Jcation was in error. (Hamilt.on County Jail and Justice
Complex, Ohio)

U.S. District Court
REMEDIES

Inmates of the Allegheny County Jail v. Wecht. 699 F.Supp. 1137 (W.D. Pa.
1988). Pl-ison inmates sued county and state officials t.o relieve the
overcrowding at the county jail. The district court found that conditions at the jail
Zl.37

including overcrowding, deplorable mental health facilities, fire hazards and the lack of
reliable climate control rendered the jail constitutionally maclequate. The Commonwealth
was partially responsible for the conditions and would be required to shoulder partial
responsibility of remedial measures; and the jail would be closed and a new facility was
required to be constructed. (Allegheny Co. Jail, Pennsylvania)
U.S. District Court
GOVERNMENTAL
LIABILITY

Kennedy v. Hardiman, 684 F.Supp. 540 (N.D. ID. 1988). A county corrections official
received a phone call from a man purporting to be an FBI agent informing him that a
correctional officer would be transporting heroin into the facility on that date. When
the officer arrived, a body cavity search was conducted by three investigators who found
no heroin. The correctional officer sued corrections officials alleging violation of his fourth
amendment rights. The federal district court held that there was nothing improper in the
plaintiff naming several defendants in their official capacities, as this was an entirely
appropriate way to allege municipal liability and there was no reason to limit the plaintiff
to a single official capacity defendant. The court also denied summary judgment for the
defendants, ruling that jury must decide if the ~arch was based on reasonable suspicion.
Since the law regarding strip searches was .clearly established and an anonymous tip
would not provide "reasonable suspicion," prison officials were not be entitled to qualified
immunity for the strip search. (Cook County Dept. of Corrections, Illinois)

U.S. District Court
NEGLIGENCE
FEDERAL TORI'

Lewis v. U.S., 702 F.Supp. 231 (E.D. Mo. 1988). A visitor at a federal prison
brought an action under the Federal Tort Claims Act to recover damages for
injuries sustained when she slipped and fell outside of prison. When the
visitor came to the prison to see her imprisoned husband, there was no ice or
water on the ground when she entered the building on the cold but sunny winter day.
While she was inside, however, an inmate hosed down the driveway, which caused ice to
form. When she left, she slipped and fell on a patch of ice, which she did not see because
she was talking and looking- straight ahead. Her injuries required chiropractic treatment
and she sued for negligence under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1346. The
United States moved to dismiss. The district court found that a prison visitor was a
"public invitee," and the United States, as owner of the prison, was guilty of negligence
and was 60% at fault. (United States Penitentiary, Terre Haute, Indiana)

CLAIMS ACT

U.S. Appeals Court
GOVERNMENTAL

LIABILITY

Lowe v. City of St. Louis, 843 F.2d 1158 (8th Cir. 1988). An inmate alleged that while
correctional officer entered his cell, beat him with his fists, and severely injured him.
According to the inmate's suit, the allegedly city knew that the officer had previously
attacked other individuals, but had done nothing about it. A jury decided that the officer
acted unconstitutionally in beating the inmate, but this single act is an insufficient
predicate for municipal liability. Although the officer had been involved in an earlier
assault on a prisoner, and an earlier knife fight with another correctional officer, he had
been disciplined both times. (St. Louis City Jail)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED

O'Brien v. Borough of Woodbury Heights, 679 F.Supp 429 (D. N.J. 1988).
According to a federal district court, a municipality was liable under section 1983 for
causing arrestees to be subjected to unconstitutional stri:wbody cavity searches at the
county jail, where it had a policy of bringing arrestees to the county jail and was aware of
the county jail's policy of conducting strii:vbodY cavity searches on all arrestees. Two
arrestees filed claims against the Borough, County, and other law enforcement officials
alleging that they were unlawfully detained and striJ.¥body cavity searches were
performed on them even though there was no suspicion that either arrestee was
concealing contraband. The federal court held that the county jail's rule of performing
routine striJ¥'body cavity searches on anyone arrested, regardless of the offeDBe, was
unconstitutional. The court also denied a qualified immunity claim by officers, stating
that the law against such searches was clearly established at the time of arrest.
(Gloucest.er County Jail, New Jersey)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREE

Plyler v. Evatt, 846 F.2d 208 (4th Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 109 S.Ct. 241. The State
requested modification of a consent decree so as to allow double-celling at new prisons
and also appealed a court-ordered release of 700 inmates. This request was denied by the
district court. The federal appeals court found that the State had made a good-faith effort
to comply with the consent decree and had faced an unanticipated increase in the prison
population and that it was an abuse of discretion not to allow double-celling--ordering the
district court to modify the consent decree to allow double-celling at the five new facilities.
The appeals court noted that the stat.e had embarked on an aggressive program of new
prison construction, involvmg the spending of over one-hundred million dollars, as well as
instituting early release programs to alleviate overcrowding. The court also noted that
there were pot.ential dangers from the early release of high risk mm.ates- dangers which
"far outweigh any imposition on the inmates from double-celling" in some of the "modern,
air-conditioned facilities• which have been constructed. The court retamed jurisdiction to
order farther remedies should the double-celling result in any unconstitutional conditions
of confinement. (South Carolina Department of Corrections)

IMMUNITY

27.38

U.S. District Court
42U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983
GOOD FAITH
IMMUNITY
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY

U.S. Appeals Court

FAILURE TO
PROTECT

U.S. Appeals Court

LIABILITY
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY
PERSONAL

LIABILITY

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES
NOMINAL
DAMAGES

PUNITIVE
DAMAGES
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

State Appeals Court

FAILURE TO
PROTECT
NEGLIGENCE

Reutcke v. Dahm, 707 F.Supp. 1121 (D.Neb. 1988). A prisoner sued prison
officials alleging that the prison's policy regarding access to legal materials
denied the prisoner his right to access to the courts. Following an evidentiary
hearing and report and recommendation by a U.S. Magistrate, the district
court adopted the report and recommendation. and found that the prison's
policy regarding access to legal materials denied the prisoner his right to
access to the courts. The warden was not entitled to qualified good faith
immunity. The prisoner was entitled only to nominal damages; he was not entitled to
punitive damages.
The prison warden was liable under Section 1983 for denial of the prisoner's right of
access to the courts. because the warden was ultimately responsible for the policy of the
prison concerning access to legal materials and assistance. The warden was not entitled
to qualified immunity in the prisoner's action claiming a denial of his right of access to the
courts, since the prison's policy concerning access to legal materials and assistance was in
violation of clearly established constitutional law. A reasonable prison administrator
would have determined that the prison's policy was unconstitutional. The associate
warden was not liable to the prisoner under Section 1983 for the denial of the prisoner's
right of access to the courts because the associate warden did not possess the final
decision-making authority with respect to the policy concerning access to legal materials
and assistance. (Diagnostic and Evaluation Center, Nebraska Department of Corrections)
Richardson v. Penfold. 839 F.2d 392 (7th Cir. 1988). There were genuine issues of
material fact. precluding summary judgment, on whether a prison official acted with
"deliberate indifference" in failing to prevent an inmate's rape. The inmate filed an
affidavit by another imnate which stated that the alleged attackers had an arrangement
with the official to let the attackers have sex "with any new kid they wanted to have sex
with," in return for information on contraband within the unit. If that was true, a jury
could permissibly infer that the official knew about the rape, and deliberately chose to
ignore it. (Indiana State Prison)
Shabazz v. Coughlin, 852 F.2d 697 (2nd Cir. 1988). An inmate brought a civil
rights action against the superintendent of a correctional facility and the
Commissioner of the New York State Department of Correctional Services
alleging that the imnate was unconstitutionally disciplined for violating
regulations prohibiting group prayer and prayer in the prison yard. The U.S.
District Court denied the prison officials' motion for summary judgment, and
appeal was taken. The appeals court, reversing the decision, found that officials could
assert personal immunity defenses, such as qualified immunity, but not an eleventh
amendment bar, and qualified immunity shielded the prison officials from civil rights
liability for disciplining the inmate. At the time the discipline was imposed, a legitimate
question existed as to whether a prisoner had a right to engage in group prayer in the
prison yard. Muslims must offer "demonstrative prayer" (involving kneeling down,
bending forward, etc.) five times a day at times determined by the sun's position. They
also believe that group prayer is preferable to individual prayer. The court of appeals
noted, however, that it had not, at the time of the discipline, or since then, directly
addressed the constitutionality of restrictions on group prayer and prayer in prison yards,
nor were there cases in other circuits clearly condemning or condoning such policies.
(Attica Correctional Facility, New York)
Soto v. Lord. 693 F.Supp. 8 (S.D.N.Y. 1988). An inmate brought an action
against a correctional facility program coordinator for violations of his
constitutional rights in conducting a prison disciplinary hearing. The district
court found that although the official was entitled to qualified immunity for
failure to confirm positive test results, he was not entitled to qualified
immunity for failure to establish a chain of custody for the narcotics test
results. The defendant was therefore held liable for violating the inmate's
right to procedural due process. The inmate was entitled to damages
resulting from punitive segregation, lost wages and nominal damages for distress, but w.as
not entitled to punitive damages or injunctive relief. Damages of $3,243.50 were assessed
($3,000 for punitive segregation, $242.50 for lost wages and $1 nominal damages for
distress caused by the punitive segregation). The court found that, "assuming without
deciding that as a constitutional rule reliance on an unconf'1rmed EMIT test violated due
process,• the defendant was entitled to qualiiied immunity from liability because such a
rule was not "clearly established" law at the date of the test. (Downstate Correctional
Facility, New York)
State Dept. of Corrections v. Romero, 524 So.2d 1032 (Fla. App. 1988). An inmate who
was injured when he fell from the seat of a tract.or he was driving as part of a prison
work detail sued the ~partment of Corrections, alleging that it was negligent not to
provide a seat belt on the tract.or. A jury agreed, awarding the inmate $100,000, and
found the inmate t.o be free of any negligencf, himself. On appeal, the court noted that the
inmate had stopped the tractor t.o fix his shoelaces. Under the facts as alleged by

27.39

the inmate, the appeals court found that the inmate could not have been guiltless of all
negligence, concluding that the jury verdict could only be a result of misunderstanding the
law or "a disregard of that law because of sympathy or prejudice." The appeals court
ordered a new trial on the issue of comparative negligence, instructing the amount
awarded to be reduced proportionate to the percentage of the inmate's fault for the
accident. (Brevard Correctional Institution, Florida)
U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREEMODIFICATION

Twelve John Does v. District of Columbia, 861 F.2d 295 (D.C. Cir. 1988). The
District of Columbia's motion to modify a consent decree establishing a
population lid on a prison facility was denied by the U.S. District Court, and
the District appealed. The appeals court, affirming in part and vacating and remanding
in part, found that the increase in the number of inmates in the District of Columbia
prison system was not unforeseeable, and thus was not a change of conditions entitling
the District to modification of the consent decree establishing a population lid for the
pri~n facility. Evidence failed to establish that the District made 11, good-faith attempt to
comply with the consent decree. The district court· order requiring that, before inmates
subject to the consent decree be transferred to another District facility, the Director of the
Department of Corrections was required to certify to the court that a transfer would not
threaten to violate the obligation to provide adequate care to the inmates in other facility
extended relief to inmates who were not party to the original proceedings and not
encompassed by the provisions of the consent decree. Thus, the certification requirement
was not a valid means of enforcing the consent decree. (Central Facility, Lorton, District
of Columbia)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT
DAMAGES

Vaughn v. Willis, 853 F.2d 1372 (7th Cir. 1988). A prisoner who had been
raped by four other inmates brought a Section 1983 action against correctional
officials and a guard. The U.S. District Court directed the verdict in favor of
the supervisory personnel and entered a verdict against the guard, and appeal
was taken. The appeals court, affirming the decision, found that the jury instruction
which explained the grant of directed verdict in favor of the supervisory personnel did not
erroneously indicate that by not granting a directed verdict in favor of the guard, the
guard's liability was established. Even if the jury instruction was in error, the guard was
not prejudiced. The court also found that the deposition of a witness to the assault who
later refused to testify was properly admitted at the trial. The prisoner alleged that he
was raped and otherwise sexually abused by four inmate-members of a street gang. His
civil rights lawsuit also claimed that a prison guard had forced him into a cell where two
of the inmates raped him and then returned him to his own cell and allowed two other
inmates to rape him. A medical examination confirmed that the inmate had been
sodomized. The trial court granted a directed verdict in favor of the supervisory prison
personnel because there was insufficient evidence showing their alleged reckless
indifference to the prisoner's rights. A jury returned a $125,000 verdict against the prison
guard who allegedly aided and abetted the prisoners in their assault. (Stateville
Correctional Center, Joliet, Illinois)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

Vosburg v. Solem, 845 F.2d 763 (8th Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 109 S.Ct. 313. A former
inmate brought a section 1983 action against prison wardens to recover for violation of
his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment arising out of sexual assaults
by fellow inmates. A federal appeals court ruled: (1) evidence created a jury question
whether wardens violated the inmate's right to be free from cruel and unusual
punishment; (2) an erroneous damage instruction that permitted a jury to award damages
for an abstract violation of Eighth Amendment was harmless; and (3) the inmate was
entitled to post-judgment interest from the date of the verdict. Prison officials may be
liable for deliberate indifference to prisoner's constitutional right to be free from sexual
attacks by other inmates, if they actually intend to deprive him of that right or if they act
with reckless disregard of right. Reckless disregard of prisoner's right to be free from
sexual attacks by other inmates may be shown by existence of pervasive risk of harm to
inmates from other prisoner and failure of prison officials reasonably to respond to risk.
Pervasive risk of harm to inmates by other prisoners may not ordinarily be shown by
pointing to a single incident or to isolated incidents, but it may be established by much
less than proof of reign of violence and terror in a particular institution. It is enough that
violence and sexual assaults occur with sufficient frequency to put prisoners in reasonable
fear for their safety and reasonably to apprise prison officials of existence of problem and
need for protective measures. To establish pervasive risk of harm to inmates by other
prisoners, it is not necessary to show that all prisoners suffer pervasive risk of harm, but
it is enough that identifiable group of prisoners do, if the complainant is member of that
group. (South Dakota State Penitentiary)

U.S. Appeals Court
NEGLIGENCE
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

Wells v. Walker. 852 F.2d 368 (8th Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 109 S.Ct. 1121. A federal
trial court had found no federal civil rights liability for prison officials who authorized
the early release of an inmate because of overcrowding. After his release, he allegedly
murdered a female proprietor of a store where he was taken to board a bus. This

2:1.40

ruling was upheld by the federal appeals court that, although the circumstances gave rise

to a right of the victim to be protected against an assault by the inmate, the allegation
that the defendants failed to conduct an adequate background investigation and did not
know of the inmate's potential for violence amounted to "a claim of ordinary negligence" at
most. The court expressed no opinion on state law claims which may now be filed in state
court. (Arkansas State Board of Corrections)
U.S. Supreme Court
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983
CONTRACT
SERVICES

West v. Atkins, 108 S.Ct. 2250 (1988). Private doctor who provides medical
services to inmates under contract can be held liable under civil rights
statute. The Supreme Court ruled that a private doctor who renders medical services
to prison inmates pursuant to a contract with the state acts "under color of state law"
pursuant t.o the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C.A. Section 1983, and thus can be sued
under that Act for services that fall below constitutional minimum standards under the
cruel and unusual punishment or deliberate indifference aspects of the Eighth
Amendment. The fact that such a doctor is an independent-contractor rather than- a state
employee does not change this result: "It is the physician's function within the state
syst:em, not the precise terms of his employment, that determines whether his actions can
fairly be attributed t.o the State." The United States District Court for the East.ern
District of North Carolina entered summary judgment for the defendants, holding that, as
a "contract physician," the doctor was not acting ''under color of state law," a jurisdictional
prerequisite for a Section 1983 action. The inmate appealed the summary judgment. The
Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit remanded the case t.o the district court for
rehearing. 799 F.2d 923. The district court then dismissed the claim and the inmate once
again appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's dismissal of the
complaint and the inmate filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. 815 F.2d 993. Justice
Blackmun wrote the majority opinion for the Supreme Court, which held that a physician
who was under contract with a state to provide medical services to inmates at a state
prison hospital on a part-time basis acted under the color of state law, within meaning of
42 U.S. C. Section 1983, when he treated inmate. The Supreme Court reversed the lower
court decision, and remanded the case for rehearing. The Supreme Court found that
generally, a public employee acts under the color of state law within the meaning of
Section 1983 while acting in his official capacity or while exercising his responsib_ilities
pursuant t.o state law. Therefore, a physician who was under contract with the state to
provide medical services t.o inmates at a state prison hospital on a part-time basis acted
under the color of state law, within meaning of Section 1983, when he treated the inmate,
and such conduct was fairly attributable t.o state. The Supreme Court noted that
physicians are not removed from the purview of a Section 1983 action simply because they
are professionals acting in accordance with professional discretion and judgment.
However, there is no rule that professionals are subject t.o suit under Section 1983 unless
they were exercising cust.odial or supervisory authority. According to the Court, it is a
physician's function within a state system, providing treaiment t.o prison inmates, not the
precise terms of his employment, that determines whether his actions can fairly be
attributed to the state under Section 1983. The fact that the physician's employment
contract with the state did not require him to work exclusively for the prison in treating
prisoners did not make him any less a state actor than if he performed duties as a full.
time, permanent member of the state prison medical staff. Rather, it was the physician's
function while working for the state, not the amount of time he spent in performance of
those duties or the fact that he might be employed by others t.o perform similar duties,
that determined whether he was acting under the color of state law.
The Court also held that contracting out prison medical care does not relieve the state of
its constitutional duty to provide adequate medical treatment to those in its cust.ody, and
does not deprive the state's prisoners of a means of vindication of their eighth amendment
rights under Section 1983. Finally, the Supreme Court noted that the fact that a state
employee's role parallels one in the private sector is not, by itself, reason t.o conclude that
the employee is not acting under color of state law within the meaning of Section 1983 in
performing his duties.

U.S. Appeals Court
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

Williams v. Cash, 836 F.2d 1318 (11th Cir. 1988). According to a federal appeals court
a warden cannot be held automatically liable for the wrongful acts of his subordinates.
An inmate sued a warden and other after his arm was broken by a correctional officer
trying to force him back int.o his cell. While the question of whether the officer
intentionally or accidentally broke Williams' arm had not yet been decided, it was clear,
said the court, that the warden could not be held liable. Unless the inmate could show
that the officer was implementing a policy or practice established by the warden or that a
hist.ory of widespread abuse or improper behavior had put the warden on notice of the
need to take corrective action, the warden could not be held liable. In a federal civil rights
action under Section 1983, a supervisor is not automatically liable for the acts of his
subordinates, the court said. (West Jefferson Correctional Facility, Alabama)

RESPONDEAT

SUPERIOR

U.S. Appeals Court
VICARIOUS

LIABILITY

Wood v. Sunn, 865 F.2d 982 (9th Cir. 1988). A prisoner brought a suit
against state prison officials alleging that they had been deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical problems, thus violating his right to be free
27.41

QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

of cruel and unusual punishment. The U.S..District Court entered judgment

in favor of the prisoner, and the state defendants appealed. The appeals
court, affirming in part, reversing in part, and remanding, found that the issue of whether
defendants were entitled to qualified immunity was not preserved for appeal. The prison's
physician consultant and its registered nurse engaged in deliberate indifference to serious
medical problems of the prisoner in violation of his eighth amendment rights. The
director of the State Social Services Department and the administrator of the prison could
not be held vicariously liable. The failure to consider appropriate factors in d~termining
the reasonableness of the award of attorney fees was an abuse of discretion. (Oahu
Community Correctional Center, Hawaii)

1989
U.S. Appeals Court
42U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Al.Jundi v. Estate of Rockefeller, 885 F.2d 1060 (2nd Cir. 1989). An inmate
brought a class action against the former New York Governor and state
officials and correctional personnel to recover for injuries resulting from poli~
action to quell a prison uprising and to rescue hostages. The U.S. District
Court dismissed the action against the Governor's estate, and the inmate
appealed. The appeals court affirmed the decision and found that the Governor's
involvement was insufficient to establish a Section 1983 liability, and the Governor
enjoyed qualified immunity. The Governor's involvement in the decisions and formulation
and implementation of the plan to retake the prison from the inmates and to rescue the
hostages was insufficient to establish a Section 1983 liability for injury to the inmate,
even though the Governor was abreast of the events. The Governor ratified the decision
by the New York State Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services to
abandon negotiations, to order the state police to formulate a plan to regain control of the
prison, and to approve commencement of the actual retaking. (Attica Correctional
Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Allen v. Lowder, 875 F.2d 82 (4th Cir. 1989). A defendant whose conviction for
possession of stolen goods was reversed f'tled a civil rights action against the Secretary
of the Department of Corrections, the prison warden, and the prosecutor whose acts
allegedly caused him to be illegally kept in custody for 52 days following the reversal of
his conviction. The U.S. District Court denied the defendants' motion for summary
judgment, and they appealed. The court of appeals held that the secretary and prison
warden played no role in causing the defendant's incarceration beyond the date of his
lawful release and that they had qualified immunity from liability because they were
completely ignorant of incidents involving the defendant and had lawfully complied with
nondiscretionary state law requirements. The court also ruled that the prosecutor was not
entitled to absolute immunity from liability. The prosecutor attempted to secure
continued incarceration of the criminal defendant in "safekeeping" custody after reversal
of the defendant's conviction and his release from the state prison to the county jail, under
the theory that the defendant had previously "caused trouble" in the county jail. At best,
according to the court, the prosecutor was acting in purely administrative capacity when
he assisted the sheriff's o~ce in obtaining a safekeeping order from the superior court.
(Union County Jail, North Carolina)

U.S. Appeals Court
VICARIOUS

Bolin v. Black, 875 F.2d 1343 (8th Cir. 1989), cert. denied, 110 S.Ct. 542. State
prisoners sued prison officials and corrections officers claiming that beatings by prison
guards following a prison riot violated their constitutional rights. The district court
ruled in favor of the prisoners awarding both compensatory and punitive damages. The
appeals court affirmed the lower court decision, finding that the evidence was sufficient to
hold prison supervisors liable for excessive use of force by other corrections officers.
During an interview with an inmate, the associate warden made reference to the
possibility of retaliatory punishment. He took no steps to avoid the possibility of
retaliatory punishment, even though he knew or should have known that flaring tempers
among prison guards would lead them to retaliate against inmates. He chose not to ride
on the bus transporting inmates from one pr~n to another despite his knowledge that a
guard had been killed and that the entire staff, including the officers riding with the
inmates, were upset. There was sufficient evidence to hold the captain of corrections
officers liable for excess use of force against the prisoners by subordinate corrections
officers following the prison riot. Inmates testified that the captain was present when
guards removed certain inmates from their cells to administer beatings on the laundry
table. The captain himself testified that he saw five or six inmates brought to rotunda of
prison and laid on the laundry table and that he gave the order that he did not want
anybody killed. The captain's later statement to highway patrol investigators that "I've
seen a lot more ass kicking than was done in there" implied that he knew of beatings.
A jury found in favor of the plaintiffs and assessed damages against each defendant.
One inmate was awarded $9,500 compensatory damages and $56,000 punitive dam.ages,
the second $14,500 compensatory and $74,000 punitive damages, and the third $14,000
compensatory and $73,000 punitive damages, for a total award of $241,000. A federal
appeals court upheld these awards. (Missouri Training Center for Men)

LIABILITY

27.42

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
COVENANT- NOT-TO-

SUE

Berry v. Peterson. 887 F.2d 635 (5th Cir. 1989). An inmate who was injured in a fire
at the county jail brought a suit against the county, county board of supervisors, and
the sheriff. The district court entered judgment in favor of the inmate and awarded
him $200,000. The appeals court reversed the award aft.er finding that the inmate who
was injured in the fire ''voluntarily" executed a covenant-not-to-sue, notwithstanding the
attorney's alleged failure to adequately explain that the inmate thereby waived any claims
against the county. The covenant-not-to-sue was not against public interest and could be
enforced by the county. The court stated that the enforceability of the inmat.e's covenantnot-to-sue for injuries sustained during the fire was one of law for the court. The o:cly
issue which was even arguably suitable for the jury was the voluntariness of the
agreement. (Hancock County Jail, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi)

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED

Cleveland-Perdue v. Brutsche, 881 F.2d 427 (7th Cir. 1989). The mother. of a deceased
inmate brought an action against prison officials to recover for allegedly inadequate
medical treatment of the inmate. The death of William Lowe prompted an
investigation by the defendant Robert Brqtsche; the medical .director of the federal prison
system. Based on int.erviews and his own observations, Brutsche recommended that the
prison hospitals' o:cly full-time physician be relieved of his duties and that the recordkeeping procedures at the hospital be improved. He did not, however, check to see if his
proposed changes were implemented. Between January 6, 1975, which was the date of
Lowe's death, and August, 1975, two more inmates died at the prison's hospital. These
deaths prompted another investigation by Brutsche. As a result of this investigation, a
series of recommendations were made to the warden by Brutsche. These recommendations
included keeping full in-patient records on anyone admitted to the prison hospital,
utilizing outside facilities, encouraging better communications among the staff, and
implementing a policy concerning the availability of physicians during off-duty hours. The
court of appeals found that the failure to correct systematic deficiencies in the delivery of
the health care services at the prison violated clearly established law in 1975, and, thus,
the medical director was not entitled to qualified immunity for allegedly deliberate
indifference to the inmate's medical needs in violation of the eighth amendment; the right
was established by federal appellate courts in the second, fifth, and eighth circuits.
(Federal Penitentiary, Terre Haute Prison, Indhma)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
DIRECT
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE
CONTRACT
.SERVICES

Crooks v. Nix. 872 F.2d 800 (8th Cir. 1989). An inmate suffering from granulocytic
leukemia brought a Section 1983 action against prison officials for the officials' alleged
improper denial of pain medication and necessary treatment. The U.S. District Court
granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment. and the inmate appealed. The
appeals court found that the material question of fact, whether prison policy
contributed to the health professionals' alleged improper denial of pain medication to
the inmate, precluded the entry of a summary judgment for the defendants on the
inmate's "denial of medication" claims. According to the court, the state may not, by
contracting with other parties to provide medical treatment to prisoners, immunize itself
from a claim for damages arising from the failure to provide necessary medical treatment
to prisoners. Although the officials had contracted with a private company, Correction
Medical Services, to furnish medical services, this did not give them absolute immunity,
the court said. If a prisoner claims that prison policies contributed to the denial of proper
medical care, the state can still be liable. On the other hand, "if the alleged denial of
medical care was based on a wrongful diagnostic judgment by a physician, the warden or
prison director, lacking professional medical expertise, would not be liable for any
constitutional wrong." The courts held that Iowa officials could be liable in this case if
they failed to properly train, supervise, direct or control the actions of the private
contractor. (Iowa State Penitentiary)

U.S. Appeals Court

Danese v. Asman, 875 F.2d 1239 (6th Cir. 1989), cert. denied, 110 S.Ct. 1473. A
pretrial detainee's family and estate brought a civil rights action against police officers,
police supervisors, and the city after the detainee committed suicide. The U.S. District
Court found that the defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity. Interlocutory
appeal was taken. The appeals court reversed the lower court's decision and found
that the police officers and supervisors enjoyed qualified immunity from liability. The
law which existed at the time of the police officers' action did not clearly establish the
right to have the officers diagnose the pretrial detainee's condition as prone to suicide and
to take extraordinary measures to restrain the pretrial detainee; therefore, the police
officers had qualified immunity from liability. The police officers were not subject to a
clearly established constitutional.duty to diagnose the pretrial detainee's condition as
prone to suicide; and given that, the supervisors could not be held liable. (Roseville City
Jail, Michigan)

IMMUNITY

QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY
VICARIOUS

LIABILITY
FAILURE TO
TRAIN

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE
FAILURE TO TRAIN

Davis v. City of Ellensburg, 869 F.2d 1230 (9th Cir. 1989). A civil rights action was
brought against the city and police officers for injuries suffered by an arrestee who
died. The U.S. District Court granted a summary judgment for the city, and the
plaintiffs appealed. The appeals court found that the city was not liable on the theory
it had a policy of inadequate training of officers, inadequate medical treatment of
27.43

prisoners, or a deliberate indifference t.o the use of excessive force. The city's failure t.o
have written policy regarding the proper use of force in a misdemeanor arrest did not
amount t.o delegation of policymaking authority t.o rank and file police officers so as t.o
render the city liable in a civil rights action for injuries suffered by an arrestee by
transforming the individual police officers int.o municipal policymakers whose decisions in
individual cases might give rise t.o a municipal liability. The court also found that the city
was not liable on the theory it had a policy or cust.om of inadequately supervising its
police officers. According t.o the court, the plaintiff cannot prove the existence of a
municipal policy or cust.om for purposes of a civil rights action under Section 1983 based
solely on the occurrence of a single incident of unconstitutional action by a
nonpolicymaking employee.
The city was not liable for injuries suffered by the arrestee who died on the theory the
city had a policy or cust.om of inadequately su~rvising its police officers;· the ~ef sent an
officer with an alleged alcohol problem and an officer with
alleged mental disorder t.o
the police psychologist for an evaluation. The chief allowed the officers t.o remain on
active duty only after receiving written reports that both were competent t.o perform their
duties, and the chief received informal reports that the officer with an alleged alcohol
problem was no longer drinking, so the evidence did not establish that the chief acted with
deliberate indifference in failing t.o remove the officers from active duty. (Ellensburg
Police Deparbnent, W ashingt.on)

an·

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE
REMEDIES

DeGidio v. Pung. 704 F.Supp. 922 and 723 F.Supp. 135 (D. Minn. 1989). State prison
im:nates sought relief from prison officials' allegedly inadequate response t.o a
tuberculosis epidemic. The federal district court found that the prison officials'
inadequate response t.o a tuberculosis epidemic, even if violative of the im:nates' eighth
amendment rights, did not warrant injunctive relief in that, since the initiation of the
litigation, the officials had significantly remedied the deficiencies t.o a point where the
medical care and tuberculosis control were not inconsistent with contemporary standarcls
of decency, and there was no evidence that past problems were likely t.o recur unless
enjoined. The court also ruled that a consent decree setting forth the level of medical care
t.o be provided for prison ~ates did not create any procedural due process interest in
im:nates actionable under Section 1983, in that the decree did not create any procedural
standards t.o guide the prison officials' conduct with regard t.o any particular im:nate. To
the degree that the decree was violated, it was through omission or neglect, rather than
intentional conduct; the im:nates' remedies for breaches of the decree lay in either action
for breach of contract or motion for contempt.
The district court found that the prisoners were prevailing parties entitled t.o an
award of attorneys' fees, even though some of their claims were unsuccessful, and they
were ultimately denied injunctive relief and that an hourly rate of $150 was reasonable
for the prisoners' attorneys. The court also found that the award of attorneys' fees would
be 35% of the lodestar figure, t.o reflect the limited relief that was obtained and the
incomplete and otherwise deficient time records. The prisoners would be awarded 25% of
the amount of costs and expenses which they claimed, t.o reflect the partial relief obtained,
and t.o avoid any award for expenses which were not properly assessed. (State Prison,
Minnesota)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT
FAILURE TO
TRAIN
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

Dorman v. District of Columbia, 888 F.2d 159 (D.C. Cir. 1989). The representatives of
a detainee's estate brought a Section 1983 action against a municipality t.o recover for
the suicide of the detainee in a cell. The U.S. District Court denied the municipality's
motion for judgment notwithstanding a verdict and the municipality appealed. The
court of appeals, reversing and remanding the lower court's decision, found that the
municipality was not liable. According t.o the court, the training of police officers on
suicide prevention did not rise to the level of a conscious choice by the municipality or
the policy of deliberate indifference t.o the eighth amendment rights of the detainee who
committed suicide in his cell and, therefore, did not permit the imposition of a Section
1983 liability upon the municipality, even though the police officers did not_ receive a
specific course on suicide prevention. The officers were trained t.o recogl!,ize abnormal
behavior, could not accept arrestees who showed signs of mental illness or abnormal
behavior, and utilized "WALES" computer system with information about previous arrests
and suicide attempts. The detainee's suicide was the f"irst in the cell block in the
memories of the sergeant and the inspector who had been assigned thel'.e for eight years.
The alleged def"iciencies in the training of police officers on suicide prevention did not
cause the suicide of the young male detainee in his cell. The mere fact that the detainee
was somewhat docile at the time of the arrest and closed his eyes at the police station
during lulls in the processing was insufficient t.o give the officers notice that he might be
suicidal. The court found that the case presented was insufficient t.o be submitted t.o a
jury and the verdict for the plain.tiff was therefore reversed. (Fifth District, Metropolitan
Police Department, District of Columbia)

U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES

Erwin v. County of Manit.owoc, 872 F.2d 1292 (7th Cir. 1989). The plaintiffs
sued the defendants under 42 U.S.C.A. Section 1983 for civil rights violations
and for damages resulting from a police search of a private residence. The

27.44:

PUNITIVE
DAMAGES
FAILURE TO
TRAIN

individuals whose residence had been searched brought a civil rights action
against deputies who conducted the search and against the county. The jury
awarded the plaintiffs compensatory and punitive damages amounting to
$85,000, and the defendants moved for a new trial or judgment notwithstanding the
verdict. The U.S. District Court grant.eel judgment n.o.v. vacating most of the damage
award, and appeal and cross appeal were taken. The appeals court, remanding the
decision, found that although it was clear that the jury concluded liability properly
attached to some defendants, confusing jury form and conflicting answers did not
sufficiently disclose the jury's intent, and thus, a new trial was warrant.eel. The U.S.
Appeals Court has found that a county cannot be held liable for a failure to train unless
this failure represents a deliberate or conscious choice by the county. The court noted that
if it was obvious from the duties assigned to specific officers that enhanced training was so
necessary that any inadequacy of training would likely result" in the violation of
.
constitutional rights, then a county's failure to provide such training would amount to
deliberate indifference. But a particular officer's unsatisfactory training cannot alone
suffice to attach liability to the county, said the court. "An officer's faults may result from
factors other than the deficient training program," according to the court. Nor can an
injured party prevail merely by proving that an accident or injury could have been
avoided had an officer received enhanced training. Even adequately trained officers
sometimes err, and such error says little about their training program or the legal basis
for liability, the court noted. (Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department)

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

Feigley v. Fulcomer, 720 F.Supp. 475 (M.D. Pa. 1989). An inmate brought action
against prison officials, alleging officials were violating his eighth amendment rights by
not protecting him adequately from contracting Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
(AIDS). On the prison officials' motion for summary judgment, the district court found
that the officials' practice of not testing inmates routinely for AIDS.causing virus at the
time they were received or subsequently, and not testing other inmates for the virus upon
request, did not violate the plaintiff inmate's eighth amendment rights. The court also
found that the material issue of fact precluded a summary judgment as to whether the
officials' refusal to test the inmate for the virus upon request involved unnecessary and
wanton infliction of pain which is a violation of the eighth amendment. It allowed the
inmate to continue with this claim that it constitutes such a punishment to fail to relieve
the anxiety which might accompany an inmate's uncertainty as to whether he or she has a
fatal disease. It was further found by the court that the absence of evidence that prison
officials had knowledge and acquiesced in behavior by any of their subordinates who
allegedly failed to prevent, or tacitly condoned and allowed, such conduct, precluded
recovery by the inmate on the claim that officials failed adequately to prevent the spread
of the virus in violation of his eighth amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual
punishment. (State Correctional Institution, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania)

U.S. Appeals Court
FEDERAL TORI'
CLAIMS ACT

Free v. U.S.• 879 F.2d 1535 (7th Cir. 1989). A federal prisoner brought a federal tort
claims action alleging that during a shakedown of his cell, prison guards either
negligently or intentionally destroyed various items of personal hygiene, including
toothpaste and baby powder, plus a tennis shoe. The parties consent.eel to have the suit
tried by a magistrate, who held a bench trial in the penitentiary and at its conclusion
entered a judgment for the Unit.eel States. The prisoner then sought permission to appeal
in forma pauperis. The U.S. District Court denied the petition, and appeal was taken.
The appeals court found that the federal prisoner who threatened to bring a tort-claim
suit every time his cell was searched. apparently trying both to deter prison guards from
searching his cell and to obtain replacement for lost, damaged, or worn out items of
personal property at the government's expense, was abusing the judicial process in a
classic sense of using courts to pursue ends other than vindication of claims believed to be
meritorious. Thus, he was not entitled to in forma pauperis status in appeal of the
magistrate's decision in favor of the government. The request for leave to appeal in forma
pauperis was denied, and the appeal was dismissed. The court ruled that abusers of the
judicial process are not entitled to sue and appeal without paying normal f'lling fees-indeed, they are not entitled to sue and appeal, and they are not merely not to be
subsidized; they are to be sanctioned. (Federal Penitentiary, Marion, ~inois)

U.S. Appeals Court
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

Gillihan v. Shillinger, 872 F.2d 935 (10th Cir. 1989). An inmate who had been
transferred from another prison brought a civil rights action against prison officials
after the off'JCials froze funds in his prison account until he paid for transportation
expenses. The U.S. District Court entered a judgment in favor of the off'JCials, and the
inmate appealed. The appeals court, affirming in part, reversing in part, and remanding
the case, found that the inmate's allegations were sufficient to state a civil rights claim
based on the deprivation of property without due process, but freezing of the inmate's
account was not cruel and unusual pnnishment in violation of the eighth amendment.
According to the court, the inmate had a property interest in funds in his

27.45

prison account for due process purposes, to the extent the funds constituted monies
received from friends and family outside prisons or represented wages earned while
incarcerated. Section 1983 does not distinguish between personal liberties and property
rights, and the deprivation of the latter without due process gives rise to a claim under
Section 1983. Prison officials argued that the suit should have been dismissed because
the inmate had adequate administrative and state remedies. But the court disagreed,
noting that this was not a random and unauthorized act, but one taken pursuant to
institution policy. "In such cases, the availability of an adequate state p_ost-deprivation
remedy is irrelevant... " said the court. The case was sent back to the district court to
determine the exact nature and timing of the hearing due to the inmate. (Wyoming State
~iso~
.

U.S. District Court
VICARIOUS
LIABILITY
FAILURE TO

PROTECT

FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE

State Court

DAMAGES
NEGLIGENCE

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY
RESPONDEAT
SUPERIOR

DAMAGES

U.S. Appeals Court
VICARIOUS
. LIABll.ITY
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

Heine v. Receiving Area Personnel, 711 F.Supp. 178 (D. Del. 1989). A new
inmate who was sexually assaulted by another inmat.-! filed a federal civil ·
rights action and pendent state law claims against two correctional officers
and three supervisory officials of the State Department of Corrections. The
district court found that the corrections officers who entrusted the plaintiff to
the other inmate were not liable under Section 1983 absent evidence that
either officer was aware that the other inmate presented a specific risk of
violent homosexual attack to new prisoners. The supervisory officials were not liable
under a civil rights provision absent any evidence that they approved of or acquiesced in
the prison policy violation. For the purposes of a federal civil rights claim, the risk that
homosexual rape will occur cannot be presumed as a matter of law every time an
individual is left unattended with a prisoner. The Commissioner of the State Department
of Corrections was not liable absent any evidence that the Commissioner played any role
in planning or development of the facility at which the assault occurred. (Multi-Purpose
Criminal Justice Facility, Delaware)
Hill v. Com., Bureau of Corrections, 555 A.2d 1362 (Pa.Cmwlth 1989). A
prisoner who was injured when he stepped in an uncovered goal post hole
while trying out for a prison baseball team on a field also used for football
sued the Bureau of Corrections. Following a verdict for the prisoner, the prisoner's motion
for a new trial on the ground of inadequacy of damages was denied by the Common Pleas
Court, and the prisoner appealed. The Commonwealth Court, reversing and remanding
with instructions, found that an award of general damages of only $1,800 in connection
with the trimalleolar fracture of the ankle was inadequate. The award of, at most, $1,800
for pain and suffering to the prisoner was inadequate, where the prisoner suffered severe
pain at the time of the accident and following the first operation and continued to
experience substantial pain for over a year, where the $1,800 general damages covered
some permanent impairment as well as pain and suffering, and was only 30% of the
special damages. The possibility of prejudice against the plaintiff as a convicted prisoner
or as a black person could not be ruled out, and there was no claim of contributory
negligence or likelihood of compromise. (State Correctional Institution, Graterford,
Pennsylvania)
Howard v. Adkison, 887 F.2d 134 (8th Cir. 1989). An inmate brought an
action against the supervisory officers at the facility at which he was confmed,
alleging the violation of his eighth amendment rights. The U.S. District Court
entered a judgment in favor of the inmate, and the defendants appealed. The
appeals court affirmed and found that the evidence concerning itlthy
conditions in the inmate's cell was suff"i.cient to support a finding that the
inmate's eighth amendment rights were violated. Supervisors at the prison are not liable
for eighth amendment claims brought under Section 1983 under the respondeat superior
theory. ~ of actual knowledge of constitutional violations is not an absolute
prerequisite for imposing supervisory liability in an action based on alleged eighth
amendment violations. The inmate's action against supervisory officers based on alleged
violation of the eighth amendment, instructing the jury to assign liability only upon a
finding that the supervisors either intentionally deprived the inmate of his right of be free
from cruel and unusual punishment or acted in reckless disregard of the inmate's rights
was proper. The difference between negligence, recklessness, and actual knowledge were
not spelled out in detail. Qualified immunity is not available to all government officials
acting within the scope of their employment. It is only for those officials who possess
discretion to decide matters in the name of public interest. The trial court set aside a jury
award of $2,000 in punitive damages against the warden. The appeals court upheld an
award of $500 actual damages, $1 nominal damages and $750 punitive damages against
the special unit manager, and $1,000 punitive damages against the lieutenant. (Missouri
DOC and Human Resources)
Hunt v. Dental Dept., 865 F.2d 198 (9th Cir. 1989). An inmate at the
Arizona State ~ n at Florence sued prison officials for failing to promptly
replace dentures which he lost during a prison riot. (He claimed that he was
not involved in the riot, that his dentures wen- soaking in a cup in the area
of the prison where he lived, that the riot extended into this area, and when
27.46

the riot ended his dentures were gone). He made his request for replacement of the lost
dentures in October 1986, but it wasn't until July 1987 that they were finally delivered to
him. He claimed that in the interim his remaining teeth were breaking off and his gums
were bleeding and infected. He also complained that he suffered pain and weight loss due
to his inability to eat properly.
.
The inmate appealed from an order of the district court which granted a summary
judgment for defendants in the inmate's action under Section 1983 to recover for the
defendants' deliberate indifference to his serious dental needs in violation of the eighth
amendment. The appeals court found that the director of the state Department of
Corrections could not be vicariously liable for the fault of the prison personnel. The dental
department of the state prison was immune from Section 1983 actions; and fact question
as to whether prison employees were deliberately indifferent to the inmate's serious dental
needs precluded a summary judgment. The inmate's allegations that prison officials were
aware of his bleeding gums, breaking teeth and his inability to eat properly due to the loss
of his dentures, and failed to take any action to relieve his pain or to prescribe a soft food
diet until new dentures could be fitted were sufficient to state a claim of deliberate
medical indifference under Section 1983. (State Prison, Florence, Arizona)
U.S. Appeals Court
CONTEMPI'
REMEDIES

Inmates of Allegheny County Jail v. Wecht, 874 F.2d 147 (3rd Cir. 1989).
County officials appealed from an order of the U.S. District Court entered in a
dispute over the conditions at the county jail. The court of appeals found that
an order imposing contempt sanctions for the county's violation of inmate population caps
at the jail, along with an order to close the jail was reasonable; however, an order
requiring county officials to prepare a plan for the construction of a new jail facility was
appealable. County officials could be held in contempt for failing to provide the warden at
the county jail and his staff with the ability to comply with prior orders imposing inmate
population caps and requiring trained psychiatric nurses at the jail's mental health unit.
According to the court, when the totality of conditions in a jail violates the Constitution,
the district court need not confine itself to the elimination of specific conditions; rather,
the nature of overall violation determines the permissible scope of an effective remedy.
The order prohibiting the county jail from being used to house inmates was an appropriate
remedy in the action challenging conditions at the jail, in view of the jail's lack of
adequate space. for mental health facilities, its age, size and deteriorating condition, its
persistent overcrowding problem and its small cell size. An order requiring county
officials to submit a plan for accommodating at least 900 inmates was not fmal. The order
was separable from a contempt order issued in connection with the county's violation of a
population cap at the county jail, and was not sufficiently specific to be more than a step
toward the selection of the remedy for constitutional violations addressed. (Allegheny
County Jail, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Langley v. Coughlin, 709 F.Supp. 482 (S.D.N.Y. 1989). Female inmates
brought a class action against correctional authorities alleging violations of
their eighth amendment rights arising from conditions of commement in a
"solitary" unit. Correctional authorities moved for summary judgment on the
grounds of qualified immunity. The district court denied the motion for
summary judgment, finding that the correctional authorities responsible for designing and
implementing the inmate programs were not entitled to qualified immunity against the
claims that female inmates were not provided .with medical treatment and that mentally
balanced inmates were housed with inmates who suffered from chronic mental illness.
The Commissioner of the New York State Department of Correctional Services could be
held liable in the Section 1983 suit to the ext.ent he failed to develop and implement
programs and policies regarding the treatment of mentally ill inmates or delegated that
responsibility to others whom he then failed to supervise adequately. (Bedford Hills
Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONTRACT·
SERVICES

Leach v. ShelhY County Sheriff, 891 F.2d 1241 (6th Cir. 1989), cert. denied, 110 S.Ct.
2173. A paraplegic inmate filed a suit against the mayor and county sheriff, claiming
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. The U.S. District Court entered a
judgment awarding $10,000 to the inmate. The mayor and sheriff appealed. The appeals
court found that the evidence demonstrated a policy or custom of deliberate indifference to
serious medical needs of paraplegic inmates, for purposes of holding the mayor and sheriff
liable in their official capacities. The sheriff had the responsibility of conforming to at
least minimal constitutional standards in providing and maintaining adequate bedding,
toiletries, and cleanliness. The court held that this rose to the level of a policy of ·
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. And it rejected the argument that
because the state law of Tennessee allowed the sheriff to subcontract away the medical
care of inmates, this excused the county from liability. (Shelby County Jail, Tennessee)

71.47

U.S. Appeals Court
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983
DAMAGES
DETJBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

Mandel v. Doe. 888 F.2d 783 (11th Cir. 1989). A prisoner brought a civil
rights action under Section 1983 against the county. alleging he was injured
by a physician assistant's deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs
while he was a prisoner at a county road prison. The U.S. District Court
rendered a judgment for the prisoner on a jury verdict and awarded $500.000
damages, and the county appealed. The appeals court affirmed the decision,
finding that the evidence established that the physician's assistant's treatment of the
prisoner after he injured his leg constituted deliberate indifference to the prisoner's
serious medical needs, and evidence established the physician's assistant was acting as a
final policymaker for the county with respect to medical affairs at the road prison. The
prisoner had serious medical needs once he injured his leg while jumping off the truck
bed, the physician's assistant's knowledge of the need for medical care was·conelusively
established, the physician's assistant never apprised his superior; a medical doctor, of the
prisoner's situation, obtained an x-ray of the prisoner's leg, or had the prisoner examined
by a doctor or taken to a hospital, despite repeated requests by the prisoner and his
parents directed toward the physician's assistant and the prison superintendent. The ·
county maintained that the mere denial of Mandel's request for an x-ray did not amount
to deliberate indifference. However, the court found that the record was "replete with
evidence of serious medical need, grossly deficient treatment and callous indifference.•
(Escambia County Prison, Cantonment, Florida)

U.S. Appeals Court
VIOLATION OF
COURl' ORDER

Morales-Feliciano v. Parole Bd. of Com. of P.R.. 887 F.2d 1 (1st Cir. 1989), cert. denied,
110 S.Ct. 1511. The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to overturn a lower court
decision which held the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in contempt for keeping
prisoners confined in less than 35 square feet of space in violation of a 1987 court order.
The U.S. Court of Appeals had affirmed the decision and found that the civil contempt
order was appealable. The Commonwealth's compliance was not so substantial as to
invalidate a finding of contempt, and the Commonwealth's good-faith efforts to comply
with the remedial order did not excuse the noncompliance. The sanction of $50 per excess
prisoner per day, with a rate increase of $10 per month, was not unlawfully high, and the
Commonwealth was not entitled to an oral hearing prior to the entry of the contempt
order. (Commonwealth, Puerto Rico)

U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983
PUNITIVE
DAMAGES

Mosier v. Robinson. 722 F.Supp. 555 (W.D. Ark. 1989). An arrestee who was
allegedly beaten by an intoxicated sheriff sued the sheriff, deputy sheriff, and
the county which employed them. In his complaint, the plaintiff alleged that
he was taken into custody and transported to the county jail. The plaintiff
stated that upon his arrival at the jail, the sheriff beat and choked him
without provocation, that the plaintiff offered no resistance, and that the
arresting officer made no attempt to stop the attack. The plaintiff further
contended that at the time of the attack, the sheriff was under the influence of alcohol,
and that he had acted in his official capacity as sheriff while under the influence of
alcohol on previous occasions. The county moved for summary judgment. The district
court found that the county was not subject to tort li~bility or liability for punitive
damages, and the county was potentially liable for the arrestee's Section 1983 claim. The
county policy of condoning violations by the sheriff could be inferred from the failure to
take action on the sheriff's alleged violations of department policies occurring over a
period of time. (Ashley County Jail, Arkansas)

TORT

LIABILITY

U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983
MUNICIPAL

LIABILITY

U.S. District Court
CONTEMPI'
VIOLATION OF
COURl' ORDER

Muhammad v. McMickens, 708 F.Supp. 007 (S.D.N.Y. 1989). A former prison
inmate brought an action under Section 1983 against prison authorities
alleging that they violated his rights under the first and fourteenth
amendments to the free exercise of his Muslim faith. Upon the defendants'
motions for summary judgment, the district court found that single instances
of missing one meal prepared in a manner consistent with dictates of the inmate's Muslim
religion and of being required to pray in unsanitary surroundings did not invoke
municipal liability under Section 1983, absent proof of a municipal policy. The court also
found that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the inmate's religious
dietary obligations were suff"iciently accommodated during his incarceration. (House of
Detention for Men, Rilters Island, New York)
Palmigiano v. DiPrete, 710 F.Supp. 875 (D. R.I. 1989). Rhode Island officials
failed to rid themselves of contempt by bringing a correctional facility into
compliance with standing orders of the district court governing the conditions
of conf"mement of pretrial detainees. The f"tling by the Governor and Director
of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections of a long-range plan designed to address
the growing need for additional space throughout the state correctional system was not
the specif"ic and detailed plan that the district court had ordered to take care of the
overcrowding problem for the pretrial detainees. Thus, the Governor and Direct.or were in
contempt. The crm of an impossibility defense to a contempt charge is a lack of power to
carry out orders of the court due to circwnstances beyond one's control and means literal
inability to take steps necessary to comply with a judicial order or
27.48

consent decree, not simply the unwillingness to take action because contemn.or perceives
st.eps that actually can be taken as politically costly or ideologically repugnant. In light of
many st.eps available to the Rhode Island Governor and the Director of the State
Department of Corrections to take care of overcrowding at the prison in.take service center,
compliance with previous district court orders regarding overcrowding was within the
power of the Governor and the Director, and factual impossibility was not a defense to the
con.tempt proceedings for failure to comply with those orders. (Adult Correction.al
Institutions, Rhode Island)
.
U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY .
DAMAGES
42U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983
PUNITIVE
DAMAGES

Parker v. Williams, 862 F.2d 1471 (11th Cir. 1989). An arrestee who was
kidnapped and raped by a county jail chief jailer brought action under state
law and federal civil rights law against the chief jailer, the county sheriff, the
county, and individual county commissioners. The U.S. District Court entered
a judgment on jury verdict awarding compensatory damages of $100,000, and
punitive damages of $100,000 against the sheriff and the county, and appeal
was taken. The appeals court certified the question. to the Supreme Court
and received a response, 519 So.2d 442; thereafter, the court of appeals withdrew its
initial opinion, 855 F.2d 763. As a result, the judgments against the sheriff and county
were vacated and the case was reversed and remanded. The court found that the chief
jailer's criminal conviction. for kidnapping and rape did not collaterally est.op the sheriff
and county from challenging the fact of the rape. The sheriff and county could not be held
liable on the arrestee's state law claims. The eleven.th amendment barred the claim
against the sheriff in his official capacity. The sheriff was not en.titled to qualified
immunity from the suit in his individual capacity; and the county could be sued under
Section 1983 for the actions taken by the sheriff in hiring and training the chief jailer.
The court stated that the county did not have to exercise a direct control over the county
sheriff with respect to the sheriff's hiring and promoting the chief jailer who subsequently
kidnapped and raped the arrestee in order to be held liable under Section 1983. (Macon
County Jail, Alabama)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Rain.es v. Lack, 714 F.Supp. 889 (M.D. Tenn. 1989). An in.mate brought an
action again.st prison officials alleging a deprivation. of due process in
connection. with his administrative segregation.. On the in.mate's motion for
summary judgment, the district court found that the in.mate was afforded all process he
was due at the transferee prison, and although the warden at the first prison deprived the
in.mate of due process, the warden was en.titled to qualified immunity from liability for
damages. The in.mate was confmed to administrative segregation. and transferred to
another institution. based upon allegations that he had instigated or participated in a
prison riot and had the due process right only to receive the notice of the charges again.st
him and an opportunity to present his views to prison officials. More formal procedures
afforded to in.mates faced with losing good-time credits and disciplinary segregation. were
not required. The in.mate, who was placed in administrative segregation. because of his
suspected role in a prison riot was not denied due process upon his transfer to the state
prison. The defendant received an informal review eight days after his transfer, at which
time he was aware of charges against him and had an opportunity to present his views to
the review board, though the hearing involved no additional review of evidence underlying
the initial segregation.. The warden who deprived the in.mate of due process by failing to
in.form him and the disciplinary board of the factual basis for his disagreement with the
board's recommendation. that the in.mate be released from administrative segregation, was
en.titled to qualified immunity. It was not clear that the warden needed to provide
aeything more than a general statement of charges, or that a more specific statement was
required in the event the warden disagreed with the board's recommendation.. (Turney
Center Prison, Only, Tennessee)

State Court
DAMAGES
NEGLIGENCE
CONTRACT
SERVICES

Rivers v. State, 537 N.Y.S.2d 968 (Ct.Cl. 1989). An in.mate sued the State to
recover for damages resulting from the performance of a wrong operation. by a
private physician. in an outside facility at the request of the State. The court
of claims found that the State was not negligent for the failure to forward the
in.mate's medical records to the outside hospital, or to insist that the surgeon
examine the in.mate, prior to surgery. Evidence supported the imding that the doct.or was
negligent, despite the absence of expert testimony as to the standards of care in the
community, the State was vicariously liable for the negligence of the doctor, by virtue of
owing a non.delegable duty to the in.mate to provide reason.able and adequate medical care,
regardless of whether the doctor was characterized as an employee or an in.dependent
con.tractor, and the amount recovered by the doctor in an in.dependent lawsuit would be
deducted from recovery against the State. The State owed the inmate a non.delegable duty
to provide reason.able and adequate medical care, and thus was liable when the outside
surgeon it retained performed the wrong surgery on the in.mate, following the in.mate's
transfer to an outside facility, regardless of whether the outside surgeon was characterized
as an employee or in.dependent con.tractor. (Greene Correction.al Facility, New York)

27.49

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

Robinson v. Estat.e of Williams, 721 F.Supp. 806 (S.D.Miss. 1989). The wife of
a man who was killed by two escaped jail prisoners sued the county sheriff,
alleging that it was negligence on his part or on the part of his agents,
servants or employees that allowed them to escape, that security at the jail
was dangerously inadequat.e and that it was negligent to fail to properly
inform the public of the escape. The court noted that the sheriff in Mississippi is charged
with the duty to safely keep his prisoners in the jail and to seek to prevent escape.
However, as these duties are owed to the general public, rather than to any individual
person, the court found that there could be no liability in the absence of a "special
relationship" with the deceased man. The sheriff owed no duty of care to the deceased
man or his spouse. (Clarke County Jail, Mississippi)

U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
NOMINAL
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE
DAMAGES

Taylor v. Green, 868 F.2d 162 (5th Cir. 1989), cert. denied, 110 S.Ct. 127. A state
inmat.e brought an action for damages against various prison officials, alle~ :the
defendants violated his rights by causing three "Support Service Ininat.es" to attack and
seriously injure him. The U.S. District Court ent.ered a judgment jury verdict
awarding punitive but no compensatory damages to the inmat.e, and the
inmat.e appealed. The appeals court found that the inmat.e was not entitled to
a new trial; the court could not add to the amount of the verdict either
compensatory or punitive damages; and the inmate was entitled to nominal damages. The
jury awarded punitive damages of $200 from each of the defendants, but no compensatory
damages. On appeal, the court upheld the jury verdict but also awarded the inmat.e
nominal damages of $1. (Texas Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983
CONTRACT
SERVICES
VICARIOUS

Temple v. Albert, 719 F.Supp. 265 (S.D.N.Y. 1989). A prison inmate brought
a civil rights action against hospital and special officers and a privat.e doctor
employed by the hospital, alleging a violation of his civil rights. The plaintiff
was arrested in connection with a crime that allegedly occurred at the
Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. The plaintiff was apprehended by the
officers, who were employed as security guards by the hospital. The plaintiff's
complaint raised two distinct claims. First, the plaintiff asserted that he was
assaulted by the security staff at the hospital upon his arrest, and continuously thereafter
while he was handcuffed and unable to resist. Second, the plaintiff contended that he was
denied medical attention by the medical staff at the hospital. The officers and the doctor
claim that they are privat.e citizens, and that therefore they did not act ''under color of
stat.e law," depriving the court of subject matt.er jurisdiction. The hospital avers that it
may not be held vicariously liable in a Section 1983 action.
The district court found that the officers were stat.e actors; the allegations that the
doctor conspired with the officers satisfied the requirement for maintaining a civil rights
action against the doctor; and the privat.e corporate employer was not vicariously liable.
Special officers paid by the privat.e hospital were stat.e actors for the purposes of the
prison inmate's civil rights action where they were also special patrolmen appointed by
the city police commissioner and acted pursuant to the statutory grant of police power.
(Fishkill Correctional Facility, New York)

LIABILITY

U.S. Supreme Court
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983
GOVERNMENTAL

LIABILITY

Will v. Michigan Dept. of Stat.e Police, 109 S.Ct. 2304 (1989). A Michigan
stat.e employee brought an action against the Department of Stat.e Police and
its director under the federal civil rights statute. The court of claims ent.ered
a judgment for the employee, and the Department and director appealed. The
court of appeals vacated in part and remanded in part. On appeal, the
Michigan Supreme Court aff'll'Dled in part and reversed in part, and certiorari was
granted. The U.S. Supreme Court, aff'll'Dling the decision, found that neither the state nor
its officials acting in their official capacities were "persons" under the federal civil rights
statut.e.
The petitioner filed Michigan stat.e court suits under 42 U.S.C.A. Section 1983 alleging
that the respondents, the Department of State Police and the Director of State Police in
his official capacity, had denied him a promotion for an improper reason. The stat.e court
judge ruled for the petitioner, finding that both respondents were "persons" under Section
1983, which provides that any person who deprives an individual of his or her
constitutional rights under color of stat.e law shall be liable to that individual. However,
the stat.e court of appeals vacated the judgment against the Department, holding that a
Stat.e is not a person under Section 1983, and remanded the case for a determination of
the Director's possible immunity. The Michigan Supreme Court affirmed in part and
reversed in part, agreeing that the Stat.e is not a person under Section 1983, but holding
that a stat.e official acting in his or her official capacity also is not such a person.
Held: Neither States nor Stat.e officials acting in their official capacities are "persons"
within the meaning of Section 1983. Pp. 2307-2312.
(a) That a Stat.e is not a person under Section 1983 is supported by the statute's
language, congressional purpose, and legislative history. In common usage, the term
"person" does not include a Stat.e. This usage is particularly applicable where it is claimed
that Congress had subjected the Stat.es to liability to which they had not been subject
before. Reading Section 1983 t.o include States would be a decidedly awkward
27.50

way of expressing such a congressional intent. The statute's language also falls short of
satisfying the ordinary rule of statutory construction that Congress must make its
intention t.o alt.er the constitutional balance between the stat.es and the federal
government unmistakably clear in a statute's language. Moreover, the doc;trine of
sovereign immunity is one of the well-established common-law immunities and defenses
that Congress did not int.end t.o override in enacting section 1983. Cf. City of Newport v.
Fact Concerts, Inc., 453 U.S. 247, 101 S.Ct. 2748, 69 L.Ed.2d 616; Railroad Co. v.
Tennessee, 101 U.S. 337, 25 LEd. 960. The "Dictionary Act" provision that a "person"
includes ''bodies politic and corporate" fails t.o evidence such an intent. This Court's ruling
in Monell v. New York City Dept. of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56
L.Ed.2d 611-- which held that a municipality is a person under Section 1983-- is not t.o the
contrary, since Stat.es are prot.ected by the eleventh amendment while municipalities are
not. Pp. 2307-2311.
(b) A suit against state officials in their official capacities is not a suit against the
officials but rather is a suit against the officials' offices and, thus, is no different from a
suit against the State itself. (Michigan Department of State Police)
U.S. Appeals Court
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

Wilson v. Brown, 889 F.2d 1195 (1st Cir. 1989). A prisoner sued the warden
of a Rhode Island state prison in his official capacity for money damages
under 42 U.S.C.A. Section 1983, alleging that his transfer to a Massachusetts
prison was unconstitutional as a violation of due process and the New England Interstate
Corrections Compact. The inmate sought compensation for alleged resulting mental and
physical anguish, his divorce from his wife, psychological assistance his son required as a
result of the transfer, his inability t.o see relatives, and other purported injuries. The
court entered a summary judgment for the defendant. The appellate court affirmed,
noting that each of these allegations sought monetary damages and that injunctive relief
would not be an appropriate remedy for any of the alleged injustices. Because the U.S.
Supreme Court, in Will v. Michigan Dept. of State Police, 108 S.Ct. 1466 (1989) held that
state are not "persons" amendable t.o suit under 42 U.S.C.A. Section 1983, the court found
that the inmate could not sue the warden in his official capacity for such damages. While
a state official may be enjoined against future violations of an inmate's rights,
"retrospective relief" is barred, the court noted, and in any event, the inmate in this case
did not seek injunctive relief. (Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institution)
1990

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Alexander v. Perrill, 916 F.2d 1392 (9th Cir. 1990). An inmate brought an action against
a warden and administrative systems manager for failure t.o investigate a claim that his
sentence was miscalculated. The district court denied the defendant's motion for summary
judgment on defense of qualified immunity, and the defendant appealed. The appeals
court affirmed the district court decision and found that the obligation of the warden and
administrative systems manager t.o investigate an inmate's claim of miscalculation of a
sentence did not need t.o be set out in decisional law in order t.o be a clearly established
duty under the qualified immunity doctrine. Prison officials who were under a duty t.o
investigate claims of computational errors in the calculation of prison sentences may be
liable for failure t.o do so when a reasonable request is made. (Federal Correctional
Institution, Tucson, Arizona)

U.S. Appeals Court
VICARIOUS

Bailey v. Wood. 909 F.2d 1197 (8th Cir. 1990). An inmate who had been assaulted by
another inmate brought a civil rights action against the warden for allegedly subjecting
him t.o cruel and unusual punishment contrary t.o the eighth amendment. The U.S.
District Court entered judgment in favor of the prisoner and the· warden appealed. The
court of appeals held that the warden t.ook reasonable steps t.o prevent the assault and
was not "deliberately indifferent" t.o the prisoner's rights, reversing the lower court
decision. According t.o the court, vicarious civil rights liability could not be imposed on the
warden for a guard's negligence and possible deliberate indifference t.o the inmate's right
t.o be free from violent attacks. The guard left his post, permitting a prisoner who had
previously been involved in altercations with the inmate t.o enter the inmate's cell and
stab him with a homemade weapon. To make out an eighth amendment claim against the
warden, the prisoner had t.o show that the warden was "deliberately indifferent" t.o his
rights, ie., that the warden either intentionally deprived the prisoner of rights or acted in
reckless disregard of rights. To establish that the warden acted in "reckless disregard" of
eighth amendment rights, the prisqner had t.o show that he was faced with pervasive risk
of harm and that the warden failed t.o reasonably respond t.o that risk. According t.o·the
court, the warden t.ook reasonable steps t.o respond t.o threats which the prisoner faced
from another inmate by transferring the inmate t.o a complex at the other end of the
prison, and was not "deliberately indifferent" t.o the prisoner's rights, within the meaning
of the eighth amendment, merely because he failed t.o anticipate that the guard would
leave his post and permit the inmate t.o gain access t.o the prisoner's cell. The court noted
that •... this case is one of an increasing number involving an assault by one prisoner on
another in a state prison." (Minnesota Correctional Facility, Oak Park Heights,

LIABILITY

Minnesota)

27.51

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY

Bee v. Greaves. 910 F.2d 686 (10th Cir. 1990). A former pretrial detainee brought an
action. against a physician., challenging his involuntary medication. while confined.
According to the court. law relative to forced medication. clearly established the
detain.ee's right to refuse the unwant.ed administration. of antipsychotic drugs. The jail
psychiatrist administered the medication. to the pretrial detainee again.st his wishes.
appeals court found that a Utah law allowing involuntary medication. of a mental patient
did not give a jail psychiatrist qualified immunity from liability for involuntary medication.
of a pretrial detainee since Utah law applied only aft.er a judicial involuntary commitment
proceeding, which was not provided to the detainee. (Salt Lake County Jail, Utah)

The

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO

PROTECT

Berey v. City of Muskogee, 900 F.2d· 1489 (10th Cir, 1990). The widow of an. in.mate
who was killed by fellow inmates brought a civil rights action. again.st the city. In.
vacating and remanding the district court's decision., the appeals court stat.eel that
eighth amendment standards, rather than due process standards that are applicable to
pretrial detainees. apply to incarcerat.ed persons whose guilt has been. adjudicat.ed
formally but who await sentencing.
The safety and bodily integrity of a convicted prisonef implicates both the eighth
amendment's prohibition. against cruel and unusual punishment and the fourteen.th
amendment's substantive protection. against state deprivation. of life and liberty without
due process of law. The city can.not absolutely guarantee the safety of its jailed prisoners,
but it has a constitutional duty to take reason.able steps to protect the prisoners' safety
and bodily integrity. A municipality is liable under Section. 1983 if there is a direct causal
connection. between. the municipality policies in question. and the constitution.al
deprivation.. (Muskogee City-Federal Jail. Oklahoma)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES

Davis v. Village of Calumet Park. 737 F.Supp. 1039 (N.D. Ill. 1990), reversed. 936 F.2d
971. A defendant brought a Section. 1983 action. alleging that village officials
unconstitutionally denied the defendant, while a pretrial detainee, access to adequate
medical care. After a trial by jury, the defendant was awarded $1 in compensatory
damages and $1,500 in punitive damages. The federal appeals court reversed the
decision.. fmding that an. objectively reason.able officer would not have thought the injuries
were serious. (Village of Calumet Park. Illinois Jail)

U.S. Appeals Court
RESPONDEAT
SUPERIOR

Fruit v. Norris. 905 F.2d 1147 (8th Cir. 1990). Inmates brought a civil rights action.
against prison. officials asserting constitutional violations in relation. to their being
disciplined for refusing to assist the prison. maintenance supervisor in cleaning out the
wet-well portion. of the prison's raw sewage lift-pump station. without protective clothing
and equipment. The U.S. District Court dismissed aft.er presentation. of the inmates' case
and the inmates appealed. The appeals court found that the in.mates established a prima
facie eighth amendment violation. and the warden. could be held liable for such a violation..
It was found by the court that the prison. in.mates are protected from punishment for
refusing to perform an unconstitutional assignment, as they are protected from having to
perform assignment. Certain. acts or omissions are so dangerous in respect to health or
safety that the knowledge of risk on. the part of the prison. officials can. be inferred, for the
purposes of the inmates' eighth amendment claim. Irrespective of whether the officials
had actual or constructive knowledge of the presence of toxic or explosive gases in wetwell, in view of the evidence present.eel regarding the danger of heat stroke, risk of
contracting a disease from con.tact with raw sewage, and general undesirability of being in
close prmimity to humane waste; forcing in.mates to work in shower of human excrement
without protective clothing and equipment would be inconsistent with any standard of
decency.
While supervisors are not liable under Section. 1983 on. a respon.deat superior theory,
they can. be liable for their person.al involvement in a constitution.al violation., or when.
their corrective action. amounts to deliberate indifference to or tacit authorization. of
violative practices. While the deprivation. of good-time credits claimed in. a civil rights
action. would have been. properly brought in a habeas action., rather than a civil rights
action., the state waived the ezhaustion. requirement by failing to notify the district court
that inmates had not exhausted their claims in. state court. (Tucker Maximum Security
Un.it, Arkansas Dept. of Corr.)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE

Inmates of the Suffolk County Jail v. Kearney:. 734 F.Supp. 561 (D. Mass. 1990). The
county sheriff f':ded a motion to modify a consent decree. The district court found that the
con.sent decree requiring the con.st.ruction. of a new jail with single occupancy cells would
not be modif'ied to permit double occupancy in most of the cells, despite a U.S. Supreme
Court ruling upholding the practice of double-bunking, increases in the pretrial detainee
population., and a possibility that the release of some pretrial detainees would result if
double occupancy were not permitted. Ac:cordiDg to the court, for purposes of determining
whether to modify a consent decree, the party uncertain. as to whether the law would
require results proposed to be included in a consent decree could have withheld the
consent, and appealed the decision. of the district court if it held against that party.
(Suffolk County Jail, Massachusetts)

27.52

U.S. Appeals Court
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
PERSONAL
LIABILITY

Johnson v. Hardin County. Ky., 908 F.2d 1280 (6th Cir. 1990). A prisoner
brought a suit against an elected county jailer, his first assistant, and the
county, as well as other defendants, alleging a deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs. The U.S. District Court entered a judgment on jury
verdicts of $15,000 against the county and $1,000 each against the jailer and his
first assistant and awarded the prisoner $20,173 in attorney fees and expenses, and the
defendants appealed. The court of appeals, reversing and remanding, found that a
reasonable jury could determine that jail officials were deliberately indifferent 'b> the
prisoner's serious medical needs. The county could not be held liable for the jailers'
actions, where there was no evidence indicating that the jailer was invested with the
authority 'b> make all of the county's medical policy decisions and there was no evidence
demonstrating that mistreatment had become cus'b>m in the jail tantamount 'b> rule of law.
Remand was required on the award of attorneys fees in light. of the reversal on the part of
the judgment in favor of the prisoner and the district court's failure 'b> explain a reason for
applying a multiplier.
The evidence was sufficient 'b> support a jury determination that the jailer and the
officer who was his chief assistant were deliberately indifferent 'b> the prisoner's medical
needs, given the credible testimoey that the prisoner was denied a prescribed pain relief
medication for leg problems and hairline fracture, denied access 'b> the shower facilities,
denied crutches and denied additional bedding 'b> elevate his legs, in spite of his repeated
requests and complaints made personally 'b> jailers. The authorization given 'b> an elected
jailer for the county detention center 'b> make policy decisions on prisoner care did not
constitute policy decision of the state so as 'b> render the county liable for the jailer's
deliberate indifference 'b> the prisoner's serious medical needs. Recovery was not
permissible where evidence would not permit a conclusion that the elected jailer was
vested with the final authority 'b> set medical treatment policies for the county's prisoners.
The county could not be held liable for the jail officials' deliberate indifference 'b> the
prisoner's serious medical needs based on the fact that the doc'b>r visited the prison only
one day per week, where the prisoner showed no causal connection between the failure 'b>
have a doc'b>r on site and his injuries. The county jail prisoner did not produce enough
evidence 'b> demonstrate that his mistreatment was emblematic of mistreatment which
had become a custom in the prison tantamount 'b> rule of law, so as 'b> hold the county
liable for the jailer's deliberate indifference 'b> his serious medical needs, even though
evidence did show that the prisoner was denied proper medical care during his more than
three-month recovery from a prison fall. The mistreatment of the prisoner alone was
insufficient 'b> establish a custom of mistreatment.
Where the success in the prisoner's civil rights claim was reduced on appeal, as a
result of the finding that the county could not be held liable for the jailers' deliberate
indifference 'b> the prisoner's serious medical needs, a remand was required on the issue of
the application of the 1.5 multiplier 'b> lodestar figure for the attorney fees, particularly in
light of the district court's failure to explain the reasons for its enhancement of the case.
(Hardin County Detention Center, Kentucky)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT
PUNITIVE
DAMAGES

Lewis v. Parish of Terrebonne, 894.F.2d 142 (5th Cir. 1990). The widow and
children of an inmate who committed suicide while placed in solitary
confinement brought a civil rights action against the warden of the jail, the
parish and other defendants. The U.S. District Court entered a judgment in
favor of the plaintiffs, but awarded only punitive damages, and both sides
appealed. The appeals court found that the finding that the warden had been deliberately
indifferent 'b> the inmate's serious medical needs was sufficiently supported by evidence.
The exclusion of evidence of the defendants' liability insurance was not an abuse of
discretion, notwithstanding that the plaintiffs had made a punitive damages claim; but
the action would be remanded 'b> a district judge for determination as 'b> damages suffered
by the inmate immediately prior 'b> death. A punitive damages award was sufficiently
supported by evidence of the warden's callous indifference 'b> the inmate's serious medical
needs, in failing 'b> deprive him of death dealing instrumentalities and placing him in
solitary conf'mement even though he knew or should have known of the inmate's suicidal
tendencies. (Terrebonne Parish Jail, Houma, Louisiana)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED

Lvons v. Powell, 729 F.Supp. 1404 (D. N.H. 1990). A pretrial detainee, who had been at a
state prison and was transferred 'b> a federal facility, filed a civil rights lawsuit
complaining that he was commed 'b> a cell for 22-23 hours per day during a 27 day period
at the federal facility, during which time he was forced 'b> sleep on a mattress on the floor.
The federal prison officials filed a motion, stating that they were entitled 'b> qualified
immunity. The court denied the motion, noting that the defendants had a duty 'b> check
on the institutions where federal pre-trial detainees were lodged and were also respoDSl'ble
for aey omissions they made in a supervisory capacity. (New Hampshire State Prison)

IMMUNITY

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREE

McDonald v. Armontrout, 908 F.2d 388 (8th Cir. 1990). An appeal was taken
from an order of the U.S. District Court modifying a consent decree entered in
an action concerning the conditions in the prison's capital punishment unit. The appeals
court affirmed the decision, finding that the plan 'b> move the prison's capital p 11nisbment
27.53

unit to a new facility was a change in circumstance that warranted modification of the
consent decree governing conditions at the old facility, and the modifications of the
consent decree satisfied constitutional requirements, although access to recreational
activities and telephones would be more restricted at the new facility for some inmates.
The new facility could accommodate a larger classification syst.em, entitling inmates with
less restrictive classifications to more recreation time and other additional benefits.
(Missouri State Penitentiary)
U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT
PUNITIVE
DAMAGES

McHenry v. Chadwick, 896 F.2d 184 (6th Cir. 1990). An inmate brought a
civil rights action against correctional officers alleging that they assaulted
him. The U.S. District Court entered a judgment in favor of the inmate, and
the correctional officers appealed. The appeals court affirmed the decision and
found that is was not necessary that the inmate suffer severe injury for the
correctional officers' infliction of unnecessary and wanton pain on him to amount to an
eighth amendment violation. Evidence supported a claim that correctional officers
breached a duty to protect the inmate from other correctional officers' assault. It was also
found that evidence that correctional officers did not conduct an investigation as to
allegations made by.fellow inmates who "checked in" to protAtctive custodY, allegedly to
avoid the plaintiff inmate was admissible in the inmate's civil rights action against the
correctional officers claiming he was assaulted by police officers. The evidence was
relevant to the issue of whether the officers acted willfully and maliciously in their
treatment of the inmate which would have subjected them to liability for punitive
damages. (BrU;Shy Mountain Penitentiary, Petros, Tennessee)

U.S. District Court
STATUTES
(PREVENTING
LAWSUITS)
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

McKenzie v. Crotty. 738 F.Supp. 1287 (D.S.D. 1990). A former jail inmate
sued the sheriff and the county board under Section 1983, seeking damages
for treatment while he was in the county jail and requesting a class action
certification. The sheriff and board moved for a partial summary judgment, a
summary judgment and a judgment on the pleadings. The district court found
that the state statutes conferring immunity on public employees with respect
to jail conditions were preempted by Section 1983; an immunity claim was sufficiently
frivolous to warrant a holding of a hearing to determine whether sanctions should be
applied under Rule 11; and the former inmate was an adequate representative of the
class, for class action purposes, even though he had been released from jail one day aft.er
the suit was instituted; sufficient guarantees that the suit would be properly prosecuted
were provided by the representative seeking monetary damages and from the experience
and competency of his trial counsel. (Lawrence County Jail, South Dakota)

U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983
NEGLIGENCE

Rocheleau v. Cumberland County Sheriff's Department, 733 F.Supp. 140 (D ..
Me. 1990). An inmate brought a civil rights action against jail officials
alleging he sustained injuries while incarcerated at a county jail when he
tripped on an open floor drain, hit the jail wall, and broke his nose. The
court found that the plaintiff's complaint alleged nothing more than mere negligence on
the part of the defendants. The plaintiff did not allege either a deliberate or conscious
indifference on the part of the jail officials. Rather, the uncontroverted facts demonstrate,
and the plaintiff conceded in his complaint, that immediately following the mishap, jail
officials rushed the plaintiff to the hospital for treatment and a few days later took him to
a specialist. The district court found that the complaint alleged nothing more than
negligence and failed to state a claim under Section 1983. (Cumberland County Jail,
Maine)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED

Scott v. Coughlin, 727 F.Supp. 806 (W.D.N.Y. 1990). An inmate filed a prose
civil rights petition alleging that prison officials improperly confined him to
"keeplock" for a total of 14 days. On the inmate's motion for summary
judgment on the issue of improper confinement, the district court found that the officials'
placement of an inmate in'"keeplock" without issuing a misbehavior report or conducting a
disciplinary hearing violated the inmate's due process rights, and the officials were not
entitled to qualified immunity for failure to f'lle a misbehavior report at any point during
the inmate's stay in keeplock., which clearly defied well-delineated boundaries of official
discretion. The inmate was inexcusably denied an opportunity to be heard for an
"indefinite period of time," particularly absent an allegation of any circumstances
justifying postponement. (Southport Correctional Facility and Elmira Correctional
Facility, New York)

IMMUNITY

U.S. Appeals Court
FEDERAL TORT
CLAIMS ACT

Sellers v. U.S., 902 F.2d 598 (7th Cir. 1990). An inmate whose property had
been lost following confiscation during a prison lockdown brought a Bivens
action against the warden and three guards. The U.S. District Court entered
judgment in favor of the inmate pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, aft.er the Bivens
action had previously been dismissed against the individuals, and appeal was taken. The
. court of appeals, affirming in part, reversing and remanding in part, found that remand
was required to permit the district court to address the issue of the lost books, and the
marshals' failure to take appropriate st.eps in att.empting to obtain service upon the former
27.54

guards and the warden constituted good cause why the service was not effectuated within
a 120-day period. The magistrate's award to the inmate of $100 for an oil painting lost by
guards in the federal prison during the inmate's incarceration was not improper; nothing
in record suggested that the painting had any market value, and although the inmate
attached a value of $200 to it, the magistrate was not required to accept it. A letter from
a prisoner-artist supporting the inmate's valuation of the painting was inadmissible in the
inmate's action brought pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act. The letter was hearsay
and speculative. (Federal Prison, Marion Illinois)
U.S. District Court
CONTEMPI'

Shaw v. Allen, 771 F.Supp. 760 (S.D. W.Va. 1990). A class of inmates brought a petition
for contempt, alleging that prison officials were in contempt of previous orders requiring
that conditions of the county jail be in compliance with constitutional standards. The
district court found that the failure of officials to bring the conditions in the county jail up
to constitutional standards warranted appointment of a receiver to operate the jail.
According to the court, there was a dismal hist.ory of no~mpliance and allowing
additional time for compliance would only likely result in additional injunctions or
contempt proceedings and would offer little hope of anything other than further
confrontations and delays. (McDowell County Jail, West Virginia)

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED

Simpson v. Hines, 903 F.2d 400 (5th Cir. 1990). A prisoner's survivors brought a Section
1983 action against police officers to recover for the death of a prisoner from alleged
use of excessive force and lack of medical care. The officers moved for summary judgment
on the basis of qualified immunity. The U.S. District Court denied the motion, and the
officers appealed. The court of appeals, affirming in part, reversing in part, and
dismissing in part, found that the officers who had entered the cell were not entitled to
qualified immunity.
The police officers were not entitled to qualified immunity in the 1983 action to
recover for the death of the prisoner from asphyxia after being searched and subdued,
even though no evidence indicated that each officer's actions caused severe injuries. The
captain admitted placing the prisoner in a neck hold and exerting sufficient pressure to
subdue him, another officer sat on the prisoner, a tape recording allegedly indicated the
prisoner's screams and repeated cries for mercy and contained statements from which the
trier-of-fact could infer malice, and the officers discussed beforehand how to handle the
situation and functioned as a unit once inside the cell. The officers knew that the
prisoner heavily exerted himself and was "strung out" on drugs, and the tape recording
indicated that the officers paid scant attention to the prisoner's physical condition during
the approximately five minutes between the lapse into silence and the officers' exit from
the cell. (Cleveland City Jail, Texas)

IMMUNITY

U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983
PUNITIVE
DAMAGES
REMEDIES

Tasker v. Moore, 738 F.Supp. 1005 (S.D. W.Va. 1990). Former inmates
brought a Section 1983 action against the former Commissioner of the
Department of Corrections, the former prison warden and the former Governor
of West Virginia, alleging that a violation of their civil rights occurred when
the Commissioner and the warden, upon orders of the Governor, refused to
release them, in violation of court orders that they be released to cure
unconstitutional overcrowding. On a variety of motions by the defendants seeking relief
from the adverse jury verdict, the district court found that the Commissioner and the
warden were not entitled to qualified immunity. The Governor was bound to respect and·.
refrain from interfering with the implementation of orders requiring the release of
inmates and his willful interference and refusal to comply with orders rendered him liable
under Section 1983. The orders to release inmates did not violate the doctrine of
separation of powers and, under the eighth and fourteenth amendments, created a liberty
interest in inmates; but the punitive damage awards in the amount of $100,000 in favor of
each inmate against the Governor was excessive. According to the court, officials knew
that prisoners had been ordered released and that further incarceration was a violation of
clearly established constitutional rights. The Governor, having knowledge of the orders
requiring the release of inmates to cure the unconstitutional overcrowding, was bound to
respect and refrain from interfering with the implementation of those orders, even though
the Governor was not a party to the orders or underlying action, and the Governor's
willful interference and refusal to comply with orders rendered him liable to inmates
under Section 1983. In ordering the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and
the prison warden to refrain from releasing the inmates, the Governor was in violation of
the State court order requiring such release to cure the unconstitutional overcrowding,
acted with reckless indifference to federally protected rights of inmates who were to be
released, warranting the imposition of punitive damages in the inmates' Section 1983
action. (Huttonsville Correctional Center, West Virginia)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREEMODIFICATION

Thompson v. Enomoto, 915 F.2d 1883 (9th Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 117 LE2 131. Death
row prisoners in a state prison sued prison officials, seeking enforcement of a consent
decree regarding their treatment. The U.S. District Court entered judgment on a
.
monitor's report ordering prison officials to comply with terms of the consent decree and
also recommending t.bat dangerous prisoners be denied certain privileges, and appeals
27.55

were taken. The court of appeals found that a district court has the power to modify a
consent decree if experience with the administration of the decree shows a need for
modification in order to accomplish primary goals. The prison officials waived any right
they may have had to the claim that the district court lost juridication to modify the
consent decree covering treatment of prisoners in the state prison's death row, as the
parties had continued to operate under the decree for several years without objection by
the officials. In addition, the prison officials waived a right to object that the consent
decree covering treatment of prisoners in the state prison's death row applied only to
prisoners in a certain location and did not apply to those moved to a second location due
to overcrowding, as over a period of several years, the prison officials had acted as though
the decree applied to prisoners at all locations. It was also found that the trial court did
not abuse its discretion by granting modifications to the consent decree covering ~atment
of the death row prisoners in the state prison, to take away from the prisoners deemed
dangerous yard equipment, cell equipment, personal property, canteen items, and access
to telephones. (California State Prison, San Quentin, California)
U.S. Appeals Court
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
PRIVATE PROVIDER

Toombs v. Bell, 915 F.2d 345 (8th Cir. 1990). An inmate at an Arkansas correctional
facility filed a _pro se complaint, asserting a claim under a federal civil rights statute for
lack of medical treatment he received during his incarceration. The U.S. District Court
dismissed the complaint, and the inmate appealed. The court of appeals appointed counsel
and reversed and remanded with instructions to permit the inmate to amend the
pleadings and develop a claim. On remand, the district court directed a verdict for the
defendants on the civil rights claim, declined to instruct the jury on breach of contract
claim or on punitive damages, and granted summary judgment for a medical technician
notwithstanding the jury's damages award against him, and the inmate appealed. The
court of appeals found that although the prison warden and state correctional officials
could not relieve themselves of the duty to provide adequate medical treatment to those in
custody by contracting the provision of inmate health care to a private organization, there
was no evidence of any Board of Corrections policy of deliberate indifference to the
inmate's medical needs, and, thus, the effective directed verdict on the civil rights claims
in favor of those defendants was proper. In addition, the district court did not abuse its
discretion in excluding a report prepared by the Institute for Law and Policy Planning as
part of an audit conducted at the request of the Board of Corrections to evaluate the
private health care provider's compliance with its contractual obligations regarding care of
inmates. Although those findings reflected a failure of performance, they did not tend to
show a policy of deliberate indifference to the serious medical needs of the plaintiff or
other inmates. However, a jury could award damages against the medical technician
employed by the private health care provider at the prison for negligent care of the
inmate, based on the inmate's testimony that the technician failed to examine him
notwithstanding his complaints of pain, swelling and fever, and the jury could find the
t.echnician's contrary testimony incredible, in light of a supervisor's report characterizing
the technician's performance as napathetic, lithesome, and lazyn and concluding that the
technician should be dismissed immediately. (0.nmmins Unit, Arkansas Dept. of Corr.)

U.S. District Court
FEDERAL TORI'

Williams v. U.S., 747 F.Supp. 967 (S.D. N.Y. 1990). A former prisoner brought suit under
the Federal Tort Claims Act seeking damages for a below-the-knee amputation of his right
leg. The U.S. District Court found that the medical staff at the federal prison seriously
departed from and breached basic standards of care owed to the diabetic prisoner in the
diagnosis and treatment of a foot infection, which culminated in gangrene necessitating
the amputation. The medical staff failed to provide appropriate testillg, clinical
examinations and diagnostic modalities consistent with a diabetic condition, failed to
provide the prisoner with proper treatment for a possible foot infection, and failed to
furnish a hospital with the prisoner's medical chart or a summary thereof when the
prisoner had a spreading E. Coli infection and was transferred for intravenous antibiotic
therapy. The court also found that the fifty-two-year-old former prisoner was entitled to
an award of $500,000 for his pain and suffering. (Fed. Corr. Inst., Otisville, New York)

CLAIMS ACT

DAMAGES

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE
FAILURE TO

TRAIN
42 U.S.C.A.
SECTION 1983

Williams v. White, 897 F.2d 942 (8th Cir. 1990). An inmate proceeding in
forma pauperis brought a pro se complaint against the prison superintendent
under Section 1983. The U.S. District Court dismissed, and the prisoner
appealed. The appeals court, vacating and remanding with instructions, found
that the inmate's claim was not frivolous. The prisoner asserted he was
placed in solitary, punitive confinement for no articulated reason and without
a hearing and alleged that he was placed in a single cell with another
prisoner with no hot water and no ventilation or air from outside and that he was
required to use a mattress infested with bugs and insects. The prison superintendent can
be liable under Section 1983 for operating the prison with unsanitary and inhumane
conditions and can be directly liable if he fails to properly train, supervise or cori.trol
subordinates. Dismissals under the in forma pauperis statut.e on the ground of frivolity
are to be made early in the proceedings, before the service of the process on the defendant
and before burdening the defendant with the necessity of making a responsive answer
under Rules of Civil Procedure. (Missouri)
27.56

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE
DAMAGES
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

Wright v. Jones, 907 F.2d 848 (8th Cir. 1990). Former inmates brought a
Section 1983 action against prison guards based on an assault by• fellow
inmates. The U.S. District Court directed a verdict against one inmate but
awarded the other inmate actual and punitive damages, and the guards·
appealed. The appeals court, affirming the decision, found that the question
of whether prison guards knew of conditions making it highly foreseeable that
some inmates might be attacked by other inmates was for the jury, and punitive damages
could be awarded if the jury found that guards acted in reckless or callous disregard of, or
indifference t.o, the rights or safety of others. (Training Center for Men, Moberly,
Missouri)

1991
U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Al-Jundi v. Mancusi, 926 F.2d 235 (2nd Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 112 S.Ct. 182. Inmates
brought a civil rights action against prison officials based on their conduct in planning and
implementing the retaking of a prison and the treatment of inmates after the prison was
retaken. The U.S. District Court denied the motion for summary judgment on qualified
immunity grounds, and the prison officials appealed. The court of appeals found that the
officials were entitled t.o qualified immunity in connection with most claims based on the
planning and implementation of the plan t.o retake the prison, but the officials were not
entitled t.o qualified immunity in connection with the alleged deficiencies in medical
planning and their condoning of reprisals against the inmates after the prison was
retaken. (Attica Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. District Court
VICARIOUS

Corrente v. State of R.I. 1 Dept. of Corrections, 759 F.Supp. 73 (D.R.I. 1991). Correctional
officers brought a civil rights action against the Governor of Rhode Island, the Director of
the Department of Corrections, union officials and union members alleging that they were
harassed and subjected t.o threats after reporting an assault on an inmate by fellow
correctional officers and identifying the officers responsible for the assault. The
defendants moved to dismiss. The U.S. District Court found that the correctional officers
failed t.o state a Section 1983 cause of action against the Governor based on the alleged
harassment as the correctional officers' assertion that the governor knew of and
acquiesced in the harassment was purely conclusory and failed to state exactly what was
reported to the governor and what he actually knew of the harassment. It was also found
that the correctional officers failed t.o state a cause of action for civil rights conspiracy
against union officials and members as the complaint did not contain any allegations that
the defendants were motivated by the intent to deprive the victims of equal protection of
the law or that the defendants conspired to injure the plaintiffs on account of their
attendance or testimony in the court. The correctional officers did, however, state a
Section 1983 cause of action against the Direct.or of the Rhode Island Department of
Corrections by alleging that the Director not only knew of the harassment of the
correctional officers for their reporting the assault, but failed to act to cure the incidents of
harassment when he had an obligation t.o do so. (Rhode Island Adult Correctional
Institution)

LIABILITY
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY

Felix v. McCarthy, 939 F.2d 699 (9th Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 112 S.Ct. 1165. A prisoner
brought a civil rights action against guards, asserting use of excessive force. The U.S.
District Court denied the guards' motion for summary judgment, and the guards appealed.
The court of appeals found that under the state of law in 1985, reasonable prison guards
should have been on notice that they would violate the prisoner's constitutional rights by
throwing the prisoner across the hallway and against a wall, and by pushing the prisoner
without provocation. Therefore, although injuries inflicted were minor, the guards were
not entitled to qualified immunity. (San Quentin Prison, California)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

Flechsig v. U.S., 786 F.Supp. 646 (E.D. Ky. 1991). An inmate brought an action against
the Federal Bureau of Prisons, alleging that she had been sexually assaulted by a
corrections officer in the course of being transported to a medical appointment. The
Bureau moved to dismiss. The district court granted the motion, finding that tjle federal
prison warden did not have reason t.o anticipate that the corrections officer would sexually
assault the inmate, thus, the warden did not breach a duty t.o keep the inmate from harm.
The assault did not occur during the course of search, seizure, or arrest, and the officer
was not acting within the scope of his employment when he committed the assault.
(Federal Correction Institution, Lexington, Kentucky)

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Henderson v. DeRobertis, 940 F.2d 1055 (7th Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 112 S.Ct. 1578.
Inmates brought an action against prison officials alleging that their constitutional rights
were violated when they were subjected t.o freezing temperatures. Following a jury trial,
the U.S. District Court entered judgment in favor of off'icials notwithstanding the jury
verdict in favor of the inmates, on the basis of qualified immunity. Thereafter, two other

inmates f'iled Section 1983 complaints based upon the same factual circumstances and
sought to certify as a class the prisoners confined during a four-day period when adequate
heat was not provided. The U.S. District Court dismissed the cases with prejudice, and on
consoli!iated appeal, the court of appeals found that even though the inmates were
subjected during a period of abnormally cold weather due to a malfunctioning heating
system, the inmates had a clearly established constitutional right, established in 1982,.to
have adequate heat and shelter, and the prison officials were not entitled to qualified
immunity. (Stat.eville Correctional Center, IDinois)
U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREEMODIFICATION
CONTEMPI'
REMEDIES

Kroll v. St. Charles County, Mo., 766 F.Supp. 744 (E.D. Mo. 1991). On a motion to hold a
county in cont.empt of court for failing to comply with the provisions of a consent order, the
district court found that the county courthouse, government building and administration
building violated accessibility standards and federal handicapped laws. The buildings
lacked electronic doors, sufficient space to accommodate wheelchairs, and ramps or
elevators. If the county failed to fund improvements to bring the courthouse, government
building and administration building into compliance with accessibility standards and
federal handicapped laws, the court would consider an imposition of a property tax
increase of 25 cents per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation on all property located
in the county for a period of ten years. It might also enjoin a roll back of local taxes. (St.
Charles County, Missouri)

U.S. District Court
ABSOLUTE

Lipinski v. Skinner, 781 F.Supp. 131 (N.D.N.Y. 1991). An arrestee brought an action
against law enforcement and prison officials alleging that they violated his constitutional
rights by disclosing his HIV-positive status to a newspaper. The arrestee sought to depose
the newspaper's reporters and editors in order to learn the source of their information.
The newspaper moved to quash the depositions and to obtain a protective order. The
district court found that the editorial writer failed to demonstrate that the confidentiality
of his sources or information were jeopardized by the mere taking of his deposition and,
thus, was not entitled to absolute immunity under New York's Shield Law. Under New
York law, journalists for the newspaper were entitled to qualified immunity from the
arrestee's attempt to depose them. The journalists were responsible for articles which
appeared some time after the original article disclosing the HIV-positive status and, thus,
it was unlikely that the journalists possessed information regarding the initial disclosure.
The newspaper editors were not entitled to qualified immunity under New York law. The
report.er who had originally reported the story ~d told the arrestee that she was assigned
the story by one of her editors. Discovering whQ gave the report.er the lead and where
that individual acquired that information was critical to the arrestee's claim that law
enforcement or prison officials released confidential medical information about him in
violation of his rights, and the information the arrestee sought was not obtainable from
other sources. The arrestee's discovery, however, was limited to questions relative to the
initial disclosure of his HIV test results to the newspaper. (Broome County Jail, New
York)

IMMUNITY
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY

U.S. Appeals Court
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Moore v. Morgan. 922 F.2d 1553 (11th Cir. 1991). A county jail inmate brought a civil
rights action against a county sheriff and county commissioners, challenging jail
conditions. After determining that the inmate proved conditions at the county jail violated
the Eighth Amendment due to overcrowding and lack of out-of-cell time, the magistrate
judge concluded that the sheriff and county commissioners were entitled to qualified
immunity. The U.S. District Court adopted the magistrate judge's recommendation and
directed judgment against the inmate, who appealed. The court of appeals found that the
defense of qualified immunity was not available with respect to official ~pacity claims. In
addition, the county failed to satisfy its constitutional responsibility in maintaining the
county jail by its delay in rectifying jail overcrowding, and it was liable for compensatory
damages, despite voters' overwhelming rejection of a proposal to levy a tax to build a new
jail. According to the court, the ways in which the commissioners actually obtained money
to finance necessary jail improvements, when put under the threat of litigation, provided
compelling evidence of fact that the commissioners could have taken steps to improve the
jail at a much earlier date. It was also found that the· sheriff and county commissioners
waived qualified immunity as a defense to personal liability on the inmate's
unconstitutional jail conditions claim, where the sheriff and commissioners never raised
· this aff'irmative defense. The qualified immunity defense w'as not tried by implied consent
of parties where neither the issue, nor words, of qualified immunity was ever raised before
or during trial. Although the inmate f"tled a brief at the qualified immunity hearing, it
was unlikely that the inmate, acting without assistance of counsel, would object to the
court's order to conduct a hearing, particularly when the magistrate judge was not
prompted by any motion of the defendants. (Chambers County Jail, Alabama)

27.58

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREE
CONTEMPI'

Picon v. Morris, 933 F.2d 660 (8th Cir. 1991). A prisoner sought relief from dismissal of a
consent decree so that he could file an action for civil cont.empt t.o enforce the decree
regarding the use of emergency segregation cells. The United Stat.es District Court denied
relief, and appeal was taken. The appeals court, reversing and remanding, found that the
prisoner was entitled t.o proceed with the action. The fact that the district court had found
compliance with the decree and entered a dismissal order did not justify the denial of the
prisoner's motion for release. The compliance fmding had been issued based on allegedly
erroneous statements by prison officials that the cells in which the prisoner was housed
had been abandoned. (Missouri Training Center for Men)

U.S. District Court
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

Roman v. Koehler, 775 F.Supp. 695 (S.D.N.Y. 1991). A prisoner brought a Section 1983
claim alleging that the commissioner of the department of corrections, a former warden,
unnamed corrections officers and the prison health service violated his Section 1983 right
by failing t.o provide medical treatment for an injury t.o his finger. The district court found
that the prisoner did not state a Section 1983 claim against the commissioner or warden
absent a showing that they were responsible for the conduct of the unnamed corrections
officers or the health service. In order t.o state a claim of inadequate medical care against
prison officials, a plaintiff must allege "that his access t.o physicians for necessary medical
care was unreasonably delayed or denied, or the prescribed medical treatment was not
administered." However, under Section 1983, liability can only be imposed on prison
officials who were directly and personally responsible for the alleged violation of civil
rights. (Rikers Island, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREE

Welch v. Spangler, 939 F.2d 570 (8th Cir. 1991). An inmate brought an action against
prison officials alleging that the search of his legal papers by prison officials violated a
policy governing such searches established in a consent decree in prior litigation. The
U.S. District Court ordered the officials t.o pay a $500 contempt fme t.o the court, $10 in
nominal damages t.o the inmate, and reasonable attorneys' fees, and the officials appealed.
The court of appeals, affirming the decision, found that the prison officials' search of the
inmate's legal materials outside of his presence in violation of policy governing such
searches established in a consent decree promulgated in prior litigation was supported by
evidence, and the prison officials' violation of the consent decree warranted a fmding of
contempt. The search warranted a payment of a $500 contempt fme as the fine imposed
reflected concerns over future compliance, and not imposing a fme would be an invitation
t.o ignore di~tes of the consent decree. It was also found that the district court could
properly assess nominal damages of $10 against prison officials for the search whether or
not there was proof of actual injury or damages; the award of the nominal damages t.o the
inmate personalized a remedy for the violation of the consent decree and substantially
ensured that the inmate's legal papers would not be illegally interfered with in the future.
(Iowa State Penitentiary)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREEMODIFICATION
CONTRA.CT SERVICES

Wyatt By and Through Rawlins v. Horsely, 793 F.Supp. 1053 (M.D. Ala. 1991). A request
was filed for approval and entry of consent decrees in a class action arising out of health
care providers' alleged failure t.o comply with certain minimum constitutional standards
for adequate care of the mentally ill. The district court found that it could not approve the
proposed consent decrees given the counsel's apparent failure t.o solicit comments on, let
alone t.o obtain any backing for, the proposed changes in the court's previous orders.
(Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation)

1992
U.S. District Court
MUNICIPAL
LIABILITY

Berry v. City of Phillipsburg, Kan., 796 F.Supp. 1400 (D.Kan. 1992). An arrestee brought
an action against a police officer, the chief of police, and a city, alleging that excessive
force was used in effecting her arrest. On the defendants' motions for partial summary
judgment, the district court found that evidence raised a triable issue of fact as t.o whether
the police officers used excessive force. Evidence indicated that the plaintiff was arrested
for littering, att.empted t.o evade arrest by fleeing t.o her home, and that the officers broke
down the door t.o the arrestee's home, tackled and choked her, and dragged her from her
home by handcuffs and her hair. In addition, the arrestee did not commit an offense of
obstructing legal process under Kansas law when she initially refused tickets given t.o her
by the first police officer, then threw them ont.o the ground, for the purposes of arrestee's
claim that she was arrest.eel without probable cause. There was evidence that the mayor
was aware that the city chief of police had a history of being unnecessarily rough with
persons he stopped, investigated or arrested. He communicated his knowledge t.o the city
counsel and recommended that the chief be f'lred. This was sufficient t.o raise a question
of fact regarding municipal liability for the police chiefs alleged use of excessive force
while effecting the arrest. (Phillipsburg Police Department, Kansas)

2J7.59

U.S. Appeals Court
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Bogan v. Stroud. 958 F.2d 180 (7th Cir. 1992). A former inmate at a state prison filed an
action under 42 U.S.C.A. Section 1983 against correctional officers. alleging the officers
violated his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments by using excessive force
against him. The U.S. Di.stzict Court entered judgments for the inmate on jury verdicts.
awarding him punitive but not compensatory damages, and the officers appealed. The
appeals court affirmed finding that evidence supported the jury's determination that
prison officers used excessive force against the inmate in violation of the Eighth
Amendment. Witnesses supported the inmate's claim that he was repeatedly stabbed,
beaten and kicked after he had been disarmed and subdued. In addition, a physician
confirmed that the inmate sustained numerous stab wounds. Punitive damages awards of
$5,000 against one officer and $1,000 each against the other two officers were not
excessive. (Stateville Correctional Center, Illinois)

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED

Diercks v. Durham. 959 F.2d 710 (8th Cir. 1992). An inmate brought a civil rights action
against a prison supervisor, claiming that the supervisor had violatea his right to due
process by sitting in judgment on her own complaint in disciplinary proceedings against
the inmate. The U.S. District Court directed a verdict in favor of the inmate, and
subsequently denied the supervisor's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict,
and the supervisor appealed. The court of appeals found that the supervisor was not
entitled to qualified immunity against the inmate's civil rights claim because the law was
clearly established that any prison official actively involved in conducting an investigation
could not sit as a member of the disciplinary committee, and a reasonable prison official
would have known about the law. The supervisor was subject to liability under Section
1983 where, although a prison guard wrote the actual conduct violation report, the guard
did so at the express direction and insistence of the supervisor. (Algoa Corr. Center.
Missouri)

IMMUNITY

U.S. Appeals Court
CONTEMPT

Elkin v. Fauver. 969 F.2d 48 (3rd Cir. 1992), cert; denied, 113 S.Ct. 473. A state prison
inmate brought a civil rights action against various prison officials concerning a
disciplinary proceeding. The U.S. Di.stzict Court found the defendants in civil contempt
because the chain-of-cust.ody form used in connection with the collection and testing of a
urine sample for drug use did not comply with previous district court orders. The
defendants appealed. The appeals court, reversing the decision, found that sanctions
selected by the district court upon finding the state prison officials in civil contempt-vacating of all punishment imposed on the prisoner for illegal drug use in the prison and
expungement of his record--were not consistent with the sound exercise of discretion,
where the use of a wrong form was harmless in that it contained a complete record of the
chain of custody, so that use of the required form would not have changed the result.
(New Jersey's Bayside State Prison)

U.S. Di.stzict Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Giroux v. Sherman, 807 F.Supp. 1182 (E.D. Pa. 1992). An inmate brought a Section 1983
action against eight corrections officers, claiming that, on four separate occasions, various
officers beat and tormented him without provocation. The district court found that the
inmate was entitled to compensatory damages of $10,000 from one officer who beat him
without provocation after refusing to allow the inmate into the prison kit.chen to do his job.
The inmate subsequently underwent surgery to repair damage caused by repeated blows
to his kidneys. In addition. the inmate was entitled to compensatory damages of $10,000
and to an award of $10,000 in punitive damages from a second corrections officer who
forced the inmate, who had a medical hist.ory of heart trouble, to walk the long distance
from the prison infirmary to his cell, all the while jabbing and hitting the inmate in the
kidney area, despite the fact that the inmate had earlier been taken to the inf'1rmary on a
stret.cher complaining of severe chest pains. The inmate was also entitled to an award of
compensatory damages of $1,000 for pain, humiliation, and mental anguish from a third
corrections officer who, without provocation, st.epped on the inmate's sneaker and punched
him in the throat and head, although the att.ac:k did not result in any serious physical
injury. Finally, the inmate was entitled to damages of $5,000 from a fourth corrections
officer who wantonly and without provocation beat the inmate in the kidneys, causing
further injury. (Gatherford State Prison, East.em Pennsylvania)
Prison)

U.S. Di.stzict Court

Gross v. Buescher, 791 F.Supp. 796 (E.D. Mo. 1992). An inmate brought a civil rights
action against corrections officials and state officials who moved for summary judgment.
The district court found that the inmate's allegations that corrections officials and the
governor failed to submit or appropriate an adequate medical budget for the correctional
facility did not state a deliberate indifference claim under the Eighth Amendment.
(Missouri East.em Correctional Cent.er)

DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

U.S. Appeals Court
PERSONAL

LIABILITY

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY

Hardin v. Straub, 954 F.2d 1193 (6th Cir. 1992). An inmat.e sued a stat.e prison official
under Section 1983 alleging that his assignment t.o administrative segregation without a
hearing in violation of a Michigan Administrative Code deprived him of due process. The
U.S. District Court dismissed the complaint, and the court of appeals affirmed. Upon
grant of certiorari, the Unit.ed Stat.es Supreme Court reversed and remanded. On remand,
the court of appeals reversed and remanded. On remand, the district court denied, in
part, the official's motion for summary judgment, and the prison official appealed. The
court of appeals found that the prison official was not personally involved in the initial
classification of the inmat.e t.o "top lock" upon arrival at the prison so as t.o make the
official liable for violation of the Fourt.eenth Amendment, but a genuine issue of mat.erial
fact exist.ed as t.o whether the prison official's personal involvement in the subsequent
classification decision was sufficient t.o creat.e liability for violating the inmat.e's due
process right. In addition, it was found that the prison official was not personally
involved in the treatment which the inmat.e received after his classification t.o
administrative segregation so as t.o make the prison official liable under Section 1983 for
violation of the inmat.e's Fourt.eenth Amendment rights due. t.o the failure t.o provide
periodic review of the inmat.e status, but the official was not absolut.ely immune in the
action from personal liability under the Eleventh Amendment solely by virtue of the
official nature of his acts; the inmat.e was not required t.o prove that the official act.ed
outside the scope of his authority, but only that the official act.ed in his position as a stat.e
official. (Michigan Department of Corrections Reception and Guidance Cent.er, Stat.e
Prison of Southern Michigan in Jackson)
Henderson v. Lane, 979 F.2d 466 (7th Cir. 1992). An allegedly fractious inmat.e who had
been placed in a stat.e's "circuit rider" security program brought a Section 1983 action for
prison officials' alleged violation of his civil rights. The U.S. District Court denied the
inmat.e's request for preliminary injunctive relief and the defendants' motion for partial
summary judgment on a qualified immunity claim, and both parties appealed. The
appeals court found that the inmat.e had "adequat.e remedy at law" for the alleged
restriction on his right of access t.o courts, and was not entitled t.o preliminary injunctive
relief, as claims could be pursued in the pending Section 1983 action. The prison officials
were entitled t.o qualified immunity for their alleged wrongful denial of the inmat.e's civil
rights in placing him in the "circuit rider" security program that allegedly prevent.ed him
from having more than one shower or more than one hour of exercise per week, as the
inmat.e's alleged right t.o additional showers and exercise was not "clearly established" at
the time of the alleged violations. (Illinois Correctional Syst.em)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Hill v. Marshall, 962 F.2d 1209 (6th Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 113 S.Ct. 2992. An inmat.e
brought a civil rights action against prison officials. A U.S. District Court judgment in
favor of prison officials was reversed on appeal. On remand, the U.S. District Court
entered judgment on a jury verdict awarding actual damages, but ordered remittitur of the
entire punitive damages award, and appeals were taken. The court of appeals found that
evidence sustained a finding that a prison official had violat.ed the inmat.e's rights with
respect t.o prescription medication and the prison official could be liable for failure t.o
respond t.o the inmat.e's medical needs on the basis of evidence that he personally ignored
the inmat.e's complaint and referred the inmat.e's complaints of not getting medication t.o
the head nurse whom he knew was wrongly alt.ering and destroying some of the inmat.e's
prescriptions. The award of $95,000 in compensat.ory damages t.o the inmat.e was not
excessive in view of evidence that the denial of medication result.ed in increasing the risk
that he would develop active tuberculosis and evidence that he suffered a great deal of
anguish on that account. But, with regards t.o the ordered remittitur of the entire
punitive damages award, it was found that when a court sets aside the entire punitive
damages award, rather than merely the excessive portion, it had not grant.ed a
"remittitur," but, rather, has granted a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and the
jury's det.ermination t.o award the punitive damages in the inmat.e's civil rights action was
support.ed by evidence of deliberat.e indifference t.o the inmat.e's need for prescription
medication, with the result that there was a significant increase in the possibility that he
would develop active tuberculosis. (So. Ohio Corr. Fae.)

U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Jolivet v. Deland, 966 F.2d 573 (10th Cir. 1992). An inmat.e brought a civil rights action
against prison employees who were allegedly responsible for int.ercepting his personal
mail. The U.S. District Court awarded the inmat.e $250 against one employee, and the
inmat.e appealed. The court of appeals, aff'll'Dling the decision, found that awarding the
inmat.e $250 in compensat.ory damages for emotional distress he suffered when a prison
employee copied love letters the inmat.e had written t.o another inmat.e's ex-wife and
showed the copies t.o the other inmat.e was not an abuse of discretion in the inmat.e's civil
rights action. Denying punitive damages was also not an abuse of discretion where the
employee thought his actions were permissible and st.opped his actions after he was
informed they were unconstitutional. (Utah Stat.e Prison)

111.61

U.S. Appeals Court
GOVERNMENTAL
lMMUNITY
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

McArdle v. Tronetti, 961 F.2d 1083 (3rd Cir. 1992). An inmate who had been sentenced
for disorderly conduct filed a civil rights action against a prison physician and a prison
counselor who diagnosed the inmate's alleged psychiatric condition and instituted
involuntary commitment proceedings. The U.S. District Court found that the physician
and counselor were entitled to official immunity and grant.eel a motion to dismiss, and
appeal was taken. The court of appeals found that the prison physician and prison
counselor were immune from the Section 1983 liability with respect to claims of false
diagnosis, false testimony and conspiracy, but were not immune from Section 1983
liability with respect to filing of the petition for involuntary commitment. The prison
counselor and prison physician were not protected by either witness or judicial immunity
with respect to allegations by the prisoner that they were responsible for filing a petition
for involuntary commitment which they knew contained lies. (Erie Co. Jail, Pennsylvania)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Munir v. Scott. 792 F.Supp. 1472 (E.D. Mich. 1992), reversed. 12 F.3d 213. Muslim
inmates brought a civil rights action against a prison official alleging violation of their
religious rights due to a total ban on prayer oils and incense. The district court held that
the total ban on prayer oils was unconstitutional. The prison official should have been
aware that religious oils used by the Muslims during prayer could be accommodat.ed in
prison and that the total ban was contrary to the Department of Corrections policy, and he
thus was not entitled to qualified immunity. The appeals court reversed the lower court
decision. (Joseph Cotton Facility, Jackson, Michigan)

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUN1TY

Murphv v. Dowd, 975 F.2d 435 (8th Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 113 S.Ct. 1310. A prison
inmate brought a Section 1983 action against a state prison official. The U.S. District
Court entered judgment for the official and the inmate appealed. The appeals court,
affirming the decision, found that the official was entitled to qualified immunity. There
was a split of authority among circuits about whether tobacco smoke exposure was cruel
and unusual punishment, and under those circumstances the official could not be deemed
to know he was violating the prisoner's rights by exposing him to smoke. (Farmingt.on
Correctional Center, Missouri)

U.S. Appeals Court
PERSONAL

Pletka v. Nix. 957 F.2d 1480 (8th Cir. 1992). An Iowa state prisoner who had been placed
in disciplinary confinement and then transferred to a Texas prison where he was released
into general population sued Iowa prison officials upon his return, alleging that officials
violated his due process rights by returning him to disciplinary confinement without a new
hearing. The U.S. District Court denied a claim for damages. Upon rehearing en bane,
the court of appeals found that the Texas prison authorities' release of the prisoner into
general population did not result in a complete exoneration of his disciplinary sentence,
and thus, the inmate's due process rights were not violated. Neither the Interstate
Corrections Compact nor Iowa prison regulations confer liberty interest in prisoners who
have been released into general population. (Iowa State Penitentiary)

LIABILITY
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT ORDER
CONTEMPr
COURT ORDER

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Stone v. City and County of San Francisco, 968 F.2d 850 (9th Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 113
S.Ct. 1050. In connection with a consent decree governing city jail population levels, the
United States District Court entered a contempt order, and appeal was taken. The
appeals court, aff'Jl'Dling in part and vacating in part, found that the entry of the contempt
order was appropriate. However, the sheriff-should not have been allowed to override
applicable state laws by conducting early release as state law override provisions were not
the least intrusive option on state government operation. The district court should have
waited to see whether the threat of sanctions would induce compliance or at least have
made a finding that other alternatives were inadequate. (San Francisco Jail, Hall of
Justice, California)
Taylor v. Foltz, 803 F.Supp. 1261 (E.D.Mich. 1992), aff"U'Dled. 14 F.3d 602. A state prison
inmate brought a civil rights action against a state prison warden, state prison assistant
resident unit manager, and members of a correctional facility security classif1Cation
committee. He alleged denial of an Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and
unusual pnnjshm,.ut and Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights not to be subjected to
arbitrary and capricious decisions. The warden and committee members moved for
summary judgment. The district court found that a genuine issue of material fact existed
at to whether the warden's operating procedure in reviewing and authorizing transfers of
inmates was defective so as to create an um:onstitutional condition under the Eighth
Amendment, precluding summary judgment for the warden on a qualiiied immunity basis.
The court also found that the classification committee members were entitled to qualified
immunity from the state prison inmate's claim that because the inmate was mislabeled as
a homosexual, he was improperly classified, transferred, and denied a prison job. The
inmate had failed to show that the committee members' conduct violated a right so clearly
established that any official in their position would have clearly understood that he should
refrain from such conduct. (State Prison of Southern Michigan)

27.62

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED
1MMUNITY

Zavaro v. Coughlin, 970 F.2d 1148 (2nd Cir. 1992). An inmat.e brought a Section 1983
action against a disciplinary hearing officer alleging violation of his due process rights.
The U.S. District Court granted summary judgment for the inmat.e, and the hearing officer
appealed. The appeals court, affirming the decisi<>ll, found that the prison hearing
officer's determination that the inmat.e participated in the riot and his consequent
punishment violated the inmat.e's rights under the due process clause. Evidence only
showed that the inmat.e was observed in the large mess hall where the riot occurred.
There was nothing to point to the inmat.e as a participant or to call into question his
assertion that he remained at his table without throwing anything or assaulting anybody
or even rising from his chair until ordered to lie down on the floor. Additionally, the
hearing officer was not entitled to qualified immunity from liability as there was not
reliable evidence of the inmat.e's guilt. The inmat.e's right not to be adjudicated guilty
without some evidence to support the finding was clearly established when the hearing
occurred. (Great Meadows Prison, New York)

1993
U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO TRAIN
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

RESPONDEA.T
SUPERIOR

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY.

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Abdul-Akbar v. Watson, 4 F.3d 195 (3rd Cir. 1993). A prisoner brought a Section 1983
action challenging the constitutional adequacy of legal services provided to inmat.es in a
maximum security unit. The United Stat.es District Court found in favor of the prisoner
and appeals were taken. The appeals court, vacating and remanding, found that the
prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity from liability for the alleged denial of
court access for the prisoner who was not allowed to use the main law library. The
prisoner was provided with a sat.ellit.e law library, a paging syst.em to obtain photocopies
of mat.erials at the main law library, and varying degrees of assistance by paralegals and
an att.orney. The constitutional standard was inexplicitly defmed, and reasonable officials
could conclude that their conduct was not unlawful. (Maximum Security Unit, Delaware
Correctional Cent.er)
Camps v. City of Warner Robins, 822 F.Supp. 724 (M.D. Ga. 1993). The administrators of
an arrest.ee's estat.e brought a civil rights action against city, county, and various law
enforcement officers, alleging they were deliberat.ely indifferent to the psychological needs
of the arrest.ee, who lapsed into a coma after a suicide att.empt and died approximately one
year lat.er. On motions for summary judgment, the district court found that the decision of
a municipal holding facility supervisor to transport the arrest.ee to a county jail rather
than the hospital or a psychiatric facility was, at most, negligent, rather than deliberat.ely
indifferent to the arrest.ee's serious psychological needs. Although the supervisor was
aware that the arrestee ·had att.empted suicide while at the det.ention facility, the
supervisor directed officers who transferred the arrest.ee to inform jail officials that the
arrest.ee was acting suicidal. Triable issues exist.ed regarding whether deputies and a
supervising officer at the county jail were aware that the arrest.ee was suicidal but were
deliberately indifferent to his psychological needs. However, absent any allegation that
the sheriff was personally involved in any way with the arrest.ee's suicide att.empt while in
custody at the county jail, or that any failure to train by the sheriff caused this injury, the
sheriff was not subject to supervisory liability. The administrators of the arrest.ee's estat.e
failed to creat.e a genuine issue of mat.erial fact that the county jail's suicide prevention
policy was inadequat.e, as would preclude summary judgment for the county of the civil
rights municipal liability claim, where the administrators made only general allegations
that policies regarding suicide prevention were grossly inadequat.e, and otherwise charged
violations of county policy. (Houston County Jail, Georgia)
Canell v. Beyers, 840 F.Supp. 1378 (D.Or. 1993). A prison inmat.e brought a suit against
prison officials and a county, challenging body cavity searches allegedly conducted in full
view of clerical workers, other inmat.es, or other bystanders. On a defense motion to
dismiss for summary judgment on grounds of qualified immunity, the district court found
that the prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity from civil rights liability
even if such viewings by clerical workers, other inmat.es, and other bystanders were
inadvertent. There was evidence that screening was not always in place. The county,
which jointly operated the prison facility, which assisted in its design and construction,
and which had considerable input in its procedures and duty to implement its policies,
was a proper defendant. (Oregon Department of Corrections Intake Cent.er)
Chapman v. Nichols. 989 F.2d 393 (10th Cir. 1993). Detainees brought a civil rights
action against a sheriff to recover damages after they were subjected to strip searches at a
jail following arrest. The U.S. District Court denied the sheriff's motion for summary
judgment on grounds of qualified immunity, and the sheriff appealed. The appeals court,
affirming and remanding. found that it was clearly established law in lat.e 1991 and early
1992 when the arrests took place, that a blanket policy of strip searches for detainees was
unconstitutional, so that the sheriff was not entitled to qualified immunity. (Creek
County Jail, Sapulpa, Oklahoma)

27.63

U.S. Appeals Court
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

Choate v. Lockhart, 7 F.3d 1370 (8th Cir. 1993). An inmate who fell off a roof while
working on a construction crew on a state-owned residence sued the supervising prison
officials and the director of the Department of Corrections. The U.S. District Court found
the prison officials liable and awarded the inmate damages for pain and suffering. The
inmate appealed the denial of punitive and other compensatory damages, and the prison
officials cross-appealed on the finding of liability. The appeals court, reversing and
dismissing, found that the immediate supervisors' conduct did not rise to a level of
deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The supervisors had no
knowledge of the inmate's physical limitations. In addition, the supervisors did not choose
which inmates would work on a project, and they had no duty to check the medical records
of crew members assigned to them in determining whether they could do the work
assigned. The appeals court also ruled that the Director of the Department of Corrections
was not liable to the inmate. The director could not have known about the inmate's
suffering on the job, had no duty to check the inmate's medical records, and had no
relevant connection with the project at all. The overall supervisor of the construction
projects on which inmates were working was not deliberately indifferent to the in.n:iate
who had a pre-existing knee injury. The inmate never complained to the overall
supervisor about anything. In addition, the supervisor visited the worksite only periodically and there was nothing suggesting that the supervisor should have known
about the severity of the inmate's knee injury or his attempts to be taken off of the crew.
The supervisor did not assign the inmate to duty and did not have a duty to check the
inmate's medical history. (Arkansas Department of Corrections)

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED

Fortner v. Thomas, 983 F.2d 1024 (11th Cir. 1993). Inmates brought a Section 1983 action
against prison officials alleging violations of their constitutional right to privacy. The
United States District Court denied an amendment to the complaint to add disciplinary
officers as additional defendants, dismissed the due process claims, and dismissed the
complaint on the ground of qualified immunity. The inmates appealed. The appeals
court, affirming in part, reversing in part and remanding, found that the inmates have a
constitutional right to bodily privacy. However, the inmates' constitutional right to bodily
privacy was not clearly established at the time female correctional officers viewed inmates
while they were nude and, thus, the correctional officials were entitled to qualified
immunity from civil damages liability. (Georgia State Prison)

IMMUNITY

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY

Hemphill v. Kincheloe, 987 F.2d 589 (9th Cir. 1993). A state inmate brought an action
against prison officials challenging a policy of subjecting all prisoners transferred to a
secure area to an involuntary digital rectal probe for possible contraband without a
showing of probable cause. The U.S. District Court denied the officials qualified immunity
and denied their motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and the officials
appealed. The appeals court, reversing the decision, found that state prison officials were
entitled to qualified immunity from liability in the Section 1983 action based on their
implementation of the policy. Reasonable officials could have believed that their conduct
was lawful at the time given that such a policy was permissible and sanctioned by federal
regulations, and officials testified that they had researched the legality of the searches
before implementing the policy. (Washington State Penitentiary)

U.S. District Court
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
FAILURE TO
PROTECT

Herman v. Clearfield County, PA, 836 F.Supp. 1178 (W.D. Pa. 1993). The estate of a
pretrial detainee who committed suicide while detained brought a Section 1983 civil rights
claim alleging that jail officials failed to identify and treat the decedent's obvious suicidal
intent and that the county consciously followed a policy or custom of failing to train jail
employees. The county and its officials moved for summary judgment. The district court
found that the jail officials were adequately trained in suicide prevention. Claims of
inadequate training are not enough to establish liability. The plaintiff must identify
specific training that the municipality did not give, explain how lack of that training
actually caused the ultimate injury, and show that alleged failure to train was part of
official municipal policy of deliberate indifference. The plaintiff must present evidence
that the alleged indifference was a conscious choice that resulted either from a decision
officially adopted and promulgated or from a permanent and well settled practice. The
county's alleged failure to train jail personnel to recognize and respond to the suicidal
tendencies of pretrial detainees did not support the Section 1983 civil rights claim by the
detainee's estate. The jail did not have a history of numerous suicides and suicide
attempts. In addition, the county employed a suicide prevention program for screening
detainees. Also, the jail correction officials did receive training regarding detention of
suicidal detainees and appropriate responses. (Clearfield County Prison, Pennsylvania)

U.S. Appeals Court

Inmates of Suffolk County Jail v. Rufo, 12 F.3d 286 (1st Cir. 1993). The Commissioner of
Corrections moved to vacate a consent decree between a county sheriff. the Commissioner,
and inmates of the county jail after the county sheriff moved to modify the decree to allow
double-bunking of pretrial detainees. The U.S. District Court denied the motion and the
Commissioner appealed. The appeals court, affirming the decision, found that the
Commissioner was not entitled to have the decree vacated in the absence of adequate

CONSENT DECREEMODIFICATION

27.64

record and in light of the prospect of further proceedings. The approach proposed by the
Commissioner for vacating the consent decree gave insufficient weight to the problem of
recurrence of the constitutional violations. The court could not assume that double-celling
of inmates, contemplated by the county sheriff in the foreseeable future, was clearly
constitutional. (Suffolk County Jail, Massachusetts)
U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREEMODIFICATION

Johnson v. Robinson, 987 F.2d 1043 {4th Cir. 1993). Prisoners brought a class action
challenging conditions of conim.ement at Maryland correctional facilities. Upon motion of
prisoners, the United States District Court converted a timetable into a court order, and
the prison officials appealed. The court of appeals, reversed and remanded with
instructions. It found that the district court exceeded its authority when it adopted the
order specifying a timetable in which Maryland prison officials had to make 83
improvements at prison facilities. The parties never formally agreed upon duties specified
in the timetable, which added substantially to those accepted by prison officials in the
original consent decree. (Maryland House of Corrections and Maryland Correctional
Institution in Hagerstown)
·

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES
PERSONAL

Jones v. Thompson, 818 F.Supp. 1263 (S.D. Ind. 1993). A pretrial detainee filed a Section
1983 civil rights action arising from the use of three-way restraints on the detainee
following his suicide attempt. The district court found that the extended use of three-way
restraints on the detainee, coupled with the absence of medical review or treatment and
the denial of even basic amenities such as personal hygiene and toilet usage constituted
deprivation of his due process rights. Various officers at the jail were found liable for
$5,000 compensatory damages in their individual capacities. In addition, an officer
responsible for management of the jail was liable for $2,000 punitive damages in her
individual capacity and the county was liable for $5,000 compensatory damages. (Madison
County Jail, Indiana)

LIABILITY

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Leeks v. Ounningham, 997 F.2d 1330 (11th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 114 S.Ct. 609. A
pretrial detainee brought action under Section 1983 for a jail physician's alleged violation
of his constitutional rights in subjecting him t.o antipsychotic medication against his will.
The U.S. District Court denied the physician's motion for summary judgment, and he
appealed. The appeals court, reversing and remanding, found that the pretrial detainee's
right to refuse administration of an antipsychotic drug was not "clearly established" at the
time of the alleged constitutional violation, so that the physician was entitled to qualified
immunity for his acts. (Lake County Jail, Tavares, Florida)
·

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Martin v. Ezeagu, 816 F.Supp. 20 (D.D.C. 1993). An inmate brought a Section 1983 action
against a chief librarian and prison supervisors allegedly responsible for providing inmates
with adequate access to library facilities. The librarian and supervisors moved t.o dismiss.
The district court found that the inmate's complaint that alleged an ongoing pattern, and
not an isolated episode of interference with his right of access to the prison law library
and which specifically stated how litigation he was pursuing was hampered and delayed
by actions of the chief librarian was sufficient to survive a Rule 12{b)(6) motion. The
complaint stated that the inmate was prevented from filing a sentencing memorandum, a
motion for a new trial and a motion to dismiss the indictment before his sentencing
hearing due to alleged actions by the chief librarian. Furthermore, the prison supervisors
who were allegedly responsible for providing the inmates with adequate access to the
library facility were not entitled to qualified immunity in the Section 1983 action as the
complaint posited "acquiescence" on the part of the supervisors that encouraged the chief
librarian's conduct of harassing the inmate and of arbitrarily excluding him from the
library. These allegations, coupled with specific allegations revealing the supervisors'
knowledge and inaction, were adequate to support a claim of deliberate or reckless
indifference to foreseeable disruptive effect. The inmate's complaint, including racial
epithets and profanity allegedly directed at the inmate, and implicating a constitutional
right of meaningful access to courts stated a claim for intentional infliction of emotional
distress. (Occoquan Facility, Lort.on, District of Columbia)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
PROTECT
QUALIFIED
IMMUNlTY

Nelson v. Overberg, 999 F.2d 162 (6th Cir. 1993). A prison inmate who had been beaten
by fellow prisoners brought a civil rights suit against a prison official. The official's
motion for summary judgment was denied by the U.S. District Court and the official
appealed. The appeals court, aff"irming the decision, found that two letters by the prison
inmate indicating that he had enemies at the prison where he was being placed, and that
he would like to be transferred, would have alerted a reasonable prison official that more
action needed to be taken to protect the inmate; therefore, the official was not protected by
qualified immunity. In addition, genuine issues of fact existed as to whether the prison
official knew of the threat to the inmate by fellow prisoners yet disregarded it, despite the
availability of relatively effortless ways of addressing the threat, and whether that
conduct amounted to a conscious lack of concern or aloofness, precluding summary
judgment. (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections)

27.65

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Quinn v. Nix, 983 F.2d 115 (8th Cir. 1993). Inmat.es with shag haircuts sued prison
officials for civil rights violations arising out of an order directing the inmat.es to cut their
hair. The U.S. District Court ent.ered ju,dgment for the inmat.es, and the prison officials
appealed. The appeals court, affirming the decision, found that the prison officials
violated the inmat.e's civil rights by ordering them to cut their hair. Although the officials
had a legitimat.e penological int.erest in curbing gang activity, the district court's
det.ermination that the proffered explanation that the hairstyle at issue was gang-related
was pretextual was not clearly erroneous, where officials never told the inmat.es why their
hairstyle was considered extreme and officials did not receive a memo depicting gangrelated hairstyles until after they ordered the inmat.es to get haircuts. In addition, the
prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity for violating the prisoners' civil
rights, where the district court found that the officials did not act out of legitimate
penological concerns. (Iowa Stat.e Penit.entiary)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONTRACT
SERVICES

Sandoval v. U.S., 980 F.2d 1057 (5th Cir. 1993). An inmat.e who was injured in a beating
administered by another inmat.e brought an action against the Unit.ed Stat.es under the
Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The U.S. District Court dismissed the action and the
inmate appealed. The court of appeals, vacating and remanding, found that the inmat.e's
allegation that he was injured because of negligence of the United States Marshal in
placing him in a facility for t.emporary housing of federal prisoners operated by a
government contractor, where he was exposed to improper conduct of guards and other
prisoners, was sufficient to state a nonfrivolous claim against the Unit.ed Stat.es under
FTCA. (Central Texas Violators Facility)

U.S. District Court
OFFICIAL
CAPACITY
PERSONAL
LIABILITY

Searer v. Wells, 837 F.Supp. 1198 (M.D. Fla. 1993). An arrestee brought an action against
a county sheriff in his official capacity and deputies in their individual capacities alleging
use of excessive force. The district court found that the arrestee's allegations that the
county sheriff, in his official capacity, failed to investigat.e the alleged use of excessive
force by deputies and failed to discipline the deputies were sufficient to stat.e a Section
1983 action against the county. The arrestee also stated a cause of action against
deputies under Florida statut.es allowing an officer to be held personally liable in an
action for injury or damage resulting from an act undertaken in the scope of employment
if undertaken in bad faith. with malicious purpose, or in a manner exhibiting wanton and
willful disregard of human rights, safety or property. According to the court, the sheriff
had immunity from liability in the action against him in his official capacity. (Manatee
County Jail, Florida)

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Severino v. Negron, 996 F.2d 1439 (2nd Cir. 1993). An imprisoned resident alien brought
a civil rights action against stat.e correctional officials, alleging that revocation of his
participation in a work release program following the issuance of an immigration warrant
violated due process. The U.S. District Court dismissed the complaint and the alien
appealed. The appeals court, affirming the decision, found that officials were entitled to
qualified immunity. While it was clear that a liberty int.erest existed in the work release
program, the boundaries of that int.erest were not drawn with such clarity that officials
could know precisely what was required to remove an alien from the program. (New York
Department of Correctional Services)

U.S. District Court
NEGIGENCE
DAMAGES

Sheehan v. U.S., 822 F.Supp. 13 (D.D.C. 1993). An arrestee brought a tort claim suit
against the United Stat.es to recover for injuries caused by a fall while in custody. The
district court found that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur supported a finding of liability of
the United Stat.es for the handcuffed arrestee's fall at the top of a ramp. The arrestee
would not have fallen was it not for police officers' negligence, and the arrestee could not
have been responsible since she was handcuffed and had been drinking. The arrestee was
entitled to $5,000 for emotional distress and pain and suffering and to $10,000 for
apparently slight impairment of vision in one eye, scars on her face, and t.emporary
aggravation of prior symptoms of memory loss, inability to concentrat.e, severe headaches,
amnesia, fatigue, lack of stamina, and impaired mobility. (United Stat.es Capitol Police
Headquarters, Washington D.C.)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Valencia v. Wiggins. 981 F.2d 1440 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 113 S.Ct. 2998. A pretrial
detainee brought a civil rights action against a jail official, alleging that the official used
excessive force against him during a jail disturbance. The U.S. District Court ent.ered
judgment in favor of the detainee, and the official appealed. The appeals court, affirming
the decision, found that the substantive due process standard, rather than the Fourth
Amendment excessive force standard, applied to the pretrial detainee's excessive force
case, where the alleged use of excessive force occurred three weeks after the initial arrest.
The court also found that the jail official's use of a choke hold and other force to subdue
the nonresisting pretrial detainee during the jail disturbance was a malicious and sadistic
use of force to cause harm, rather than a good-faith effort to maintain or restore security,
violating due process. The use of force rendered the detainee t.emporarily unconscious.

Zl.66

The officer then struck the detainee while the detainee was handcuffed, kneeling, and
nonresisting. The court found that the jail official's use of force was not objectively
reasonable, so that the official was not entitled to qualified immunity in the detainee's
civil rights action, where the detainee suffered severe injuries as a result. The detainee
was awarded damages in the amount of $2,500 from the jail official, and was also granted
approximately $27,600 in attorneys' fees and costs. (Brewster County Jail, Texas)
U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Walters v. Grossheim, 990 F.2d 381 (8th Cir. 1993). A prison inmate brought a civil rights
suit against prison officials, alleging that the officials' failure to comply with a judgment
requiring the inmate to be returned to a less restrictive environment constituted a
violation of his rights. The U.S. District Court awarded the inmate compensatory
damages of $4 per day for the time the inmate spent in Level III custody after the entry of
the state court judgment and before he was restored to Level IV, for a total of $276 in
damages; the parties cross appealed. The court of appeals, affirming the decision, found
that the prison officials did not have qualified immunity for their failure to comply with
the judgment ordering them to return the inmate to a less restrictive environment,
regardless of whether the officials disagreed with the order and thought it lacked proper
legal foundation. The judgment could serve as a basis for the inmate's constitutionally
protected liberty interests, thus the prison officials violated the inmate's due process rights
when they failed to carry out the state court judgment. The prison inmate, who was the
prevailing party, was entitled to an allowance of costs although he had not requested them
in the trial court. (Iowa)
Weeks v. Chaboudy, 984 F.2d 185 (6th Cir. 1993). A paralyzed prisoner brought a Section
1983 civil rights suit against a prison medical director alleging that refusal to prescribe a
wheelchair was deliberat.ely indifferent to the prisoner's serious medical needs. The U.S.
District Court granted the prisoner's motion for summary judgment on liability,
determined damages to be $50,000, and ordered the prison medical director to pay $5,000.
The prisoner appealed. The appeals court, affirming in part, reversing in part and
remanding, found that the prison doctor's deliberate indifference to the serious medical
needs of the paralyzed prisoner was established where the doctor knew of the prisoner's
paraplegia. The court found that the prison doctor's liability to the prisoner could not be
apportioned, although security personnel and other unnamed parties may have also been
liable for damages; the liability of other persons did not diminish the doctor's liability.
(Southern Ohio Correctional Facility)

1994
U.S. District Court
FEDERAL TORI'
CLAIMS ACT

Barrett v. U.S., 845 F.Supp. 774 (D.Kan. 1994). An inmate's mother brought a Federal
Tort Claims Act (Fl'CA) action against prison officials aft.er the inmate was fatally stabbed
at the federal penitentiary. The district court found that the failure of the prison officials
to investigate a death threat against the inmate made by a religious group or to segregate
the inmate from other prisoners was not the proximate cause of the inmate's stabbing
death. The inmate's death was a result of a personal conflict with another inmate who
was not a member of the religious group. In addition, the prison officials had no
knowledge of that conflict and could not have been aware of that conflict even with
reasonable diligence. (United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Brown v. Thompson, 868 F.Supp. 326 (S.D.Ga. 1994). An inmate brought a Section 1983
action against a warden and prison medical staff for deliberate indifference to his medical
needs. On the defendants' motions for summary judgment, the district court found that
the prison warden was not liable for the allegedly poor medical treatment the inmate
received. There was no evidence that the warden condoned or directly participated in the
allegedly unconstitutional treatment. In addition, the inmate's claim against medical staff
for failing to provide a wheelchair was barred by their qualified immunity. (Coastal
Correctional Institute, Georgia)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONTRACT
SERVICES
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

Conner v. Donnelly, 42 F.Sd 220 (4th Cir. 1994). A prison inmate brought a Section 1983
action against a private physician who treated him on the referral of a prison physician,
alleging that the private physician was deliberately indifferent _to the inmate's serious
medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The U.S. District Court granted
summary judgment for the private physician, concluding that he ditl not act "under color
of stat.e law." The inmate appealed. The appeals court, reversing and l'f"rnanding, found
that a physician who treats a prisoner acts "under color of state law" for purpose of
Section 1983, even in the absence of a contractual relationship between the prison and the
physician, because the stat.e has incarcerated the prisoner and denied him the possibility
of obtaining adequate medical care on his own. The outside physician had no obligation to
accept the prisoner as a patient, and provided treatment at a private facility using his own
equipment. The physician acted "under color of state law" for purposes of Section 1983,
because he assumed his state's con.stitutional obligation to provide medical care to the
prisoner. (Bland ~ o n a l Center, Virginia)

Zl.67

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREE
CONTEMPI'

Cooper v. Noble, 33 F.3d 540 (5th Cir. 1994), modified, 41 F.3d 212. County jail inmates
brought a class action against county officials challenging jail conditions. Following the
entry of a final consent judgment governing jail conditions, the officials moved for relief
from the consent judgment. The inmat.es requested that officials be held in cont.empt for
violations of the consent judgment. The U.S. District Court denied the motion for relief
and held the officials in cont.empt. The officials appealed. The appeals court, afflrming
the decision, found that the officials failed to demonstrat.e that changes in factual ·
conditions compelled the magistrat.e judge to grant their motion for relief from the f"mal
consent judgment governing jail conditions. Despit.e cont.entions that the new jail housed
more prisoners than the old jail, and received prisoners from different governmental
agencies with diverse criminal records, and was subject to inspections by governmental
agencies. the officials did not adequat.ely explain how increased inspections and changes
in the number and diversity of inmat.es affect.ed the workability of the final judgment,
compliance with the judgment, or enforcement of the judgment. The court found that the
officials failed to demonstrat.e that changes in the factual conditions compelled the
magistrat.e judge to grant their motion for relief. Also, the magistrat.e judge's finding that
county officials were in cont.empt for failure to comply with the final consent judgment
governing jail conditions was neither clearly erron(!Ous nor an abuse of his discretion,,
where the officials asserted only substantial compliance with the judgment. admitting. to
noncompliance in some areas. (Madison County Jail, Mississippi)

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Culver By and Through Bell v. Fowler, 862 F.Supp. 369 (M.D.Ga. 1994). A former
detainee brought a Section 1983 action against police officers, a police chief, and a city.
alleging they violat.ed his Eighth Amendment rights. After granting summary judgment to
the city and police chief, the district court found that a police officer who was attemptmg
to control the heavily intoxicat.ed, middle aged, mentally retarded male detainee violated
the detainee's Eighth Amendment rights by kneeing him twice in the groin. The court
ruled that the use of force was of the sort repugnant to the conscience of mankind, and the
force was used not in a good faith effort to maintain discipline, but to maliciously and
sadistically cause the detainee harm. Punitive damages in the amount of $25,000 were
awarded against the police officer as the officer act.ed with malicious int.ent to harm the
detainee and lmeeing him in the groin represent.ed a barbaric and cruel means of control.
The detainee was also entitle4 to $25,000 in compensatory damages and special damages
for reimbursement of medical costs in the amount of $6,012. Another officer, who did not
physically assault the detainee in aey manner except to slap his hand away during an
attempt to control the detainee, did not violat.e the detainee's Eighth Amendment rights.
(Sparta Police Department, Georgia)

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Davis v. Moss, 841 F.Supp. 1193 (M.D.Ga. 1994). A former inmate brought a Section 1983
action against correctional officers alleging cruel and unusual punishment in violation of
the Eighth Amendment in connection with defendants' treatment during a riot. The
district court found that the former inmat.e was not entitled to recover for lost earning
capacity in connection with violation of his Eighth Amendment rights by a correctional
officer who shoved the inmat.e down a fire escape during the riot. Such an award would
have been speculative in light of the inmat.e's meager past work history. The inmat.e had
worked only sporadically at farm jobs and, aft.er being paroled, had failed to go to either
the unemployment office or the department of vocational rehabilitation. The inmat.e was
entitled to a damage award of $10,000 for pain and suffering as the fall down the stairs
permanently damaged two discs in the inmat.e's lower back, causing him to undergo
surgery. In addition, the inmat.e was entitled to $25,000 in punitive damages. The
imposition of punitive damages was necessary to det.er the officer and other correctional
officers from using ·unnecessary and malicious force against inmat.es. (Rivers Correctional
Institution, Hardwick. Georgia)

U.S. Supreme Court
FAILURE TO

Farmer v. Brennan, 114 S.Ct. 1970 (1994). A prisoner who was transsexual brought a
Bivens suit against prison officials, claiming that officials showed "deliberat.e indifference"
by placing the prisoner in the general prison population, thus failing to keep him from
harm allegedly inflict.ed by other inmat.es. The U.S. District Court ent.ered judgment for
the officials and the inmat.e appealed. The appeals court affirmed and certiorari was
grant.ed. The Supreme Court, vacating and remanding, found that prison officials may be
held liable under the Eighth Amendment for denying humane conditions of confinement
only if they know that inmat.es face a substantial risk of serious harm and disregard that
risk by failing to take reasonable measures to abat.e it. Remand would be required to
det.ermine whether prison officials would have liability, under the above standards, for not
preventing harm allegedly occurring in this case. (Federal Correctional Institut.e, Oxford,
Wisconsin and Unit.ed Stat.es Penit.entiary, Terre Haut.e, Indiana)

PROTECT

LIABllJTY

U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
NOMINAL DAMAGES

Gibeau v. Nellis, 18 F.3d 107 (2nd Cir. 1994). An incarcerat.ed criminal cont.emnor
brought a Section 1983 action against a jail officer, alleging excessive use of force. The
U.S. District Court entered judgment on a jury verdict finding that the officer had used
excessive force, but awarded no damages, and the inmat.e appealed. The appeals court

27.88

found that whether the contemn.or suffered even a minor compensable mjury proximately
caused by the officer's use of excessive force, so as to mandate an award of compensatory
damages, was a question for the jury. The district court should have instruc:t.ed the jury
that it was required to award nominal damages if it found that the plaintiff's Eighth
Amendment rights were violated, and the court should have provided a corresponding
verdict form. (Oswego County Jail, New York)
U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO
TRAIN

LIABILITY

Gilbert v. Selsky, 867 F.Supp. 159 (S.D.N.Y. 1994). An inmate brought a Section 1983
action, alleging that a prison disciplinary hearing had been conduc:t.ed in violation of his
due process rights. The district court found that the judgment that the inmate had
committ.ed theft was not support.ed by the requisite "some evidence." Given the evidence
that others, but not the inmate, had access to the area during the relevant time, an
informant's accusation was hearsay that could not constitute "some evidence" absent an
objective foundation establishing reliability. In addition, the refusal to call relevant
witnesses requested by the inmate deprived the inmate of due process. There was no
showing that witnesses' testimony would have been unduly hazardous to institutional
safety or correctional goals. Supervisory prison officials were personally involved with the
violations of the inmate's constitutional rights at the disciplinary hearing and could be
held liable under Section 1983. They failed to remedy violations on administrative appeal
and failed to train the hearing officer. (Eastern Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE
CONTEMPI'
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Harrelson v. Elmore County, Ala., 859 F.Supp. 1465 (M.D. Ala. 1994). A paraplegic
inmate brought an action against a city and county, alleging a violation of the Americans
With Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 1983, constitutional rights, and a consent decree, and
seeking compensatory and punitive damages, costs, and attorney fees. The defendants
moved to dismiss the punitive damages claims. The district court found that cities and
counties are immune from punitive damages under Section 1983. Also, punitive damages
are not available to a plaintiff asserting a claim under the Americans With Disabilities
Act (ADA) Title II, guaranteeing for qualified individuals with disabilities equal access to
services and benefits provided by state and local governments. The court also ruled that
an alleged violation of a consent decree cannot be the basis for the inmate's Section 1983
suit; the appropriate vehicle for enforcement of a consent decree is a contempt action
brought before the court responsible for the decree. (Elmore County Jail, Alabama)

U.S. District Court
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1983
OFFICIAL
CAPACITY

Haston v. Tatham, 842 F.Supp. 483 (D. Utah 1994). An inmate sued Utah Correctional
Industries (UCI) and UCI officials, alleging that the defendants' failure to hire the inmate
was based upon the inmate's alleged disabilities, in violation of Sections 1983 and 1985.
The defendants moved for summary judgment. The district court found that the
individual defendants could not be liable under Section 1983 in their official capacities
and that the UCI director was not liable under Section 1983 to the inmate. The director
stated that he did not personally participate in the consideration of any of the inmate's job
applications, there was no allegation that UCI hiring policies were unconstitutional, and
there was no constitutional or other requirement that UCI have an affirmative action
policy. (Utah State Prison)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO TRAIN

Hirsch v. Burke, 40 F.3d 900 (7th Cir. 1994). A wife, as the administratrix of the estate of
her husband, brought a civil rights action under Section 1983 against a police officer and
a county sheriff. The U.S. District Court dismissed the claims and entered judgment in
favor of the defendants. On appeal, the court of appeals, afr1rming the decision found that
the police officer had probable cause to arrest the individual for public intoxication, even
though the individual was, in fact, a diabetic in a state of insulin shock. The individual
had trouble balancing himself and appeared incoherent, smelled of alcohol and had
bloodshot eyes, was unable to state his name or date of birth, and did not indicate that he
was a diabetic. In addition, the municipality was not liable under Section 1983 based on a
"failure to train" theory for alleged violation of the individual's civil rights which occurred
when the police officer arrested and jailed the individual. There was no evidence that the
municipality engaged in a pattern of mistakenly detaining people with symptoms of
diabetic shock or a pattern of failing to medically treat those same individuals when their
true affliction was discovered. (Marion County Jail, Indiana)

U.S. District Court
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

Holloway v. Wittry, 842 F.Supp. 1193 (S.D.Iowa 1994). An inmate brought an action
against prison officials and a staff member arising from the assault of the inmate by four
other prisoners. The district court found that the inmate had failed to establish deliberate
indifference on the part of the prison officials, but that a staff member violated the
inmate's Eighth Amendment rights. A staff member was required to remain on the floor
of the prison industries at all times, a security officer roved through the industry building
all day, security checks were made of tools, and staff members carried emergency beepers.
But the court found that a staff member's failure to seek assistance by failing to use an
emergency beeper and intervene during the assault violated the inmate's Eighth
Amendrnen.t rights. As a result, the inmate was awarded $500 in compensatory damages
and $1,000 in punitive damages. (Iowa State Penitentiary, Fort Madison, Iowa)

27.69

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY

Housley v. Dodson, 41 F.3d 597 (10th Cir. 1994). An inmate in a county jail brought a
civil rights suit against various public officials. The·U.S. District Court dismissed the
action and the in.mate appealed. The appeals court found that the in.mat.e's allegation.
that he was denied all access t.o any legal resources during his six-month co:cifin.emen.t in
the county jail was sufficient t.o state a claim against jail officials based on denial of right
of access t.o courts. In addition., the court found that the inmate's allegation. that he
received only 30 minutes of out-of-cell exercise during a three-month period in which he
was con.fined in the county jail was sufficient t.o state a civil rights claim against jail
officials based on a violation. of the prohibition. against cruel and unusual punishment.
The sheriff and jailer were :not en.titled t.o qualified immunity where such rights were
clearly established at the time of the incarceration.. (Custer County Jail, Oklahoma)

U.S. District Court
CLASS ACTION
OFFICIAL
CAPACITY

Hvorcik v. Sheahan., 847 F.Supp. 1414 (N.D.ID. 1994). A class action suit was brought
against a sheriff in his official capacity charging the sheriff with illegal custodial
detention., false arrest under state law, and civil cont.empt of court for alleged failure of the·
sheriff t.o maintain accurate records of traffic warrants. The district court found that the
sheriff's policy of :not maintaining accurate records of traffic warrants was d~liberat.ely
in.different t.o the constitution.al rights of persons being subjected t.o arrests and detention.
on recalled warrants. The sheriff's policy of not maintaining accurate records of traffic
warrants was :not the proximate cause of the unlawful arrests of the named plaintiffs, and
thus the municipality was not liable for a Section. 1983 violation. as t.o the named
plaintiffs. However, the sheriff's policy was the proximate cause of the unlawful arrests of
the class of plaintiffs, and thus the municipality was liable for Section. 1983 violations as
t.o the class. The court also found that the sheriff's policy, although willful and want.on.,
was not the proximate cause of the unlawful arrests of named plaintiffs, and thus the
municipality was not liable for false imprisonment as t.o named plaintiffs, but the
municipality was liable for false imprisonment as t.o the class of plaintiffs. The sheriff
was :not en.titled t.o absolut.e immunity from the suit under the Eleven.th Amendment.
(Cook County Sheriff's Office, Illinois)

U.S. District Court
CONTEMPI'
REMEDIES

In.mat.es of the· Allegheny County Jail v. Wecht, 848 F.Supp. 52 (W.D.Pa. 1994). In a civil
rights litigation. pertaining t.o conditions at a county detention. facility, the district court
found that upon the county's compliance with court orders concerning jail conditions, the
court would relieve the county of the obligation. t.o pay further f'mes. In addition., fines
already paid would be returned for the exclusive purpose of contribution. t.o jail
construction. or drug rehabilitation. programs. (Allegheny County Jail, Pennsylvania)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE
MODIFICATION

In.mat.es of Suffolk County Jail v. Rufo. 844 F.Supp. 31 (D. Mass. 1994). A county sheriff
moved t.o modify a con.sent decree requiring construction. of a new jail. The U.S. District
Court denied the motion and the sheriff appealed. The court of appeals affirmed and
certiorari was granted. The Supreme Court vacated and remanded the case for
reconsideration.. On. remand, the district court found that the matt.er would not be
reassigned t.o an.other judge and that the sheriff was not en.titled t.o modification. of the
decree t.o permit double-bunking. The Commission.er of Corrections appealed. The court
of appeals affirmed. The sheriff subsequently revised the motion t.o modify the con.sent
decree t.o permit double-bunking. The district court found that the proposed modification.
t.o the con.sent decree, proposing an in.crease in capacity by double-bunking in 161 cells,
was :not tailored t.o fit the changed circwnstan.ce of an in.creased number of pretrial
detainees. The court found that the consent decree would be modified t.o allow alteration.
of up t.o 100 cells t.o permit double occupancy, even though this would impair some
inmate's access t.o common areas. In addition., the f'mal order closing the case was not
immediately entered. The court provision.ally found that it was appropriate t.o allow a five
year period before closing the case, t.o allow parties t.o seek relief from the order. (Suffolk
County Jail, Massachusetts)

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY

Lowrance v. Coughlin, 862 F.Supp. 1090 (S.D.N.Y. 1994). A Muslim prison.er brought a
Section. 1983 action. against various prison officials alleging violation. of the First, Eighth,
and Fourteen.th Amendments. The district court found that the in.mate who was
repeatedly transferred from prison t.o prison in retaliation. for his exercise of First
Amendment free expression. and religion. rights, who spent 115 days in segregative
cnnfinemen.t as a result of such retaliation., who was subjected t.o retaliat.ory cell searches,
and whose knee surgery was delayed for nearly two years after the diagnosis, was entitled
to recover from prison. officials responsible for those acts $132,000 in compen.sat.ory
damages and $25,000 in punitive damages. (Green Haven Correction.al Facility, and other
facilities, New York)

DAMAGES
PUNITIVE

DAMAGES

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREE
CONTEMP'l'

Mahers v. Hedgepeth, 32 F.3d 1273 (8th Cir. 1994). In.mat.es brought a civil rights action
for damages against a warden seeking to hold him in cont.empt of a con.sent decree arising
from a search for contraband. The U.S. District Court dismissed t.be civil rights claim, but
held the warden. in cont.empt for allowing staff to violate the decree, and the warden.
appealed. The appeals court, reversing the decision.,· found that the district court

Zl.70

improperly held the warden in contempt for conduct not prescn"bed within the consent decree.
Although the warden's staff disobeyed the Iowa Stat.e Penit.entiary compliance policy in failing
to have an authorizing official make an exigent circumstances determination before conducting
a shakedown search of cells, the consent decree did not incorporate the compliance policy. The
district court made no finding regarding exigent circumstances to justify the search of the
inmat.es' legal papers outside their presence in violation of the consent decree. (Iowa Stat.e
Penit.entiary)
U.S. District Court
CONTRACT
SERVICES
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Manis v. Corrections Corp. of America. 859 F.Supp. 302 (M.D. Tenn. 1994). An inmat.e
brought a civil rights action against a privat.e corporation and one of its employees who
operat.ed a prison under contract with the stat.e, alleging deliberat.e indifference to serious
medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The defendants moved ~ dismiss
the action. The district court found that the privat.e corporation and its employees were
not protected from the suit by the qualified immunity of public officials. (South Central
Correctional Cent.er, Tennessee)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES
INDMDUAL
CAPACITY
PERSONAL
LIABILITY

McCann v. Phillips, 864 F.Supp. 330 (S.D.N.Y. 1994). A former jail inmat.e brought a c~vii
rights suit against a county sheriff and a correctional facility officer alleging a violation of
procedural due process resulting from the inmat.e's confinement as part of a 24-hour
keeplock. of his jail tier. The district court found that the sheriff and the correctional
officer were liable in their official capacities for any damages attributable to their not
affording the jail inmat.e an opportunity to make a stat.ement prior to being confined in 24
hour keeplock., where denying the inmat.e that opportunity was consist.ent with a standard
policy followed in the jail, as set forth in a rules and infraction notice. In addition, the
correctional officer could be held personally liable for failing to afford the inmat.e an opportunity
to make a stat.ement prior to being confined for administrative reasons, even though the defect
was a result of a lack of a provision for such a right in the jail's rules, where the officer had not
assert.ed official immunity. (Orange County Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
DEFENSES
FAILURE1'0
PROTECT
NEGLIGENCE

Myers v. County of Lake, Ind.• 30 F.3d 847 (7th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 115 S.Ct. 666. A
county was found by a jury to have negligently failed to prevent a juvenile delinquent's
suicide attempt and damages were awarded to the parent and juvenile by the U.S. District
Court. The county appealed. The appeals court found that Indiana law requires stat.e
institutions to use reasonable care to prevent their wards from committing suicide. The
court also found that whether the county negligently provided so few funds to the juvenile
det.ention cent.er that the staff could not exercise reasonable care to prevent the juvenile's
suicide attempt was a jury question under Indiana law. Although Indiana recognizes
int.ervening cause, reckless disregard of one's own safety, and incurred risk as defenses to a
negligence claim, Indiana would probably not recognize the int.entional efforts to coimnit suicide ·
as a defense. Both the parent and child were entitled to separat.e per person awards under the
statut.e limiting the government's liability. (Lake County Juvenile Cent.er, Indiana)

U.S. District Court
NOMINAL DAMAGES

Sanford v. Brookshire, 879 F.Supp. 691 (W.D. Tex. 1994). An inmat.e filed a Section 1983
action asserting cruel and unusual punishment resulting from confinement to a filthy cell
in a county jail for six days without functional plumbing or hygienic supplies. The district
court found that the county jailer and her supervisor violat.ed the inmat.e's Eighth Amendment
rights, for purposes of the inmat.e's Section 1983 claim, by acting with deliberat.e indifference to
complaints about filth in the cell and a nonfunctioning toilet and sink, lack of toilet paper, and
a shower head which produced only a thin stream of cold wit.t.er. The jailer left the inmat.e in
the cell for six days while a written maint.enance request was processed, and the jailer's
supervisor told the inmat.e he could not receive cleaning supplies until cleaning day. However.
the inmat.e failed to present any evidence of actual damages from violation of his civil rights
and, thus, was only entitled to recover nominal damages of one dollar from the county jailer
and her supervisor who were deliberat.ely indifferent to the inmat.e's complaints. (Ector County
Jail, Texas)

U.S. District Court
FAIWRE1'0 .
TRAIN
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

Women Prisoners v. District of Columbia, 877 F.Supp. 634 (D.D.C. 1994). A class action
was brought on behalf of female prisoners in the District of Columbia. The district court
found that prison officials were liable for civil rights violations of female prisoners who
were subject to sexual harassment, notwithstanding official policies regarding sexual
misconduct, as the harassment was the result of governmental custom and officials failed
to properly train employees in the area of sexual harassment. Longstanding health hazards
which exist.ed in prison as a result of the failure of the department of corrections to properly
abat.e hazardous conditions result.ed in prison officials being liable for civil rights violations.
(District of Columbia Correctional Syst.em- the Lorton Minimum Security Annex, the
Correctional Treatment Facility, the Central Detention Facility)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Wright v. Smith. 21 F.3d 496 (2nd Cir. 1994). A prison inmat.e brought a Section 1983
action against the superint.endent of the Attica Correctional Facility and the Commissioner
of the New York Department of Correcti.onal Services seeking damages on the grounds
that he was confined in a specie.I housing unit (SHU) for 67 days without a hearing. The U.S.
District Court dismissed the complaint with prejudice and the inmat.e appealed. The appeals
court, affirming in part, reversing in part and remanding, found that the Commissioner, who
did not have actual or constructive notice of the violation, was not personally involved in the

LIABILITY

27.71

constitutional dtU>rlvation and was not liable for damages. However, the superintendent was a
supervisory official who, after learning of the violation through a report or appeal, failed to
remedy the wrong and could not escape liability for damages by denying personal involvement.
(Attica Correctional Facility, New York)

1995
U.S. Appea1s Court

CONSENT DECREE
COURT MONITOR
FINES

REMEDIES
STATE LIABILITY

U.S. Appeals Court

Alberti v. Klevenhagen, 46 F.3d 1347 (5th Cir. 1995). Appeal was taken from remedial
orders in an action challenging conditions in a county jail syst.em. The appeals court
found that the stat.e could be held liable for conditions in the county's jail if deliberat.ely
indifferent, and remanded. On remand, the U.S. District Court found the stat.e and county
liable. The county and stat.e appealed and the appeals court affirmed. Subsequently, the
district court denied the stat.e's motion to modify a final order or stay the imposition of
fines and modified conditions imposed in the consent decree. The stat.e appealed and the
plaintiff-prisoners cross-appealed. The appeals court found that the court order mandating a
maximum inmat.e population and imposing a fine if that order were violated, based on the
extent of the violation, was not improper. In addition, the district court did not abuse its
discretion by concluding that it could ensure compliance with the population cap order by fining
the stat.e for overcrowding, even though it did not identically fine the county to ensure its
compliance with the court order. The court found the majority of problems at the county jail
resulted from the large number of transfer-ready felons which the stat.e would not receive, and
found that the primary responsibility for the overcrowding crises at the jail lay with the stat.e
defendants. The district court did not abuse its discretion by holding the state responsible for
90% of the costs of the monitors for the time period after the stat.e ent.ered the litigation. The
stat.e's actions in failing to accept transfer-ready felons were the primary cause of overcrowding
in the county's jails and it was that overcrowding that predominat.ely necessitated the presence
of the monitors under the consent decree. The district court had authority to modify the jail
conditions consent decree. (Harris County Jails, Texas)
Anderson y. Romero. 72 F.3d 518 (7th Cir. 1995). An inmate who was infected with the human

QUALIFIED IMMUNITY immunodeficiency virus (HIV) sued prison officials alleging violation of his constitutional right
of privacy and the Illinois AIDS Confidentiality Act. The district court denied the officials'
motion to dismiss and they appealed. The appeals court found that the inmat.e's claim
regarding disclosure of his HIV status to other inmates or prison staff and other measures
taken against him on the basis of his HIV status was barred by the doctrine of official
immunity. The court noted that HIV-positive inmates can be segregated from the rest of the
population, in view of the prevalence of HIV in prisons, the amount of violence and homosexual
int.ercourse. However, the court found that the inmat.e's claim to damages based on the denial
of barber services was not barred. The court also found that to deny all opportunity for exercise
outside his cell would violat.e the Eighth Amendment unless the prisoner posed an acut.e
security risk. If the only reason that prison officials denied the inmat.e haircuts and yard
privileges was that he was HIV-positive, and there was no conceivable justification for the
denial as an HIV-fighting measure, then prison officials could not be immune even in the
absence of a case involving this type of arbitrary treatment. (Stat.eville Penitentiary, Illinois)
U.S. District Court

CONSENT DECREE

U.S. Appea1s Court
LlABILITY

Austin v. Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections. 876 F.Supp. 1437 (E.D.Pa. 1995). Imnat.es
brought a class action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.A. Section 1983 and the Rehabilitation Act.
contesting the practices and conditions of confinement in stat.e correctional institutions. After
e:r:tensive discovery and numerous court proceedings, the parties engaged in settlement
negotiations and submitted a proposed settlement agreement for court approval. The district
court found that any applicable notice requirements for settlement of the class action were
satisfied where on three separat.e occasions the Department of Corrections posted notices of the
prospec:five settlement in common areas of all institutions housing class members as well as the
location of copies of the settlement agreement and the ways in which to file objections with the
court. The court found that the proposed settlement agreement fairly, reasonably, and
adequately advanced and prot.ected the int.erests of the plaintiff class and thus was approved.
(State Correctional Institution ["SCI"]· Camp Hill, SCI-Cresson, SCI-Dallas, SCI-Frackville,
SCI-Graterford, SCI-Greensburg, SCI-Huntingdon, the State Regional Correctional Facility at
Mercer, SCI-Retreat, SCI-Rockview, SCI-Smithfield, SCI-Waymart, and SCI-Waynesburg,
Pennsylvania)
Boyd v. Knox. 47 F.3d 966 (8th Cir. 1995). A prisoner sued various prison officials for

Eighth Amendment violations as a result of the delay of dental care for an infected and
impact.eel tooth. 'Ihe U.S. District Court denied summary judgment and the parties appealed.
'lhe appeals court found that supervisors could not be held liable for any Eighth Amendment
violations absent a showing of personal involvement in a violation or inaction constituting
deliberat.e indifference toward a violation. Waiting three weeks to complete a referral form for
dental care of the impact.eel and infect.ed wisdom tooth created a genuine issue of mat.erial fact,
precluding summary judgment for one prison official, as to whether the official violated the
Eighth Amendment prolu"bition against deh"berate indifference to a serious medical need. 'lbe
medical need was obvious from the extent of the swelling. (Missouri Department of
Corrections)

27.72

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY

Browning v. Vernon, 44 F.3d 818 (9th Cir. 1995). A class of inmates brought an action
against prison officials, alleging due process violations in connection with a program under
which individuals were placed in correctional institutions to be evaluated for potential
release on probation. The U.S. District Court denied the officials' motion for summary
judgment and the officials appealed. The appeals court, affirming the decision, found that
the inmates had a protected libeify interest in objective and reliable rehabilitation reports and
that the libeify interest was clearly established when the prison officials allegedly denied such
interest. An Idaho Supreme Court decision explicitly stated that such interest existed, and
such a decision was binding. In addition, prison officials did not act reasonably in light of a
preexisting law mandating due process in connection with the program, and therefore, the
officials were not qualifiedly immune from the suit alleging denial of due process. The officials
should have known, even though no court had found, that they violated the inmates' rights
when they informed the inmates only 24 hours in advance of an evaluation rebuttal hearing,
failed to give the inmates copies of recommendations regarding probation, and immediately
placed inmates in solitary confinement so that they could not contact wi1nesses or use the law
library. The lower court found that due process requires that the prison provide such inmates
with staff assistance to contact witnesses and access to a telephone to contact legal counsel. An
inmate does not have the due process right to personally contact witnesses. The court also
found that inmates are entitled to a written notice of the right to call witnesses at the rebuttal
hearing. They are also entitled to copies of staff evaluations or chronological reports, as well as
full psychiatric evaluations completed on sex offenders or others. (North Idaho Correctional
Institution)

U.S. District Court
CONTRA.CT
SERVICES

Burton v. Cameron County, Tex.• 884 F.Supp. 234 (S.D. Tex. 1995). A detainee who
suffered from AIDS brought Section 1983 and Texas tort claims actions against a sheriff, a
physician for the jail, and the county for insufficient medical care. On motions for
summary judgment by the ·county and the physician, the district court found that the physician
under contract to provide medical services to the county jail was not liable to the detainee for
alleged insufficient medical treatment. The detainee was given reasonable medical care and
suffered no adverse effects from the time spent in jail. In addition, the physician was not liable
to the detainee for alleged medical negligence because the detainee was not harmed by any
alleged shortcomings of treatment, and any failure by the infirmary staff to properly provide
the detainee with AZT trea1ment was not conduct which could be imputed on the physician.
The physician was not liable to the detainee for intentional infliction of emotional distress
regarding allegedly insufficient medical treatment. The administration of a placebo did not
constitute extreme or outrageous conduct and significant care was provided by the infirmary
staff in coordination with the care provided by the detainee's private physician. The detainee's
private physician testified that the confinement had not affected the detainee's medical
conditions or his mental health. (Cameron County Jail, Texas)

U.S. District Court
OFFICIAL
CAPACITY
QUALIFIED

Caffey v. Johnson. 883 F.Supp. 128 (E.D. Tex. 1995). A prisoner, proceeding pro se,
brought a Section 1983 action against a prison officer and against the director of the Texas
Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division, alleging that the officer wrongfully
seized and either destroyed or lost the prisoner's Holy Koran, handkerchief with an
Islamic prayer on it, and Islamic papers. The officer moved for summary judgment and
the director moved to dismiss. The district court found that the director was being sued in his
official capacity and was shielded by the Eleventh Amendment. The inmate claimed no
individual actions or participation in any wrongdoing by the director, and the inmate stated
explicitly and unequivocally that there was no personal action or knowledge by the director in
the prison officer's alleged wrongful seizure and destruction of the inmate's religious items. The
inmate sued the director on the sole basis of his public status. Since the inmate did not
designate himself a Muslim in accordance with a prison regulation stating that only those
prisoners who designated themselves with a particular religious group may possess religious
paraphernalia, the inmate's Holy Koran, handkerchief with an Islamic prayer on it, and Islamic
papers were contraband and it was not unreasonable for the prison officer to seize and discard
these items. The officer was entitled to qualified immunity for purposes of the inmate's Section
1983 action. Cl'exas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division, Stiles Unit)

IMMUNITY

U.S. District Court
CONTRA.CT SERVICES

STATE LIABILITY

Citrano v. Allen Correctional Center, 891 F.Supp. 312 (W.D.La. 1995). A civil rights case was
filed in forma pauperis by pro se prisoners alleging that they were assaulted by prison officials
while at a correctional facility operated by a private contractor (Wackenhut Corporation). The
district court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss, finding that officials at a corrections
facility operated by a private contractor were entitled to the same qualified immunity afforded
to state prison officials, and that the facility was an arm of the state and was therefore immune
from suit under the Eleventh Amendment. The court noted that the mere fact that the
contractual ties of the private prison officers were different than that of state employees did not
provide a logical basis for denying those workers the benefit of qualified immunity. The state
legislature had indicated that private contracts for corrections are for the safety and welfare of
the people of the state, as opposed to local interests; Eleventh Amendment immunity ezt.ends to
state agencies that act as arms of the state, but does not ezt.end to counties, cities or other
political subdivisions of the state. In determining whether a suit against a state agency or
similar agency i,s in fact a suit against a state, the court identified six fact.ors that must be
determined: (1) whether state statutes and case law characterize the agency as an arm of the
state; (2) the source of funds for the entity; {3) the degree of local autonomy the entity enjoys;
'Jf'l.'13

(4) whether the entity is concerned primarily with local, as opposed to statewide, problems; (5)
whether the entity has the authority to sue and be sued in its own name; and (6) whether the
entity has the right to hold and use property. (Allen Correctional Center, Louisiana)
U.S. District Court

DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

U.S. District Court
CONTRACT SERVICES
NEGLlGENCE
SOVEREIGN

IMMUNITY

U.S. District Court
POSTAGE

INDIGENT INMATES

U.S. Appeals Court

SPECIAL MASTER
REMEDIES

U.S. Distris:t Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE
DAMAGES

Coleman v. Wilson, 912 F.Supp. 1282 (E.D.Cal. 1995). Inmates challenged the adequacy of
mental health care provided at institutions operated by the California Department of
Corrections, alleging that the inadequacies were cruel and unusual punishment in violation of
the Eighth Amendment. 'lhe district court reviewed the findings and recommendations of the
chief magistrate judge after objections were filed by the defendants. 'lhe court found that
evidence supported the magistrate's findings and recommendations regarding many aspects of
the Department's mental health services, and ordered that a special master be appointed to
monitor the Department's compliance with court-ordered injunctive relief. The court denied
immunity for the governor, finding that he failed to establish that he lacked lmowledge of
systemic deficiencies, and ruling that he demonstrated deliberate indifference for Eighth
Amendment purposes. The court suggested that after five years of litigation on this issue, the
claimed lack of awareness was not plausible. 'lhe court made similar findings for other state
officials, including the Direct.or of the Department of Corrections. Applying the "deliberate
indifference" standard, rather than the "malicious and sadistic" standard, the court found that
the use of tasers and 37mm guns against inmates with serious mental disorders had caused
serious and substantial harm to mentally ill inmates, whether or not they were on psychotropic
medication. (California Department of Corrections)
Coppage v. Mann, 906 F.Supp. 1025 (E.D.Va. 1995). A former Virginia prison inmate brought a
§ 1983 action alleging Eighth Amendment violations against a prison superintendent,

physician, nurse and private consulting physician. 'lhe plaintiff also asserted state-law claims
for medical malpractice, intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery.
'lhe plaintiff claimed that his cancerous condition was misdiagnosed and that he was subjected
to inhumane living conditions during his course of treatment. The district court granted
summary judgment, in part, for the defendants, dismissing all federal claims. 'lhe district court
retained jurisdiction over state-law claims. 'lhe court ruled that the inmate did not have claims
for intentional infliction of emotional distress or assault and battery, that the inmate failed to
establish deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, and that the defendants were
entitled to qualified immunity. 'lhe court also found that the acknowledged fact that the
inmate sometimes had to lie in his own waste, was not immediately provided with a wheelchair,
and was handcuffed to his bed as a last resort to treat his bedsores, did not make out an Eighth
Amendment claim. However, the court found that a fact issue existed as to whether the prison
physician's conduct amounted to gross negligence so as to deprive him of sovereign immunity.
Although the prison was short-staffed with nurses, this did not establish an Eighth Amendment
·violation absent any evidence that nurses were not hired with the lmowledge that, as a result,
the inmate would be placed at substantial risk of living in inhumane conditions.
(Rappahannock Security Center, Virginia)
Dawes v. Carpenter, 899 F.Supp. 892 (N.D.N.Y. 1995). A prison inmate sued state officials
alleging civil rights violations. 'lhe district court dismissed the case, finding that the prison's
restriction on free postage did not violate the inmate's rights. 'lhe inmate had alleged that the
prison's elimination of a postage subsidy for non-legal mail violated the First Amendment. The
court found that the new policy did not overly restrict most prisoners' ability to conduct
nonprivileged communication with people outside prisons, where the inmates could receive
incoming mail and visitors, make collect phone calls, and purchase stamps with money earned
while in prison. (Great Meadow Correctional Facility, New York).
Dilley v_. Gunn, 64 F.3d 1365 (9th Cir. 1995). An inmate brought a § 1983 action against prison
officials alleging violation of his right of access to courts by their failure to provide reasonable
access to the prison's law library. 'lhe district court granted summary judgment for the inmate
and entered an injunction requiring improvements to the library. 'lhe appeals court held that
the appeal was moot because the inmate was transferred, but that remand was warranted to
determine if the officials' conduct caused the mootness such that the injunction should not be
vacated. A special master had been appointed by the district court, who recommended:
expanding both the size of the library and its holdings; permitting inmates to have open access
to the stacks or to check out four rather than three books at a time; a training program for
inmate law clerks; increasing both the length and frequency of inmates' visits to the library;
implementing a system for scheduling inmates' use of the h'brary; and providing more
opportunities for inmates with jobs to use the h'brary. (Calipatria State Prison, California)

Frazier v. Forgione. 881 F.Supp. 879 (W.D.N.Y. 1995). An inmate brought a civil rights
action under Section 1983 against prison officials for intentionally withholding legal
papers from him in violation of his constitutional rights. 1he district court found that
nominal compensatory damages were appropriate against a prison official for intentionally
withholding the inmate's legal papers for more than two years, though the inmate did not
suffer any actual damages because he was able to pursue all of his intended actions without the
papers at issue. In addition, the inmate was entitled to punitive damages of $500 against the
prison official for acting deh'berately over a two-year period to deny the inmate's righ1ful access
to courts by confiscating papers that the inmate was using to proceed in court actions, though
the inmat.e had c:opies or could reconstruct his notes. (Collins Correctional Facility, New York)
2'1.'14

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREEMODIFICATION

Glover v. Johnson. 879 F.Supp. 752 (E.D. Mich. 1995). Prison officials sought to modify a
remedial plan and a plan for vocational programs designed to remedy equal protection
violations identified in a civil rights action brought by female inmates. The district court found
that the prison officials' failure to substantially comply with a remed,ial plan designed to
provide female inmates with educational. and vocational opportunities comparable to those
provided to male inmates precluded termination of the court's jurisdiction over the civil rights
case by deleting the role of the compliance monitor and modifying the termination language of
the plans. The prison officials were required to substantially comply with goals of the
negotiated settlement before the court would rule that finality had been reached and its
involvement was no longer required. (Huron Valley Women's Facility, Michigan)

U.S. Appeals Court

Hale v. Tallapoosa County, 50 F.8d 1579 (11th Cir. 1995). A pretrial detainee filed a •
Section 1983 action against a county, its sheriff and a jailer arising from an alleged
beating of the detainee by other inmates in a group cell. The U.S. District Court entered
summary judgment in favor of the defendants and the detainee appealed. The appeals
court. affirming in part, reversing in part and remanding, found that evidence that the
jailer failed to check on the group cell during the hour between the last check and the
beating was not sufficient to show deliberate indifference and causation necessary to hold the
jailer individually liable for the detainee's injuries. However, genuine issues of material fact
existed, precluding summary judgment for the sheriff and the county, on whether conditions of
the cell subjected the detainee to a substantial risk of serious harm, whether the sheriff was
deliberately indifferent to the risk, and whether the beating of the detainee was caused by the
excessive risk of violence in the group cell resulting from an atmosphere of deliberate
indifference. The evidence showed that the jail was overcrowded during the time in question.
In addition, the sheriff testified that he knew of inmate violence during periods of overcrowding
and that incidents had required hospitalization of inmates. Although the sheriff worked toward
the construction of a new jail, the existing jail had no policy for classifying and segregating
inmates, the jailer had received no professional training, and the jailer was stationed out of
eyesight and earshot of the cell. (Tallapoosa County Jail, Alabama)

DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

FAILURE TO
PROTECT
LIABILITY

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREE-

MODIFICATION
CONTEMPr
REMEDIES

Harris v. City of Philadelphia. 47 F.8d 1311 and 1333 and 1342 (3rd Cir. 1995). In a jail
conditions case, appeals were taken from orders of the United States District Court
assessing stipulated penalties against a city. directing production of a facilities audit
required under a consent decree, declaring the city in contempt and dismissing a motion to
modify the decree. The appeals court found that the imposition of penalties stipulated in
the decree to be imposed for a delay in submitting planning documents "without any further
direction from the Court." did not require notice and a hearing that would be required for a civil
contempt sanction. In addition. the court was not required to find that there was no good cause
for the city's delays for imposition of the penalties. Any additional cost if a facilities audit was
submitted before the physical standards were approved did not make submission of the audit
"impossible." The court also found that changes in administrative policy resulting from the
election of a new mayor did not pennit the city to unilaterally default on its obligations to the
court and other litigants under the consent decree and did not preclude an imposition of a
contempt sanction. In the jail conditions litigation, the dismissal of the city's motion to modify
the consent decree was an inappropriate sanction for civil contempt based on a delay in
submitting plans, as the sanction was not compensatory nor was it denied to have a coercive
effect because it had no provision explicitly pennitting the city to refile a motion once the
documents were submitted. In addition. the dismissal could not be upheld as within the district
court's discretion as a sanction for failure to comply with discovery. The U.S. District Court
held the city in contempt for failing to comply with an order requiring the city to maintain a
90% occupancy rate in a residential drug treatment facility. The appeals court found that the
city was provided notice and a hearing sufficient to satisfy its due process rights before the
district court imposed a contempt sanction of $125,000. Furthermore, the alleged unclean
hands of some class members did not justify denying relief to the entire class. The appeals
court found that absent any provision in a consent decree or an order of the court requiring the
city to seek court approval before modifying its prisoner relief practice, the city's mere failure to
do so before changing its procedures was not alone enough to sustain a finding of contempt.
The court also found that the city violated the unambiguous provision of the consent decree in
the prison overcrowding case, which supported a finding of contempt, when it failed to list for
release inmates who fell into categories the city deemed "dangerous." i.e., those whose bail was
set at $75,000 or hig}:ier or who required mental health treaiment. A paragraph of the decree
from which the city derived its authority to not list "dangerous" inmates was superseded by a
subsequent decree. (Philadelphia Prison System. Pennsylvania)

Hayes y. ~ 72 F.8d 70 (8th Cir. 1995). A Muslim inmat.e brought a § 1983 action against
U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY prison officials after he was disciplined for refusing to handle pork while he was working in a
prison kit.chen. The district court granted summary judgment for the prison officials based on
qualified immunity and the inmate appealed. The appeals court reversed the lower court
decision, finding that Muslim inmates had clearly established rights not to handle pork at the
time the plaintiff was disciplined and that it would be unreasonable for prison officials to be
unaware of such rights. (Cummins IJnit, Arkansas Department of Correction)

<J:l.'15

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREEMODIFICATION
COURI' MONITOR
SPECIAL MASTER
CONTEMPI'
SANCTIONS

Hooky. Stat.e of Ariz., 907 F.Supp. 1326 (D.Ariz. 1995). Three separat.e civil rights cases filed
by prisoners were consolid.at.ed t.o resolve the issue of payment of speciaJ, masters'·fees. The
court grant.eel the plaintiffs' motion for contempt and denied the defendants' motion t.o modify
previous orders. The court also held unconstitutional a stat.e statut.e which purport.ed t.o ·affect
lawful orders of the U.S. District Court requiring payment of special mast.ers fees; the statut.e
prohibit.eel payment of the fees absent legislative appropriations. The court ruled that it could
properly order the stat.e t.o pay special mast.ers fees without violating the Eleventh Amendment.
The court held that the Direct.or of the Arizona Department of Corrections was subject t.o civil
contempt for refusing t.o pay special masters fees noting that there was no "good faith"
exception t.o the requirement of obedience t.o a court order. (Arizona Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO PROTECT

Plumeau v. Yamhill~ §Sh Dist., 907 F.Supp. 1423 (D.Or. 1995). A student who was
sexually abused by a janit.or sued the school district and the janit.or claiming that the school
district had an affirmative duty t.o prot.ect the student from the criminal actions of its
employees. The district court found for the defendants, noting that the stat.e's affirmative
constitutional duty t.o prot.ect only arises with respect t.o particular individuals, such as those
persons the stat.e has taken int.o its custody such as prison inmat.es or involuntarily committed
mental patients. (Yamhill County School District #40, Oregon)
·

u.s. District Court

Landfair v. Sheahan. 878 F.Supp. 1106 (N.D. Ill. 1995). A former pretrial detainee at a
county jail brought a pro se civil rights complaint against a sheriff and various corrections
officials complaining of conditions at the jail. On a motion t.o dismiss, the district court
found that the plaintiff sufficiently stat.ed a claim against the sheriff in his individual
capacity with respect t.o jail conditions, as it was reasonable that the sheriff was aware of
the overcrowding at the county jail and the problems which accompanied it. In addition,
the detainee stat.ed a claim against the executive direct.or of the county department of
corrections and the superintendent of the county jail, by arguing that they were aware of the
jail conditions since the detainee submitted grievance reports t.o them and they visit.ed his wing
periodically. (Cook County Jail, Illinois)

GOVERNMENTAL

LIABILITY
INDMDUAL
CAPACITY

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
42U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

Marsh v. Jones, 53 F.3d 707 (5th Cir. 1995). A stat.e prisoner filed a Section 1983 action
against prison officials asserting claims seeking recovery for personal injury, inadequat.e
medical care, and damage t.o her engagement ring arising from a slip and fall accident.
The U.S. District Court dismissed the case for failure t.o exhaust administrative remedies
and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court, affirming the decision, found that
administrative procedures could have allowed the prisoner t.o recover monetary damages
for personal injury and for allegedly deliberat.e indifference t.o her medical needs and, thus, the
district court did not abuse its discretion under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act
by dismissing such claims for failure t.o justifiably explain her failure t.o exhaust administrative
remedies. Furthermore, the prisoner's claim for monetary relief for damage t.o her engagement
rink during the slip and fall accident present.ed a negligence claim that was not actionable
under Section 1983. (Louisiana Correctional lnstitut.e for Women, St. Gabriel, Louisiana)

U.S. Appeals Court
NEGIJGENCE

Morissette v. Pet.ers. 45 F.3d 1119 (7th Cir. 1995). An inmat.e sued a prison and prison
officials for violations of Section 1983 based on confinement st.emming from alleged drug
possession in prison. The U.S. District Court grant.eel summary judgment t.o the defendants
and the inmat.e appealed. The appeals court found that the prison officials could not be liable
under the Eighth Amendment for denying humane conditions of confinement absent a showing
that the officials were even remot.ely aware of the alleged unsanitary conditions in the cell in
which the inmat.e was confined. Even if the guards were aware of the exposed wires in the cell
and failed t.o fix the problem during the inmat.e's brief stay in controlled segregation, the guards
were only guilty of negligence which would not support an Eighth Amendment claim. (Pontiac
Correctional Facility, Illinois)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE
DAMAGES

Nettles v. Griffith. 883 F.Supp. 136 (E.D. Tex. 1995). A prisoner who was placed in
administrative segregation without a hearing and was injured when he exit.ed his cell
aft.er it was set on fire, brought a Section 1983 action against the county sheriff and other
officials. The district court found that the appropriat.e damage award for the prisoner was
$50 per day of segregation. The prisoner was placed in a section of the jail designat.ed
primarily for the mentally imbalanced, where his cell was set on fire and he was doused with
hot water, feces, and urine. The prisoner suffered mental and emotional t.oll, and the prisoner's
privileges such as the ability t.o attend church services and the day room area were diminished.
However, the prisoner was not entitled to punitive damages. The only willfulness with regard
t.o his claim was the willful decision t.o place him in administrative segregation, and the lack of
procedure accorded to the prisoner was more the result of a misstatement and
·
miscommunication than malice. (Jefferson County Det.ention Cent.er, Beaumont, Texas)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY'
QUASI.JUDICIAL
IMMUNITY'

Parisie v. Morris. 873 F.Supp. 1560 (N.D.Ga. 1995). A stat.e inmat.e brought a Section
1983 action against members of a stat.e parole board clainung that members depart.ed from
parole decision guidelines in setting his t.entative release dat.e, which violat.ed his due
process and equal protection rights. On motions to dismiss the district court found that
the alleged failure by the members of the parole board to set the inmat.e's release d.at.e in
accordance with parole decision guidelines did not violat.e due process. Inmat.es have no
legitimat.e expectation of, and no h"berty interest in, receiving parole. However, the inmat.e did

27.76

state an equal protection claim against the director of the parole board despite the contention
that state law did not empower the director to make parole decisions. The inmate alleged that
he wrote to the director after discovering that the board had incorrectly calculated his parole
success likelihood factor to let him know of the error. The inmate received a letter in response
in which the director contended to write on behalf of the board and explained the board's
reasoning as his own. It was also found that the inmate did not have to exhaust administrative
remedies where the inmate's claim was cognizable under Section 1983. The inmate was
challenging the process employed by the board rather than the result reached, claiming that the
board members violated his equal protection rights by impermissibly considering his ethnicity
in making its decision. Although the chairman of the state parole board was entitled to quasijudicial immunity from the suit for damages under Section 1983 and the board members
performed a quasi-judicial function in considering the inmate for parole, the board members
were not entitled to qualified immunity in connection with the claim that they considered the
inmate's ethnicity in setting his release date. (Ware Correctional Institution, Waycross,
Georgia)
U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREE
CONTEMPI'

Saahir v. Estelle, 47 F.3d 758 (5th Cir. 1995). An inmate filed a motion for civil contempt
against state prison officials alleging that they violated a consent decree in a Section 19~3
action by confiscating and not returning nonreligious tapes. The U.S. District Court
granted the motion and required the prison officials to return the tapes or reimburse the
. inmate. The prison officials appealed. The appeals court found that the state prison officials
did not waive their Eleventh Amendment immunity from the enforcement of a provision of the
Section 1983 consent decree by entering into a settlement agreement. The prison officials did
not expressly waive their immunity and in fact argued that the settlement agreement did not
cover non-religious tapes. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Sisneros y. Nix, 884 F.Supp. 1313 (S.D.Iowa 1995). A prisoner incarcerated in an Arizona
facility brought suit against Iowa prison officials alleging deprivation of his First Amendment
rights while he was confined in Iowa before his transfer. The district court held that the prison
regulation which required that mail sent and received by the prisoner be in the English
language did not violate the inmate's First Amendment rights. However, the court found that
Iowa officials had erred by transferring the prisoner to Arizona in retaliation for his assertion of
his First Amendment rights, and that the prisoner was entitled to compensatory and punitive
damages. The court issued an injunction which required Iowa officials to exercise all available
efforts to secure the prisoner's return to Iowa, although it was asserted that it would be
ineffectual because it could not be applied to Arizona officials who have the ultimate transfer
decision authority. This case compelled the district court judge to begin his decision with the
following: "Given the crescendo of public uproar over frivolous prisoner litigation clogging the
federal courts, this case is an important reminder that however fortissimo the public clamor, the
court must always listen for a solo voice with a legitimate complaint of a constitutional
violation. This is such a case." The prisoner was transferred from Arizona to Iowa under an
int.erstate compact. Prison officials ordered him transferred back to Arizona in retaliation for
having brought grievances and lawsuits. The court found that the prisoner was entitled to
compensatory damages of $5,000, which was approximately $10.50 per day, covering out-of-cell
time lost when Arizona authorities placed him in involuntary protective custody, loss of access
to yard and exercise facilities and loss of access to communal activities including meals and
sports. The court also awarded punitive damages of $1,000 against each Iowa official who had
been involved in the wrongful transfer. On appeal (95 F.3d 749) the court found that the
transfer was warranted and granted qualified immunity for the officials. (Iowa State
Penitentiary)

U.S. District Court
CONI'EMPI'

Smith v. Norris, 877 F.Supp. 1296 (E.D. Ark. 1995). An inmate sought declaratory and
injunctive relief based on alleged unconstitutional conditions of confinement. The district
court found that the inmate was entitled to injunctive relief based on the failure of prison
officials to comply with a previous court order regarding security checks of an open
barracks unit in the prison. The record clearly demonstrated that priaon officials and the state
agreed in a prior case that a serious problem existed and they agreed on how to solve the
problem and funds were actually appropriated to alleviate the problem. The prison officials did
not carry through on their agreement with the Department of Justice, instead making a
unilateral decision to ignore the problem and use the funding elsewhere. The prison officials
were not entitled to qualified immunity from liability. The inmat.e's constitutional right to
reasonable protection from inmate-on-inmate violence was clearly established at the time of his
assault, and a previous court opinion had set forth conditions of confinement for the open
barracks unit. It required a correctional officer in the hallway to constantly monitor two
opposing open barracks containing up to 100 inmates each and hourly security patrols. Prison
officials failed to carry out the required security patrols and knew that they were violating
clearly established constitutional rights. The inmated had been stabbed by a fellow inmate.
The district court found that risks occasioned by prison officials' policy which permitted inmates
who had received special permission to possess dangerous hobby craft tools in an open barracks
unit created not only an obvious risk of serious harm to other inmates but a pervasive risk of
such harm and constituted deliberate indifference to an inmate's constitutional rights under the
Eighth Amendment. The inmate was entitled to monetary damages under Section 1983.
(Cummins Unit, Arkansas Department of Correction)

QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY
DAMAGES

'J/1.77

U.S. District Court
DEIJBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

St.one-El v. Sheahan. 914 F.Supp. 202 (N.D.Ill. 1995). A pretrial detainee brought a§ 1983 civil
rights action against a sheriff, executive director of the county department of corrections, and
the superintendent of the county jail. The detainee alleged that various conditions of his
confinement violated his right t.o due process. The district court granted the defendants' motion
t.o dismiss. The court found that the defendants had not personally caused the conditions at the
jail, nor could they limit the number of pretrial detainees assigned there or appropriate funds t.o
improve conditions. The court also found that the detainee failed t.o allege conditions of
confinement serious enough t.o violate the objective component of a due process claim. The
detainee had asserted that he had slept on the floor without a mattress. that the jail was noisy,
that the jail lacked showers, that he was not able t.o maintain his personal hygiene, that
ventilation was poor, and that inadequate security permitted gangs t.o intimidate him. The
detainee also alleged a lack of exercise opportunities. but the court found that even dramatic
restrictions on outdoor exercise do not violate due process as long as detainees have ample
opportunities t.o participate in indoor activity. The court noted that the detainee failed t.o allege
any harm caused by the poor ventilation or any adverse health effects from the alleged lack of
exercise. (Cook County Jail, Illinois)

U.S. District Court
OFFICIAL
CAPACITY

Summers v. Sheahan, 883 F.Supp. 1163 (N.D. Ill. 1995). An inmate brought a pro se
action against prison officials seeking compensat.ory and punitive damages for alleged
violations of his constitutional rights. On the defendant officials' motion t.o dismiss, the
district court found that the inmate's allegation, that supervisors' failure t.o deal with the
overcrowding problem constituted a decision or cust.om, failed t.o state an official capacity claim
under Section 1983. The inmate failed t.o point t.o any conduct by the supervisors approving or
condoning any policy or regulation that promoted inmates living in overcrowded or unsanitary
conditions. In addition, the inmate did not allege that the supervisors. were personally involved
in the overcrowded or unsanitary conditions, and the inmate did not allege a pattern of conduct
by the supervisors regarding the denial of adequate medical attention or unsanitary conditions.
(Cook County Department of Corrections, Illinois)
·

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY
QUASI.JUDICIAL
IMMUNITY

Viero v. Bufano, 901 F.Supp. 1387 (N.D.Ill. 1995). A parent of a juvenile who committed
suicide while in custody filed a § 1983 action against a probation officer and corrections
employees. The district court denied the defendants' motion for dismissal, finding that the
complaint sufficiently alleged that the son had presented a substantial suicide risk of serious
medical needs, where it was alleged that the 14-year-old had a history of severe psychological
and psychosocial problems, that just a few months before his death he was confined for mental
treatment and given a prescription, and that he had expressed suicidal tendencies on at least
two occasions. The court found that the complaint sufficiently alleged that the defendants were
deliberately indifferent t.o the son's risk or need. where the complaint alleged that the parent
personally advised both individuals of the son's mental history and medication needs, and also
advised a department employee that the son had suicidal thoughts. The complaint asserted
that the probation officer did not communicate information on the son's mental health t.o the
department and that a department employee did not ensure that the son received adequate
counseling and observation. The court found that the defendants were not entitled t.o qualified
immunity on the basis of the objective reasonableness of their actions nor were they entitled t.o
a dismissal on the basis that the complaint appeared t.o seek damages against them in their
official capacities. The court also found that the probation officer was not entitled t.o quasijudicial immunity. (St. Charles Youth Correctional Facility, Illinois)

FAILURE TO

PROTECT

OFFICIAL CAPACITY

U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A.
Section 1983

Westmoreland v. Brown, 883 F.Supp. 67 (E.D. Va. 1995). A pretrial detainee sued a city
and city officials for a violation of Section 1983 based on injuries he suffered when a jail
guard arranged for an attack by other inmates. The district court found that the city and
the city officials were not liable for injuries suffered by the pretrial detainee as they could be
held liable only for the guard's actions taken under color of law. (Richmond City Jail, Virginia)

U.S. Appeals Court

Zames :!· Rhodes. 64 F.3d 285 (7th Cir. 1995). A pretrial detainee filed a prose§ 1983 action
against guards, alleging violation of her due process rights. The district court dismissed in part
and entered summary judgment for the guards in part. The appeals court affirmed in part and
reversed in part, finding that allegations that a guard showed deliberate indifference for the
detainee's rights by placing her in a cell with a mentally ill inmate who presented an imminent
potential for assault were sufficient t.o state a § 1983 claim. But the appeals court found that
allegations that a guard failed t.o supervise subordinate guards and allowed them t.o provide
inadequate medical care failed t.o state a claim. The court also found that the detainee was not
entitled t.o a presegregation hearing; she had been segregated for her own protection and that of
other inmates after a verbal confrontation. (Sangamon County Jail, Illinois)

FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE

1996
U.S. Supreme Court
DAMAGES

BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore. 116 S.Ct. 1589 (1996). After a jury awarded a purchaser
of an automobile compensat.ory damages of $4,000 and punitive damages of $4,000,000, the
defendant appealed. The appeals court reduce the punitive damages award t.o $2,000,,000. '1he
U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the punitive damages award was grossly excessive. (Alabama)

27.78

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

GOVERNMENTAL
IMMUNITY

Brooks:!· George County Miss., 84 F.3d 157 (5th Cir. 1996). A pretrial detainee whose charges
were dropped brought a § 1983 action against a county and various officials. The district court
ent.ered a judgment upon jury verdict for the detainee for cl8llll8 of involuntary servitude and
violation of due process based on lost wages. The appeals court affirmed in part, vacated in
part, rendered in part and remanded. The court held that the work performed by the detainee
during his incarceration was not involuntary servitude and that he was not deprived of
property under the due process clause when he did not receive additional wages for work on
privat.e property. The court found that the sheriff, but not a deputy, deprived the detainee of a
property right in wages for work performed on public property and that the sheriff was not
entitled to qualified immunity. The court held that the sheriff had a policy of not paying wages
to detainees, thus rendering the county liable for the constitutional deprivation. The sheriff
had a statutory duty under Mississippi law to keep records of work performed by pretrial
detainees and to transmit such records to ensure that detainees were paid for their work. This
duty was mandatory, not discretionary and therefore the sheriff was not entitled to qualified
immunity. The statut.e created a legitimat.e expectation of entitlement to compensation for work
on public property by pretrial d~tainees. While the detainee was confined in the jail he
requested and was granted trusty status which allowed him the freedom to roam in and out of
his cell, the Sheriff's office, the jail, and the surrounding grounds. While incarcerat.ed the
detainee performed, at his own request, various services for the sheriff, the county and others
on public and privat.e property. He performed these services to secure his release from the jail
during the day and to earn extra money by working on the outside. But the detainee was not
compensat.ed for the services he performed on public property, although he was sometimes paid
money '?r received goods in exchange for services rendered on privat.e property. After a five-day
trial the jury returned a verdict for the detainee against the sheriff and two deputies, and
against the county, awarding $50,000 damages for the claim of involuntary servitude and
$20,000 for lost wages under his due process claim. The jury also awarded punitive damages
against the sheriff ($5,000) and a deputy ($500) in their individual capacities. (George County
Jail, Mississippi)

U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A Sec. 1983

Byrd v. Mosele:y. 942 F.Supp. 642 (D.D.C. 1996). An inm.at.e brought a pro se § 1983
action alleging that he was denied permission to participat.e in a program in retaliation
for filing a previous lawsuit. The district court dismissed the case in part, and grant.ed
summary judgment to the defendants. The court found that the inmat.e had no constitutional
right to participat.e in a particular educational or vocational program, and that he failed to show
that he had been the victim of retaliation. The court also found that a nonprofit corporation,
which operated the "Take it From Me" program at the prison, did not act under the color of
stat.e law. (District of Columbia Maximum Security Facility, Lorton, Virginia)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED

Cart.er v. Kane, 938 F.Supp. 282 (E.D.Pa. 1996). A stat.e inmat.e brought an action
against a prison hearing examiner who presided over two of his disciplinary
proceedings, alleging violation of his due process rights and retaliation for bringing a
suit against the examiner. The district court found that the examiner's alleged conduct-•
imposing a harsher penalty due to the fact that the inm.at.e would not plead guilty to a
disciplinary charge--did not "shock the conscience" and therefore did not violat.e the inmat.e's
substantive due process rights. The court noted that the harsher penalty involved only an
additional 15 days of disciplinary custody. However, the court denied qualified immunity for
the examiner in connection with the inm.at.e's procedural due process claim, finding that
treating inmat.es who invoke the hearing process as a burden undermines the purpose of the
hearing process itself. The court denied summary judgment for the examiner on the procedural
due process claim. (Pennsylvania)

IMMUNITY

U.S. Appeals Court

Davis :!· Fulton County,

Ark-, 90 F.3d 1346 (8th Cir. 1996).

A victim of rape and assault by a

FAILURE TO PROTECT prisoner who had escaped from a county det.ention center brought an action alleging claims
under § 1983 against county staff and officials. The district court dismissed. the cl8llll8 and the
appeals court affirmed. The court found that the victim failed to establish that the danger to
her resulting from the prisoner leaving the det.ention cent.er was any great.er than that faced by
the general public in the area, as required to maintain a § 1983 claim. The court also found
that the victim failed to allege that the duty jailer acted int.entionally, or was not performing
official county functions in failing to prevent the prisoner from escaping. (Fulton County
· Det.ention Cent.er, Arkansas)
Dean:!· Thomas, 933 F.Supp. 600 (S.D.Miss. 1996). Pretrial detainees filed a § 1983 action
U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY against jail officials and members of an inm.at.e disciplinary board alleging violation of their due
process rights when they were placed in lockdown without any hearing. Lockdown consist.ed of
DAMAGES
confinement in a one-man cell for approximat.ely 23 hours each day; access to a dayroom which
offered access to a shower and t.elephone was allowed one hour daily. The detainees were
locked down for 34-35 days. The district court found that the inm.at.es' due process rights were
violated and that board members were not entitled to qualified immunity. Two officers who
reported the disciplinary infractions were immune from liability because they were not involved
with the subsequent disciplinary process. Each detainee was awarded $300 damages which the
court found was reasonable under the circumstances. The court noted that the U.S. Supreme
Court decision in Sandin did not stand for the proposition. that pretrial detainees may be
punished without due process if the punishment does not impose atypical and significant
hardships on the detainees. (Hinds County Det.ention Cent.er, Mississippi)

2"1.79

U.S. District Court
Dugas v. Jefferson County. 931 F.Supp. 1315 (E.D.Tex. 1996). A female arrest.ee brought a. §
QUALlFIED IMMUNITY 1983 action against a county and a sheriffs deputy claiming that a strip search ordered by the
deputy following her arrest for a misdemeanor violated her Fourth Amendment rights; The
district court denied the deputy's motion for summary judgment, fmding that he was not
entitled t.o a qualified immunity defense because it was clear at the time of the deputy's order
that a strip search of a minor offense arrestee violated the Fourth Amendment. The court also
found that the deputy was not shielded from civil liability for illegal acts simply because he was
following orders. (Jefferson County Jail, Texas)
U.S. District Court
DELIBERA1E

INDIFFERENCE

Est.ep v. Dent. 914 F.Supp. 1462 (W.D.Ky. 1996). An inmat.e moved for a preliminary
injunction in this suit against prison officials. The district court denied the motion with regard
t.o the inmat.e's allegation that he was deprived of opportunities for out.door exercise while he
was housed in a particular housing unit. The court not.ed that prison officials had alread;y
begun t.o build an outdoor recreation sit.e for that unit and therefore recognized the need and
were resolving the problem. The court also denied the motion with regard t.o the inmat.e's
assertion that his safety was endangered because prison officials allowed inmat.es of different
classifications t.o exercise t.ogether. The court granted the inmat.e's motion with regard t.o his
claim that the prison policy which required him t.o.cut his earlocks violated the Religious
Freedom Restoration Act. The court found that the inmat.e established the likelihood of success
on his claim that earlocks were a component of the Orthodox Hasidic Judaism faith, and that
the inmat.e adhered t.o the t.enets of his faith religiously. Requiring the inmat.e t.o cut his
earlocks would substantially burden the inmat.e's faith, according t.o the court, and prison
officials had failed t.o establish that the policy was the least restrictive means of furthering its
int.erest in maintaining security, particularly in light of the fact that there was a three-month
delay before the inmat.e's earlocks were cut. (Kentucky Stat.e Penit.entiary)
·

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES

Evans~- Hennessy, 934 F.Supp. 127 (D.Del. 1996). An inmat.e sued a guard alleging violation
of his civil rights when the guard struck him twice on the head with a closed fist. The court
found that evidence established that the guard struck the inmat.e without justification or
reasonable apprehension of physical harm, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The court
awarded damages in the amount of $7,500. However, the court found that moving the inmat.e
awa.y from other prisoners t.o a cell closer t.o the guard post t.o prevent him from disrupting and
inciting other inmat.es was not a violation of the inmat.e's First Amendment right of free speech,
and the change of cells did not violat.e any constitutionally protected liberty int.erest because the
inmat.e was not moved t.o a more restrictive unit. (Sussex Correctional Institution, Delaware)

U.S. District Court
DELIBERATE

Freeman v. Fairman, 916 F.Supp. 786 (N.D.ID. 1996). A deceased inmat.e's children and the
special administrat.or of his estat.e filed a § 1983 civil rights action against a county and county
officials, alleging an Eighth Amendment violation in connection with the death of the inmat.e.
The district court dismissed the federal court claims but retained jurisdiction for related stat.e
court claims. The court found that a single instance of improper medical care, such as the one
at issue, was insufficient t.o show a governmental policy or cust.om t.o support § 1983 liability.
The court also found that the plaintiffs failed t.o sufficiently allege the requisit.e deliberat.e.
indifference t.o stat.e an Eighth Amendment claim. The plaintiffs had alleged that the county
failed t.o identify any abnormality in the size of the inmat.e's liver and administ.ered tuberculosis
medication t.o him at several times the normal dosage, leading t.o his death while in custod;y.
(Cook County Department of Corrections, Illinois)

INDIFFERENCE

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Garrett v. Angelone, 940 F.Supp. 933 (W.D.Va. 1996). A stat.e prisoner brought a prose
action against prison officials asserting § 1983 claims and violation of the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA). The district court found that prison officials were entitled
t.o qualified immunity from monetary damages on the inmate's ADA claims because of
uncertainty about the applicability of ADA t.o stat.e prisons. The court also found that the
prisoner's allegations were insufficient t.o support a claim under ADA. The court also found
that changes in the prisoner's custod;y status, security status, and earning rates for good
conduct time did not violate due process. The court noted that an inmate's security level,
custody status and opportunity t.o earn good conduct time are subject to change at any time
during incarceration based on the behavior of the inmate and discretion of prison officials. The
court also noted that an inmat.e's parole eligibility dat.e and mandat.ory parole release dat.e are
estimates only, subject t.o change based on changes in an inmate's other classifications.
(Virginia Dept. of Corrections)

U.S. District Court

Glover v. Johnson. 931 F.Supp. 1360 (E.D.Mich. 1996). Female prisoners moved t.o hold prison
officials in an ongoing class action which challenged educational and vocational opportunities
available t.o female prisoners in Michigan. The district court held prison officials in contempt of
various orders relating t.o court access, vocational programs, and apprenticeship programs at
women's facilities. The court assessed fines of S5()(Vday until compliance with all court orders
regarding access t.o courts was achieved and ordered prison officials t.o submit policies and plans
t.o achieve compliance in this and other areas. 'lhe court also levied a S5()(Vday fine until
compliance was achieved in the areas of vocational programming and another S5()(Vday fine
until compliance was achieved in the area of apprenticeship progw-ernming. The court found
that the officials' clear, positive and repeat.eel violation of orders warrant.eel Slgnificant monetary
contempt sanctions. (Michigan Department of Corrections)

CONTEMPI'
FINES
SANCTIONS

27.80

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Goff v. Burton. 91 F.3d 1188 (8th Cir. 1996). A prisoner brought a § 1983 action against
prison officials alleging damages arising out of retaliatory transfer and punishment.
The district court entered judgment for the prisoner and the appeals court affirmed. The
appeals court found that the sequence of events· supported the determination that the prisoner
was transferred from a correctional center to a penitentiary in retaliation for a civil rights
action the prisoner had brought against the prison. The appeals court also found that the
district court could conclude that a disciplinary action imposed on the prisonel'. was in
retaliation for filing a suit, as the penitentiary did not put forward "some evidence" in support
of its disciplinary action. The appeals court held that the trial court could impose damages of
$2,250 for 225 days spent in segregation. The court noted that although prison officials had
information tending to implicate the prisoner in an assault, they took no action until after the
civil complaint had been received. (Iowa State Penitentiary)

U.S. District Court
CLASSACTION

Hancock y. Thalacker. 933 F.Supp. 1449 (N.D.lowa 1996). Prisoners sued a warden and other
prison officials alleging that being disciplined for filing grievances containing false or
defamatory statements violated their constitutional right to petition for the redress of
grievances. The district court refused to certify the suit as a class action but denied summary
judgment for the defendants, allowing the inmates to pursue their claims for declaratory and
injunctive relief. The court found that disciplining inmates for false or defamatory statements
in grievances based on less than a preponderance. or greater weight, of evidence that the
inmate lmowingly made such statements, would violate an inmate's right of petition. The court
also found that an inmate's rights would also be violated if the inmate were not provided with
notice of the burden of proof to sustain the charge. The court noted that interference with an
inmate's "kite," which was the routine means of direct communication with the warden. would
constitute a chilling of the inmate's right to petition for redress of grievances. (Iowa Men's
Reformatory)

U.S. Appeals Court
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Harris v. Chapman. 97 F.3d 499 (11th Cir. 1996). A Rastafarian inmate brought a §
1983 action against officers of a "closed custody" facility alleging that they forcibly ·
removed him from his cell and had his hair cut while beating him and using racial slurs. The
district court jury exonerated five defendants but awarded $500 in punitive damages against
the sixth. The appeals court held that evidence supported the punitive damages award against
the sixth officer. The officer allegedly kicked and beat the inmate, snapped his head back with a
towel, "mugged" or slapped him twice in the face, and harassed him with several racial epithets
and other taunts. The court also held that Florida's hair length rule does not violate the First
Amendment or RFRA. (Martin Correctional Institution, Florida)

U.S. Appeals Court
REMEDIES
QUALIFIED

Jensen v. Clarke. 94 F.3d 1191 (8th Cir. 1996). State prison inmates brought a§ 1983
action against prison officials alleging that randomly assigning new inmates to double
cells substantially increased the risk of violence by cellmates. On remand from an
appeal of a remedial plan, the district court ruled that prison officials had actual
lmowledge of and disregarded a substantial risk of safety to inmates posed by random cell
assignments. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the practice was cruel and unusual
punishment and noting that this suit was a failure-to-protect case focusing on the manner of
assigning new inmates to cells, rather than a prison crowding case. The court found that cruel
and unusual punishment was established by evidence that demonstrated the increased number
of inmates found guilty of violent offenses, the number of inmates requesting protective custody,
and anecdotal evidence of violence from prisoners. The appeals court held that prison officials
were entitled to qualified immunity in their individual capacities in light of the diversity of
precedent on the need for classifying cellmates. The appeals court found that a district court
injunction which required prison officials to use available classification information to
determine cellmate compatibility was a proper remedy, after officials chose to take a premature
appeal rather than remedy the constitutional violation. The appeals court held that the
Eleventh Amendment did not bar the award of attomey fees as an ancillary to prospective relief
and that limits on fee awards under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (Pl.RA) did not apply
retroactively. The court found that reductions used to make a lodestar award of attomey fees
were not abuses of discretion. The court had used a 10% reduction of the number of hours
sought by the attomeys, while the state had requested a 50% reduction. The court had also
made a 15% reduction of attomey fees for partial success despite the state's request for a 75%
reduction. noting that the inmates had prevailed on the primary claim that the prison was
unsafe.
(Nebraska State Penitentiary)

IMMUNITY

U.S. District Court

FAILURE TO PROTECT

Lacy v. Berge, 921 F.Supp. 600 (E.D.Wis. 1996). An inmate filed a suit seeking injunctive relief
and monetary damages for alleged violation of his civil rights. The district court held that a
prison guard did not act with deh'berate indifference toward a serious risk of harm faced by the
inmate, even assuming that the guard watched a fight briefly and did not intervene. The
inmate claimed his attacker was armed with a shampoo brush with which he was beating him
unconscious, the inmate did not establish that the fight was readily preventable or that it
would have been reasonable for the guard t.o have tried t.o st.op the fight, or that the guard
acting alone could have ended the fight any sooner. The court also held that the alleged failure
of prison officials t.o investigate the fight thoroughly and t.o refer the attacking inmate t.o the
district attorney for criminal prosecution did not violate the inmate's constitutional rights, as
the inmate suffered no harm from the nonprosecution of his attacker. The court found that the
attacking inmate was not subject to suit under § 1983. (Fe>% Lake Corr. Institution, Wisconsin)

27.81

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED

IMMUNITY

Mathie v. Fries, 935 F.Supp. 1284 (E.D.N.Y. 1996). A former inmate of a cowity
correctional facility brought an action llgainst the facility's Director of Security alleging
that the direct.or sexually abused him while he was confined as a pretrial detainee. The
district court ent.ered judgment for the inmate, finding that evidence was sufficient t.o
support findings that the director repeatedly sexually abused the inmate and that the
direct.or sodomized the inmate while he was handcuffed t.o pipes in the security office.
The court fowid that these acts violated the inmate's due process rights and that the direct.or
was not qualifiedly immune from § 1983 claims, awarding c:ompensat.ory damages of $250,000
and pnnitive damages of $500,000. 'lhe court noted that evidence showed that the inmate
sustained physical injury t.o his anal area and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a
result of sexual abuse by the direct.or. The court called the direct.or"s action an outrageous abuse
of power and authority. (Suffolk County Correctional Facility, New York)
Sisneros v. Nix. 95 F.3d 749 (8th Cir. 1996). A prisoner incarcerated in an Arizona
facility sued Iowa prison officials alleging First Amendment violations as a result of his
retaliat.ory transfer. The district court granted summary judgment t.o the inmate on a
damage claim but the appeals court reversed in part and remanded. The appeals court found
that the officials were entitled t.o qualified immunity. (Iowa State Penitentiary)

U.S. District Court
QUAIJFIED
IMMUNITY

Warren v. Keane, 937 F.Supp. 301 (S.D.N.Y. 1996). Prisoners brought a§ 1983 action
against prison officials alleging that their exposure t.o environmental t.obacco smoke
(ETS) violated their Eighth Amendment rights. The district court denied the defendants'
motion for summary judgment, finding a fact question as t.o whether the level of smoke
permeating the prison was so severe as t.o be a danger t,o the health of prisoners. The court also
found that a fact question as t.o whether a prison corrections officer and fire and safety officer
were entitled t.o qualified immunity precluded summary judgment. The court ruled that
supervisors did not have qualified immunity because they were chargeable with the knowledge
of the conditions of the prison and with the knowledge that second-hand smoke could cause
serious health problems. The prisoners alleged that smoke permeated the facility due t.o
underenforcement, inadequate smoking rules. overcrowding, and poor ventilation. (Ossining
State Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. District Court
PERSONAL LlABILITY

Webb v. Lawrence Cowity. 950 F.Supp. 960 (D.S.D. 1996). A prisoner sued county
correctional officials alleging civil rights violations under§ 1983 and common-law
negligence, seeking compensat.ory and punitive damages in connection with a sexual assault by
another prisoner. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants and
dismissed the negligence and punitive damages claims. The court ruled that the incarceration of
the plaintiff in the same cell as a prisoner who sexually assaulted him did not give rise t.o a
cause of action against corrections officials under § 1983. The court found that the officials had
no reason t.o be aware and were not in fact aware of an excessive risk t.o the plaintiffs health or
safety, noting that the prisoner who committed the assault had assaulted no other prisoners
while incarcerated nor had the plaintiff notified officials of his fear of his cellmate or of any
assaults witil he had been assaulted for four straight days. The court also fowid that under
South Dakota law, the purchase of liability insurance by the cowity on behalf of prison officials
did not waive the officials' statut.ory immunity from personal liability for negligence. (Lawrence
Cowity Jail, South Dakota)

1997
U.S. District Court
42 USCA Sec. 1983
RICO-Racket.eer Infl.
& Corrupt Organ. Act

Alley v. Angelone. 962 F.Supp. 827 (E.D.Va. 1997). Prisoners brought a civil rights
action against corrections officials and the district court dismissed the case. The court
found that the prisoners could not recover wider the civil remedies section of the
Racket.eer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) where they did not allege
that they were injured in their business. The court held that the prisoners did not have a
constitutional right to prison work assignments or a constitutionally protected interest m
continued prison employment. The prisoners also failed to state a § 1985 claim with their
allegations that corrections officials engaged in a conspiracy t.o wider-staff facilities and t.o
incite riots. The court fowid that due process was not required before a prison lockdown, as
lockdowns were within the normal range of incarceration. (Virginia Department of Corrections)

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

Benjamin v. Jacobson. 124 F.3d 162 (2nd Cir. 1997). Prison officials who had entered

int.o a consent decree governing conditions at New York City jails moved for the
i:mrnediate t.ermination of those decz-ees wider the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA).
Pretrial detainees opposed the motion. The district court vacated the decrees and the
detainees appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part and reversed in part, finding
that the PLRA's consent decree termination provision did not violate the separation of powers
principle. equal protection or due process. The court fowid, however, that the provision refers to
constitutional termination of federal remedies arising out of consent decrees, but does not
mandate the t.ermination of the decrees them.selves. The court also found that the PLRA
provision made only the nonfederal aspects of a consent decree unenforceable by federal courts;
nonfederal provisions remained binding but could only be enforced by state courts. (New York
City Department of Correction)

27.82

U.S. Supreme Court
MUNICIPAL LIABILITY
42 USCA SEC. 1983

Board of County Com'rs. of Bryan County, Ok.ls. v. Brown, 117 S.Ct. 1382 (1997).
Respondent Jill Brown brought a claim for damages against petitioner Bryan County
under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. She alleged that a county police officer used excessive force
in arresting her, and that the county itself was liable for her injuries based on its sheriffs
hiring and training decisions. She prevailed on her claims against the county following a jury
trial, and the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgment against the county
on the basis of the hiring claim alone. The United States Supreme Court held that the Court of
Appeals' decision "cannot be squared with our recognition that, in enacting Sec. 1983, Congress
did not intend to impose liability on a municipality unless deliberate action attributable to the
municipality itself is the 'moving force' behind the plaintiffs deprivation of federal rights."
(Bryan County, Oklahoma)

U.S. District Court
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
FAILURE TO PROTECT

Carrigan v. State of Del., 957 F.Supp. 1376 (D.Del. 1997). A female inmate brought a
civil rights action against prison officials and a guard as the result of an alleged rape by
the guard. The district court found that the inmate did not establish deliberate
indifference by prison officials where the officials had a policy forbidding sexual contact
between correctional officers and inmates, the alleged rapist had received a total of 64 hours of
training, and the inmate offered no expert opinion to rebut an expert report that the training
was adequate. The court found that prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity. The
court noted that the inmate's transfer to protective custody following her alleged rape by a
guard did not show deliberate indifference but, rather, showed the prison officials' attentiveness
to her condition as they were aware that her claims put her at risk of attack by other inmates.
The court found that the inmate failed to establish an Eighth Amendment violation through
evidence of other incidents because nearly all of those incidents occurred aft.er the alleged rape,
and those which occurred prior took place at a different institution or were unsubstantiated by
the inmate involved. However, the court found that the inmate had stated a claim based on
gross or wanton negligence, or bad faith, against the guard. (Delaware Department of
Correction)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREEMODIFICATION
CONTEMPI'

Carty v. Farrelly, 957 F.Supp. 727 (D.Virgin Islands 1997). Detainees and inmates
housed in a criminal justice complex asked the court to find officials in civil contempt of
a consent decree. The district court found that the consent decree comported with the
principles of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) because it was narrowly drawn,
extended no further than necessary to correct the violation of federal rights, and was the least
intrusive means necessary to correct the violations. The court found the officials in contempt for
failing to comply with the terms of the consent decree, and continued noncompliance with a
court order requiring officials to pay detainees' and inmates' attorney fees. The officials
admitted they never fully complied with the order and failed to make meaningful progress
toward reducing the inmate population. The officials had paid only $50,000 of the $155,000
attorney fees that the court had ordered paid to the National Prison Project of the American
Civil Liberties Union. (Criminal Justice Complex, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands)

U:S. Appeals Court
Doby v. Hickerson, 120 F.3d 111 (8th Cir. 1997). A former prisoner brought a§ 1983
DAMAGES
action alleging that a psychiatrist and other corrections personnel violated his due
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY process rights by administering antipsychotic medications to him without his consent.
The district court awarded the prisoner $9,500 in compensatory damages and the defendants
appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the psychiatrist was only qualifiedly immune
for a portion of the treatments in question, and that the record supported the amount of
damages awarded. According to the court, the psychiatrist should have known of the Supreme
Court's Harper decision when she met with the prisoner three weeks aft.er it was handed down,
and she was therefore not entitled to qualified immunity for administrations that occurred
thereafter. The court noted that the prisoner was afforded virtually no procedural protections,
and experienced severe side effects that continued for weeks aft.er the medications were
discontinued. (ADC Special Programs Unit, Arkansas)
U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Downey v. Denton County, Tex., 119 F.3d 381 (5th Cir. 1997). An inmate who was
sexually assaulted by an employee of a county sheriffs department sued the county and
jail officials and employees under§ 1983 and the Texas Tort Claims Act, alleging they were
negligent in failing to prevent the assault. The district court entered judgment for all
defendants on the § 1983 claim, and entered judgment for the inmate on the remaining claims.
The district court held the county liable for $100,000 and the assailant liable for $1 million. The
county and inmate appealed. The appeals court affirmed as amended, finding that the inmate's
tort claim did not "arise out of' the assailant's intentional tort but rather from a co-employee's
negligence. The assailant left his post and went to the women's unit and asked another officer
to have the plaintiff brought from her cell to repair a short tear in his uniform pants. The
employee explained that the plaintiff was not a trustee and it was customary for trustees to
repair guards' uniforms. Although the employee thought the assailant's request was strange,
she did not call her supervisor and instead brought the plaintiff down to repair the uniform as
requested by the assailant. Although the employee initially remained with the plaintiff and
assailant aft.er admitting them to a multipurpose room, she eventually left them unsupervised
for nearly two hours. (Denton County Jail, Texas)
·

27.83

U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
NEGLIGENT
RETENTION
FAILURE TO PROTECT

Esta.t.e of Davis by Ostenfeld. v. Delo. 115 F.3d 1388 (8th Cir. 1997). A state inmate
brought a § 1983 action against correctional officers and prison administrators alleging
the use of excessive force when he was removed from his cell. The district court entered
judgment against the defendants and they appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding
that evidence supported the determination that a correctional officer used excessive force
against the inmate in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The court also found that
evidence supported the determination that other officers and a supervisor were liable for
failing to protect the inmate from the use of excessive force, and that the prison
superintendent's failure to investigate or take remedial action subjected him to liability. The
court held that qualified immunity was not available to the defendants, and that punitive
damages were warranted against the correctional officer and prison superintendent. The inmate
alleged that the correctional officer struck him in the head and face 20 to 25 times while four
other officers were restraining his limbs, after the inmate had complied with an order to lie face
down on the floor without resistance. The district court had found that the inmate sustained
serious injuries and that the correctional officer used force maliciously and sadistically for the
purpose of causing the inmate harm. The prison superintendent had authorized an
investigation into the correctional officer's failure to report the use of force, was advised that
the officer should be discharged because of persistent complaints, but took no responsive action.
The district court had awarded $10,000 in compensatory damages against seven defendants
jointly and severally, and awarded punitive damages in the amount of $5,000 each against the
correctional officer and the supervisor. (Potosi Correctional Center, Missouri)

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

Gavin v. Branstad. 122 F.3d 1081 (8th Cir. 1997). After a consent decree was entered in
an action challenging conditions in a state prison, and after the subsequent
enactment of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLR.A), a state moved to terminate
prospective relief. The district court denied the motion, declaring unconstitutional the
"immediate termination" provisions of PLRA. The appeals court reversed and remanded,
holding that the provisions did not violate the separation of powers doctrine, equal protection,
or due process. The court noted that the nature of a remedy to be applied in the future is not
established in perpetuity upon approval of a consent decree. Oowa State Prison)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED

Holt Bonding Co.• Inc. v. Nichols, 988 F.Supp. 1232 (W.D.Ark. 1997). A bail bond company
brought a § 1983 action against a sheriff, alleging that the sheriff violated its due process
rights by effectively suspending its license. The district court concluded that the company
had proven the essential elements of its § 1983 claim and ordered the parties to advise the
court about possible damages. The court found that the sherifrs action, suspending the
company's authority to issue bonds in the county, was equivalent to suspending the company's
license and that the sheriff was not entitled to qualified immunity because a reasonable official
would have lmown that refusing to accept all bonds written by the company without notice or a
hearing violated the company's clearly established rights. The court noted that the sheriff had
not given the company adequate notice by simply telling one of its bail bondsmen that the
county would no longer accept bonds from the company. (Sheriff of Nichols County, Arkansas)

IMMUNITY

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

Inmates of Suffolk County Jail v. Rouse, 129 F.3d 649 (1st Cir. 1997). A sheriff moved to
terminate a 1979 consent decree pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The
decree arose from a class action challenging conditions of confinement. The district court
granted the sheriffs motion in part, but denied the Massachusetts Commission of
Correction's motion to vacate the decree. The appeals court held that PLRA did not violate
the separation of powers principle, the detainees' due process rights, or the detainees' equal
protection rights. The appeals court found that PLRA mandates the termination of extant
consent decrees unless the district court makes specific findings that are necessary to keep a
particular decree alive. The court also found that the district court was not required to conduct
an inquiry into whether violation of a federal right currently existed, or would come into
existence, before it terminated a consent decree governing confinement conditions for pretrial
detainees. The district court determined that double-bunking of the county jail's pretrial
detainees did not violate the federal rights of detainees, given that such conduct, in and of
itself, was not a constitutional violation. (Suffolk County Jail, Massachusetts)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREEMODIFICATION
ADA-Americans with
Disabilities Act

Jensen v. County of Lake, 958 F.Supp. 397 (N.D.Ind. 1997). A county filed a motion to
tenninate a consent decree and judgment order through the provisions of the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The district court held that Congress could, through the
Prison Litigation Reform Act, modify the authority of a court to award relief greater
than that required by federal law, and thus the PLRA section providing for immediate
termination of prospective consent decrees in pending cases did not violate the separation of
powers doctrine, nor did retroactive application of the section. The court also found that PLRA
did not violate equal protection. However, the court found that inmates had adequately alleged
that overcrowding made it difficult for jail personnel to ensure the safety of inmates and
therefore further proceedings were necessary before the district court could terminate the
consent judgment. The court held that PLRA does not violate the separation of powers doctrine,
even though by altering prospective relief PLRA makes futile the careful negotiations that have
gone into crafting a consent decree, the parties' strategy to save time and effort in litigating,
and compromises made in exchange for giving up risk. According to the court, even if a consent
27.84

decree in prison reform litigation was a "contract" for the purposes of the contract clause,
Congress did not act irrationally or arbitrarily when it enacted PLRA and therefore did not
impermissibly impair contract rights. The initial lawsuit was filed in 1974 on behalf of inmates
of the Lake County Jail and a consent decree was entered in 1980. Two years later the
defendants admitted that they had not complied and a broader and more detailed agreement
was entered, encompassed in a judgment order in 1982. Since then, the district court has
maintained continuing supervision over the operation of the jail in order to enforce the 1980
decree and the 1982 judgment. (Lake County Jail, Indiana)
U.S. District Court
REMEDIES
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

Jones v. City and County of San Francisco, 976 F.Supp. 896 (N.D.Cal. 1997). Pretrial
detainees brought a class action against the City and County of San Francisco and various
city officials challenging the constitutionality of their conditions of confinement at a jail.
The district court granted various summary judgment motions filed by the plaintiffs and
the defendants, enjoining future overcrowding based on past unconstitutional overcrowding.
The court found due process violations based on the defendants' inadequate response to fire
safety risks at the jail, excessive risks of harm from earthquakes, physical defects in the jail's
water, plumbing and sewage systems, excessive noise levels, and poor lighting. The court held
that the plaintiffs failed to show deliberate indifference or another basis for liability on the
claims of current overcrowding, inadequate food preparation and storage, provision of medical
services, personal visitation, hours and accessibility of legal visitation, legal materials and
assistance, and outdoor recreation. The court noted that pretrial detainees enjoy the greater
protections afforded by the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause, rather than the Eighth
Amendment's protection against cruel and unusual punishment. The district court stated it
would assume that any unreasonable failure of the defendants to remedy obvious deficiencies in
the jail constituted deliberate indifference based on a Special Master's findings that the
defendant officials had actual and constructive knowledge of every significant deficiency in the
jail for several years. This was evidenced by newspaper accounts, grand jury reports,
defendants' own written correspondence, and repeated proposal of bond measures to finance
improvements.
The court concluded that development and implementation of a narrowly tailored remedial
plan was an appropriate remedy, and that the plan was to address each condition that was
found unconstitutional including fire safety, seismic safety, water, plumbing, sewage, noise,
lighting and overcrowding. (San Francisco Jail No. 3, California)

U.S. District Court
PRIVATE PROVIDER

McDuffie v. Hopper, 982 F.Supp. 817 (M.D.Ala. 1997). The son of a prisoner who committed
suicide while in the custody of a state department of corrections sued corrections officials,
private party doctors, and health care providers under § 1983. The son alleged wrongful death
caused by negligence, indifference, or recklessness and malpractice. The district court denied
summary judgment for the private party doctors and mental health care providers. The court
determined that although these parties were government contractors, they were performing at
their own behest motivated by a desire to make a profit, rather than at the behest of the
sovereign government. The court found that genuine issues of material fact regarding whether
treatment received by the prisoner was deliberately indifferent precluded summary judgment.
The prisoner had tried to commit suicide at least four times and was receiving large doses of a
psychotropic drug. The prisoner requested that all personal items be removed from his cell
because his hallucinations were intensifying and made statements to prison personnel about
suicide or self harm. But despite these reports of suicidal thoughts a decision was made to
discontinue his psychotropic medication. He was placed in an isolation cell, which the court
suggested might not have been the proper situation for his treatment. Although the prisoner
complained about the discontinuation of his medication, he was not appropriately visited by the
medical defendants and was not transferred from the isolation cell. He committed suicide by
hanging himself with a bedsheet tied to the bars of his isolation cell. (Kilby Correctional
Facility, Alabama, and Correctional Medical Services, Inc.)

U.S. District Court
FEDERAL TORT
CLAIMS ACT

Melvin v. U.S., 963 F.Supp. 1052 (D.Kan. 1997). A pro se inmate brought an action
against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act for loss of personal
property from his cell. The district court denied summary judgment for the defendants,
finding that once a federal prison officer agreed to lock the inmate's cell, the officer had a duty
to act with reasonable care, and that fact issues as to whether the officer met that duty
precluded summary judgment. The inmate alleged that the officer negligently unlocked his
prison cell, allowing other prisoners to enter and take his belongings. The inmate valued the
missing property at $226.30. (United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas)

U.S. District Court
SUPERVISORY LIA-

Mitchell v. Keane, 974 F.Supp. 332 (S.D.N.Y. 1997). A prisoner brought a civil rights
action against prison officials alleging that they inflicted pain on him by twisting a
baton in his chains while he was shackled. The district court found that the prisoner's
allegations stated a civil rights claim for excessive use of force, and that the prisoner's
allegation that a sergeant was present at the time of the incident stated a claim of supervisory
liability. (Sing Sing Correctional Facility, New York)

BILITY

27.85

U.S. District Court
Nelson v. Prison Health Services, Inc., 991 F.Supp. 1452 (M.D.Fla. 1997). The personal
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY representative of an inmate who died of an acute myocardial infarction while awaiting
PRIVATE PROVIDER
trial in a county jail brought a § 1983 action against a county, county sheriff, the private
company that provided medical services to the jail, and individual nurses employed by the
company. The district court held that the sheriff was protected from individual liability under
the qualified immunity doctrine, but that the nurses were not entitled to raise a defense of
qualified immunity even though they were considered state actors under § 1983. The court held
that the evidence was sufficient to establish that the nurses were deliberately indifferent to the
inmate's medical needs and failed to provide treatment. According to the court, the nurses
delayed giving the inmate her prescription medication for her cardiac condition for 36 hours,
failed to verify her medications after she disclosed them to the screening nurse, failed to
examine the inmate when she complained of chest pains, and failed to call for an emergency
response team until the inmate had stopped breathing. The court held that reports of a court
appointed monitor regarding the pervasive failure of the private medical service company to
provide medical care to the inmates of the county jail, and the company's own internal
memoranda characterizing the attitude of the nurses at the jail as one of deliberate
indifference, were sufficient to establish a custom of violating inmates' constitutional rights to
medical trea1ment. (Pinellas County Jail, Florida)
U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Newman v. Hohnes, 122 F.3d 650 (8th Cir. 1997). Two state inmates brought a § 1983
action against a corrections officer alleging Eighth Amendment violations as the result
of the officer"s failure to protect them from an attack by another prisoner. A district court jury
returned a verdict for the inmates, awarding each $500 damages. The appeals court affirmed,
fmding that evidence supported the fmding that the officer's act of opening the door to the cell
of an inmate in isolated confmement created an excessive risk of harm to the other inmates,
and that evidence supported the fmding that the officer was deliberately indifferent to such
risk. (Tucker Maximum Security Unit, Arkansas)

U.S. Supreme Court
42 USCA SEC. 1983
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY
PRIVATE OPERA1'0R

Richardson v. McKnight, 117 S.Ct. 2100 (1997). McKnight, a prisoner at a Tennessee
correctional center whose management had been privatized, filed an action under 42
U.S.C. Sec. 1983 for physical injuries inflicted by petitioner prison guards. The District
Court denied McKnight's motion to dismiss, finding that, since the guards were employed by a
private prison management firm, they were not entitled to qualified immunity from Sec. 1983
lawsuits. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court held that prison guards employed
by a private firm are not entitled to qualified immunity from suit by prisoners charging a Sec.
1983 violation.

U.S. Appeals Court
DELIBERATE
INDIFFENCE
FAILURE 1'0 PROTECT
FAILURE1'0
SUPERVISE

Scott v. Moore, 114 F.3d 51 (5th Cir. 1997). A pretrial detainee who alleged she was
sexually assaulted by a correctional officer brought a§ 1983 action against a city and its
police chief. The district court entered summary judgment for the defendants, but the
appeals court remanded the case on the claim of inadequate staffmg. On remand, the
district court again entered summary judgment for the defendants and the detainee
appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded. On rehearing en bane, the court of
appeals affirmed, holding that the detainee met the burden or establishing a constitutional
violation but that the city's failure to adopt a policy of adding jail staff did not constitute
deliberat.e indifference. According to the majority of the appeals court, there was no showing
that the city had actual knowledge that its staffing policy created a substantial risk of hann to
female detainees. As a condition of employment, jailers underwent background investigations,
medical examinations and polygraph tests, none of which revealed any concerns about the jailer
who allegedly sexually assaulted the detainee. The majority noted that the jailer had been a
commissioned police officer for four years prior to his employment with the jail, without
incident, and that he had been trained in the official policies of jail management by experienced
jailers. The detainee had been arrested for public intoxication, assault and resisting arrest, and
was taken to a city jail, processed by a female jailer who was on duty at the time, and placed in
a holding cell pending arraignment. A male jailer subsequently replaced the female officer,
entered the detainee's cell, and sexually assaulted her repeatedly during the course of his eighthour shift. The jailer resigned and pleaded guilty to criminal charges. The majority of the
appeals court rejected the detainee's argument that constitutionally adequate staffmg would
have included, at a minimum, a female jail officer, or at least two male officers, whenever a
female pretrial detainee is in custody. The majority noted that the jail is located on the first
floor of the police department, in the patrol division area, and a patrol duty sergeant
periodically checks on jail personnel. However, four appeals judges dissented, suggesting that
the city's policy of inadequate staffmg enabled the harm to be committed and actually
facilitated the sexual assault. While the majority asserted that the assault was episodic--by
definition incidental or occasional, rather than regular and systematic. The minority argued
that the long established custom of inadequate staffmg was far from episodic, and that the city
only offered financial justifications for its staffmg policy. In the dissenting opinion, the judges
stated they were unwilling to "classify the issues in this case as 'minutia.'" (City of Killeen
Police Department, Texas)

27.86

U.S. Appeals Court
GOVERNMENTAL
LIABILITY

Triplett v. District of Columbia, 108 F.3d 1450 (D.C.Cir. 1997). A prisoner sued the
District of Columbia alleging he was injured by correctional officers. The district court
awarded the prisoner $135,000 in compensatory damages after finding that the District was liable
for negligence, assault and battery and for the use of excessive force in violation of the Eight
Amendment. The prisoner's neck was broken as a result of the assault by staff. The District
appealed and the appeals court affirmed in part and reversed in part. The appeals court held that
evidence sustained the determination that the correctional officers had committed assault and
battery for which the District could be held liable, but that the alleged practice of excessive force
by correctional officers was not part of a policy of the District for the purposes of establishing
municipal liability. The court held that even if low-level supervisors covered up other alleged
incidents of excessive force through falsified disciplinary reports, that practice would actually
reduce the likelihood that policymakers would learn of the practice. (District of Columbia
Occoquan Facility, Lorton, Virginia)

U.S. Appeals Court
NEGLIGENCE

Walker v. Reed, 104 F.3d 156 (8th Cir. 1997). A state prisoner brought a civil rights suit
to recover for injuries sustained from a fall in a bathroom. The district court dismissed the case
as frivolous and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the complaint,
which alleged only negligence, lacked an arguable basis in law and was properly dismissed as
frivolous. The prisoner had alleged that he slipped and fell because of water on the floor in the
prison barracks bathroom, injuring his arm and shoulder. The prisoner asserted that the water
had accumulated on the floor because of leaks from the shower wall and from the sinks.
(Cummins Unit, Arkansas Department of Correction)

U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Williams v. Brimeyer, 116 F.3d 351 (8th Cir. 1997). A prison inmate brought a§ 1983
action against a deputy warden and mail room clerk, alleging they violated his First
Amendment free exercise rights by twice denying him materials sent by the Church of
Jesus Christ Christian (CJCC). The district court awarded the inmate $1 in compensatory
damages and $500 punitive damages from each of the two defendants. The appeals court affirmed,
finding that a blanket ban on CJCC materials··without review of their individual contents··was
unconstitutional and that punitive damages were warranted. According to the court, the inmate
had a right to receive materials mailed to him by the Church of Jesus Christ Christian (CJCC),
even though those materials expressed racist and separatist views, because the materials did not
counsel violence and there was no evidence that they ever caused a disruption. The court found
that the deputy warden and mail room clerk were "callously indifferent" to the inmate's First
Amendment free exercise rights, warranting punitive damages. The deputy warden knew that the
blanket ban on CJCC materials was unconstitutional when the materials were first withheld, and
the clerk did not consult a list naming CJCC materials as approved because she believed the
blanket ban remained in effect, despite her knowledge that the ban was unconstitutional. (Iowa
Men's Reformatory)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGERS
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Wilson v. Philadelphia Detention Center, 986 F.Supp. 282 (E.D.Pa. 1997). An inmate
brought a § 1983 action against corrections officials alleging they had used excessive force
and violated his due process rights by placing him in administrative segregation. A jury ruled
against the three defendants and they moved for judgment as a matter of law. The district court
held that evidence supported the jury verdict against members of the prison disciplinary board
and supported the award of punitive damages. The court upheld the jury's award of punitive
damages in the amount of $5,000. The inmate was held in administrative segregation for ten days
without a determination of guilt on charges that he violated prison disciplinary rules, although
prison regulations required a hearing within three days. (Philadelphia Detention Center,
Pennsylvania)

U.S. Appeals Court
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
FAILURE TO PROTECT

Woods v. Lecureux, 110 F.3d 1215 (6th Cir. 1997). A murdered inmate's mother brought
a§ 1983 action against prison officials alleging violation of the inmate's Eighth
Amendment rights. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants
and the mother appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.
The appeals court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by excluding from
evidence all materials from ongoing litigation challenging prison conditions in Michigan, or by
prohibiting an expert witness from using the term "deliberately indifferent" to describe the
defendants' conduct. According to the court, the use of the term "deliberately indifferent" by the
expert attempted to tell the jury what result to reach and ran the risk of interfering with jury
instructions. The court held that the issue of whether an official acted with deliberate indifference
depended on that official's state of mind, of which the expert witness had no knowledge. However,
the appeals court held that genuine issues of material fact precluded summary judgment for a
deputy warden but that there was insufficient evidence to support the imposition of liability
against the deputy warden. <state Prison of Southern Michigan)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREEMODIFICATION

Wyatt By And Through Rawlins v. Rogers, 985 F.Supp. 1356 (M.D.Ala. 1997). The state
commissioner of mental health and mental retardation moved to have a federal court find
that the state had complied with the provisions of a consent decree and to terminate the prior
lawsuit. The class action plaintiffs moved to enforce the decree. The district court granted partial
release from the provisions of the decree but did not release the state from mental retardation
standards. According to the court, accreditation of state mental health facilities by the Joint
27.87

Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO), and certification of the
facilities through Title XIX of the Social Security Act, did not establish compliance with minimum
constitutional standards which govern the treatment of patients at such facilities. Wabama
Mental Health and Mental Retardation System).
1998

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE
DAMAGES

Arroyo Lopez v. Nuttall, 25 F.Supp.2d 407 (S.D.N.Y. 1998). A Muslim inmate brought a§ 1983
action against a corrections officer alleging violation of his First Amendment right to freedom
of religion. The district court found that the officer violated the inmate's right to freedom of
religion and held that the officer was not entitled to qualified immunity. The court awarded
compensatory damages of $2,000 and punitive damages of $5,000. The court found that the officer
violated the inmate's right by shoving him and disrupting his prayer, acted without justification
or provocation, and his actions were not reasonably related to any legitimate penological
objectives. The court concluded that a reasonable officer would have known that he could not
shove the inmate and disrupt his prayer when he was praying quietly during quiet time without
disturbing others. The court awarded compensatory damages, even though the inmate was not
physically injured and his emotional anguish was minimal. The court found punitive damages
were appropriate because the officer, at the least, acted recklessly and with callous indifference to
the inmate's rights, the officer had been embroiled in a "running battle" with Muslim inmates,
and the officer was simply wrong about the ability of inmates to pray quietly during quiet time.
(Downstate Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Ayers y,_ Ryan, 152 F.3d 77 (2nd Cir. 1998). A prison inmate who had been the
subject of a prison disciplinary proceeding brought a § 1983 action against a
hearing officer and a facility superintendent, alleging violation of his due process rights. The
district court dismissed the case, but the appeals court vacated the decision and remanded the
case. The appeals court held that the failure of the hearing officer to provide any assistance or to
obtain the testimony of witnesses requested by the inmate violated the inmate's due process
rights. The appeals court denied qualified immunity to the hearing officer because the right in
question was clearly established at the time of the hearing. According of the court, the decision of
the inmate to have the hearing officer assist him, rather than a properly appointed assistant, did
not result in a waiver of the inmate's due process right to pre-hearing assistance. (Southport
Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO TRAIN

Barney y,_ Pulsipher, 143 F.3d 1299 (10th Cir. 1998). Two female former inmates
who were sexually assaulted by a jailer each brought a § 1983 action against jailer, county, sheriff
and county commissioners based on their assault and other conditions of confinement. The actions
were consolidated and all defendants except the jailer were granted summary judgment by the
district court. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the county was not liable on the grounds of
failure to train or inadequate hiring. The court held that the inmates did not show that the
training received by the jailer was deficient and that even if it was, the sexual assault of the
inmates was not plainly the obvious consequence of a deficient training program. The court noted
that the sheriff should not have been expected to conclude that the jailer was highly likely to
inflict sexual assault on female inmates if he was hired as a correctional officer.
The court found that the sheriff and commissioners did not violate the inmates' rights by
permitting the jailer to be the sole guard on duty in the county jail. The court noted that
permitting a single officer to be on duty when a second jailer was sick or on vacation did not
impose liability on the county, where there were no previous incidents of sexual harassment or
assault of female inmates that would have given notice to the county that its one-jailer policy
would result in injuries. The court also noted that the sheriff acknowledged problems with
crowding and inadequate monitoring, and its inability to house female inmates for extended
periods of time. The county contracted out female inmates to neighboring jails that had better
facilities and limited confinement of female inmates to 24-36 hours whenever possible.
According to the appeals court the inmates failed to establish an equal protection claim. The
court also found that the sheriff and commissioners did not act with deliberate indifference to the
female inmates' health and safety with regard to conditions of confinement. The inmates'
allegations regarding a filthy cell, inadequate lighting and ventilation, lack of enclosure around a
shower, unappetizing food, and lack of access to recreational facilities, did not rise to the level of a
constitutional violation given that the inmates were confined for only 48 hours. (Box Elder County
Jail, Utah)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE
FAILURE TO
TRAIN
NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION

Bednar v. County of Schuylkill, 29 F.Supp.2d 250 (E.D.Pa. 1998). A county prison
inmate brought a § 1983 suit against a prison physician and others alleging
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, negligent hiring, negligent
supervision and medical negligence. The district court granted summary judgment
in favor of the defendants. The court held that the physician's failure to diagnose
the inmate's hip fracture and failure to order an x-ray was not deliberate
indifference to the inmate's serious medical needs, where there was no evidence that
the doctor recognized the inmate's need for an x·ray and refused to order it, or that the doctor
possessed the requisite mental intent to sustain a deliberate indifference claim. The court held
that the county was not liable to the inmate for failing to adequately screen him before hiring him,
27.88

even though the physician had five previous medical malpractice actions filed against him, and
had his staff privileges suspended at one hospital based upon "chart delinquency." The court noted
that the previous actions had been settled or dismissed, the physician was licensed to practice
medicine in the state, and he had experience as an emergency room physician as well as a prison
physician in two state correctional facilities. The court also held that the county prison warden
was not liable to the inmate for failing to supervise the doctor, even though the warden failed to
provide the doctor with a copy of the prison's written policies regarding medical treatment, and
the warden had knowledge of four accident reports concerning the inmate. (Schuylkill County
Prison, Pennsylvania)
U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Berry v-' Oswalt, 143 F.3d 1127 (8th Cir. 1998). A female inmate at a state
corrections center who was allegedly raped by one correctional officer and sexually harassed by a
second officer, brought a§ 1983 action against corrections officials. The district court granted
summary judgment for a warden and director of corrections, but entered judgment against other
officials, awarding reduced damages. The inmate and an officer appealed. The appeals court found
that the inmate was entitled to damages against the first officer for both outrage and
constitutional violation, and that the finding that a second officer's conduct violated the Eighth
Amendment was supported by evidence. The second officer was found to have harassed the
inmate by attempting to perform non-routine patdown searches, propositioning the inmate, and
making sexual comments. The appeals court reversed the district court's decision to eliminate a
jury award for outrage, ordering the district court to fully effectuate the jury's verdict on remand.
The jury had originally awarded the inmate compensatory damages of $40,000 on her § 1983
claim and $25,000 in compensatory damages on her state tort claim, along with $15,000 in
punitive damages. (Tucker Women's Unit, Arkansas Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Boyce v. Fairman. 24 F.Supp.2d 880 (N.D.Ill. 1998). An inmate who was attacked
by other inmates sued county corrections officials alleging that they failed to protect him and
failed to provide adequate medical care. The district court held that the inmate could pursue his
claim against a corrections director in his official capacity and against lieutenants in their
individual capacity and could seek punitive damages from them. The court held that the inmate
adequately stated a § 1983 action against the director. alleging that it was the practice and policy
of the department to refuse protective custody requested by prisoners who had been beaten by
other inmates, and that it was the practice and policy of officials to deny specialized medical care
to prisoners. The court found that the inmate stated a claim against corrections lieutenants,
alleging that they were aware he was the target of, and vulnerable to assaults by other prisoners,
but failed to take reasonable steps to abate the risk of attack and place him in protective custody.
The inmate also alleged that the lieutenants breached their duty to provide adequate medical
care, which resulted in the total loss of vision in one eye. The inmate had asked to be excused from
"yard" because he was afraid of being attacked. but his request was denied and he was told that
yard was mandatory for all inmates. He was subsequently attacked by several inmates upon
returning from yard on a stairwell leading to the tiers, and was beaten for about twenty minutes.
(Cook County Department of Corrections, Illinois)

U.S. District Court
SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY
PRIVATE PROVIDER

Callaway v. Smith County, 991 F.Supp. 801 (E.D.Tex. 1998). An inmate at a county jail
sued a county and a sheriff alleging mistreatment. The district court held that the
inmate's Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were not violated when he was not
given the correct dosage of medication where there was no evidence that the conduct of
jail personnel evinced deliberate indifference to his condition as opposed to a mistake or simple
negligence. The court held that the inmate's rights were violated because he was not seen by
doctors in a timely manner. According to the court, a state university hospital center, which
provided medical care to inmates in the county jail, had sovereign immunity from a suit by the
inmate claiming improper medical care because the center is an agency of the State of Texas.
(Smith County Jail, Texas)

U.S. District Court
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES

Castle v. Clymer, 15 F.Supp.2d 640 (E.D.Pa. 1998). A state prisoner brought a §
1983 action against prison officials alleging that he was transferred to another
facility in retaliation for exercise of his First Amendment free speech rights. The
district court entered judgment for the prisoner, finding that transferring him based on his
correspondence with a newspaper reporter violated his right to free speech. The court held that
transferring the prisoner because he participated in a preauthorized interview with a reporter
violated his right to procedural due process. as did transferring him based on his activities as
president of an advocacy group for life prisoners. The court found that the prisoner had a free
speech right to send outgoing correspondence to a newspaper reporter, subject to reasonable
prison regulations. The court held that compensatory damages were not warranted for the
prisoner's loss of his position as a para·law library clerk, and that punitive damages were not
warranted because there was no finding that the officials acted with callous indifference or an evil
motive; the court awarded the prisoner nominal damages of $1. The court declined to order the
receiving facility to give the prisoner the same job and the single-cell status the prisoner enjoyed
at the original facility, because the receiving facility was not involved in the constitutional
violations that gave rise to the case. In its decision, the court outlined three tests to determine
whether the prisoner was transferred in retaliation for exercising his constitutional rights: the
"but for" test, the "significant factor" test, and the "narrowly tailored" test. (State Correctional
Institution· Dallas, Pennsylvania)
27.89

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE
CONTEMPT

Chairs v. Burgess, 25 F.Supp.2d 1333 (N.D.Ala. 1998). A county sheriff and county
moved to enforce a consent decree which had been entered in a class action suit
brought by county jail inmates to remedy overcrowding. The district court entered an order
holding the state of Alabama in contempt for violating the consent decree and imposed sanctions.
The appeals court reversed and remanded. On remand, the district court held that the state had
not made reasonable, good faith efforts to comply with the transfer provision of the consent
decree, and therefore a judgment of contempt was appropriate. According to the court, state
corrections officials had not reviewed the consent decree which had been entered 11 years earlier,
even prior to the show cause hearing for this case. The decree called for the state to transfer
county jail inmates to state facilities, which the court found did not happen despite available
space in state prisons and increases in programs to decrease state overcrowding. The court found
that attorneys for the class of inmates and the county were entitled to reasonable attorney fees as
the prevailing parties. (Morgan County Jail and Alabama Department of Corrections)

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

Davis v. District of Columbia, 158 F.3d 1342 (D.C.Cir. 1998). An inmate brought a
§ 1983 action against the District of Columbia and correctional officials, alleging
violation of his right to privacy. The district court dismissed the action, citing the
provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) that prohibits inmates from bring federal
action for a mental or emotional injury suffered while in custody without making a prior showing
of a physical injury. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the fact that the inmate may have
been entitled to nominal damages did not save his action from dismissal under PLRA. The court
noted that PLRA does not prevent actions for injunctions or declaratory judgments in which no
allegation of prior physical injury are made. The inmate had sought compensatory damages,
alleging that officials violated his right of privacy by disclosing his HIV status. The inmate alleged
that he suffered weight loss, appetite loss and insomnia as the result of officials' disclosure of his
status to others. (District of Columbia Central Prison at Lorton, Virginia)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE
CONTEMPT
FINES

Essex County Jail Annex Inmates v. Treffinger, 18 F.Supp.2d 445 (D.N.J. 1998).
Inmates filed a motion to hold county corrections defendants in civil contempt for
noncompliance with a consent decree addressing unconstitutional conditions of
confinement. The district court held that monetary sanctions for civil contempt were not
appropriate in light of the county's efforts to attain full compliance by investing over $200 million
in new facilities and improving existing ones. The court concluded that contempt sanctions would
be counterproductive and would impede the county's efforts to build a new jail. The court held
that it could not consider whether a classification plan satisfied the consent decree until an
independent analysis was conducted. The court noted that the Special Master reported that
staffing was inadequate, and as a result inmates and staff are exposed to danger and other
problems. The court adopted the Master's recommendation that an independent, professional
staffing analysis be conducted to address staff training, coverage and operations. The Master also
reported that there was an insufficient supply of personal hygiene items, and the court ordered
the defendants to comply with the consent order's terms by issuing adequate amounts of personal
hygiene items, including toilet paper, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, mirror,
individual razors and shaving cream or powder. (Essex County Jail and Essex County Jail Annex,
New Jersey)

U.S. District Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
FEDERAL TORT
CLAIMS ACT

Giron v. Corrections Corp. of America, 14 F.Supp.2d 1245 (D.N.M. 1998). A female
prisoner brought a § 1983 action against a correctional officer, alleging he had
raped her. The district court denied the officer's motion for summary judgment,
finding that the officer was acting under color of state law when he raped the
prisoner, and the officer was not a state employee immune from suit for
compensatory and punitive damages under the Tort Claims Act. According to the
court, even though a private firm ran the correctional facility, the officer exercised
coercive authority over the prisoner through his employment, used his employment status to gain
access to her prison cell, and the state was directly involved in aspects of prison life. The court
noted that the delegation of a governmental function must carry with it the delegation of
constitutional responsibilities. (New Mexico Women's Correctional Facility, operated by the
Corrections Corporation of America)

U.S. District Court
PRIVATE PROVIDER

Gwynn v. Transcor America, Inc., 26 F.Supp.2d 1256 (D.Colo. 1998). A former
prisoner who had been transported from Oregon to Colorado by employees of a Tennessee
corporation which contracted with the Colorado Department of Corrections to transport prisoners
to other states, sued the corporation under§ 1983 alleging that she had been sexually assaulted
and otherwise endangered during the trip. The district court held that the corporation and its
employees, who were nonresidents of Colorado, were subject to personal jurisdiction in Colorado.
The court found that the prisoner stated a § 1983 claim by alleging that she had been sexually
assaulted by one employee and that another employee failed to stop the assaults. The court found
that the employees were acting as agents and prison guards of the State of Colorado, and used
state power as a coercive force to further their wrongful acts. (Colorado Dept. of Corrections)

U.S. Appeals Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR

Halvorsen v. Baird, 146 F.3d 680 (9th Cir. 1998). A detainee who was questioned
by police a~ then involuntarily committed to a detoxification facility overnight
27.90

filed a § 1983 action alleging constitutional violations. The district court entered judgment in
favor of the defendants on a jury verdict and the appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part
and remanded. The appeals court held that a private non-profit firm that provided involuntary
detoxification services did not enjoy qualified immunity from § 1983 liability. The court found that
the private firm was not a private individual that was briefly deputized to assist government
actors, in light of its nature as a company that was organized to assume a major lengthy
administrative task. The appeals court also held that confinement for six hours overnight was not
too short, as a matter of law, to trigger a due process right to communicate with someone outside
the facility. But the court found that a facility can control the manner and timing of a telephone
call from a detainee, so that it comports with reasonable institutional requirements. The court
found that the detainee was given sufficient notice or opportunity to demonstrate sobriety to
satisfy due process, where testimony indicated that he was told why he was at the facility and
that he was observed for indications of drunkenness or sobriety. (Central City Concern, and City
of Portland, Oregon)
U.S. District Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE
FAILURE TO
TRAIN
FAILURE TO DIRECT
OFFICIAL CAPACITY
QUALIFIED IMMUN·
ITY

Kesler v. King. 29 F.Supp.2d 356 (S.D.Tex. 1998). Former inmates from Missouri
who had served time in a privately-operated unit leased from a county in Texas
brought a § 1983 action. The district court found that the county sheriff, his chief
deputy, and a county official in charge of the detention center's emergency response
team were not entitled to qualified immunity from claims alleging the use of
excessive force, failure to train or supervise staff, or failure to screen job applicants.
The suit addressed staff actions that had become nationally-publicized through a
videotape that depicted staff use of force, including the use of stun guns and dogs.
The court held that triable issues existed regarding whether the sheriff's conduct
was extreme and outrageous. A private firm, Capital Correctional Resources, Inc. (CCRI) leased
512 of the detention center's 1,163 beds at a cost of $10/bed per day plus expenses. In 1996 CCRI
entered into a contract to house low· to medium-security inmates from Missouri. The terms of
CCRl's contract with the county included the following provisions: all CCR! hiring and training
decisions and policies are subject to the sheriff's review and approval; the county and the sheriff
are obligated to provide CCR! with all information necessary for the screening of applicants; the
county and sheriff are obligated to certify all jailers prior to their assuming duties; and the sheriff
is required to monitor CCRl's operations.
CCR! hired, with the support of the sheriff, a warden for the. privately-operated portion of the
facility. The sheriff subsequently asked CCR! to hire two individuals, one as a lieutenant and one
as a sergeant, each of whom had been previously convicted and had served sentences for a 1983
beating of a department of corrections inmate, and they were hired by CCRI.
The court held that a defendant's conduct of allowing a canine unit dog to bite five inmates
without provocation during a shakedown was not objectively reasonable and the defendant was
not entitled to qualified immunity from liability. The court also denied qualified immunity for
another defendant who failed to intercede to protect the inmates from excessive force used by
officers, failing to stop an officer from allowing a dog to bite inmates, and failing to remove an
officer who was using his stun gun on inmates. (Brazoria County Detention Center, Texas, and
Capital Correctional Resources, Inc.)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Lee v. Coughlin, 26 F.Supp.2d 615 (S.D.N.Y. 1998). An inmate brought a prose
civil rights action against a hearing officer and corrections commissioner
alleging deprivation of due process by denying his request for employee assistance
during a disciplinary hearing. The district court held that the inmate's confmement in disciplinary
segregation for 376 days was an atypical and significant hardship for the purposes of establishing
a liberty interest. The court held that the defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity
because it was clearly established at the time of the hearing that the inmate had a right to an
assistant. (Sing Sing Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. District Court
OFFICIAL CAPACITY
INDMDUAL
CAPACITY

Lewis v. Cook County Dept. of Corrections, 28 F.Supp.2d 1073 (N.D.ID. 1998). An
inmate brought a pro se § 1983 case against county correctional officers in their
individual and official capacities. The district court that the inmate stated a claim
for retaliation against the officers in their individual capacities by alleging that he
was terminated from his position as law library cleaner one month after he filed a grievance
against a corrections officer. The court held that the inmate's complaint did not adequately allege
that the officers were policymakers of the county department of corrections, so as to support a §
1983 claim against the officers in their ofiICial capacities. The court also held that an officer's
conduct in forbidding the inmate from continuing with his law library job due to a "hickey" on his
neck did not violate the inmate's equal protection rights. (Cook County Department of
Corrections, Illinois)

U.S. Appeals Court
NEGLIGENCE

Martinez v. City of Los Angeles, 141 F.3d 1373 (9th Cir. 1998). A defendant who was
arrested in Mexico at the request of a U.S. police department sued a city and police
officials. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants. but the appeals court
affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. The appeals court held that material fact issues
precluded summary judgment on the plaintiff's false imprisonment and negligence claims based
on his prolonged detention. The court held that under California law, a jailer and the public entity
that employs a jailer may be liable for false imprisonment if the jailer knows that imprisonment is
27.91

unlawful or if there is some notice sufficient to put him, as a reasonable man, under a duty to
investigate the validity of incarceration. Los Angeles police had asked Mexican authorities to
arrest a murder suspect. The plaintiff was arrested, but was innocent and was nevertheless held
in a Mexican prison for 59 days. Ten days after his arrest and detention, the plaintiffs lawyer sent
a letter to a Los Angeles detective telling him that the Mexican authorities had arrested the
wrong man, providing information that challenged the validity of the arrest, but the two witnesses
to the Los Angeles murder were never given the opportunity to identify the plaintiff at the prison
or to view a picture of him. The plaintiff was eventually released when the true suspect was
identified. (Los Angeles Police Department)
U.S. District Court
DEFENSES

Morales Feliciano v. Rossello Gonzalez, 13 F.Supp.2d 151 (D.Puerto Rico 1998). In
an ongoing action against a corrections system seeking improvement of medical and mental
health care provided to inmates, an expert witness prepared a report documenting the state of
compliance with prior orders that had been entered. The district court held that the correctional
system continued to violate inmates' Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights by failing
to provide adequate medical care. The court found that the officials' actions or lack thereof
contributed to the deaths of inmates and to the infliction of pain and suffering. The court ruled
that there were systematic deficiencies in staffing, facilities, procedures and administration, and
that officials acted in a manner that was deliberately indifferent to the basic human and health
needs of inmates. The court noted that budgetary limitations or inadequate resources can never
be a valid justification for constitutional violations. The court concluded that the system had
failed to provide adequate facilities and equipment necessary for the provision of adequate health
care of inmates pursuant to acceptable professional standards. But the court noted that despite
the findings of the expert, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care had accredited
the medical care programs in four prisons and awarded provisional accreditation to four more in
1992. But an expert found noncompliance with at least one essential standard at every accredited
facility, and the Department of Health provided the court monitor's staff with credible evidence
that employees had falsified documents in support of accreditation. (Administration of Correction,
Puerto Rico)

U.S. District Court
NEGLIGENCE
FEDERAL TORT
CLAIMS ACT

Muhammed v. U.S., 6 F.Supp.2d 582 (N.D.Tex. 1998). A prison inmate sued the
United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for failing to transfer him
to a medical facility. The district court awarded a total of $45,000 to the inmate,
finding that the statute that defines the government's duty to provide suitable
quarters for inmates creates a private cause of action under the Tort Claims Act. According to the
court, Bureau of Prisons employees were negligent in not assigning the inmate to a medical
facility during the two and one-half years following the inmate's complaint that he was unable to
walk and his request for a cane or a wheelchair, causing him physical pain and mental anguish.
The court awarded the inmate $30,000 for physical pain and $15,000 for mental anguish. (Federal
Correctional Institution at Texarkana, Texas)

U.S. Appeals Court
NEGLIGENCE
DAMAGES
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Newton v. Black, 133 F.3d 301 (5th Cir. 1998). A state prisoner who was beaten by another
prisoner sued prison officials under§ 1983 asserting claims for failure to protect, inadequate
medical care, and negligence. The district court dismissed all claims except the negligence
claim against one official, on which it awarded a $10,000 judgment. The appeals court
affirmed in part and reversed and rendered in part, finding that the official was entitled to
qualified immunity under Mississippi law. The court found that although the prison official was
mistaken in his assessment of the seriousness of one prisoner's threat against another, this did
not deprive him of qualified immunity. (Mississippi State Penitentiary)

U.S. District Court
FEDERAL TORT
CLAIMS ACT

Petrazzoulo v. U.S. Marshals Service, 999 F.Supp. 401 (W.D.N.Y. 1998). A pretrial
detainee alleged that the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) and a county which housed
the detainee under contract to the USMS failed to provide him with dentures, in
violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. The district court held that the USMS was not
deliberately indifferent to the detainee's dental needs and that the detainee failed to state a §
1983 claim against county officials. The inmate's teeth had been extracted to treat a broken jaw,
and a dentist had "recommended" that the detainee obtain dentures. The USMS concluded that
the dentist's recommendation was not a prescription and that the dentures were an elective
treatment. The detainee received prompt treatment for his broken jaw, pain medication and a soft
food diet. The court also held that the detainee could not bring an action under the Federal Tort
Claim Act. (Chautauqua County Jail, New York)

U.S. District Court
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Ramirez v. U.S., 998 F.Supp. 425 (D.N.J. 1998). A person who was arrested and
imprisoned pursuant to an arrest warrant issued for a different individual with a
similar name brought an action against the United States, the Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS), and various federal and county officials. The court held that the INS and its agents
were immune from claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) but the United States was
not immune. The court found that the alleged conduct stated claims against the county and
county officials. The court noted that under New Jersey law, punitive damages may be awarded in
a false imprisonment case even where there are no compensatory damages. (Hudson County, New
Jersey)
27.92

U.S. Appeals Court
RESPONDEAT
SUPERIOR
ABSOLUTE
IMMUNITY
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Scotto LAlmenas. 143 F.3d 105 (2nd Cir. 1998). A parolee brought a§ 1983 action
against state parole officers. The district court dismissed the action. The appeals
court affirmed in part and reversed in part. The appeals court held that the parole
officer who recommended that a warrant be issued for the parolee was not
entitled to absolute immunity, where he allegedly fabricated a parole violation and
arrested the parolee knowing he lacked probable cause to do so. But the appeals
court held that the parole division supervisor who signed the arrest warrant upon the parole
officer's recommendation was entitled to absolute immunity because his actions were
prosecutorial in nature. (New York State Division of Parole)

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES

Simmons v. Cook, 154 F.3d 805 (8th Cir. 1998). Paraplegic inmates brought a §
1983 suit challenging their placement in solitary confinement. The district court
ruled in favor of the inmates and the appeals court affirmed. The appeals court
held that the inmates' Eighth Amendment rights were violated and that damage
awards of $2,000 for each inmate for their 32·hour period of solitary confinement were not
excessive . The court found that corrections officials violated the inmates' rights because the
inmates did not receive adequate food or medical care while in solitary confinement. The inmates'
wheelchairs did not fit through the solitary confinement cell doors. so they were lifted onto their
beds and their wheelchairs were folded and then reopened inside their cells. Because their
wheelchairs could not pass their cell bunks to reach the barred door where food trays were set, the
inmates missed four consecutive meals. The inmates were unable to use a toilet during their 32·
hours in solitary confinement because the facilities were not accessible and no assistance was
provided. <Arkansas Department of Corrections. Diagnostic Unit)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Stanley v. Hejirika. 134 F.3d 629 (4th Cir. 1998). An inmate brought a§ 1983 action against
correctional officers who subdued him during a prison disturbance. alleging that they used
unconstitutionally excessive force. The district court awarded the inmate $1,000 in
compensatory damages and $2,000 in punitive damages. The officers appealed and the appeals
court reversed, finding that evidence did not support the finding that the officers acted
sadistically and maliciously for the sole purpose of causing harm when they subdued the inmate.
The appeals court cited a videotape of the incident which showed that the officers treated the
inmate roughly but did not demonstrate wanton sadism. The court also held that as a matter of
law. the injuries suffered by the inmate were insufficient to establish the use of unconstitutionally
excessive force. The inmate suffered bruises, swelling and a loosened tooth. (A-Wing Tier.
Maryland Correction Annex. Jessup. Maryland)

U.S. Appeals Court
GOVERNMENTAL
LIABILITY

Turguitt v. Jefferson County. Ala .• 137 F.3d 1285 (11th Cir. 1998). The estate of a pretrial
detainee who was killed during an altercation with another inmate at a county jail filed a
civil rights action against the county. The district court denied the county's motion to
dismiss and the county appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded, finding that an
Alabama county cannot be liable in a civil rights case for harms that befall jail inmates due to
improper operation of the jail or negligent supervision of its inmates because the county has no
responsibility in that area. According to the court. the sheriff, not the county, is responsible for jail
conditions under Alabama law; counties have no duties with respect to daily operation of county
jails and have no authority to dictate how jails are run. The deceased inmate was fatally injured
in a fight with another inmate, who was a convicted felon. in the dayroom of the jail. (Jefferson
County Jail, Alabama)

U.S. District Court
LIEN

U.S. v. Barker, 19 F.Supp.2d 1380 (S.D.Ga. 1998). The United States brought an
action against prison inmates seeking to enjoin the inmates from filing "commercial
liens" against federal employees who had allegedly failed to perform their duties by taking
positions adverse to the inmates. The district court held that the inmates' claims had no basis in
federal and state law and declared the "liens" null and void. (Federal Correctional Institution.
Jesup, Georgia)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONTRACT SERVICES

Zinn y. McKune, 143 F.3d 1353 (10th Cir. 1998). A nurse who was employed by a
private corporation that had contracted with a state corrections department to provide medical
services sued corrections officials alleging discrimination, retaliation, violation of Title VII and
violations of§ 1983 and the Kansas law protection whistleblowers. The district court entered
summary judgment for the defendants and the appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held
that the nurse was not an employee of the corrections department for the purpose of Title VII,
where she received compensation from the medical corporation rather than the department, and
was supervised and evaluated by the corporation. The appeals court found that the nurse failed to
show the existence of a causal connection between her whistle-blowing and any retaliation against
her. (Prison Health Services. Osawatomie Correctional Facility, Kansas)

1999
U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED IMMUN.

Baker v. Willett, 42 F.Supp.2d 192 (N.D.N.Y. 1999). A jail inmate brought an action against a
county and county officials alleging excessive use of force in violation of§ 1983. The district
court denied. in part. the defendants' motion to dismiss, finding that a named sheriffs deputy was
not entitled to qualified immunity because it was clearly established at the time of the incident
27.93

that unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain constituted cruel and unusual punishment in
violation of the Eighth Amendment. The deputy allegedly pushed the inmate in the back, causing
him to fall off of a table and strike his head on metal bars approximately four or five feet from
where he had been sitting. The inmate sustained a laceration on his forehead which required
sutures. The county Undersheriffreviewed the incident and spoke to the inmate and the deputy,
but did not conduct a formal investigation nor discipline the deputy. The district court dismissed
the sheriffs department and county from the suit, finding that they could not be held liable on the
ground that the sheriffs department had a practice of not investigating use of force complaints or
disciplining officers. The court noted that three of five meritorious complaints in the past ten
years had been directed toward one officer who had been terminated after disciplinary
proceedings. (Warren County Jail, New York)
U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
PERSONAL LIABILITY
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Beckford v. Irvin, 49 F.Supp.2d 170 (W.D.N.Y. 1999). Defendants moved to set aside a jury
verdict and dismiss an inmate's case against them. The district court denied the motions,
finding that the award of compensatory and punitive damages was not excessive. The inmate
had been confined to a wheelchair since 1984. In 1994 he was transferred from a psychiatric
center to another correctional facility where he was assigned to a Mental Health Observation
Unit (MHU). The court noted that the inmate was "... not placed in MHU for mental health
treatment. He was placed in MHU because the cell was bigger and because his wheelchair fit
in the cell." But shortly after his transfer officials took away his wheelchair and denied him access
to it for the majority of his time at the facility. The inmate repeatedly requested permission to use
his wheelchair and his requests were denied. The jury concluded that the inmate's rights had
been violated because he was unable to participate in outdoor exercise or to take a shower because
he was not allowed to use his wheelchair. The jury awarded $125,000 in compensatory damages
for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and punitive damages totaling $25,000
against two supervisory officials for being deliberately indifferent to the inmate's serious medical
needs. The court noted that the fact that the jury did not assess liability on the part oflower
ranking prison officials did not preclude the jury from assessing liability on the supervisory
officials. (Wende Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREETERMINATION
PLRA-Pris. Litigation
Reform Act
TERMINATION OF
ORDER

Benjamin v. Jacobsen, 172 F.3d 144 (2nd Cir. 1999). Officials who had entered into a consent
decree governing New York City jail conditions moved for immediate termination of the decree
under provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). Pretrial detainees opposed the
action. The district court vacated the decree and the appeals court affirmed in part and reversed
in part. A rehearing en bane was granted and the appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in
part and remanded. The appeals court held that the detainees were entitled to present evidence
of current and ongoing violations of federal rights and of the need for continuation of the
prospective relief provided in the decrees. According to the court PLRA provides for decrees to be
terminated, but it does not require that decrees be vacated. The appeals court found that the
PLRA termination provision does not violate the Constitutional separation of powers principle nor
does it strip the courts of their Article III power and duty to remedy constitutional wrongs. (New
York City Department Correction)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT-DECREE
TERMINATION
PLRA-Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Berwanger v. Cottey, 178 F.3d 834 (7th Cir. 1999). A county jail moved under the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) to terminate the maximum population features of a court
injunction. The district court entered an order terminating all prisoner release orders but the
appeals court remanded the case. The appeals court held that the district court had erred by
letting more than a year pass without action on the motion to terminate prospective relief,
and then terminating the decree without making any findings. (Marion County Jail, Indiana)

U.S. Appeals Court
PLRA·Pris. Litigation
Reform Act
CONSENT DECREE

Cagle v. Hutto, 177 F.3d 253 (4th Cir. 1999). A state moved to terminate a prison conditions
consent decree under the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The district
court granted the motion and the inmates appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that
the PLRA is constitutional and does not mandate an evidentiary hearing in all cases. (Powhatan
Correctional Center, Virginia)

U.S. District Court
INDMDUAL
CAPACITY

Caldwell v. Hammonds, 53 F.Supp.2d 1 (D.D.C. 1999). A prisoner brought a§ 1983 action
for damages for injuries allegedly suffered. The district court held that the prisoner failed to
state a claim with his allegations of limited access to legal materials because he did not allege a
specific injury as a result. But the court held that the prisoner stated a claim for deliberate
indifference because his prescribed treatment for skin cancer was delayed. The court also found a
claim for deliberate indifference in the prisoner's allegations that he was exposed to secondary
tobacco smoke and to smoke from fires set in his cell block. The court noted that although prison
policy prohibited smoking in the prison, tobacco products were sold in the prison canteen and
correctional officers permitted smoking in cell blocks. The court found that pervasive unsanitary
and unhealthy conditions in his cell block existed for a long time and were obvious to any
observer. Because the Director of the Department of Corrections had notice of these conditions,
the prisoner stated a § 1983 claim for violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Cell Block 3,
Maximum Security Facility, District of Columbia Department of Corrections, Lorton, Virginia)

27.94

U.S. District Court
NOMINAL DAMAGES
PLRA-Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Cassidy v. Indiana Dept. of Correction. 59 F.Supp.2d 787 (S.D.lnd. 1999). A blind inmate
brought an action against a state corrections department alleging violations of the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. The district court held that the
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) barred the inmate's claims to the extent that he
asserted mental or emotional injuries. and that nominal damages were available to the plaintiff.
According to the court. to the extent that the inmate's claims under ADA and the Rehabilitation
Act addressed the extra offender pay that the inmate lost as the result of being denied the
opportunity to work at the prison, the claims would not be barred by the section of PLRA that
prohibits a prisoner from bring an action for mental or emotional injury suffered while in custody
without the showing of a physica~ injury. The court also held that nominal damages are available
for intentional violations of ADA or the Rehabilitation Act, even if no other damages are available.
The inmate had sought relief for the emotional and mental harm he suffered from his inability to
pursue the same activities at his newly-assigned prison which did not accommodate his
disabilities, compared to his opportunities at a previous facility. (Wabash Valley Correctional
Facility, Indiana)

U.S. District Court
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
DAMAGES

Gaston v. Coughlin. 81 F.Supp.2d 381 (N.D.N.Y. 1999). In a§ 1983 suit a state prisoner alleged
retaliation in violation of his constitutional rights for his complaints about work conditions. The
district court found that prison officers were liable for First Amendment retaliation and that they
were not entitled to qualified immunity. The court ruled that the prisoner was entitled to pre·
judgment compounded interest for lost wages and for monetary awards for educational costs
incurred because of the loss of financial aid. The court held that the officers filed false accusations
against the prisoner after he met with prison officials to discuss the prison's violation of a state
law that limited the number of hours that inmates were required to work. The prisoner was
allegedly disciplined for instigating a work stoppage but the court found no evidence that a work
stoppage occurred. The prisoner was restricted from his job in the prison kitchen and was
transferred to another prison. depriving him of wages and forcing him to delay and alter his
educational plans and to incur additional educational costs. The court ruled that the prisoner was
not entitled to punitive damages because there was no evidence that the officers were motivated
by evil motive or intent or that they acted with reckless or callous indifference to the prisoner's
federally-protected rights. (Eastern Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREEMODIFICATION
PLRA-Pris. Litigation
Reform Act

Glover v. Johnson. 35 F.Supp.2d 1010 (E.D.Mich. 1999). Prison officials moved to terminate the
district court's continuing jurisdiction over a plan to remedy equal protection violations
identified in a civil rights action by female inmates. The district court denied the motion and
the appeals court affirmed in part and vacated and remanded in part. On remand, the district
court found that post-secondary and college educational opportunities provided to male and
female inmates of state prison were sufficiently comparable, noting that male and female inmates
had equal access to degree programs and the state's expenditures on college programming were
similar for both genders. The court also held that vocational and apprenticeship opportunities
provided to each gender were sufficiently comparable. The court noted that although ten more
vocational programs were offered to male inmates, the six most frequently offered male vocational
programs were offered to female inmates and enrollment rates of male and female inmates were
similar. The court also noted that despite the fact that male inmates were offered twelve different
types of apprenticeships and female inmates were offered seven. all eligible female inmates could
participate in apprenticeship while only a small portion of eligible male inmates could participate.
<Michigan Department of Corrections)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREETERMINATION

Glover v. Johnson. 198 F.3d 557 (6th Cir. 1999). Prison officials moved to terminate the district
court's continuing jurisdiction over a plan to remedy equal protection violations identified in a 20·
year·old action by female inmates. The district court denied the motion and prison officials
appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded in part and on remand the district court
granted the motion. The plaintiffs appealed and the appeals court affirmed. The appeals court
reviewed the district court's finding that the state had achieved parity between male and female
inmates in educational, vocational. apprenticeship and work-pass opportunities. as well as access
to courts. The appeals court found that the district court's decision to terminate jurisdiction was
not clearly erroneous. <Michigan Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO PROTECT

Gonzalez v. Angelilli, 40 F.Supp.2d 615 (E.D.Pa. 1999). A civil rights action was brought
against state parole and prison authorities by the relatives of a police officer killed by a former
prison inmate and the owner of a trailer to which the former inmate moved upon release. The
district court dismissed the case finding that as a general rule. the state has no affirmative
obligation to protect its citizens from the violent acts of private individuals. The court held that
the plaintiffs failed to state a § 1983 claim under a state-created danger theory where they failed
to allege that it was foreseeable that the paroled offender would direct his violence at police
officers in general, or that police would destroy trailer park property while looking for evidence.
The court also found that the plaintiffs failed to state a § 1983 claim based on a failure to train
theory where they did not identify what policies or procedures were defective, how they were
defective or whether a training program was involved. (Pennsylvania Board of Probation and
Parole, Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections)

27.96

Hinson v. Edmond, 192 F.3d 1342 (11th Cir. 1999). An inmate brought a§ 1983 action against a jail's
U.S. Appeals Court
medical director who was an employee of a private, for-profit company that had contracted with the
PRIVATE PROVIDER
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY county to provide medical services to the jail. The district court denied the medical director's motion
for summary judgment and he appealed. The appeals court affirmed and remanded the case. The
appeals court held that a privately employed jail physician was ineligible to advance the defense of
qualified immunity. The inmate had alleged he was subjected to an unreasonable delay in his medical
treatment. (DeKalb County Jail, Georgia, and Wexford Health Services)
U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREEMODIFICATION
PLRA-Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Imprisoned Citizens Union v. Ridge, 169 F.3d 178 (3rd Cir. 1999). Pennsylvania
prison officials moved to terminate a 1978 prison conditions consent decree under
the provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). Inmates opposed the
motion and the United States intervened to defend the PLRA. The district court
granted the termination motion and the inmates appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding
that the PLRA's termination provision did not violate the separation-of-powers doctrine nor equal
protection principles. The appeals court also held that the district court did not abuse its power by
refusing to hold officials in civil contempt for failing to comply with portions of the consent decree
in the past. Inmates had sued in 1970 challenging conditions of confinement in seven state
prisons. The resulting consent decree, according to the court, "governs nearly every aspect of
prison management." (Pennsylvania Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREEMODIFICATION
PLRA-Prison Litigation
Reform Act

King v. Greenblatt, 53 F.Supp.2d 117 (D.Mass. 1999). A state moved to terminate consent
decrees which were in place approximately 25 years to govern operations at a treatment
facility for civilly-committed sexually dangerous persons. The district court terminated the
consent decrees, finding that the underlying conditions that existed when the decrees were
entered had been remedied. The court noted that the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform
Act (PLRA) did not apply to civilly committee persons, who were not "prisoners" under the Act.
(Massachusetts Treatment Center for Sexually Dangerous Persons, Bridgewater, Massachusetts)

U.S. Appeals Court
PLRA-Prison Litigation
Reform Act
FAILURE TO PROTECT

Liner v. Goord, 196 F.3d 132 (2nd Cir. 1999). A prisoner brought a§ 1983 action against prison
officials alleging he was sexually assaulted on three separate occasions by correctional officers. The
district court dismissed the complaint and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part,
reversed in part and remanded. The appeals court held that the alleged policy or practice of the
Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services that permitted corrections officers to
conduct intrusive body searches without "therapeutic supervision" supported a§ 1983 claim, even if
the emotional distress claim required a showing of prior injury because the alleged sexual assaults
qualified as more than de minimis physical injuries. The appeals court held that although the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) restricts an inmate's right to sue for emotional distress, "the law
concerning the PLRA's exhaustion requirement is in great flux." {Attica Corr'l Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court
OFFICIAL CAPACITY
INDMDUAL
CAPACITY

Luck v. Rovenstine, 168 F.3d 323 (7th Cir. 1999). An arrestee who was jailed for a
week without a probable cause hearing following his warrantless arrest brought a §
1983 action against a sheriff in his personal and official capacities. The district court
granted summary judgment in favor of the sheriff. The appeals court affirmed in
part and reversed and remanded in part. The appeals court held that the sheriff could not be held
liable in his individual capacity. Fact issues as to whether the arrestee's detention without a
probable cause hearing resulted from the sheriff's deliberate decision not to monitor detainees
who were brought to the jail by outside agencies precluded summary judgment on the official
capacity claim. According to the court, the sheriff, as the custodian of persons incarcerated in the
county jail, had a duty to ensure that detainees arrested without warrants received probable
cause hearings or gained release. The court noted that according to the Supreme Court, "prompt"
in this context means, under most circumstances, within 48 hours. (Kosciusko Co. Jail, Indiana)

U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES

Makin v. Colorado Dept. of Corrections, 183 F.3d 1205 (10th Cir. 1999). A former inmate
brought a § 1983 action against prison officials alleging that they violated his right of free
exercise of his religion. The district court entered judgment for the inmate and the appeals
court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. According to the appeals court, the officials'
failure to accommodate the inmate's meal requirements during the Muslim holy month of
Ramadan violated his First Amendment right to freely exercise his religion. The court also found
that evidence that the inmate suffered mental or emotional distress as the result of the officials'
actions supported more than a mere nominal damage award, but the trial court had incorrectly
based its compensatory damages award on the abstract value of a constitutional right rather than
on actual injuries the inmate suffered from the denial of that right. The trial court had awarded
$9000 in compensatory damages, which the appeals court ordered it to review on remand.
(Colorado State Penitentiary)

U.S. District Court
INDMDUAL
CAPACITY
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY
ADA-Americans with
Disabilities Act

Montez v. Romer, 32 F.Supp.2d 1235 (D.Colo. 1999). State prisoners with various
disabilities brought a class action suit claiming violation of their rights under the
Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments. The district court held that the prisoners stated legally
cognizable claims under both Acts, but that the individual defendants were not
liable under either Act, nor under § 1983, and were entitled to qualified immunity
because it was not clearly established at the time of the alleged discriminatory
27.96

conduct that either Act applied to prisons. The court allowed claims against the state to proceed.
(Colorado Department of Corrections)
U.S. Appeals Court
PLRA·Pris. Litigation
Reform Act
CONSENT DECREE·
TERMINATION

Nichols v. Hopper. 173 F.3d 820 (11th Cir. 1999). A state moved to terminate a consent order
that had been entered in civil litigation regarding prison conditions for women, under the
provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The district court granted the motio'
and the appeals court affirmed. The appeals court noted that the PLRA provision allowing
termination did not violate the separation of powers doctrine. (Alabama)

U.S. Appeals Court
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
QUALIFIED IMMUN·
ITY

Ralston v. McGovern, 167 F.3d 1160 (7th Cir. 1999). An inmate brought a civil rights action
against a state prison officer, alleging that the officer denied him medical care in violation of the
Eight Amendment. The district court entered summary judgment for the officer. The appeals
court reversed and remanded, finding that the inmate could maintain a claim based on
allegations that the officer refused to give him medicine prescribed to alleviate pain caused by
radiation treatment for Hodgkin's Disease. The appeals court ruled that the officer was not
entitled to qualified immunity from suit. The appeals court stated that the officer's "refusal to
treat, at trivial cost, the pain caused by cancer and cancer treatments bordered on barbarous, and
the guard's deliberate refusal of request for pain medication was gratuitous cruelty, even if the
context of cancer were ignored." (Green Bay Correctional Institution, Wisconsin)

U.S. District Court
Schmidt v. Odell, 64 F.Supp.2d 1014 (D.Kan. 1999). A former county jail inmate, a double amputee
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY without legs from a point below his knees, brought a civil rights action against jail officials
asserting claims under the Eighth Amendment. The district court denied summary judgment for
the defendants, finding that it was precluded on all claims. The court held that refusal to provide
the inmate with a wheelchair while confined in the county jail did not violate the Eighth
Amendment since jail exits, entrances and hallways were too narrow to accommodate wheelchairs
and there were legitimate safety concerns about placing a wheelchair among the jail's general
population. The court also found that deficiencies such as plumbing problems, overcrowding,
inadequate exercise areas, and other defects during the inmate's confinement in the county jail
did not rise to the level of cruel and unusual punishment; there were opportunities to exercise in
dayrooms, plumbing problems and other allegedly unsanitary conditions did not pose a serious
threat to the health, safety or well-being of the inmate, and overcrowding did not result in denial
of the minimal measures of life's necessities. But the court denied summary judgment for jail
officials on the issue of whether they were deliberately indifferent to the basic needs of the inmate
while he was confined at the jail. The court noted that the fact that the inmate was able to use
most of the jail services did not preclude his Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or
Rehabilitation Act claims against jail officials. (Cowley County Jail, Kansas)
U.S. Appeals Court
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
NOMINAL DAMAGES

Trobaugh v. Hall, 176 F.3d 1087 (8th Cir. 1999). An inmate brought a§ 1983 action against
county officials alleging violation of his First Amendment right to petition for the redress of
grievances was violated when he was placed in administrative segregation for filing repeated
grievances. The district court entered summary judgment for the jail administrator and awarded
$1 nominal damages against the deputy. The inmate appealed and the appeals court affirmed in
part, reversed in part and remanded. The appeals court held that the district court abused its
discretion by awarding only $1 in compensatory damages. which was "patently insufficient" to
compensate for the injury suffered by the inmate by being placed in segregation. The appeals
court also held that the deputy who placed the inmate in segregation was potentially subject to
punitive damages for his conduct. The inmate had filed a grievance to contest his transportation
to court early and when it was denied he filed a second grievance which was also denied. The
inmate filed a third grievance challenging the apparent lack of an appeal process, which was also
denied. The day after his third grievance was denied he was awakened at 12:30 a.m. and was
escorted to an isolation cell. (Linn County Correctional Center, Iowa)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO DIRECT
FAILURETO
SUPERVISE

Wilson v. City of Chanute, 43 F.Supp.2d 1202 CD.Kan. 1999). The parents of a detainee who
died of a drug overdose shortly after being released from police custody brought a § 1983 action
alleging conspiracy and violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The
defendants moved for summary judgment. which was granted in part and denied in part by the
district court. The court held that the police officers were not entitled to qualified immunity because
there was sufficient evidence of deliberate indifference to the detainee"s serious medical needs. The
court also held that there was sufficient evidence that the police chief failed to properly direct or
supervise officers. Summary judgment was also denied for the city because the court found fact
questions as to whether municipal policy or custom was the moving force behind the officers' alleged
violation of the detainee·s due process rights. The court found sufficient evidence to create an
inference that two police officers and a detective had agreed to deprive the detainee of his due process
rights by releasing him rather than providing medical treatment, for the purposes of a § 1983
conspiracy claim. (City of Chanute, Kansas)

2000
U.S. District Court
CONTRACT SERVICES

Andrews v. Camden County. 95 F.Supp.2d 217 (D.N.J. 2000). A former inmate brought an action
alleging that jail officials were deliberately indifferent to his need for medical treatment for a life·
threatening infection that caused him to suffer severe injuries and nearly caused his death. The
district court declined the defendant's motion for summary judgment, finding that it was precluded

27.97

by fact issues of whether the inmate's right to adequate medical treatment was violated during his
eight days of confinement. The court noted that when contracting for correctional health care
services, the county or municipality still remains liable for constitutional deprivations. The court
found that jail officials may have knowingly failed to follow their own policy of having a jail medical
director, which was essential to the safe functioning of the jail's health services, and may have
abandoned a sick call system. (Camden County Correctional Center, New Jersey)
U.S. District Court
CONTRACT SERVICES

Bowman v. Corrections Corp. of America, 188 F.Supp.2d 870 (M.D.Tenn. 2000). The mother of a
deceased inmate brought a§ 1983 action against a corporation that managed a correctional facility,
the warden, a hospital and physicians, alleging violations of his Eighth Amendment right to
adequate medical care for sickle cell anemia. After a jury trial judgment was entered in favor of
the defendants the plaintiff moved for judgment as a matter of law. The district court held that the
corporation's medical policy violated contemporary standards of decency. According to the court, it
was proper to consider the constitutionality of the medical policy of the corporation that managed
the correctional facility, even though the mother's claims for damages against the physicians were
unsuccessful, because the corporation's liability for its medical policy was measured by a different
legal standard. The court concluded that the corporation would be treated as a municipal
corporation for§ 1983 liability purposes and noted that the corporation could not "contract away"
its obligation to provide adequate medical care to inmates in its custody. The court held that the
corporation that managed the facility violated contemporary standards of decency by contracting
with a physician who provided exclusive medical services with substantial financial incentives to
reduce necessary medical services. The court noted that the contract exceeded proper levels ofrisk
to the physician under the American Medical Association and federal regulatory standards, and
that the state had set higher cost requirements for services than were expended under the
contract. The contract with the physician had a capitation agreement that governed referral of
inmates to medical specialists, decisions to do laboratory tests, and the issue of prescriptions.
According to the court, the contract and "its extreme financial incentives" to the physician "poses a
significant risk for the denial of necessary medical treatment for the inmates." The court found that
these covered services involved the existence of perceived or actual serious medical conditions that
required treatment or analysis. The court entered an injunction, prohibiting the corporation from
enforcing its contract with the physician. The court also awarded attorney fees to the plaintiff for
the time expended on the motion. (Corrections Corporation of America's South Central Correctional
Facility, Tennessee.)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO PROTECT
FAILURE TO SUPERVISE
NEGLIGENT RETENTION
NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION

Brown v. Youth Services Intern. of South Dakota, 89 F.Supp.2d 1095 (D.S.D. 2000). Residents of a
juvenile treatment facility who were allegedly sexually assaulted by a counselor brought an action
alleging negligent hiring, supervision and retention, and negligent and intentional infliction of
emotional distress. The district court found that fact issues precluded summary judgment with
respect to the negligent hiring, retention and supervision claims. The court found that the plaintiffs
may collect damages for emotional injuries resulting from their alleged physical assaults.
According to the court, the retention of the employee after allegedly receiving reports of sexual
abuse constituted extreme and outrageous behavior as needed to support a claim of intentional
infliction of emotional distress. The court found that there were genuine material issues of fact as
to whether the facility administrators knew, or should have known, of the counselor's alleged
propensity for abusing children when they hired the counselor. (Youth Services International of
South Dakota, Inc., operating under the name Chamberlain Academy)

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

Cassidy v. Indiana Dept. of Corrections, 199 F.3d 37 4 (7th Cir. 2000). A blind inmate brought an
action against the Indiana Department of Corrections alleging violations of the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. The district court granted partial judgment in
favor of the defendants and the inmate appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the
provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) that banned prisoner civil actions for mental
or emotional damages without a prior showing of physical injury applies to constitutional torts and
that the provision barred the inmate's claims. The inmate had alleged that the department had
denied him access to programs, services, activities and benefits that it provides to non-disabled
inmates in its custody. (Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, Indiana)

U.S. District Court
VAWA-Violence
Against Women Act
FAILURE TO TRAIN

Daniels v. Delaware, 120 F.Supp.2d 411 (D.Del. 2000). A state inmate who had been raped by a
correctional officer and became pregnant as a result, sued prison officials under § 1983 and the
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the
defendants. The court held that the inmate failed to establish that the officials had been
deliberately indifferent to her health and safety, even though they had previously investigated the
correctional officer for taking female inmates outside their cells after lockdown. The court noted
that there was no evidence that the previous incident involved sexual misconduct and the officials
had disciplined the officer and changed lock down procedures following the investigation.
The court found that the inmate failed to establish a failure to train violation because the
prison's training programs were found to be sufficient under national standards promulgated by
the American Correctional Association. The offending officer had received an adequate number of
training hours and the prison had received an award of excellence for its training programs. The
officer's training had included training in cultural awareness, which included training in sexual
harassment and inmate treatment, and he was trained regarding the prison's code of conduct,
which prohibited sexual contact between inmates and guards. The court noted that personnel
training standards for correctional institutions that were promulgated by national groups do not

27.98

necessarily equate with the training standards required by the Eighth Amendment. According to
the court, while the recommendations of such groups may be instructive in certain cases they
simply do not establish constitutional minima, but rather establish goals recommended by the
organization. <Delaware Women's Correctional Institute)
U.S. Appeals Court
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

Daskalea v. District of Columbia, 227 F.3d 433 (D.C.Cir. 2000). A former District of Columbia jail
inmate who had been forced to perform a striptease in front of other prisons and male and female
guards, sued the District and corrections officials for § 1983 violations. The district court entered a
jury verdict awarding $350,000 in compensatory and $5 million in punitive damages, and denied
the defendants' motion for judgment as a matter of law. The appeals court affirmed in part and
reversed in part. The appeals court held that the $350,000 award for mental and emotional distress
resulting from the § 1983 violation was reasonable, but that the former inmate was not entitled to
punitive damages from the District for negligent supervision, because District law bars the
imposition of such awards against the District. The mental and emotional distress award was
supported, according to the court, by the fact that the inmate was denied library assistance because
she refused to have sex with the librarian, she was attacked with the assistance of correctional
officers, she was confined in isolation without underwear or a mattress, she felt constant stress,
anxiety and dread of imminent sexual attack, she had to sleep during the day for fear of what
guards might do to her at night, she suffered from insomnia and eating disorders, and spent
months emotionally and psychologically debilitated, withdrawn and depressed. The appeals court
agreed with the jury finding that the District's failure to train or supervise jail employees
amounted to deliberate indifference toward the female inmate's constitutional rights, so that the
District was liable under § 1983. The court noted that seven months prior to this incident the
district court had found the District liable under § 1983 for being deliberately indifferent to
repeated sexual abuse and harassment of female prisoners by correctional officers and for failing to
train staff to prevent such misconduct. According to the court, the fact that the District jail officers
sought to conceal the incident did not insulate the District from § 1983 liability based on its
deliberate indifference. (District of Columbia Jail)

U.S. District Court
RESPONDEAT
SUPERIOR

Delaney v. Detella, 123 F.Supp.2d 429 (N.D.Ill. 2000). A prison inmate filed a§ 1983 action against
a warden and other correctional officials alleging that denial of exercise opportunities during a six·
month lockdown violated his Eighth Amendment rights. The district court denied summary
judgment for the defendants, finding that denial of out-of-cell exercise for six months presented a
cognizable § 1983 claim. The only out·of·cell opportunities offered to the inmate were for weekly
showers and a handful of family and medical visits. The court found that the six month lockdown
was a large scale policy such that the warden and upper level officials could be said to have
personally participated in the alleged violation. (Stateville Correctional Center, Illinois)

U.S. District Court
FAIR HOUSING ACT

Garcia v. Condarco, 114 F.Supp.2d 1158 (D.N.M. 2000). A female detainee filed a Fair Housing Act
claim alleging that the city jail in which she had been confined was a "dwelling" within the
meaning of FHA. The district court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss, finding that the jail
was not a dwelling for FHA purposes. The detainee alleged she had been sexually abused by a jail
officer. The officer had pled guilty to a criminal sexual penetration charge. The detainee asserted
that the city defendants had discriminated against her on the basis of her sex in the provision of
services and facilities. (Hobbs City Jail, New Mexico)

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

Gilmore v. People of the State of California, 220 F.3d 987 (9th Cir. 2000). A corrections department
moved under the Prison Litigation Reform Act to terminate the prospective relief provisions of a
consent decree governing certain conditions of confinement for condemned prisoners. The federal
district court granted the motion for termination and prisoners under the sentence of death
appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded. The appeals court held that the PLRA
termination provision is not a unilateral mandate to courts to unconditionally terminate
prospective relief in prison conditions cases and does not unconstitutionally prescribe the rule of
decision. The appeals court found that the PLRA termination provision does not violate prisoners'
due process or equal protection rights. The appeals court held that the district court should have
examined the court record and the relief granted by the decree in order to determine whether it
was narrowly tailored and minimally intrusive, and should have simply considered whether there
were any explicit findings to this effect. (San Quentin State Prison, California)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREETERMINATION
PLRA·Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Hazen Ex Rel. LeGear v. Reagen, 208 F.3d 697 (8th Cir. 2000). Iowa prison officials moved to
terminate consent decrees that had regulated prison conditions. The district court terminated the
decrees and the inmates appealed. The appeals court afl"rrmed, finding that it was within the power
of Congress to remove state-court jurisdiction to enforce federal consent decrees that are subject to
termination under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). (Iowa State Penitentiary)

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES

Kelleher v. New York State Trooper Fearon, 90 F.Supp.2d 354 (S.D.N.Y. 2000). An arrestee
brought a§ 1983 action against a police officer, alleging that he was subjected to an unlawful strip
search. The district court held that the issue of whether the officer had an objectively reasonable
suspicion to strip search the arrestee was for the jury, but that the jury award of damages in the
amount of $125,000 as compensation for emotional distress were excessive to the extent that they
exceeded $25,000. According to the court, although the unlawful strip search in which the arrestee
was touched by the offi.cer was an "egregious intrusion" on the arrestee's person, there was no
corroborating medical evidence concerning the arrestee's emotional distress. (State Police Barracks
in Brewster, New York)
27.99

U.S. District Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR
BIVENS CLAIM

Lawson v. Liburdi, 114 F.Supp.2d 31 (D.R.I. 2000). A federal pretrial detainee filed a complaint
against employees of a private company that operated a detention facility, alleging violation of his
First Amendment free exercise rights. The district court held that the detainee could not assert a
Bivens action against the employees because they were not affiliated in any way with the federal
government. (Cornell Corrections, Donald Wyatt Detention Facility, Rhode Island)

U.S. District Court
FEDERAL TORT
CLAIMS ACT

Maurello v. U.S., 111 F.Supp.2d 475 (D.N.J. 2000). A prisoner brought a Federal Tort Claims Act
action alleging that the federal Bureau of Prisons negligently delayed enrolling him in a statutory
drug treatment program and caused his release to be delayed by 51 days. The district court granted
summary judgment for the Bureau, finding that the delay was within the Act's false imprisonment
exception. (Federal Bureau of Prisons)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES

McClary v. Coughlin, 87 F.Supp.2d 205 (W.D.N.Y. 2000). A prisoner brought an action against
prison officials alleging violation of his due process rights by failing to provide him with meaningful
"periodic review" of his administrative segregation status during his four uninterrupted years. A
jury found in favor of the prisoner and awarded $600,000 in damages to the prisoner. The district
court denied judgment for the defendants as a matter of law but found that the damage award was
excessive and reduced it to $237,500. The court noted that the initial award amounted to nearly
$500 per day of confinement while the prisoner had only sought $125 per day and $50,000 for
mental and emotional distress. (Attica Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES
FAILURE TO PROTECT

Miller v. Shelby County. 93 F.Supp.2d 892 (W.D.Tenn. 2000). A county jail inmate brought a§ 1983
action against a county alleging injuries suffered in an attack by fellow inmates were the result of
the jail's practice of permitting inmates of different security levels to take recreation together. The
district court entered judgment for the plaintiff, finding that the jail's recreation policy posed a
substantial risk of harm and that jail officials showed deliberate indifference to the risk posed by
the policy. The court noted that whether the policy was official or not, it was pervasive enough to be
considered a de facto policy. The jail policy allowed inmates of different security levels to take
recreation together, including gang members who were allowed to mix with protective-custody
inmates. The inmate had been attacked by gang members and the court found that jail officials had
both general and specific knowledge of threats against the inmate by gang members yet took no
affirmative steps to protect the inmate, including the "readily available step of ending [the) mixedrecreation practice." The inmate suffered permanent impairment to his shoulder. The district court
awarded $40,000 to the inmate. (Shelby County Correctional Center, Tennessee)

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

Morrison v. Davis, 88 F.Supp.2d 799 (S.D.Ohio 2000). A prisoner who prevailed on a § 1983
excessive force action against corrections officers moved for an attorney fee award and brought an
equal protection challenge against the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The district court held
that the PLRA limit on attorney fees comported with equal protection. The court found that a fee
award of $53,000 was not inherently disproportionate to the $15,000 awarded to the inmate and
that only $1 of the damages would apply to the attorney fees. The court noted that the prisoner had
vindicated a significant Eighth Amendment right and obtained a judgment that would arguably
have a deterrent impact on others who might violate the same right. Although PLRA prescribed
application ofup to 25% of the damage award toward attorney fees the court decided that only $1
should be applied because of the significant violation involved and because the jury had sent a clear
signal, through its inclusion of $3,000 in punitive damages, that the defendant correctional officers
should be punished. (Ross Correctional Institute, Ohio)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Pahk v. Hawaii, 109 F.Supp.2d 1262 (D.Hawai'i 2000). A parolee brought state court and § 1983
actions against a state and individual parole board officials alleging he had been discharged from
parole without notice and that when the discharge was rescinded he also did not receive notice. The
parolee alleged that the paroling authority discharged him from parole and then continued to treat
him as if he were still on parole. The district court held that the officials' alleged actions violated
well-established due process rights and that the officials did not enjoy quasi-judicial immunity
against§ 1983 claims. (Hawaii Paroling Authority)

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
QUALIFIED

Quartararo v. Hoy. 113 F.Supp.2d 405(E.D.N.Y. 2000). A prisoner brought a civil rights action
against prison officials alleging violation of his due process rights when he was removed from a
temporary work release program. The district court restored the prisoner to the program and held
that the prisoner was entitled to compensatory damages for the loss of income and benefits
attributable to his unlawful removal from the work release program, as well as emotional distress
that he may have suffered. The court held that the officials' actions were not objectively reasonable
and that they were not entitled to qualified immunity, noting that the officials failed to comply with
their own regulations and failed to provide the prisoner any due process at all. According to the
court, the prisoner established that he would not have been removed from the program if he had
been afforded the due process to which he was entitled. The court found that prior to removal of a
New York prisoner from temporary work release a prisoner must be given the following: written
notice of the alleged violation; statement of the actual reason for which removal is being
considered; a report or summary of the evidence against him/her; an opportunity to be heard and to
present evidence; advance notice of a temporary release committee hearing; the right to confront
and cross examine adverse witnesses; a committee composed of neutral decision-makers; and a
post-hearing written account of the actual reason for removal. (Queensboro Correctional Facility,
New York)

IMMUNITY

27.100

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
NEGLIGENCE

Rangolan v. County of Nassau, 217 F.3d 77 (2nd Cir. 2000). An inmate who was beaten by fellow
prisoners brought an action against the county and county sheriff's department alleging negligence
and violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. The district court entered judgment for the inmate
on the negligence claim and ordered remitittur of damages. The appeals court affirmed in part and
certified the question to the state court, finding that the county's conduct, in placing the inmate
with a prisoner against whom the inmate had acted as a confidential informant, did not rise to the
level of an Eighth Amendment violation. The court noted that although the inmate's records
indicated that he should not be assigned to the same dormitory as a prisoner against whom he had
informed, the correctional officer who assigned the prisoner to the inmate's dormitory failed to
notice the warning in the inmate's records. The district court jury had found that the inmate's pain
and suffering damages totaled $1.55 million but the inmate agreed to a reduced award totaling
$800,000. The appeals court sent the case to the state court to resolve liability questions. (Nassau
Co. Jail, N.Y.)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREE·
TERMINATION

Sharp v. Weston, 233 F.3d 1166 (9th Cir. 2000). Officials moved to dissolve an injunction against a
state commitment center for persons civilly committed as sexually violent predators. The district
court denied relief and issued an order detailing additional steps to be taken to provide center
residents with constitutionally adequate treatment. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the
officials failed to show that dissolution of the injunction was warranted, and that the scope of the
order detailing additional steps to be taken by the center was not an abuse of discretion. (Special
Commitment Center, Washington)

U.S. District Court
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Souffront v. Alvarado, 115 F.Supp.2d 237 (D.Puerto Rico 2000). A prisoner brought a§ 1983 action
against prison officials alleging deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. The district
court found that the prisoner stated a valid claim for deliberate indifference and a claim for
supervisory liability against the administrator of correctional services. The court also ruled that a
Puerto Rico statute that shielded government physicians from civil liability for medical malpractice
suits was preempted. The prisoner had suffered from abdominal pain and allegedly writhed in
excruciating pain for three days before officials, who knew of his condition, followed up on his
sonogram and sought care for his condition. (Guerrero Correctional Complex, Puerto Rico)

U.S. Appeals Court
BIVENS CLAIMS

Tellier v. Fields, 280 F.3d 69 (2nd Cir. 2000). A prisoner brought a Bivens action against federal
prison officials alleging he was wrongfully confined in administrative detention for 514 days in
violation of his due process rights. The district court denied summary judgment for the defendants
and they appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that there was a fact issue, precluding
summary judgment, as to whether the 514 days in administrative detention was atypical and
significant. According to the court, a prison regulation concerning administrative detention orders
created a liberty interest for the prisoner, which was protected by procedural due process. The
court denied qualified immunity to prison officials, fmding that no objectively reasonable person in
their position could have believed that he or she was not violating the prisoner's constitutional
rights by confining the prisoner in administrative segregation for 514 days without the hearing
required by the prison regulation. (Federal Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY
DELIBERATE INDIF·
FERENCE

Verser v. Elyea, 113 F.Supp.2d 1211 (N.D.Ill. 2000). A prisoner brought a§ 1983 action against a
prison's current and former medical directors and other officials, alleging that he was denied
proper medical attention for an injury. The district denied the defendants' motion to dismiss,
finding that the medical director's alleged conduct in declining to follow the recommendations of an
orthopedic specialist, without even examining the prisoner and despite the prisoner's repeatedly
complaints of pain and injury, rose to the level of deliberate indifference. The inmate injured his
knee while playing basketball and an orthopedic specialist ordered physical therapy three times a
week and instructed the prisoner to wear a knee brace. The former medical director of the prison
denied the knee brace, stating that is was "not indicated for this problem." The prisoner was unable
to participate in most of his physical therapy sessions due to the refusal of correctional officers and
others to give him passes. When he was again examined by the orthopedic specialist and ordered to
have more physical therapy and to wear an ace bandage, the medical director again contravened
the recommendations, even though he had never examined the prisoner himself. Several weeks
later the prisoner fell down a flight of stairs and injured his back, attributing the fall to his weak
knee. The court found that the prison's chief administrative officer and the director of the state
corrections department were not entitled to qualified immunity because they concurred in the
denial of the prisoner's medical grievance appeal. In its decision the court stated that "...a plaintiff
need not use magic words like 'reckless' or 'intentional' to make out a case for deliberate
indifference. He must merely plead that the defendant behaved in a way that can be construed to
show reckless or intentional conduct." (Stateville Correctional Center, Illinois)

2001
U.S. District Court
PRELIMINARY
INJUNCTION

AA. v. New Jersey. 176 F.Supp.2d 274 (D.N.J. 2001). Convicted sex offenders challenged the
constitutionality of a New Jersey constitutional provision and the Internet Registry Act
amendment to the state's "Megan's Law" statute, that authorized a system for making sex offender
registration information publicly available on the Internet. The offenders moved for preliminary
injunctive relief and the court granted the motion in part. The court found that the Internet
disclosure statute was not punitive in its effects or intent and that the compilation and
dissemination of publicly-available information on offenders did not violate their privacy rights.
27.101

The court noted that the legislature expressly disavowed any intent to inflict additional
punishment on offenders and stated that the statute was intended solely for the protection of the
public. The legislature prescribed penalties to deter the misuse of information. But the court found
that offenders' home addresses were not adequately safeguarded-by the Internet disclosure system
and the court issued a preliminary injunction limiting disclosure to offenders' county of residence.
(New Jersey)
U.S. Appeals Court
FTCA- Federal Tort
Claims Act
BIVENS CLAIMS

Alfrey v. U.S., 276 F.3d 557 (9th Cir. 2002). The personal representative of a federal prisoner who
was killed by his cellmate brought Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) and Bivens actions against the
government and corrections officials. The district court dismissed the Bivens claim and granted
summary judgment for the defendants based on the discretionary-function exception to FTCA. The
appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. The appeals court held that the
plaintiff failed to state a Bivens claim and that the discretionary-function exception barred an
FTCA claim based on the officers' response to the report of the cellmate's threat. But the appeals
court found that federal correctional officers had a non-discretionary duty to perform a "Central
Inmate Monitoring" evaluation of the prisoner, who was to be held at a federal facility pending trial
on a federal charge, before assigning the inmate to share a cell with a federal prisoner, precluding
summary judgment on the FTCA claim. (Sheridan Federal Correctional Facility, Oregon)

U.S. Appeals Court
BIVENS CLAIM
QUAIJFIED
IMMUNITY

Benefield v. McDowall, 241 F.3d 1267 (10th Cir. 2001). A prison inmate brought a Bivens action
against prison officials alleging that he had been exposed to a risk of harm at the hands of other
inmates after an officer labeled him as a "snitch." The officer moved for dismissal on the basis of
qualified immunity and the district court denied the motion. The appeals court affirmed, finding
that it was clearly established at the time of the incident (1998) that labeling a prison inmate as a
"snitch" to other inmates violated the inmate's Eighth Amendment rights. The appeals court held
that the inmate stated an Eighth Amendment claim with his allegation that he had suffered
psychological injury due to the fear of harm to which the officer exposed him, even though the
inmate had not in fact been assaulted. (United States Penitentiary, Florence, Colorado)

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

Benjamin v. Fraser, 264 F.3d 175 (2 nd Cir. 2001). A city corrections department moved for
immediate termination of consent decrees requiring judicial supervision over restrictive housing,
inmate correspondence, and law libraries at city jails, pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(PLRA). The district court vacated the decrees and pretrial detainees appealed. The appeals court
affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. On remand the district court granted the motion
in part and denied it in part and the city appealed. The appeals affirmed. The appeals court held
that the detainees were not required to show actual injury when they challenged regulations that
allegedly adversely affected their Sixth Amendment right to counsel by impeding attorney
visitation. The appeals court concluded that there was a continuing need for prospective relief with
respect to the detainees' right to counsel, and the relief granted by the district court satisfied the
requirements of PLRA. The appeals court held that the restraints used when moving certain
detainees within, or outside, the jail, had a "severe and deleterious effect" on the detainees given
that such restraints were often painful and could result in injury. (N.Y. City Dept. of Correction)

U.S. Supreme Court
DAMAGES
PLRA-Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Booth v. Churner,121 S.Ct. 1819 (2001). A state prison inmate who claimed that correctional
officers assaulted him and then denied him adequate medical care for resulting injuries filed a civil
rights action, seeking both injunctive relief and money damages. He had pursued an administrative
grievance, but he did not seek an administrative review after prison officials denied relief. Money
damages were not available through the administrative process. The federal appeals court upheld
the dismissal of the inmate's civil rights lawsuit, for failure to pursue the administrative appeal
under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that
prisoners must seek administrative appeal, even if they are seeking only money damages as
remedies, and despite the fact that money damages may not be available in an administrative
grievance procedure. The Court held that Congress intended to require procedural exhaustion of
available administrative remedies "regardless of the relief offered through administrative
remedies." (Pennsylvania Department of Corrections)

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

Caldwell v. District of Columbia, 201 F.Supp.2d 27 (D.D.C. 2001). An inmate filed a§ 1983 action
against the District of Columbia and several employees of its corrections department, alleging
unconstitutional conditions of confinement and denial of medical care. A jury entered a verdict in
favor of the inmate, on all claims, and awarded $174,178. The appeals court granted judgment for
the defendants as a matter of law, in part, denied judgment for the defendants in part, and did not
reduce the damage award. The court found that statements by the inmate's attorney during his
closing argument, suggesting specific dollar amounts to be considered by the jury, did not warrant
a new trial. The appeals court held that the Prison Litigation Reform At (PLRA) does not require a
prisoner to allege or prove serious, permanent physical injury in order to bring an action for
violation of his constitutional rights. The appeals court held that the prisoner sufficiently alleged a
"physical injury" for the purposes of PLRA, with allegations that excessive heat in his cell made
him dizzy, dehydrated, and disoriented, gave him a severe rash, and that smoke from rolled toilet
paper "wicks" and frequent use of mace gave him bronchial irritation and a runny nose.(Maximum
Security Facility, Lorton Correctional Complex, District of Columbia)

U.S. District Court
CONTEMPT

Carty v. Turnbull, 144 F.Supp.2d 395 (D.Virgin Islands 2001). On its own motion, the district court
held that Virgin Islands officials did not make all reasonable efforts to comply with the court's

27.102

orders in a class action alleging unconstitutional conditions of confinement. The court held the
officials in civil contempt of the settlement agreement and subsequent remedial orders. The court
noted that lack of financing is not a defense to the failure to provide minimum constitutional
standards in the operation of a jail. (Criminal Justice Complex, Virgin Islands)
U.S. Appea1s Court
PLRA-Prison Litigation
Reform Act
CONSENT DECREE··
TERMINATION

Castillo v. Cameron County. Tex., 238 F.3d 339 (5th Cir. 2001). Pretrial detainees and convicted
inmates held at a jail brought a class action under § 1983 against a county, state and various
individua1s, alleging that overcrowding at the jail resulted in cruel and unusual punishment. The
state moved to terminate previously-entered injunctions and the district court dismissed the state
from the action and ordered continuation of injunctive relief designed to reduce the jail population.
The appea1s court vacated the decision and remanded the case. The appeals court found that the
order continuing injunctive relief was a "prisoner release order" within the meaning of the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (pLRA) and that the state had standing to appeal the continuation of
injunctive relief. The appeals court held that on remand, the district court must determine if a
continuing and ongoing constitutional violation exists, and if so, whether the remaining
requirements of PLRA are met. (Cameron County Jail, Texas)

U.S. Supreme Court
BIVENS CLAIM
PRIVATE OPERATOR

Correctional Services Corp. v. Malesko. 534 U.S. 61 (2001). A federal prisoner diagnosed with a
heart condition was transferred to a halfway house where he was to serve the remainder of his
sentence. and was assigned to living quarters on the fifth floor. The company who operated the
facility had a policy that required inmates residing below the sixth floor to use the staircase rather
than the elevator to travel from the first·floor lobby to their rooms. Although the prisoner was
exempted from this policy. he claimed that one of the company's employees forbade him to use the
elevator to reach his fifth-floor bedroom, and that he then suffered a heart attack and fell after
climbing the stairs. In addition to suing individual employees of the facility. he sought to impose
liability on the company for alleged violation of his constitutional rights. The U.S. Supreme Court,
in a 5·4 decision, ruled that federal prisoners may not file civil rights claims against private
corporations operating a halfway house under a contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
The Court declined to extend the implied damage remedy for violation of constitutional rights first
recognized in Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) to claims
against private companies allegedly acting under color of federal law. The Court noted that federal
prisoners' only remedy for an alleged constitutional deprivation lies against the individual officer.
and not against the federal government itself. The Court concluded that it should not "impose
asymmetrical liability costs on private prison facilities alone." IT such a decision is to be made, the
Court said, that is a "question for Congress. not us, to decide." (Le Marquis Community
Correctional Center, New York)

U.S. District Court
BIVENS CLAIM

Dekoven v. Bell. 140 F.Supp.2d 748 (E.D.Mich. 2001). A prisoner sued individuals, a state, the
United States and foreign counties, alleging they failed to recognize him as the "God-Messiah" of
the Holy Bible. The district court dismissed the case, finding it was "patently frivolous, implausible,
and devoid of merit." According to the court. the prisoner had no constitutional right to be
recognized and treated as the "Messiah-God" or any other holy, extra-worldly, or supernatural
being or power. The court found the prisoner's request of payment from the federal government of
certain precious and semi·precious metals to be the equivalent of a BivellS type of claim for money
damages, which is barred by sovereign immunity absent a waiver. (Standish Maximum
Correctional Facility, Michigan)

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Despain v. Uphoff, 264 F.3d 965 (10th Cir. 2001). A prison inmate brought a § 1983 action against
prison officials alleging Eighth Amendment violations. The district court granted summary
judgment in favor of the officials and the inmate appealed. The appea1s court reversed and
remanded. The appeals court held that flooding of the prison's administrative segregation unit was
a significant deprivation, as required to support an Eighth Amendment claim, and that there was
an issue of material fact as to whether there was an ongoing threat to safety during the flooding
that would justify the inmate's exposure to human waste. Because the inmate's extended exposure
to human waste as a result of flooding was a violation of clearly established law, the court found
that an associate prison warden was not entitled to qualified immunity. The court also found that
the inmate stated a claim of excessive use of force in his allegation that a corrections officer
indiscriminately discharged pepper spray. (Wyoming State Penitentiary)

U.S. Appea1s Court
NOMINAL DAMAGES
PLRA·Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Foulk v. Charrier, 262 F.3d 687 (8th Cir. 2001). A prisoner brought a§ 1983 action against a
corrections officer alleging the use of excessive force in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights.
The district court entered judgment on a jury verdict, awarded nominal damages of $1 plus interest
and costs, and awarded attorney fees. The appeals court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and
reversed in part. The appeals court held that the award of nominal damages for an Eighth
Amendment violation was permissible, and that the finding of use of excessive force was supported
by evidence. The appeals court found that the award of attorney fees was subject to the cap
established by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), and that the PLRA cap on attorney fees
did not violate the equal protection clause. The court noted that under the provisions of PLRA, if
non-monetary relief of some kind had been ordered, whether or not there was also a monetary
award, the attorney fees cap would not apply. (Moberly Correctional Center, Missouri)

27.103

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Glaspy v. Malicoat, 134 F.Supp.2d 890 (W.D.Mich. 2001). A prison visitor sued a corrections officer,
alleging that the officer violated his constitutional rights when the officer refused the visitor's
request to use the bathroom during a visit to an inmate. The district court held that the officer
violated the visitor's substantive due process rights by refusing to permit him to use the restroom,
and awarded $5,000 in compensatory damages and $5,000 in punitive damages. The 69-year-old
visitor and the inmate he was visiting had informed the officer several times that the visitor was in
pain and that he needed urgently to use the restroom. The officer, who laughed at the visitor's
situation, was found to have been deliberately indifferent to the visitor's due process rights. The
court noted that the visitor suffered pain and discomfort for a period of time, as well as extreme
humiliation when he urinated in his pants in front of others, and inconvenience in having to deal
with his wet pants at the facility and on the way home. (Newberry Correctional Facility, Michigan)

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

Harvey v. Schoen, 245 F.3d 718 (8th Cir. 2001). State officials moved to terminate a 1973 prison
conditions consent decree, pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The district court
granted the motion and inmates appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the mandatory
termination provision of PLRA did not violate separation of powers principles. The district court
had found that there were no current and ongoing federal rights violations, and the appeals court
held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the request for additional
discovery in order to permit prisoners to supplement the record to show ongoing violations.
<Minnesota Correctional Facilities at Stillwater and St. Cloud)

U.S. Appeals Court
CLASS ACTION

Hawkins v. Comparet·Cassani, 251 F.3d 1230 (9th Cir. 2001). A convicted prisoner who had a "stun
belt" placed on him, and activated, when he appeared in court for sentencing, brought a§ 1983
action. The district court certified a class action and granted a preliminary injunction. The appeals
court reversed in part and remanded. The appeals court held that the class of all persons in the
custody of the county sheriff was improperly certified since the convicted prisoner could not serve
as a representative for those prisoners who had not yet been convicted. The appeals court also
found the district court injunction against the use of the belt was overbroad because it did not allow
for use of the belt to protect courtroom security, such as restricting violence or preventing escape.
But the court noted that even at sentencing, where a defendant's guilt is no longer in dispute,
shackling is inherently prejudicial and detracts from the dignity and decorum of the proceeding,
and impedes the defendant's ability to communicate with his counsel. (Los Angeles County,
California)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

Johnson v. Herman, 132 F.Supp.2d 1130 (N.D.lnd. 2001). A detainee who was incarcerated beyond
his release date brought a § 1983 action against jail authorities, alleging violation of his
substantive due process rights. The district court denied summary judgment for the defendants,
finding that a jailer's record notations that a judge had ordered the detainee to remain in jail and
later had ordered the detainee released, were admissible as non-hearsay evidence that the jailer
did not act with deliberate indifference in retaining custody. The court held that summary
judgment was precluded by an issue of material fact as to whether the jail's "Inmate Request Form"
policy, which was used to correct defects in its "will call" policy for holding detainees following their
appearances in court, was being implemented in a manner suggesting deliberate indifference to the
right of detainees to be timely released. The court noted that the jailers were not entitled to
qualified immunity because the right of a detainee not to be held without a court order was clearly
established at the time of the incident. (Allen County Jail, Indiana)

U.S. District Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR
42 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1983

Keeling v. Schaefer, 181 F.Supp.2d 1206 (D.Kan. 2001). A prison inmate brought a § 1983 action
against corrections officials and a private corporation that employs inmates within a corrections
facility. The district court granted summary judgment to the defendants on some of the claims. The
court held that an employee of the private corporation was not a "state actor" for the purpose of an
action alleging Eighth Amendment violations. The court noted that the corporation was not
performing a function··correction and rehabilitation of criminals··traditionally performed only by
the state. Rather, the corporation was engaged in making a profit through its embroidery business,
and the use of inmate labor and its location inside the facility were merely incidental to its business
plan. The court held that corrections officials were not "persons" for the purposes of a§ 1983 action
to the extent that the prisoner was seeking monetary damages from the defendants in their official
capacities. But the court found that fact issues existed, precluding summary judgment, as to
whether the employee of the private corporation became a state actor by using prison disciplinary
proceedings to obtain a "judgment" against the inmate. The court noted that as private persons,
employees of a private corporation operating in a correctional facility were not entitled to a
qualified immunity defense in a § 1983 action. The court also found that fact issues as to whether
the inmate received procedural due process during a disciplinary hearing precluded summary
judgment. The inmate alleged that he was attacked by another inmate while he was working. The
following day he was charged by prison officials with violating two prison regulations··fighting, and
poor work performance. The inmate was subsequently found guilty of the fighting charge and was
sentenced to 21 days in disciplinary segregation. The inmate was charged by prison officials with
deliberately miscalculating a thread inventory that resulted in a loss of customer orders. The
inmate argued that he was unable to complete the inventory because he was attacked by another
inmate. An employee of Impact requested restitution for its losses and the prison disciplinary board
ordered the inmate to pay $2,965 in restitution. The inmate's prison account was frozen as a result
of the judgment. (Lansing Corr1 Facility, Kansas)
27.104

U.S. District Court
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
FAILURE TO TRAIN
DELIBERATE INDIF·
FERENCE

Lewis v. Board of Sedgwick County Com'rs., 140 F.Supp.2d 1125 CD.Kan. 2001). A detainee brought
a federal civil rights suit against a county alleging that jail officers used excessive force against
him. A jury returned a verdict of $500,000 in favor of the inmate and the county asked for a new
trial or for judgment as a matter of law. The district court granted judgment as a matter of law,
finding that evidence was insufficient to show that the county had been deliberately indifferent to
the use of excessive force against detainees at the county detention facility. According to the court,
the size of the damage award suggested that the jury was excessively or improperly motivated by
its desire to punish the county. The court held that the cOunty was not deliberately indifferent to
the rights of the detainee because it provided training designed to prevent the use of excessive force
at both a training academy and on·the·job, and had established a use·of·force policy of which its
detention officers were aware. The court found that it was not a "glaring omission" to fail to
instruct detention officers during training that they were prohibited from standing on a detainee's
back in an effort to restrain a person. The court held that it was not deliberate indifference by the
county to state in county training manuals that it was permissible to use pressure point tactics
when inmates were being placed in a restraint chair, where the manuals cautioned that the tactics
were to be used with the minimal amount of force necessary to gain compliance. The court noted
that the county had encountered only 22 complaints of excessive force in its jail from approximately
90,000 detainees who went through the facility. (Sedgwick County Adult Detention Facility,
Kansas)

U.S. District Court
LIABILITY

Naumoffv. Old, 167 F.Supp.2d 1250 CD.Kan. 2001). A mother whose son had committed suicide
while confined in a jail brought a § 1983 action against a county sheriff. The sheriff moved for
summary judgment and the court granted the motion, finding that the mother failed to allege an
injury to her own constitutional rights. The court held that the mother lacked standing to bring the
§ 1983 action because she brought the action in her individual capacity rather than as
representative of her son's estate. The mother did not make a claim for deprivation of familial
association or otherwise allege injury to her own constitutional rights. (Wabaunsee Co. Jail,
Kansas)

U.S. District Court
ELEVENTH AMEND·
MENT
OFFICIAL CAPACITY

Ramsey v. Schauble, 141 F.Supp.2d 584 (W.D.N.C. 2001). A former detainee whose finger tip was
severed after a sheriff's deputy allegedly shut a cell window on it, brought a pro se complaint
against the deputy and the sheriff. The district court held that the detainee stated a cognizable
civil rights complaint against the sheriff, and the detainee pied a cause of action under a state law
that provided that a keeper of a jail must pay treble damages if he/she does any wrong or injury to
a detainee, and is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The court found that jail officials ignored the
detainee's cries for help after he was injured by the deputy and displayed deliberate indifference to
his need for quick medical attention to preserve the possibility of reattaching the finger. The
detainee was released from custody several hours after he was returned from the hospital, but
officials refused to give the detainee pain medication prescribed by the hospital, requiring him to
return to the jail periodically over the next several days to receive each pill individually. (Watauga
Co. Law Enf. Ctr, N.C.)

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Reilly v. Grayson, 157 F.Supp.2d 762 (E.D.Mich. 2001). A prisoner brought a§ 1983 action against
a warden, deputy warden, and Michigan Department of Corrections physicians, alleging violation
of his Eighth Amendment rights. After a bench trial, the district court ruled that the warden and
deputy wardens were deliberately indifferent to the prisoner's serious medical need to be placed in
a smoke-free environment, supporting the prisoner's cruel and unusual punishment claims. The
court found that the wardens were reckless in their disregard of the prisoner's rights, and awarded
the prisoner $18,250 in punitive damages and $36,500 in compensatory damages for the five years
of inaction by the wardens. The prisoner had two Individual Management Plans (IMP) which
required that he be placed in a smoke-free environment, but the non-smoking regulations in the
prisoner's cell block were consistently violated and the wardens were aware of the violations. After
receiving notice that the !MPs were not being followed. the wardens continued to do nothing to
remedy the situation. The court concluded that the three wardens "...each clearly ignored his
supervisory obligations and, as a consequence, should suffer the opprobrium of punitive damages,
not so much to deter each of them in the future, but to deter other officials in like positions of
ignoring their responsibility." (Trustee Division. State Prison of Southern Michigan)

U.S. District Court
PLRA·Prison Litigation
Reform Act
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Romaine v. Rawson, 140 F.Supp.2d 204 (N.D.N.Y. 2001). A state prison inmate brought a§ 1983
action against a prison guard, alleging Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment violations resulting
from an assault on the inmate. The district court ruled that the guard's actions were wanton and
malicious, and were objectively unreasonable even though the inmate's injuries were de minimis.
The court denied the guard qualified immunity and awarded the inmate $1,000 in compensatory
damages and $500 in punitive damages. The court found that the guard struck the inmate three
times across the face even though the guard admitted that there was no need to use force against
the inmate, and he did not temper his response by utilizing non-forcible means available to him.
(Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court
PLRA·Prison Litigation
Reform Act
CONSENT DECREE··
TERMINATION

Ruiz v. U.S., 243 F.3d 941 (5th Cir. 2001). Texas prison officials moved to terminate a judgment
that found aspects of the prison system to be in violation of prisoners' constitutional rights. The
district court found that provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act CPLRA) that authorized a
court to terminate prospective relief were unconstitutional The district court also held that the
Texas prison system suffered from constitutional violations. The appeals court reversed and

27.105

remanded, finding that the PLRA provisions did not violate separation of powers principles or the
due process clause, and that the failure of the district court to make statutory findings under PLRA
required remand. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division)
U.S. Appeals Court
PLRA-Prison Litigation
Reform Act
DAMAGES

Searles v. Van Bebber, 251 F.3d 869 (10th Cir. 2001). A state inmate sued corrections officials and
a prison chaplain asserting violation of his First Amendment right to free exercise of religion by
denying him approval for a kosher diet. The district court entered judgment on a jury verdict
awarding the inmate $3,650 in compensatory damages and $42,500 in punitive damages against
the chaplain, finding no liability on the part of the corrections officials. The appeals court affirmed
in part, vacated in part, and remanded. The appeals court held that the punitive damages award
had to be vacated in light of the district court's instruction to consider actual damages, that the
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) does not bar punitive damages, and whether punitive
damages were warranted was a question for the jury on remand. (Hutchinson Corr1 Facil., Kansas)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES
REMEDIES

Spruytte v. Hoffner, 181 F.Supp.2d 736 (W.D.Mich. 2001). Prisoners brought an action alleging
they were transferred to other facilities in retaliation for exercise of their First Amendment rights.
The district court found in favor of the inmates, holding that the prisoners were subjected to
adverse actions in retaliation for writing a letter to a newspaper editor. (Lakeland Corr'l Facil.,
Michigan)

U.S. Appeals Court
CLASS ACTION

Streit v. County of Los Angeles, 236 F.3d 552 (9th Cir. 2001). Detainees brought a § 1983 action
against a county and sheriff's department seeking damages for overdetention. The district court
denied the defendants' motion to dismiss and the appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held
that the county would be subject to liability under§ 1983 and that the sheriff's department was not
entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity because the department was not acting as an arm of
the state when it administered county jails. Before an inmate is released from custody the sheriff's
department conducts a check of a computerized database to confirm that the inmate is not wanted
by any other law enforcement agency. But the department's policy requires this check to be run
only after all wants and holds that arrive on a given day are entered into the database. Entering
wants and holds can take up to two days, resulting in extended incarceration for inmates beyond
their release date. (Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, California)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO PROTECT
FAILURE TO DIRECT
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Thompson v. Upshur County, TX, 245 F.3d 447 (5th Cir. 2001). Parents whose son had died of
medical conditions associated with his delirium tremens while he was a pretrial detainee in a
county jail, sued under§ 1983. The district court denied the defendants' motion for summary
judgment on qualified immunity grounds and the defendants appealed. The appeals court affirmed
in part and reversed in part. The appeals court held that the sheriff of the jail to which the
detainee was first admitted was entitled to qualified immunity in connection with the death of the
detainee, which occurred following his transfer to another county jail that had the detoxification
facilities that his jail lacked. The sheriff of the jail in the receiving county did not violate any
clearly established right in failing to instruct his staff on the potentially life-threatening nature of
medical conditions associated with delirium tremens and was entitled to qualified immunity,
according to the appeals court. But the appeals court found that a sergeant at the jail in which the
detainee died was not entitled to qualified immunity because of fact questions as to whether she
had instructed her subordinates not to disturb her at home unless a detainee was on the verge of
death, or whether she had otherwise interfered with the detainee's receipt of medical care. (Upshur
Co. Jail and Marion Co. Jail, Texas)
2002

U.S. District Court
FCA- False Claims Act

Alexander v. Gilmore, 202 F.Supp.2d 478 (E.D.Va. 2002). Two prisoners, one a current prisoner and
one a former prisoner, sued a prison and officials. The district court found that a prisoner's
placement in segregated housing following an institutional conviction for being under the influence
of drugs, even though a confirmatory urine test was not conducted, was not sufficiently severe to
support an Eighth Amendment claim. The court also held that the prisoners did not state a claim
under the False Claims Act (FCA) by alleging that the prison had obtained federal funding for drug
testing by falsely certifying that the requirements for testing and disposal of samples were being
followed. According to the court, the prison, and employees who were acting in their official
capacities, were exempt from the FCA and there was no showing that the employees were acting in
their individual capacities. (Virginia Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREETERMINATION

Armstrong v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville, 196 F.Supp.2d 673 (M.D.Tenn. 2002).
Inmates and pretrial detainees brought a class action against a metropolitan government in 1987,
alleging that overcrowding in jails was unsanitary and unsafe. The district court issued an
injunction and set population caps. The district court granted the government's motion to lift the
injunction in 2002, finding that conditions in new jails met the requirements of the Eighth
Amendment. The court found that the new jails' environment, sanitation and fire safety complied
with the Eighth Amendment, providing adequate levels of personal security for inmates and staff.
The court held that food service was adequate and acceptable and that there was adequate physical
space available for recreation. The court noted that two of the four jails had achieved accreditation
by the American Correctional Association and the other two had applied, and would also probably
receive accreditation. The court called the jail administration at the time of the 1987 suit "a brutal
and corrupt regime" The court praised the government's correctional experts who assisted the
27.106

county, and the plaintiffs' counsel "for the enormous service she has performed for the class of
plaintiffs and the community. <Metro. Gov't of Nashville, Tennessee)
U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY
FAILURE TO PROTECT
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES

Cantu v. Jones, 293 F.3d 839 (5th Cir. 2002). A prison inmate who had been slashed with a razor by
another inmate, brought a civil rights action to recover on a deliberate indifference theory from
prison officials, who allegedly orchestrated the assault. A jury ruled in favor of the inmate and
awarded $22,500 in compensatory damages; the prison officials appealed. The appeals court
affirmed the district court verdict. The appeals court held that the question of whether officials
manifested deliberate indifference to the inmate's safety when they allegedly left a door to another
inmate's cell open and allowed him to escape and assault the first inmate, was a matter for the
jury. The plaintiff inmate had previously complained about prison guards. The appeals court
affmned that the officials were not entitled to qualified immunity. (Connally Unit, Texas
Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE
PLRA-Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Carruthers v. Jenne, 209 F.Supp.2d 1294 (S.D.Fla. 2002). A consent agreement was entered, calling
for improvements in conditions of county jails. The county ceased payment of attorney fees and
compliance monitoring costs, relying on a provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA)
that automatically stayed enforcement of prospective relief under consent decrees. The district
court ordered the county to pay the fees, finding that the PLRA stay provision only applied to
prospective relief engendered within a consent decree, not to the entire decree. The court noted
that the stay provision did not bar the payment of attorney fees nor did it bar payment of
monitoring fees. (Broward County Jail, Florida)

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
NOMINAL DAMAGES
ATTORNEY FEES

Ciaprazi v. County of Nassau, 195 F.Supp.2d 398 (E.D.N.Y. 2002). An inmate filed a § 1983 action
alleging that county correction officers used excessive force against him. After a jury awarded
nominal damages on one count, the inmate applied for attorney fees and costs. The district court
held that the inmate was the "prevailing party" but that the award of attorney fees was not
warranted, where the inmate recovered only $1 in nominal damages against one officer, the jury
found in favor of the other officer, the case did not involve a significant legal issue, and there was
no award of injunctive relief. (Nassau County Correctional Center, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREE-CONTEMPT

Floyd v. Ortiz, 300 F.3d 1223 (10th Cir. 2002). An inmate filed a petition to enforce the terms of a
prior settlement agreement and to obtain contempt citations against a state director of corrections.
The district court denied the petition and the inmate appealed. The appeals court reversed, finding
that the district court abused its discretion by denying the inmate's request for a rehearing. The
appeals court noted that the inmate, who benefited from the settlement agreement, could invoke
the district court's continuing jurisdiction over the matter even though he was not a party to the
original settlement agreement. The settlement addressed procedures for handling income from the
inmate canteen program and interest on individual inmate accounts. The inmates alleged that
income from the operation of the inmate canteen program was being deposited in the state treasury
and not properly accounted for. (Colorado Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR

Gabriel v. Corrections Corp. of America, 211 F.Supp.2d 132 (D.D.C. 2002). An HIV-positive inmate
housed in a facility operated under a contract with the District of Columbia brought a § 1983 action
alleging inadequate medical treatment against a private prison operator, the District, and the
federal Bureau of Prisons. The district court granted the defendants' motions for summary
judgment and dismissal. The district court held that the contractor could not be liable, absent a
showing that the allegedly inadequate treatment resulted from the contractor's or the District's
custom or policy. The prisoner had been held at a federal prison in Kansas and was transferred to
the privately-operated facility near the District of Columbia. Prior to his transfer he was diagnosed
as being HIV positive. When the inmate was transferred, the Bureau did not transfer his actual
medical jacket and the medical history that was sent did not explicitly state that the inmate was
HIV positive, although instructions to provide the inmate with AZT were included. The inmate
alleged that he was not provided with any further treatment for eight years, when his condition
was rediscovered. He alleged that as a result of his failure to receive treatment, he suffered a
decline in his T·cell count and experienced the onset of premature dementia and depression.
(Lorton Correctional Complex, Virginia, operated by Corrections Corporation of America under
contract to the District of Columbia)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED

Gonzalez v. Cecil County, Maryland, 221 F.Supp.2d 611 (D.Md. 2002). The widow of a pretrial
detainee who died while in custody filed a§ 1983 action against a county, sheriff, and detention
center medical personnel. The district court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss, in part,
finding that fact issues remained as to whether the care provided to the detainee amounted to
deliberate indifference. The detainee was admitted to a county detention center at approximately
5:00 p.m. Shortly after his admission he identified himself as a heroin user during a standard
intake medical screening. He told three nurses employed by the detention center, upon his arrival,
that he was likely to undergo acute heroin withdrawal symptoms. The only treatment provided to
him at this time was to be placed on twice-daily doses of Clonidine, a blood pressure medication.
The detainee allegedly became violently ill and progressed to acute pulmonary distress, disease and
pneumonia during the night and during the next day. He complained to the nurses but was only
given an over-the·counter stomach remedy, Kaopectate. Two days later he was found in his cell,
unresponsive, and was pronounced dead twenty minutes later. His body was taken to a nearby
hospital where an autopsy revealed he died from "pneumonia, complicating narcotics abuse." The

IMMUNITY

27.107

district court held that the fact that the nurses were acting in conformity with the county's
established protocol in treating the inmate did not entitle them to qualified immunity from liability
under§ 1983. (Cecil County Detention Center, Maryland)
U.S. District Court
FrCA- Federal Tort
Claims Act

Gonzalez-Jimenez De Ruiz v. U.S., 231 F.Supp.2d 1187 (M.D.Fla. 2002). Survivors of a federal
prison inmate who died while in custody brought claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act
(FrCA). The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The court held
that the family failed to state a claim under Florida law. The family alleged that prison officials
deceived the inmate's family regarding the inmate's terminal condition, failed to provide the family
with reasonable access to the inmate during his illness, failed to inform the family of the inmate's
death, offered the inmate substandard care, and delayed transporting the inmate's remains for
nine days after his death. The inmate had been transferred from a correctional facility in Florida to
a nearby hospital, and then to a correctional medical facility in Texas where he died after nine
days. The family claimed that the officials' conduct exacerbated one of the family member's pre·
existing medical conditions, caused one child to experience difficulty in school, and triggered
another child's asthma. (Coleman Federal Correctional Institution, Florida, and Fed'l Bur. of
Prisons Medical Facil., Fort Worth, Texas)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREETERMINATION

Hallett v. Morgan, 287 F.3d 1193 (9 th Cir. 2002). In a class action, female prisoners at a state prison
secured a consent decree that addressed health care concerns. The prisoners challenged the
prison's attempt to end the decree, sought additional time for court involvement and moved to have
prison officials held in contempt for past violations of the decree. The district court denied the
prisoners' motions and granted the prison officials' motion to terminate the consent decree. The
prisoners appealed and the appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded. The
appeals court held that dental care and mental health care did not violate the Eighth Amendment,
but ordered the district court to consider retrospective relief on remand. The court noted that the
district court should have considered whether officials were in contempt for failing to comply with
other medical care provisions of the consent decree. (Washington Corrections Center for Women)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREETERMINATION

Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732 (9th Cir. 2002). A class of prisoners at a women's state prison who
brought a § 1983 action against prison officials moved to extend jurisdiction over a consent decree
for an additional period of time, to have prison officials held in contempt, and to compel discovery.
The district court denied the motions and granted the prison officials' motion to terminate the
consent decree. The appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. The appeals
court found that dental care and mental health conditions at the prison did not violate the Eighth
Amendment. The appeals court found that officials' substantial compliance with the consent decree
judgment was an acceptable defense to the prisoners motion to hold the officials in civil contempt
for past violations of the decree. The court remanded the case for reconsideration of allegations
that the officials failed to comply with consent decree requirements regarding medical care.
(Washington Corrections Center for Women)

U.S. District Court
FTCA- Federal Tort
Claims Act

Helton v. U.S., 191 F.Supp.2d 179 (D.D.C. 2002). Female arrestees brought an action under the
Federal Tort Claims Act (FrCA) alleging that United States Marshals conducted unlawful searches
and invasions of their privacy. The district court held that the alleged strip search of arrestees
satisfied the elements of a tort intrusion upon seclusion. The court noted that the Fourth
Amendment precludes police or prison officials from conducting a strip search of an individual
arrested for misdemeanors or other minor offenses, unless there is reasonable suspicion that the
individual is concealing contraband or weapons. The five women plaintiffs had been arrested for
unlawful entry in connection with an "anti-fur" demonstration at a department store. According to
their complaint, they were compelled "to remove clothing and submit to a strip and squat search"
while six men arrested with them were not subjected to such searches. (U.S. Marshals Service)

U.S. District Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR

Herrera v. County of Santa Fe, 213 F.Supp.2d 1288 (D.N.M. 2002). A prisoner filed a §1983 suit
against a county, the county's detention center, and the privately-owned corporation that operated
the detention center. The prisoner alleged that he had been assaulted and injured by corporation
employees. The court denied the county's motion to dismiss, finding that the county could be held
liable under §1983 for the corporation's customs and policies. The court reasoned that operation of
a detention center was a significant public function over which the county retained oversight
responsibilities, and the county could be held responsible for the actions of the private company it
had hired to manage and operate its detention center. (Santa Fe County Detention Center, New
Mexico, operated by Cornell Corrections, Inc.)

U.S. Supreme Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Hope v. Pelzer, 122 S.Ct. 2508 (2002). An Alabama prison inmate who was allegedly handcuffed to
a "hitching post" twice in 1995 for disruptive conduct, brought a civil rights action against three
correctional officers involved in the incidents. The federal appeals court held that the hitching
post's use for punitive purposes violated the Eighth Amendment but found that the officers were
entitled to qualified immunity. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed, finding that the defense of
qualified immunity was not available to the officers at the summary judgment phase of the case.
The Court found that the prisoner's allegations, if true, established an Eighth Amendment claim
for cruel and unusual punishment because the alleged conduct would be "unnecessary and wanton"
infliction of pain for reasons "totally without penological justification." The Court held that a
reasonable officer would have known that using a hitching post as the prisoner alleged was
unlawful. During a 2-hour period in May of 1995, when the inmate was handcuffed to the hitching

27.108

post, the inmate was offered drinking water and a bathroom break every 15 minutes. He was
handcuffed above shoulder height, and when he tried moving his arms to improve circulation, the
handcuffs cut into his wrists, causing pain and discomfort. In a second incident after a fight with
anofficer at his chain gang's worksite in June, he was subdued, handcuffed, placed in leg irons, and
transported back to the prison. Once there, he was ordered to take off his shirt, thus exposing
himself to the sun, and spent seven hours on the hitching post. He was given one or two water
breaks, but no bathroom breaks, and he claimed that an officer taunted him about his thirst.
(Alabama Department of Corrections)
U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
PLRA·Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Johnson v. Breeden, 280 F.3d 1308 (11 th Cir. 2002). A state prisoner brought a§ 1983 action
against corrections officers alleging that they used excessive force on him in violation of the Eighth
Amendment. The district court entered judgment for the prisoner and awarded $25,000 in
compensatory damages, $45,000 in punitive damages and attorney fees and expenses in the
amount of $85,268. The officers appealed and the appeals court affirmed the award of
compensatory damages but vacated the punitive damages and attorney fee awards and remanded
the case for determination. The appeals court held that the action was a "civil action with respect
to prison conditions'' and was therefore subject to limitation on prospective relief under the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The appeals court also held that the application of the lodestar
method in calculating the attorney's fee award was an abuse of discretion. <Phillips Correctional
Institution, Georgia)

U.S. District Court
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Kosilek v. Maloney, 221 F.Supp.2d 156 (D.Mass. 2002). An inmate brought an action against a
director of corrections, seeking an injunction that would require medical treatment for gender
identity disorder. The district court held that the corrections department's medical treatment plans
for the inmate were not adequate, but that the director was not deliberately indifferent to the
serious medical needs of the inmate. The inmate suffered from a severe form of a rare, medically
recognized, major mental illness·· gender identity disorder-· and was a transsexual. The court
found that the treatment plans were not developed pursuant to any clinical decision by a doctor or
social worker concerning the inmate's condition or particular needs, but were derived from an
administrative decision that created a blanket policy that prohibited initiation of hormones for
inmates who were not prescribed hormones prior to their incarceration. Although the inmate's
treatment was found inadequate, the court declined to provide injunctive relief, reasoning that the
director was no longer likely to be indifferent to the inmate's needs in the future as a result of the
litigation. The court noted that "ordinarily, the Commissioner of the DOC would not be the
appropriate defendant in a case involving the inmate's claim alleging denial of medical care. As
Commissioner, Maloney does not usually make decisions concerning medical care... Because of
Kosilek's lawsuit, Maloney, as a practical matter, has made the major decisions relating to
Kosilek's medical care." After the lawsuit was filed, the Commissioner consulted with attorneys
and doctors employed by the department and adopted a blanket policy that was aimed at "freezing"
a transsexual in the condition he was in when incarcerated. The policy prohibited the provision of
hormones to inmates such as the plaintiff who had only taken "black market" hormones previously,
and categorically excluded the possibility that an inmate would receive sex reassignment surgery.
The court concluded that "Because Maloney removed from the professionals employed by the DOC
their usual discretion concerning Kosilek's medical needs and care, Maloney's conduct is properly
the focus of this case." (Massachusetts Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
STATE LIABILITY

Livingston v. Goord, 225 F.Supp.2d 321 (W.D.N.Y. 2002). A prose state prisoner brought a§ 1983
action against corrections officials and employees. The prisoner had previously brought a claim in
state court and was awarded compensatory damages. The district court held that the state court
compensatory damages award barred his § 1983 claim for punitive damages. The court found that
the prisoner chose to litigate his claim in state court, where he was fully compensated for his
injuries. A state claims court judge found that more force than was necessary had been used
against the prisoner and awarded the prisoner $3,151 in damages. The award included $3,000 "for
all past and future pain, suffering, lack of proper medical attention, and any and all other damages
he sustained as a result of the incidents." (Attica Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE·
TERMINATION
PLRA·Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Merriweather v. Sherwood, 235 F.Supp.2d 339 (S.D.N.Y. 2002). Prison officials moved, under the
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), to dissolve a prison conditions consent decree entered 24
years earlier. Prisoners moved to postpone the automatic stay of the consent decree's provisions.
The district court held that it lacked the discretion to postpone the automatic stay once the stay
came into effect 30 days after the motion to dissolve was filed. The court noted that even assuming
it had the discretion to postpone the automatic stay, the prisoners failed to show that they were
entitled to a postponement, where the record did not demonstrate widespread or ongoing
constitutional violations of rights to religious freedom, medical care, or access to counsel. (Orange
County Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court
PRIVATE PROVIDER
PLRA·Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Milledge v. McCall, 43 Fed.Appx. 196 (10th Cir. 2002) [unpublished]. A male state prisoner brought
a § 1983 action alleging Fourth Amendment violations resulting from a strip search that was
allegedly conducted in the presence of female correctional officers. The district court dismissed the
action and the appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that a private correctional facility
that provided services on behalf of a state was a "facility" for the purposes of the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (pLRA), but a provision of the Act barred a prisoner civil action alleging emotional
injury while in custody without a prior showing of a physical injury. (Crowley County Correctional
27.109

Facility, Colorado)
U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
PLRA-Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Mitchell v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 294 F.3d 1309 (11 th Cir. 2002). A federal prisoner
brought an action against cigarette manufacturers, alleging deceptive advertising,
misrepresentation and strict liability under a state tort law. The district court dismissed the case
as frivolous and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part and vacated in part. The
appeals court held that allegations satisfied the amount·in·controversy requirement for diversity
jurisdiction, and that the section of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PRLA) that prohibited action
for mental or emotional suffering while in custody did not apply to the prisoner's action against the
manufacturers. (Wisconsin)

U.S. Appeals Court
NEGLIGENT
RETENTION

Morris v. Crawford County, 299 F.3d 919 (8th Cir. 2002). A county detention center detainee
brought§ 1983 and state law battery claims against a sheriff, county, and deputies. The district
court granted summary judgment for the defendants, in part, and the remaining claims were
voluntarily dismissed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that there was not a strong causal
connection between a deputy sheriff's background and the specific constitutional violation alleged
by the detainee. The detainee had been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated and
disorderly conduct. After arriving at a county detention center, he refused to take a breathalyzer
test and began to yell and bang on his cell door. Four deputies responded, and according to the
detainee, they repeatedly assaulted him as they dragged him to another cell. One deputy allegedly
used excessive force on the detainee by utilizing a "knee drop" on him, which severed the detainee's
intestine. The court noted that the only violent act in the deputy's record was an incident in which
he slapped an inmate, although ex parte protective orders were obtained against the deputy by
both his ex·wife and girlfriend. The appeals court held that the sheriff and the county were not
liable under § 1983 on the theory of deliberate indifference in hiring the deputy. (Crawford County
Detention Center, Arkansas)

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

Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528 (11th Cir. 2002). A prisoner brought a prose action against police
officers for emotional injury allegedly resulting from mistaken arrest on a charge unrelated to his
current incarceration. The district court dismissed the case as frivolous and the appeals court
affirmed. The appeals court held that the alleged emotional harm occurred while the prisoner was
in custody, for the purpose of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) section that prohibited a
prisoner from bring an action for mental or emotional injury absent a prior showing of physical
injury. (Jacksonville, Florida)

U.S. Appeals Court
ALIEN
BIVENS ACTION
ALIEN TORT CLAIMS
ACT

Papa v. U.S., 281 F.3d 1004 (9th Cir. 2002). The widow and children of an alien who had been killed
by another detainee while being held by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) brought
Bivens and Federal Tort Claim Act (FTCA) claims against the INS. The district court granted the
defendants' motion to dismiss and the plaintiffs appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, and
reversed and remanded in part. The appeals court held that allegations that guards knowingly
placed the alien in danger in disregard of, or with deliberate indifference to, his due process rights,
stated a Bivens claim. The appeals court noted that limited rights under the due process clause
extend to detained aliens. (Immigration and Naturalization Service, California)

U.S. Appeals Court
NEGLIGENCE
STATE LIABILITY

Perkins v. Lawson, 312 F.3d 872 (7th Cir. 2002). An inmate brought a state court action against a
sheriff in his official capacity under§ 1983, and under state negligence laws, seeking damages for
injuries sustained in an attack by another inmate. The case was removed to federal court, where
the district court entered summary judgment for the sheriff. The inmate appealed and the appeals
court affirmed in part, vacated and remanded in part. The appeals court remanded the inmate's
negligence claim to the state courts because the appeals court was not convinced that there could
be no finding of negligence under state law. The inmate had been beaten by another inmate and
was provided with some treatment by jail medical staff. He did not eat or drink anything for
several days after the attack, claiming he was unable to swallow. The inmate was released on his
own recognizance, "probably because of his condition··though the record does not make this clear."
His wife immediately took him to a hospital where he was placed on life support in an intensive
care unit, in critical condition with a neurological problem. (Grant County Jail, Indiana)

U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Reilly v. Grayson, 310 F.3d 519 (6th Cir. 2002). A prisoner brought a§ 1983 action against prison
officials alleging violation of his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual
punishment. The district court entered judgment for the prisoner and awarded damages. The
defendants appealed and the appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that the prisoner had
a right not to be exposed to environmental tobacco smoke that presented a serious risk to his
health, and to removed from places where smoke hovered. The court affirmed the lower court
findings that the prisoner's asthma was a serious medical condition and that it was exacerbated by
exposure to second-hand smoke, and that the defendants repeatedly failed to respond to repeated
recommendations by medical personnel that the prisoner be moved to a smoke-free setting. The
appeals court affirmed the award of actual damages rather than nominal damages in the amount of
$36,500, and the award of punitive damages in the amount of $18,250. The court found no abuse of
discretion in the district court's award of $51,786 in attorney's fees. (Michigan Department of
Corrections)

27.110

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO PROTECT
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES

Riley v. Olk-Long, 282 F.3d 592 (8th Cir. 2002). A female inmate brought a§ 1983 action against
prison officials arising from a sexual assault by a prison guard. A jury found in the inmate's favor
and the officials moved for judgment as a matter of law or for a new trial. The district court denied
the motions and the appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that the issue of whether a
warden and a director of security were deliberately indifferent to the substantial risk of harm that
the guard presented to female inmates was a matter for the jury. The guard had asked the inmate
whether she was having a sexual relationship with her roommate at the facility and if so, if he
could watch. The guard later attempted to reach under the inmate's nightshirt but she backed
away. The guard continued to harass the inmate and at one point grabbed her from behind and
rubbed up against her while grabbing her breasts. The inmate did not report these incidents to
prison officials because she doubted she would be believed and feared the resulting discipline.
Later, the guard entered the inmate's cell and forcibly had intercourse with her. Fearing she would
become pregnant she began performing oral sex on him. Another inmate witnessed the sexual
encounter and reported it to prison officials. The officials investigated and subsequently allowed
the guard to resign. He was later charged with, and pleaded guilty to, sexual misconduct with an
inmate. The district court jury found in favor of the inmate, awarding her compensatory damages
of $15,000 and a total of $30,000 in punitive damages. (Iowa Correctional Institution for Women)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREETERMINATION

Sheppard v. Phoenix, 210 F.Supp.2d 450 (S.D.N.Y. 2002). Current and former inmates filed a class
action alleging that city corrections officials engaged in a pattern of brutality and used gratuitous
and excessive physical violence at a segregation unit. A detailed consent decree was implemented.
The city moved to terminate the decree and the district court granted the motion. The district court
noted positive trends for four years of reduced incidents involving serious injuries and head strikes,
reduced acts of self-mutilation, unprecedented levels of command discipline, and the institution of
procedures to safely and effectively manage the inmate population. (Central Punitive Segregation
Unit, Rikers Island, New York City Department of Correction)

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

Smith v. Board of County Com'rs. of County of Lyon, 216 F.Supp.2d 1209 (D.Kan. 2002). A prisoner
brought state tort and federal Eighth Amendment claims against county officials arising out of a
serious spinal chord injury he allegedly suffered in a fall, and for which he did not receive
requested medical attention. The defendants moved for summary judgment and the district court
granted the motions in part, and denied in part. The district court found no Eighth Amendment
violation from the failure of jail staff to provide clean bedding and clothing to the inmate who
suffered from incontinence, on four or five occasions. The court concluded that the inmate's
complaint that officials failed to supervise jail staff to ensure compliance with procedures was "far
too generic" to support an Eighth Amendment claim, and that he failed to show systemic and gross
deficiencies in training jail personnel. The inmate was a trustee in the jail and alleged that he fell
while working in the kitchen and sustained injuries. An officer noticed the inmate limping about a
week after the alleged fall and immediately took the inmate to the jail medical room for evaluation.
The inmate also alleged that the jail failed to follow certain national standards, but according to
the court, failed to show that the jail had any duty to follow those national standards. The officials
asserted that the minimum legal standards for the operation of county jails are established in state
law, rather than by national standards. (Lyon County Jail, Kansas)

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

Todd v. Graves, 217 F.Supp.2d 958 (S.D.lowa 2002). An African·American state prisoner brought a
§ 1983 action against past and current prison wardens, alleging that their denial of his requests for
furloughs to visit his hospitalized mother and then to attend her funeral constituted racial
discrimination. The prisoner sought compensatory and punitive damages for stress and mental
anguish. The district court dismissed the action, finding that the prisoner failed to allege a physical
injury, as required under the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). Uowa State
Prison)

U.S. Appeals Court
42. U.S.C.A. Sec. 1983

Townsend v. Moya, 291 F.3d 859 (5th Cir. 2002). An inmate brought a § 1983 action against a prison
officer seeking damages for the officer's action in cutting the inmate with a knife. The district court
granted summary judgment for the officer and the appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held
that the officer's action with a knife was not taken "under color of state law" for the purposes of§
1983. The court noted that if a state officer pursues personal objectives without using or misusing
the power granted to him by the state, then he is not acting under the color of state law. The
inmate had been working as a trusty caring for the officer's tracking dogs. The officer approached
the inmate from behind with a pocketknife, saying "I told you I was going to get you, whore" and
stabbed the inmate on his buttocks. The officer was eventually terminated for his actions, but
criminal charges were dropped for insufficient evidence. (Hughes Unit, Texas Department of
Criminal Justice· Institutional Division)

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

Troville v. Venz, 303 F.3d 1256 (11th Cir. 2002). A civilly committed detainee filed a§ 1983 action
challenging his conditions of confinement. The district court dismissed the case for failure to state a
claim and the detainee appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded, finding that the civil
detainee is not a "prisoner" for purposes of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (pLRA) and therefore
the PLRA provision requiring full payment of the filing fee on appeal did not apply. The appeals
court held that the district court should have permitted the detainee to amend his complaint.
According to the court, the definition of "prisoner" in the in forma pauperis statute applies only to
persons incarcerated as punishment for a criminal conviction, and a civil detainee is not a
"prisoner." (South Bay Detainee Unit, South Bay Correctional Facility, Florida)
27.111

U.S. Appeals Court
FTCA- Federal Tort
Claims Act

Deland v. U.S., 291 F.3d 993 (7 th Cir. 2002). An inmate sued the United States under the Federal
Tort Claims Act (FCTA) alleging that he was injured in a collision between a prison van in which
he had been riding and a "chase car." The district court entered judgment in favor of the
defendants and the inmate appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded, finding that the
deposition of a fellow federal inmate was admissible, and the federal government was entitled to
discuss the inmate's medical history and condition with a prison physician. The appeals court
ordered the district court to hold a hearing to determine the qualifications of the inmate's
chiropractor to testify. (Metropolitan Correctional Center, U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Chicago,
Illinois)

U.S. Appeals Court
FEDERAL TORT
CLAIMS ACT

U.S. v. Lemons, 302 F.3d 769 (7th Cir. 2002). A pretrial detainee held in a federal jail sued the
United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act, seeking compensation for injuries he sustained
when he slipped and fell on a wet floor while working in the jail kitchen. The district court
dismissed the action and the appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that the Inmate
Compensation Program applied to the detainee, even though previous definitions had excluded
pretrial detainees. The court noted "We cannot think of any reason why Congress would have
wanted two classes of prison workers distinguished." (Metropolitan Corr'l Center, Federal Bureau
of Prisons, Chicago)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Wares v. VanBebber, 231 F.Supp.2d 1120 (D.Kan. 2002). A state prisoner brought a prose§ 1983
action against a prison chaplain, alleging that the chaplain violated his First Amendment right to
freely exercise his religion by intentionally interfering with the prisoner's ability to observe a
religious holiday. The district court held that the prisoner's allegations stated a claim for violation
of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and § 1983. The court held that the chaplain
was not entitled to qualified immunity from liability in his personal capacity because the right of
prisoners to reasonable opportunities to practice their religion was clearly established at the time.
The prisoner alleged that the chaplain's intentional interference was motivated by his personal
animus toward followers of the prisoner's religion. The prisoner had converted Orthodox Chassidic
Judaism and had asked the chaplain for permission to eat his meals under a Sukka in observance
of the Sukkot holiday. The chaplain allegedly refused to accommodate the prisoner's request and
intentionally misled the prisoner and other Jewish inmates by suggesting that Torah law
permitted inmates to observe Sukkot by wearing a napkin on their head. The chaplain apparently
ignored state corrections department manuals and other information that described Sukkot
requirements. (Hutchinson Correctional Facility, Kansas)

2003
U.S. District Court
REHABILITATION ACT
SOVEREIGN
IMMUNITY

Bane v. Virginia Dept. of Corrections, 267 F.Supp.2d 514 (W.D.Va. 2003). An inmate brought action
against a state corrections department and prison officials, stemming from injuries allegedly
suffered while being handcuffed. The district court denied motions to dismiss and for summary
judgment. The court found that the inmate properly stated a prima facie claim under the
Rehabilitation Act by alleging that he suffered from a chronically unstable right shoulder and that
he had been issued a "cuff-front" pass by the corrections department medical personnel. The pass
required prison personnel to cuff the inmate with his hands in front to accommodate his injury, but
prison officers failed to heed the cuff pass and handcuffed the inmate's arms behind his back. The
court noted that acceptance of federal funds by the state corrections department was a waiver of its
sovereign immunity from liability under the federal Rehabilitation Act. The court ordered further
proceedings to determine if officers destroyed a posted medical order pertaining to the inmate,
whether another officer stood by as an officer handcuffed the inmate in a manner contrary to the
posted medical order, and whether the officers maliciously intended to cause harm to the inmate.
(Wallens Ridge State Prison, Virginia)

U.S. District Court
FTCA- Federal Tort
Claims Act

Beckwith v. Hart, 263 F.Supp.2d 1018 (D.Md. 2003). An inmate filed an action against the Federal
Bureau of Prisons (BOP) under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), alleging claims of defamation
of character, negligence, battery and constitutional claims. The district court dismissed the action.
The court held that the inmate failed to establish that he was subjected to excessive force in
violation of his Eighth Amendment rights, when a BOP employee closed the door of a conference
room on the inmate's foot after he had interrupted a meeting to request forms, and stuck his foot in
the door when the employee attempted to shut it to regain the privacy of the meeting. The court
noted that even if the employee's actions contained the requisite application of force to rise to a
constitutional violation, the inmate failed to establish that the employee closed the door maliciously
for the purpose of causing him harm. (Federal Correctional Institution, Cumberland, Maryland)

U.S. Appeals Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR

Bowman v. Corrections Corp. of America, 350 F.3d 537 (6th Cir. 2003). The mother of a deceased
prisoner sued a private company that managed a prison, a warden and a physician, under § 1983
alleging failure to provide adequate medical care to the prisoner. The district court entered
judgment on a jury verdict finding that the defendants were not indifferent to the prisoner's serious
medical condition. The district court granted judgment as a matter of law that the company's
medical policy, as reflected in its contract with the physician, was unconstitutional. The parties
appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part and reversed in part. The appeals court reversed the
district court's holding with respect to the constitutionality of the medical policy, along with the
injunction awarded on that basis, finding that the issue is moot for the plaintiff and she had no
standing to bring such a claim for prospective relief. The appeals court also reversed the district
27.112

court's award of attorney fees to the mother, as she was no longer the prevailing party. (South
Central Correctional Center, Tennessee)
U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Ford v. McGinnis, 352 F.3d 582 (2 nd Cir. 2003). A Muslim inmate brought a § 1983 action alleging
infringement of his religious rights because corrections officials refused to serve a religious feast in
a high-security area. The district court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment and
the inmate appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded. The appeals court held that
whether the inmate had a Free Exercise Clause claim depended on whether the inmate sincerely
believed in the postponed feast's religious significance. The court found that the fact that the
officials' religious authorities had determined that participation in the feast was not mandated by
the religion of Islam did not, by itself, render the burden on the inmate's free exercise non·
substantial. (Downstate Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. District Court
INDIVIDUAL
CAPACITY

Gaines v. Choctaw County Com'n., 242 F.Supp.2d 1153 (S.D.Ala. 2003). Administrators of a
deceased inmate's estate asserted state and federal law claims against a sheriff and county,
alleging that the inmate's death resulted from the denial of medical treatment while the inmate
was a pretrial detainee in a county jail. The district court held that the county could not be held
liable for any alleged lack of training or supervision of the sheriff, or sheriff's employees. The court
found that allegations failed to support a claim against the county based on its statutory duty to
maintain a jail, but that the allegations supported a claim against the county for an alleged breach
of duty to fund medical care, where the alleged failure to provide adequate funding to meet the
medical needs of inmates supported a claim for deliberate indifference under § 1983. The court
noted that although the county did not have a duty to appoint a physician, but merely had the
authority to do so, the county had the authority to act and its failure to do so could be construed as
a county policy. The court held that the allegations stated a§ 1983 claim under the Fourteenth
Amendment against the sheriff in his individual capacity, based on his direct participation. The
sheriff allegedly removed the inmate from the hospital against medical advice, failed to provide
adequate treatment during his subsequent incarceration, and refused to readmit the inmate to the
hospital. At the time of his arrest, the inmate was a patient at an infirmary where he was being
treated for acute renal failure and pneumonia. The sheriff personally removed the inmate from the
hospital, over the strenuous objections of the inmate's physician. He was placed in jail, where his
condition deteriorated to the point that he was unable to walk or to feed himself. His family found
him in worsening condition during their visits and eventually paid other inmates to help bathe and
feed the inmate. Jail staff allegedly refused to administer prescription medication because,
according to the family, the Sheriffs policies did not require them to do so. The sheriff finally took
the inmate to a nearby medical clinic where the treating physician recommended that the inmate
be hospitalized, but the sheriff refused. The family contacted the state human resources agency,
which intervened and caused the inmate to be admitted to the hospital. Upon admission, he was.
found to be dehydrated and malnourished and his illness had become irreversible; he died a few
days later. (Choctaw County Jail, Alabama)

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES

Hayes v. Faulkner County, Ark., 285 F.Supp.2d 1132 (E.D.Ark. 2003). An arrestee brought a § 1983
action against a county, sheriff and jail administrator, complaining of his long detention prior to an
initial court appearance. The district court entered judgment in favor of the arrestee, finding that
the county's detention policy was deliberately indifferent to the arrestee's constitutional rights. The
court held that the sheriff did not possess the requisite level of personal know ledge to be
individually liable, but that the jail administrator was not entitled to qualified immunity. The
sheriff and jail administrator were responsible for the policy under which the sheriff's office
submitted the names of those confined in jail to the court, and then waited for the court to schedule
a hearing. The policy resulted in a 38·day delay for the arrestee, in violation of his Fourth
Amendment right to a judicial determination of probable cause as a prerequisite to extended
restraint of liberty following arrest. The court held that it would enter an order awarding
compensatory damages and attorney fees and costs, if the parties were unable to settle the
amounts between them. The court found that the arrestee was entitled to compensatory damages
because his reputation in the community was compromised as the result of his confinement, he
suffered mental anguish, emotional distress and physical pain while incarcerated, and he was
financially injured when his home and property were left unattended for the 38 days he was
confined. The arrestee had been brought to the jail when two outstanding warrants were
discovered during a traffic stop. (Faulkner County Detention Center, Arkansas)

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Jackson v. Austin, 241 F.Supp.2d 1313 CD.Kan. 2003). A state prisoner brought a§ 1983 action
against state corrections officers, alleging they subjected him to excessive force. The district court
entered judgment in favor of the prisoner, finding that the officers used excessive force to restrain
him. The court held that the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity, and that the prisoner
was not required to prove that he sustained significant or permanent injuries. The court also found
that an officer who did not participate in the altercation was liable for failing to intervene. The
court ordered the officers to pay $15,000 in compensatory damages, and $30,000 in punitive
damages. One officer had grabbed the prisoner, pushed him to the floor and handcuffed him while
the prisoner attempted to explain that he was permitted to sit in a medical clinic's waiting room
since his knee injury prevented him from standing for long periods. The officer had ordered the
prisoner to stand in line and refused to look at the prisoner's written medical restriction. The court
noted that the prisoner was 60 years old and the officers were aware that the prisoner had a knee
injury. (El Dorado Corr'l Facility, Kansas)
27.113

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

Laube v. Haley, 242 F.Supp.2d 1150 (M.D.Ala. 2003). Female prisoners brought an action against
prison officials, challenging conditions of their confinement at certain state prisons. The district
court granted injunctive relief, including an order that the officials submit a plan for alleviating the
conditions. Following submission of the plan, the court rejected the plan, finding it unacceptable to
the extent that it asked the federal court to enjoin further transfer from county jails of prisoners
eligible for state incarceration. The court noted that under the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(PLRA), it could not prohibit the transfer, and in any event, such an order would conflict with a
state court order that prisons accept those prisoners. The court held that lack of funding was no
excuse for the deficiencies in the plan. (Alabama State Prison System, Tutwiler Prison for Women)

U.S. Appeals Court
VICARIOUS LIABILITY

Lumley v. City of Dade City, Fla., 327 F.3d 1186 (11 th Cir. 2003). An arrestee who was wounded in
a shoot-out brought a suit against police officials. The district court granted summary judgment in
favor of the defendants on the arrestee's Sixth Amendment claim, but rejected their qualified
immunity defense, and both sides appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part and reversed in
part. The court held that a law enforcement officer's decision while he was present in the hospital
watching the arrestee as he awaited surgery for a bullet wound, that the arrestee should be
strapped to the hospital bed in order to minimize the risk of flight, did not rise to the level of a
substantive due process violation. The court found that the officers who took no part in a doctor's
decision to remove a bullet from the arrestee's jaw but not to treat a fracture of his right cheek
bone, could not be held vicariously liable for the doctor's conduct. (Dade City Police Dept., Florida)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES

Lynn v. Maryland, 295 F.Supp.2d 594 CD.Md. 2003). An arrestee sued state prison officials alleging
excessive force. The district court entered judgment in the arrestee's favor on a single claim against
a single defendant and awarded damages of approximately $2,500. The arrestee's counsel sought
attorney fees of approximately $130,000 and costs of $12,000. The district court reduced the
requested attorney fee award to $25,000, and costs to $2,158, finding the reduction was warranted
by the counsel's unnecessary prolonging of the action and other factors. The court held that the
arrestee could not recover the cost of hiring an expert whose testimony was excluded. The court
noted that the counsel prolonged the trial with inartful questioning and extensive examination of
witnesses on immaterial points. The arrestee had been visiting his son at a state correctional
facility when he was subjected to an unconstitutional search and arrest as the result of a false alert
by a drug dog. (Maryland)

U.S. Appeals Court
TERMINATION OF
ORDER
PLRA·Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Para-Profess. Law Clinic, SCI·Graterford v. Beard, 334 F.3d 301 (3th Cir. 2003). Prison officials
moved, under the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), to terminate a nearly 14·
year-old permanent injunction that required a prison law clinic to remain open. The district court
granted the motion and prison inmates appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that PLRA
did not encompass future violations, and an injunction was not needed to correct a current and
ongoing violation. (State Correctional Institute at Graterford, Pennsylvania)

U.S. Appeals Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR

Rosborough v. Management & Training Corp., 350 F.3d 459 (5th Cir. 2003). A state prisoner
brought a § 1983 action against the private operator of a prison and against a corrections officer
employed by the operator, alleging violation of his rights as the result of injuries he sustained··two
severed fingers··when the officer slammed a door on his hand. The district court dismissed the
action, but the appeals court reversed and remanded. The appeals court held that private prison
management corporations and their employees perform a public function and can be sued under §
1983. (Bradshaw State Jail, Texas)

U.S. District Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR
BIVENS CLAIM
42 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1983

Sarro v. Cornell Corrections, Inc., 248 F.Supp.2d 52 (D.R.I. 2003). A federal pretrial detainee
brought a Bivens and/or§ 1983 suit against the private operator of a prison facility, officers
employed by the operator, and others. A federal magistrate recommended that summary judgment
be entered for the defendants and the inmate filed objections. The district court held that the
inmate could maintain Bivens claims against the officers who were employed by the private
operator, but that the private corporation that operated the facility could not be sued under Bivens.
The court held that officers and operators were not subject to § 1983 liability because they did not
act under the color of state law, because only federal prisoners were housed in the facility. (Donald
Wyatt Detention Center, Rhode Island)

U.S. District Court
POLICIES AND
PROCEDURES

Sulton v. Wright, 265 F.Supp.2d 292 (S.D.N.Y. 2003). A prison inmate sued physicians and a state
corrections department's medical director, alleging that his Eighth Amendment rights were
violated when surgery to repair his torn knee ligaments was delayed for four years. The district
court denied qualified immunity for the defendants. The court held that the inmate stated a claim
of deliberate indifference against the physicians, and against the medical director based on a policy
that contributed to the delay. The policy required transferee inmates to be evaluated as new cases,
causing a delay in the inmate's surgery. (Wende Correctional Facility, Green Haven Correctional
Facility, New York)

U.S. District Court
PRIVATE PROVIDER

Wall v. Dion, 257 F.Supp.2d 316 (D.Me. 2003). A county jail inmate suffering from hepatitis C
brought a pro se state court § 1983 action against private contractors that provided medical
services to inmates, alleging inadequate dental care. The district court denied the contractors'
motion to dismiss, finding that the inmate's failure to allege a blanket custom or policy of not
treating inmates with hepatitis C, did not preclude his § 1983 claim. The court noted that even
absent a blanket policy, if the inmate could demonstrate that the contractor's employee was a final
27.114

policymaker with respect to treatment, and decided not to treat the inmate pursuant to an
unconstitutional policy, the contractors could be liable. (Cumberland County Jail, Maine)
U.S. Appeals Court
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Williams v. Kaufman County, 352 F.3d 994 (5th Cir. 2003). Detainees brought a § 1983 action
against a sheriff and county, alleging violation of their civil rights during the execution of a search
warrant at a night club. The district court entered judgment against the defendants and they
appealed. The appeals court held that the strip searches of the detainees were unlawful, absent
individualized suspicion or probable cause, and that the law on this matter was clearly established
at the time of the searches. The court found that the prolonged detention of the detainees was
unlawful, but that the law was not clearly established at the time of the detention and the district
court had properly granted qualified immunity to the defendants on the unlawful detention claims.
The court held that the detainees established the county's municipal liability for their strip search
and detention, and that the district court did not err in imposing nominal damages of $100 per
plaintiff. The searches and detention were conducted according to a sheriff department's unwritten
policy for executing "hazardous" warrants, according to the court. The appeals court found that the
record supported the district court's conclusion that the sheriff acted with reckless indifference
toward the plaintiffs' constitutional rights, justifying an award of punitive damages, and held that
punitive damage awards of $15,000 per plaintiff were not excessive. The plaintiffs had been held
for three hours and were subjected to highly intrusive strip searches, and the sheriff kept the
plaintiffs handcuffed after they had been searched and no weapons or contraband had been found.
(Kaufman County, Texas)

2004
U.S. Appeals Court
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
CLASS ACTION
PLRA·Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Austin v. Wilkinson, 372 F.3d 346 (6th Cir. 2004). State inmates housed at a supermaximum
security prison facility brought a class action against corrections officials under § 1983, alleging
violations of their procedural due process rights. The district court ruled that officials had violated
the inmates' due process right and granted injunctive relief. The court ordered the adoption of a
revised version of placement regulations and the officials appealed. The appeals court affirmed in
part, reversed in part and remanded. The appeals court held that state inmates enjoyed a due
process protected liberty interest in not being placed at a supermaximum facility, but that the
district court did not have the power to order state officials to modify their predicates. The appeals
court upheld the procedural modifications made by the district court to the state's placement and
retention policies, which included increased notice requirements and changes to the administrative
appellate procedure. The court noted past erroneous and haphazard placements at the facility, and
the availability of administrative segregation to ensure the state's interest in safety. The appeals
court found that the proper comparison was within the state's prison system, not between other
supermaximum facilities in other states. The court held that confinement at the supermaximum
facility imposed an atypical and significant hardship, given the extreme isolation visited upon
inmates, lack of outdoor recreation, limitations on personal property rights and access to telephone
and counsel, and ineligibility for parole. (Ohio State Penitentiary. Youngstown)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE·
TERMINATION
PLRA·Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Baker v. Haun, 333 F.Supp.2d 1162 (D.Utah 2004). Injunctive relief was granted prohibiting the
practice of double·celling in certain areas of a prison, in a state prison inmates' class action
challenging their conditions of confinement. The prison moved to terminate the injunction under
the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The district court held that the
continuation of the injunction was not warranted where there was no evidence of any present
unwillingness on the part of prison officials to comply with the injunction. The court found that
prison officials who resumed double-celling in one area without court permission did not engage in
contemptuous conduct because the officials had renovated the area in accordance with court
requirements. (Wasatch Unit, Utah State Prison)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE
ADA·Americans with
Disabilities Act

Bolden v. Stroger, 306 F.Supp.2d 792 (N.D.Ill. 2004). Pretrial detainees brought an action
challenging a county's policy of barring individuals with mental illness from various pre-release
programs, and its policy of discharging mentally ill individuals without providing them with
medication and referrals necessary to manage their illnesses. The district court dismissed the
action, finding that a court monitoring consent decree that had created pre-release programs at the
jail was the proper forum for claims regarding eligibility for the programs, and for challenging the
treatment of mentally ill detainees, even though the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was
not in existence at the time the decree was originally entered. (Cook County Jail, Illinois)

U.S. District Court
NEGLIGENT
RETENTION
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE

Bolton v. U.S., 347 F.Supp.2d 1218 (N.D.Fla. 2004). A female inmate brought an action against the
federal Bureau of Prisons and a correctional officer, alleging that the officer coerced her into sex by
threats of adverse official action. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants
in part, and denied it in part. The district court held that the government did not negligently hire
and train the officer, but that fact issues remained as to whether the government negligently
supervised and retained the officer. The court found that genuine issues of material fact, regarding
whether the officer's supervisor knew that the female inmate was at risk of sexual assault by the
officer, precluding summary judgment. The officer purportedly threatened to send the inmate to a
special housing unit and affect her release date unless she submitted to his sexual demands.
(Federal Bureau of Prisons, Florida)

27.115

U.S. Appeals Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR
PLRA·Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Boyd v. Corrections Corp. of America, 380 F.3d 989 (6th Cir. 2004). A group of prisoners at a private
correctional facility brought an action against the operator of the facility and individuals, alleging
they were severely beaten and subjected to racial epithets by workers at the facility. The district
court dismissed the action for failure to exhaust administrative remedies under the provisions of
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The prisoners appealed. The appeals court affirmed in
pa.rt, reversed in part, and remanded. The appeals court held that the PLRA exhaustion
requirement applied to private correctional facilities. (Whiteville Correctional Facility, Tennessee)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES
PLRA· Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Brewster v. Nassau County. 349 F.Supp.2d 540 (E.D.N.Y. 2004). A detainee brought a § 1983
action. The district court dismissed the complaint, finding that the detainee failed to state a§ 1983
conspiracy claim against a legal aid society, which had sent three successive attorneys work with
the detainee. The court considered these to be state law malpractice claims and declined to exercise
jurisdiction. The court found that even if the detainee suffered all of the psychological and
emotional injuries that he alleged, the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) precluded recovery
against corrections officials under§ 1983 because the detainee did not allege any physical injury.
(Nassau County Correctional Facility, and Nassau County Legal Aid Society, New York)

U.S. District Court
42 U.S.C.A Sec. 1983
MUNICIPAL
LIABILITY

Brown v. Mitchell, 327 F.Supp.2d 615 (E.D.Va. 2004). The administratrix of the estate of a jail
inmate who contracted and died from bacterial meningitis while in jail brought a civil rights action.
The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants in pa.rt, and denied it in part. The
court held that summary judgment was precluded by fact issues as to whether the city had a policy
or custom of jail mismanagement, and whether any policy or custom caused the inmate's death.
The court also found that the.re were fact issues as to whether the sheriff violated the Eighth
Amendment r_egarding jail overcrowding. The court ordered further proceedings to determine if the
city council was aware of the long history of overcrowding, poor ventilation and structural defects
in the jail. The court found that the sheriff did not violate the Eighth Amendment by failing to
maintain sanitation in the jail, because sanitation deficiencies were caused by overcrowding, not by
her failure to perform. The sheriff was also not found liable for failure to train her staff, where she
had an illness-recognition and response program in place which consisted of initial and follow-up
training, combined with surprise inspections. The court noted that the guards' failure to respond to
the obvious illness of the inmate could be attributed to their failure to apply their training, for
which the sheriff was not responsible. The court held that summary judgment was precluded by
material issues of fact as to whether the jail physician showed deliberate indifference when he
ordered the inmate returned to overcrowded and ill-ventilated quarters, essentially without
treatment. (Richmond City Jail, Virginia)

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

Clement v. California Dept. of Corrections, 364 F.3d 1148 (9th Cir. 2004). A state inmate brought a
§ 1983 action, alleging that a regulation prohibiting inmates from receiving mail that contained
material downloaded from the Internet violated his First Amendment rights. The district court
granted summary judgment for the inmate and issued a permanent. statewide injunction against
enforcement of the Internet mail policy. The state corrections department appealed, and the
appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that the regulation violated the First Amendment
and that a statewide injunction was appropriate. The court found that the regulation was an
arbitrary way to achieve a reduction in the volume of mail, and that the corrections department did
not support its assertion that coded messages were more likely to be inserted into Internet·
generated materials than into word-processed documents. The court noted that the origin of
printed electronic mail was usually easier to trace than that of handwritten or typed mail. The
court held that entering a statewide injunction barring enforcement of the policy was consistent
with the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, where evidence showed that at least eight
state prisons had adopted virtually identical policies and other prisons were considering it. The
court held that the injunction was no broader than necessary to remedy the First Amendment
violations. (Pelican Bay State Prison, California)

U.S. District Court
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

Colton v. Ashcroft, 299 F.Supp.2d 681 (E.D.Ky. 2004). A federal prisoner filed a petition for habeas
corpus relief alleging that the federal Bureau of Prison's new regulation, which would delay his
release to a halfway house until only ten percent of his sentence remained, violated the notice and
comment provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). The district court granted the
prisoner's motion for a preliminary injunction. The court held that the Prison Litigation Reform
Act's (PLRA) exhaustion requirements did not apply to a habeas petition. The court noted that the
public interest would be served by the grant of an injunction and that the prisoner would be
irreparably harmed in the absence of an injunction. The court ordered the prisoner to be
immediately transferred to a halfway house without regard to the new regulation. (FMC·
Lexington, Kentucky, Federal Bureau of Prisons)

U.S. District Court
RESPONDEAT
SUPERIOR

Cooper v. Office of Sheriff of Will County, 333 F.Supp.2d 728 (N.D.Ill. 2004). A pretrial detainee's
surviving father brought an action against a county, sheriff, and deputies after his son died as the
result of an asthma attack while he was incarcerated. The district court held that state law did not
preclude the possibility of respondeat superior liability on the sheriff for a deputy's intentional or
willful conduct. According to the court, the father's allegations were sufficient to state a § 1983
claim against the deputies based on deliberate indifference to the detainee's serious medical
condition. The court noted that the central allegation in the complaint was that the deputies failed
to provide timely medical care and treatment to the detainee. The detainee had been placed in the
general population of the jail, and had previously had an asthma attack that required inhaler
27.116

medication. When the detainee had a subsequent attack, he and other inmates informed deputies
on duty that immediate medical care was necessary, but the deputies failed to act in a timely
manner and the detainee died. (Will County Jail, Illinois)
U.S. District Court
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

Donhauser v. Goord. 314 F.Supp.2d 139 CN.D.N.Y. 2004). A state prisoner inmate brought a prose
civil rights action seeking declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief. The district court held that
the inmate's allegations supported a claim for violation of the inmate's Fifth Amendment privilege
against self-incrimination and that preliminary injunctive relief was warranted. The court enjoined
prison officials from requiring, as part of the Sexual Offender Counseling Program, participant.a to
divulge their history of sexual conduct, including illegal acts for which no criminal charges had
been filed. (Oneida Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE

Ginest v. Board of County Com'rs. of Carbon County, 306 F.Supp.2d 1158 CD.Wyo. 2004). A motion
was filed seeking to hold a board of county commissioners in contempt for violating the
requirements of a 1987 consent decree concerning inmate medical care. The county board refused
to comply with the plaintiffs' request for inmate records, unless a signed release was provided for
each inmate whose file was requested. The court held that the plaintiffs' counsel was entitled to
examine client medical records to determine whether a systematic failure occurred in the jail's
health care system, without signed releases. The court ordered the information to be kept
confidential, except to the extent necessary to advise the court of any violations of federal law.
(Carbon County, Wyoming)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE
CONTEMPT
FAILURE TO TRAIN

Ginest v. Board of County Com'rs. of Carbon County, 333 F.Supp.2d 1190 (D. Wyo. 2004). County
jail inmates brought a class action against a county and sheriff, alleging deliberate indifference to
the inmates' medical needs, and seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Following the entry of a
consent decree governing medical care, the inmates sought a contempt order, alleging specific
violations of the decree's terms. The defendants moved to terminate the consent decree. The
district court held that the county was potentially liable, and the sheriff was potentially liable for
failure to train. The court found that the constitutional rights of the inmates were violated by
inadequate medical care and inadequate medical records at the jail, including lack of training in
suicide prevention. According to the court, jail medical records that are inadequate, inaccurate and
unprofessionally maintained are actionable under the Eighth Amendment. The court found that
many physician progress notes and other medical records were missing, there was no written
definition of a medical emergency requiring immediate care, there were numerous delays in
responding to inmate requests for medical care, there was no suicide prevention training nor
written policies, and potentially suicidal inmates were often isolated physically and provided with
little or no counseling. (Carbon County Jail, Wyoming)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREE·
TERMINATION
PLRA· Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Guajardo v. Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice, 363 F.3d 392 (5th Cir. 2004). A state sought to
terminate prospective relief provided by a consent decree that modified correspondence rules and
practices in the state's prisons. The district court granted the state's motion and inmates appealed.
The appeals court affirmed, finding that once the state established that the statutory two·year
period after enactment of the Prison Litigation Reform Act CPLRA) had elapsed, the inmates had
the burden of proof to demonstrate that there were ongoing violations and that the relief was
narrowly drawn. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Guerra v. Drake, 371 F.3d 404 (8th Cir. 2004). A pretrial detainee brought civil rights claims
seeking damages from correctional officers, alleging they used excessive force and left him in a
"restraint" chair for prolonged periods. The district court entered judgment against a Captain for
$1,500 on the restraint chair claim and against another officer for $500 on the excessive force
claim. The district court refused to award punitive damages and the detainee appealed. The
appeals court affirmed, finding that the district court's refusal to award punitive damages was not
an abuse of discretion. The inmate had alleged that during his first six days of detention he was
subjected to unprovoked beatings and was placed in a "torture chair" for long periods. (Benton
County Detention Center, Arkansas)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREE·
TERMINATION

Radix v. Johnson. 367 F.3d 513 (6th Cir. 2004). State inmates filed a class action under§ 1983
alleging that their conditions of confinement violated their constitutional rights. Their claims were
settled by a consent decree. The district court denied prison officials' motion to terminate the
consent decree and issued an injunction ordering the departmentalization of facilities as a fire
safety remedy. The officials appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and
remanded. The appeals court held that the consent decree encompassed the cell blocks in question
but that the district court judge abused his discretion when he found that current conditions
violated the Eighth Amendment, because the court incorporated its principal findings from two
years earlier, despite the fact that a number of issues had since been resolved. The appeals court
also noted that the district court did not state the standard it was applying to find that conditions
relating to fire safety and fire prevention were inadequate, and failed to identify the point at which
certain fire safety deficiencies ceased being mere deficiencies and instead became constitutional
violations. (State Prison of Southern Michigan, Central Complex)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Hernandez v. Goord, 312 F.Supp.2d 537 CS.D.N.Y. 2004). An inmate brought a prose civil rights
action against state prison employees and the employees moved to dismiss the complaint for failure
to provide a short and plain statement of the claim, and for failure to state a claim. The district
27.117

SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

court granted the motions in part and denied in part. The court held that the inmate's allegations
were sufficient to state a claim for conspiracy under§ 1983 and that the inmate adequately alleged
the personal involvement of a supervisory prison official in an alleged campaign of harassment and
retaliation. The court denied qualified immunity for the defendants because their alleged acts
violated clearly established law. The inmate alleged.that prison employees retaliated against him
after he filed a state court action. (Sing Sing Correctional Facility, and Green Haven Correctional
Facility, New York)

U.S. District Court
VICARIOUS LIABILITY
CONTRACT SERVICES
PRIVATE PROVIDER

Jackson v. Fauver, 334 F.Supp.2d 697 (D.N.J. 2004). Fifteen former and current prisoners brought
separate actions against corrections officials and employees and a contractor hired to operate a
prison, alleging deliberate indifferent to their serious medical needs and medical malpractice. The
district court held that there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether the prison
defendants were deliberately indifferent to one inmate's prostrate cancer and to another inmate's
another inmate's HIV/AIDS condition and Hodgkins disease. The court found genuine issues of
material fact as to whether the contractor hired to operate the prison was aware of grave
deficiencies in the medical care provided to inmates, as well as the acute risks created by those
deficiencies. The court denied summary judgment for the prison defendants on some of the medical
malpractice claims, and held that the corrections department and contractor could be held
vicariously liable for independent contractors' medical negligence. (East Jersey State Prison, New
Jersey)

U.S. District Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR
ACTA· Alien Tort Claims
Act

Jama v. U.S.I.N.S .• 343 F.Supp.2d 338 (D.N.J. 2004). Undocumented aliens who were detained
pending determination of their asylum status brought an action alleging inadequate living
conditions, torture, beatings, and other mistreatment at a facility operated by a private contractor.
The court held that officials of the contractor were not government employees, and therefore the
aliens' claims were not barred by a previous settlement agreement between the aliens and the
United States, which included non-tort claims. The district court denied summary judgment in
part, finding that issues of fact as to whether the burdens placed on the aliens' exercise of religion
were in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and were the least restrictive means of
furthering that interest. The court found that the aliens could seek money damages against guards,
in their individual capacities, for alleged violation of their rights under the Religious Freedom
Restoration Act (RFRA). (Facility operated by Esmor, Elizabeth, New Jersey)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREE
PLRA·Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Jones-El v. Berge, 374 F.3d 541 (7th Cir. 2004). Prisoners of a "supermax" prison brought a suit
challenging their conditions of confinement. After the plaintiff class was certified and a preliminary
injunction was entered, a consent decree was approved by the court. The prisoners subsequently
moved to enforce the decree. The district court entered an order directing the installation of air
conditioning and the defendants appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the district
court's order was not a grant of "prospective relief' that was subject to the requirements of the
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). (Wisconsin Secure Program Facility)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREE
PLRA·Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Laube v. Campbell, 333 F.Supp.2d 1234 CM.D.Ala. 2004). A class action lawsuit was brought on
behalf of women incarcerated by the Alabama Department of Corrections. The district court
approved two four-year settlement agreements, finding them in full compliance with the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) and to be fair, adequate and reasonable. The court found that the
healthcare monitor position that was created under the medical settlement agreement was not a
special master for the purposes of PLRA, where the position served a monitoring function and did
not exercise quasi-judicial power. (Alabama Department of Corrections)

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

Lindell v. Frank, 377 F.3d 655 (7th Cir. 2004). A prisoner brought an in forma pauperis civil rights
suit against state prison officials, alleging numerous constitutional violations and seeking
injunctive, declaratory and monetary relief. The district court dismissed some claims, entered
summary judgment in favor of the defendants on other claims, and granted injunctive relief to the
prisoner on the one remaining claim. The prisoner and the defendants appealed. The appeals court
affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. The appeals court held that a general ban on the
receipt of clippings from noncommercial sources violated the prisoner's First Amendment right to
receive information, but that the district court injunction was overly broad and violated the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (PLRA.) The state prison had applied a general policy, that banned the
receipt of publications from noncommercial sources, to the prisoner's receipt of magazine clippings
and photocopies of clippings. According to the appeals court, the injunction should have been
limited to the receipt of clippings by the litigating prisoner, but the injunction improperly
prevented the prison from banning any photocopies rather than just photocopies from published
sources. (Wisconsin Secure Program Facility)

U.S. District Court
NOMINAL DAMAGES
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGESPUNITIVE DAMAGES
PLRA· Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Meade v. Plummer, 344 F.Supp.2d 569 (E.D.Mich. 2004). A prisoner brought a§ 1983 action
against a prison's resident unit manager, alleging retaliation in violation of his First Amendment
rights. The district court held that the prisoner's failure to allege physical injury caused his claim
to be barred by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) to the extent that he sought damages for
mental and emotional injury, but not to the extent that he sought nominal, compensatory and
punitive damages. (Kinross Correctional Facility, Michigan)

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U.S. Appeals Court
NEGLIGENCE
FI'CA· Federal Tort
Claims Act

Montez Estate ofHearlson v. U.S., 359 F.3d 392 (6th Cir. 2004). The administratrix of the estate of
a murdered federal inmate brought a negligence claim against the United States under the Federal
Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The district court dismissed the case and the administratrix appealed.
The appeals court affirmed. The appeals court that the allegations in the complaint were
insufficient to rebut the presumption that prison officials' decisions regarding the inmate's safety
at the time of his death were of the type that could be said to be grounded in Bureau of Prisons
(BOP) policy, and thus the FrCA's discretionary function exception shielded the United States
from liability for the inmate's death. (Federal Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREE·
TERMINATION
PLRA·Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Morales Feliciano v. Rullan, 378 F.3d 42 (1•t Cir. 2004). The government moved to terminate an
injunction issued pursuant to a consent decree that addressed unconstitutional conditions of an
inmate health care system. The district court denied the motion and the government appealed. The
appeals court affirmed. The court held that there was an adequate record of continuing
constitutional violations and that the district court's order to privatize the system met the Prison
Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA) requirements for narrowness, need, and lack of intrusiveness. The
district court had found substandard conditions that included the following findings: one-fourth of
all inmates who requested sick call did not get it; only 55% of all ambulatory care appointments
actually took place; only 49% of specialist consultations deemed necessary for serious conditions
were arranged; medically prescribed diets were routinely ignored; mortality rates were rising; and
only 31.3% of inmates who had been diagnosed HIV-positive were receiving treatment. The appeals
court voiced frustration with this case: "Like the legendary Phoenix, this class action litigation
involving prison conditions in Puerto Rico is seemingly incapable of eternal rest...given the long
and tortuous history of this litigation··two years ago, we acknowledged that 'the lore of this case is
Byzantine."' <Puerto Rico)

INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
PRIVATE PROVIDER

U.S. District Court
PRIVATE PROVIDER

Page v. Kirby, 314 F.Supp.2d 619 (N.D.W.Va. 2004). A state inmate filed a§ 1983 action
challenging his conditions of confinement. The district court dismissed the complaint, finding that
private corporations that provided food and medical services at a state prison were not subject to
liability under § 1983, absent an allegation that the inmate's constitutional rights were denied
because of a corporation's policy or custom. (Huttonsville Correctional Center, West Virginia)

U.S. Appeals Court
ELEVENTH AMEND·
MENT

Phiffer v. Columbia River Correctional Inst., 384 F.3d 791 (9th Cir. 2004). A state inmate filed an
action alleging that the state's failure to accommodate his osteoarthritis and osteoporosis violated
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. After the United States
Supreme Court vacated the appeals court decision, the case was remanded. On remand, the
Appeals Court affirmed and remanded, finding that the state waived its Eleventh Amendment
immunity under the Rehabilitation Act by accepting federal funds. (Columbia River Correctional
Institution, Oregon)

U.S. District Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR

Purkey v. CCA Detention Center, 339 F.Supp.2d 1145 (D.Kan. 2004). A federal prisoner brought a
Bivens action against private prison employees. The district court denied the defendants' motion to
dismiss. The district court held that employees at a private company under contract to house
federal pretrial detainees were "federal actors" for the purposes of potential Bivens liability, since
the detainees were in the custody of the United States Marshal and held under the authority of the
United States pending disposition of federal charges against them. According to the court, the
prisoner sufficiently stated that he was prejudiced by the employee's destruction of his legal
papers, for the purpose of his claim under Bivens that he was denied access to court. The court also
found that the prisoner stated a claim for violation of his free speech and association rights. The
court noted that prisoners incarcerated at prisons under contract to the federal government
enjoyed the same constitutional protections as those inmates incarcerated at prisons that are
actually run by the federal government. The court held that the prisoner was prejudiced by the
employee's destruction of his legal papers because the papers contained written recollections of
police interrogations shortly after they were conducted and also recounted representations that
were made to him to elicit his cooperation in return for a lighter sentence. The court found that the
prisoner stated a Bivens claim by alleging that employees disciplined him because he assisted other
inmates in the preparation of grievances against the prisoner. According to the prisoner, the prison
did not provide a law library and an attorney employed by the prison to answer legal research
requests refused requests for assistance in preparing legal actions against the prison and its
personnel. The prisoner alleged that employees harassed and threatened him, placed him in
segregation, entered his cell and scattered his papers and belongings, denied him visits with his
wife, and confiscated his legal materials because he filed grievances. (Corrections Corporation of
America, Leavenworth, Kansas)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Riley v. Kurtz, 361 F.3d 906 (6th Cir. 2004). A prisoner brought an action against a corrections
officer, alleging that his legal mail was opened by the officer outside of the prisoner's presence, in
violation of both prison policy and his First Amendment rights. The prisonern also alleged that the
officer wrote a false misconduct report against him, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. A jury
entered a verdict in favor of the prisoner, the district court awarded attorney fees and the officer
appealed. The appeals court reversed in part and ordered remittitur to reduce a punitive damages
award. On remand, the district court entered an amended judgment and awarded attorney fees.
The officer appealed, challenging the attorney fees awards. The appeals court affirmed in part and
reversed in part. The appeals court held that the prisoner was the prevailing party within the
meaning of§ 1988 and the prisoner, who prevailed on appeal, was entitled to attorney fees for the
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appellate work under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA).(Michigan)
U.S. Appeals Court
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
NOMINAL DAMAGES
PLRA-Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Royal v. Kautzky, 375 F.3d 720 (8th Cir. 2004). A prisoner filed a civil rights action against a prison
employee, alleging retaliation against his First Amendment rights and access to the courts. Finding
that the prisoner did not sustain a physical injury, the district court denied mental or emotional
damages, awarding only nominal damages, and further denied an award of punitive damages. The
prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that Prison Litigation
Reform Act's (PLRA) limitation on damages to those who sustain a physical injury applied to First
Amendment violations. The court found that the district court did not abuse its discretion by not
awarding punitive damages. (Iowa Medical Classification Center)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
NOMINAL DAMAGES

Shain v. Ellison, 356 F.3d 211 (2nd Cir. 2004). A misdemeanor detainee in a county correctional
facility challenged a blanket policy that required strip searches of all detainees, regardless of the
nature of the crime for which they were detained. The detainee sought a declaration that the policy
was unconstitutional, monetary damages, and injunctive relief. The district court entered judgment
in favor of the detainee and awarded $1 in nominal damages. The parties appealed and the appeals
court affirmed in part, and remanded on the issue of injunctive relief. On remand, the district court
granted injunctive relief to the detainee and the defendants again appealed. The appeals court
vacated and remanded, finding that the detainee lacked standing to seek prospective injunctive
relief because he failed to show that he was likely to be rearrested or that he would be remanded to
the county correctional facility overnight if he was rearrested. The court noted that the county had
implemented a new policy that required reasonable suspicion that a detainee is concealing
contraband to justify a search. (Nassau County Correctional Center, New York)

U.S. District Court
VICARIOUS LIABILITY

Shaw v. Coosa County Com'n., 330 F.Supp.2d 1285 (M.D.Ala. 2004). The daughter and the
administratrix of an estate brought a civil rights action against a county, sheriff and other persons
after her father died while in jail. The district court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss, in
part. The court held that the plaintiff stated a claim against the county for an alleged breach of
duty to provide adequate funding for medical treatment of, and medicines for, the inmate. The
father had died while he was serving a 90 day sentenced for domestic violence, and allegedly was
not screened for a determination of proper medical care. (Coosa County Jail, Alabama)

U.S. Appeals Court
PRIVATE PROVIDER

Warren v. District of Columbia, 353 F.3d 36 (D.C.Cir. 2004). A prisoner brought a prose§ 1983
action against the District of Columbia, alleging that he suffered constitutional violations while
incarcerated in a private prison operated under contract with the District. The district court
dismissed the claim and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded, finding
that the prisoner's allegations that the District had, or should have had, knowledge of alleged
constitutional violations were sufficient to state a claim against the District under § 1983. The
prisoner alleged that private prison officials used common needles to draw blood from prisoners.
(Corrections Corporation of America, Youngstown, Ohio)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE
FAILURE TO PROTECT

Wever v. Lincoln County, Nebraska, 388 F.3d 601 (8th Cir. 2004). A personal representative brought
a civil rights action against a county and county sheriff alleging that an arrestee's Fourteenth
Amendment rights were violated. The district court denied the sheriffs motion for summary
judgment and the sheriff appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that the arrestee
had a clearly established Fourteenth Amendment right to be protected from the known risks of
suicide, and two prior suicides in the county jail should have put the sheriff on notice that his
suicide prevention training needed revision. The court held that the representative stated a
supervisory liability claim under the due process clause, noting that a supervisor may be held liable
under § 1983 if a failure to properly supervise and train an employee causes a deprivation of
constitutional rights. (Lincoln County Jail, Nebraska)

U.S. Appeals Court
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Woodward v. Correctional Medical Services, 368 F.3d 917 (7 th Cir. 2004). The administratrix of the
estate of a pretrial detainee who had committed suicide in a county jail brought a § 1983 action
against a private contractor hired by the county to provide medical and mental health services at
the jail, and against the contractor's agents. The district court entered judgment on a jury verdict
against the contractor and the contractor's social worker, awarding $250,000 in compensatory
damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages, and denied motions for summary judgment as a
matter of law. The contractor appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the contractor's
employee's lack of training and carelessness were relevant toward establishing deliberate
indifference, even though the employee herself was not found liable. The court held that the fact
that no previous suicides had occurred in the jail did not preclude the contractor's liability.
According to the appeals court, the district court did not abuse its discretion by letting the punitive
damages award stand. The estate proffered evidence that the contractor failed to adequately train
its employees and condoned employees' failure to complete mental health intake forms and the
social worker's practice of challenging suicide watch referrals. According to the court, employees
knew that the detainee was suicidal but failed several time to place him on suicide watch, in
violation of its own written procedures. The court found that evidence of an alcohol-impaired nurse,
intake backlogs, and claims of delayed or denied medical care to other inmates was relevant to the
contractor's state of mind and was therefore admissible. (Lake County Jail, Illinois)

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2005
U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Bell v. Johnson, 404 F.3d 997 (6th Cir. 2005). A former state prisoner sued corrections officers,
alleging that they had retaliated against him for filing a civil rights suit. The case was remanded
by the appeals court. A jury verdict awarded the former prisoner $1,500 in compensatory damages
but no punitive damages. The district court granted a new trial on damages and subsequently
entered judgment on verdict against an officer for $6,000 in compensatory damages and $28,000 in
punitive damages. The officer appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that
the district court did not abuse its discretion by granting a new trial on damages. The officer had
searched the prisoner's cell while the prisoner was in the prison yard for his daily hour of "yard
time." When the prisoner returned to his cell he found it in disarray and he noticed that some of
his legal papers and medical snacks had been taken. (State Prison of Southern Michigan)

U.S. District Court
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Billops v. Sandoval, 401 F.Supp.2d 766 (S.D.Tex. 2005). A representative of a prisoner's estate
brought a § 1983 action against prison doctors, alleging that by failing to adequately supervise
their medical staff, they were deliberately indifferent to the prisoner's serious medical condition,
resulting in the prisoner's death. The doctors moved to dismiss the action and the district court
denied the motion. The court held that the representative stated a cause of action by alleging that
the doctors were the persons who were ultimately responsible for the prisoner's treatment and that
they had the legal authority and duty to supervise their nursing and physician's assistant staff.
The representative alleged that the doctors, despite their duty, entirely failed to supervise staffs
treatment of the prisoner, and were therefore deliberately indifferent to his care. According to the
representative, the doctors' indifference for a period of two months caused the prisoner's death.
(Clemons Unit, Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

U.S. District Court
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Collins v. Graham, 377 F.Supp.2d 241 (D.Me. 2005). An inmate brought a civil rights action
against corrections officers and their supervisors alleging that the officers subjected him to sexual
harassment. The district court held that the inmate failed to state a claim for sexual harassment
with allegations that the officers made statements to him referring to sexual acts and tried to grab
him in a sexual manner. According to the court, an attempted touching, with no accompanying
allegation of pain or injury, cannot support an inmate's claim of constitutional injury. The court
found that the inmate failed to state a claim for supervisory liability. The court also found that the
inmate's allegation that an officer exposed his testicles to him did not meet the "unnecessary and
wanton infliction of pain" standard necessary to support a § 1983 claim. The court noted that
sexual abuse or harassment of an inmate by a correctional officer can never serve a legitimate
penological purpose and may well result in severe physical and psychological harm, and that in
some circumstances such abuse can constitute the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain that
is forbidden by the Eighth Amendment. (Maine Correctional Center)

U.S. Appeals Court
VICARIOUS LIABILITY

Cook Ex Rel. Tessier v. Sheriff ofMonroe County, 402 F.3d 1092 (11 th Cir. 2005). The personal
representative of the estate of a pretrial detainee who committed suicide while incarcerated
brought an action against a sheriff, in his official capacity, asserting claims for deliberate
indifference to the detainee's medical needs in violation of§ 1983, negligent training and
supervision of jail employees, and vicarious liability for the employees' negligence. The district
court excluded the representative's expert witness testimony, precluded reference to other suicides
at the facility, and granted judgment as a matter of law for the sheriff. The representative
appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. The appeals court
held that the district court acted within its discretion in excluding evidence of other suicides at the
jail. The court found that the plaintiff failed to establish that the detainee's suicide was foreseeable
to the sheriff and therefore any deficiencies in the sheriffs training or supervision did not rise to
the level of deliberate indifference. But the court held that evidence was sufficient to support a
jury verdict on the plaintiffs claim that the sheriff was vicariously liable under state law for
employees' alleged negligence. The court noted that the detainee made two written requests to see
a psychiatrist, one on each of the two days immediately preceding his suicide, and that the
detainee stated in one request that he was "mentally sick" and asked to see the psychiatrist "as
soon as possible." Three deputies observed the detainee as nervous and anxious, and one
specifically observed the detainee apparently having an anxiety attack and complaining of chest
pains. (Monroe County Detention Center, Florida)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
TORT LIABILITY

Copeland v. County ofMacon, Ill., 403 F.3d 929 (7 th Cir. 2005). A former pretrial detainee who had
been beaten by another inmate sued a county seeking indemnification under the "scope of
employment" provision of the state's local government tort immunity statute. The detainee alleged
that a county correctional officer recruited and encouraged other inmates to commit the beating.
The district court jury awarded the detainee $400,000 and the county appealed. The appeals court
reversed, finding that the corrections officer was not acting within the scope of his employment
within the meaning of the tort immunity statute, and that the county jail, not the citizens of the
county, was the officer's employer. (Macon County Jail, Illinois)

XIX

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U.S. District Court
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Davis v. Carroll, 390 F.Supp.2d (D.Del. 2005). An inmate brought a§ 1983 action against prison
personnel alleging violations of his Eighth Amendment rights. The district court denied the
defendants' motion to dismiss. The court held that the inmate stated a claim of excessive force with
his allegations that correctional officers harmed him on two different occasions while he was
handcuffed. The court found that the inmate stated a claim for supervisory liability with his
allegations that correctional officers planned his beating and encouraged him to act out, and that a
deputy warden witnessed the attack and took no action to stop it or punish the officers who were
involved. The inmate also alleged that a sergeant stood by as correctional officers harmed him
while he was handcuffed. (Delaware Correctional Center)

U.S. District Court
NEGLIGENCE

Drake ex rel. Cotton v. Koss, 393 F.Supp.2d 756 (D.Minn. 2005). The legal guardian for an
incapacitated person, who attempted to commit suicide while he was a pretrial detainee in a
county jail, and the state human services department sued a county and various officials under§
1983 alleging Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment violations and a state law claim for negligence.
The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The court held that the
officials did not act with deliberate indifference in failing to recognize and respond to the risk that
the detainee was suicidal, even assuming there was a 72-minute gap between the last time the
detainee was checked and when he was found. According to the court, the officials did not know
that the detainee presented a substantial risk of suicide, based on a physician's reports describing
the detainee's depression as only "mild" or "situational." There was nothing in the reports to
suggest that anti-anxiety medication would have helped prevent the detainee's depression and
attempted suicide. The court held that the county was not shown to have any official policy or
custom of overcrowding or understaffing that played a role in the detainee's attempted suicide. The
court held that the officials acted with discretion with respect to their placement and treatment of
the detainee, and in accordance with a physician's orders, and they promptly took the detainee to
the hospital when they discovered he had harmed himself, and were therefore entitled to official
immunity as to the negligence claims. (McLeod County Jail, Minnesota)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Dunbar v. County of Saratoga, 358 F.Supp.2d 115 (N.D.N.Y. 2005). A female correctional officer at
a county jail brought an action alleging sexual harassment in violation of Title VII and§ 1983. The
district court granted summary judgment for the defendants, in part, and denied in part. The court
held that summary judgment was precluded on the officer's hostile environment sexual
harassment claim. The officer alleged that co-workers made unwelcome sexual advances, directed
graphic sexual comments and jokes at her, left sexual notes on her car, called her at home several
times, and made obscene and offensive gestures toward her. The court held that the officer failed
to establish that she was constructively discharged because of her gender in violation of Title VII,
absent evidence that the defendants intentionally created an intolerable work atmosphere that
forced the officer to quit voluntarily. The court found that the sheriff was entitled to qualified
immunity under§ 1983 from the officer's claims of sexual harassment, where the sheriff never
sexually harassed the officer, never observed her alleged sexual harassment, never took any
adverse employment action against her, and was never personally aware of allegations of sexual
harassment. (Saratoga County Sheriffs Department, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
FAILURE TO PROTECT

Estate ofMoreland v. Dieter, 395 F.3d 74 7 (7th Cir. 2005). Family members of a county jail
detainee who died in custody, brought a§ 1983 action alleging the use of unnecessary and
excessive force. The district court entered judgment, upon jury verdict, in favor of the family
members and against county deputies, and awarded $29 million in compensatory damages, and
$27.5 million in punitive damages. The parties appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that
the punitive damages award was not excessive, where evidence showed that the deputies threw
the detainee' s head against a concrete wall, discharged a can of pepper spray into his face when he
was fully restrained, and repeatedly assaulted him, without attending to the detainee's medical
needs. The detainee died of a fatal hematoma caused by one of the head traumas inflicted by the
deputies. The deputies lied to a jail nurse about the detainee's injuries and filed false reports to
conceal their wrongdoing. The court held that neither multiple prior incidents involving the use of
pepper spray, nor alleged jail overcrowding, established that a sheriff was deliberately indifferent
to a substantial risk of harm to the detainee. The detainee had been admitted to jail after he was
arrested for driving under the influence. Shortly after his admission to the jail, the detainee
provoked a confrontation with another detainee by directing racial slurs at him. Jail staff
responded to the altercation with excessive force. (St. Joseph County Jail, Indiana)

U.S. District Court
CONTEMPT

Little v. Shelby County, Tenn., 384 F.Supp.2d 1169 (W.D.Tenn. 2005). An inmate brought a§ 1983
action against a county and sheriff, alleging that he had been raped in jail in violation of his
Eighth Amendment rights. The county stipulated to liability and an order of injunctive relief was
issued. Later, the district court found the county in contempt, and the county sought to purge itself
of the contempt finding. The court entered a purgation order. The court held that the county and
sheriff complied with the Eighth Amendment and purged themselves of contempt through the
adoption of a structured reform to correct conditions that included violence, rape and gang control
among inmates. In reaching its conclusion, the court considered whether officials took all
reasonable steps within their power to comply with the order, which included whether they

XIX

27.122

marshaled their own resources, asserted their highest authority, and demanded the results needed
from subordinate persons and agencies in order to effectuate the course of action required by the
order. The court praised the county, noting that it had adopted a focused, systemic and
information-driven structural reform based on critical exert assessment of essential institutional
functions. The county adopted a 14·point remedial scheme that included implementing direct
supervision management of inmate cellblocks, improving population management, collecting and
utilizing data, and installing an objective inmate classification system. (Shelby County Jail,
Tennessee)
U.S. Appeals Court
FTCA- Federal Tort
Claims Act

Myles v. US., 416 F.3d 551 (7 th Cir. 2005). A federal inmate brought a suit against the government
seeking compensation under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), alleging that officers failed to
protect him from being beaten by other inmates. The district court dismissed the suit as untimely
and the inmate appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the complaint could not be
deemed to assert Bivens claims. (Federal Bureau of Prisons, Terre Haute, Indiana)

U.S. District Court
CLASS ACTION
SETTLEMENT

Nilsen v. York County, 382 F.Supp.2d 206 (D.Me. 2005). County jail inmates brought a class action
suit against a county, claiming that the practice of forced disrobing of all incoming inmates, in the
presence of an officer, was an unauthorized strip search. The parties submitted a proposed
settlement for court approval. The district court approved the settlement, in part. The court found
that the practice of having inmates remove their clothing in the presence of an officer was the
equivalent of a strip search conducted without cause. The county agreed to create a $3.3 million
settlement fund, from which members of the class would be compensated. The court approved
higher "incentive" payments of $6,500 to the first class representative, and $5,500 and $5,000 to
the other two class representatives, noting that they put considerable time into the case and were
required to give embarrassing deposition testimony. They also received unfavorable publicity
regarding their arrest and humiliation, due to the small size of the county and the ease of their
recognition. The court noted that a privacy factor was strong in this case, and that requiring
individual class members to prove damages would stifle individuals who are too embarrassed to
discuss their searches. The court rejected the proposal that would have awarded twice as much to
females. The proposal had been based on the assertion that females had two areas of the body
subject to privacy protection. The county contended, even when the settlement was offered, that its
policy was constitutional because the officers were looking for contraband in the clothing and were
not intentionally viewing arrestees' naked bodies. (York County Jail, Maine)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE

Perez v. Oakland County, 380 F.Supp.2d 830 (E.D.Mich. 2005). The father and personal
representative of the estate of an inmate brought a suit under § 1983, alleging that the defendants
violated the inmate's Eighth Amendment rights by failing to provide appropriate mental health
treatment or monitoring when the inmate was being held in the county jail, leading to the inmate's
suicide. The court found that allegations that the sheriff failed to ensure that the county's deputies
enforced and followed the law could not sustain a § 1983 claim absent evidence that the sheriff
himself engaged in active unconstitutional behavior by directly participating, encouraging,
authorizing, or acquiescing in the allegedly offending conduct of the sheriffs deputy. (Oakland
County Jail, Michigan)

U.S. District Court
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

Roe v. Crawford, 396 F.Supp.2d 1041 (W.D.Mo. 2005). A female inmate sued prison officials,
requesting a preliminary injunction requiring them to transport her to a local health care provider
for the purpose of providing medical services to terminate her pregnancy. The district court held
that the inmate was entitled to injunctive relief and ordered accordingly. The court found that
denying the inmate the right to choose to terminate her pregnancy constituted irreparable injury
and that substantial delay in the decision to abort increased the risks associated with the
procedure. According to the court, the prison policy not to transport female prisoners out of the
institution for abortions that were not medically necessary was claimed to be reasonably related to
the penological interests of security and cost, but the court found those interests were not
legitimate penological interests. (Women's Diagnostic and Correctional Center, Missouri)

U.S. District Court
PERSONAL LIABILITY

Tardiffv. Knox County, 397 F.Supp.2d 115 (D.Me. 2005). A class action suit was brought against a
county, its sheriff, and jail officers claiming that the Fourth Amendment rights of some detainees
were violated when they were subjected to strip searches without reasonable suspicion that they
were harboring contraband on or within their bodies. The district court held that the county
violated the Fourth Amendment by adopting a policy that allowed for strip searches of all
detainees alleged to have committed felony offenses, although the sheriff was granted qualified
immunity because the law on this matter was not clearly established at the time the policy was
implemented. The policy provided for the strip-searching of all detainees alleged to have
committed non-violent, non·weapon, non-drug felonies. The court found that the county and the
sheriff were liable for a policy that called for the strip searches of detainees alleged to have
committed misdemeanors, without reasonable suspicion. According to the court, the sheriff was
responsible, in his individual capacity, for Fourth Amendment violations arising from strip
searches of all detainees alleged to have committed misdemeanors without a showing of reasonable
suspicion that they were harboring contraband on or within their bodies. The court found that the

XIX
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sheriff was aware of the custom of these universal strip searches and did not take effective action
to halt the practice. The court noted that specific standards that described which strip searches
may be undertaken in jails and prisons had been issued by the state attorney general. The state
corrections department had conducted a review of the jail's policy and procedure manual and
informed the sheriff that the policy pertaining to body searches needed to be revised to comply
with the attorney general's rules for searches. (Knox County Jail, Maine)
U.S. District Court
DAMAGES
HECK RULE

Thomas v. Barker, 371 F.Supp.2d 636 (M.D.Pa. 2005). A jail inmate brought a prose civil rights
suit seeking to challenge the propriety of charges of escape and other crimes. The district court
dismissed the case, finding that the inmate could not seek release from custody in a§ 1983 action.
The court noted that to the extent that the jail inmate was challenging the fact or duration of his
confinement by attacking a sheriffs filing of charges against him, the claims had to be brought in a
habeas corpus petition, rather than a civil rights action. The court also held that any claim for
monetary damages based on a civil rights claim for allegedly unconstitutional imprisonment based
on vindictive prosecution would not accrue in the inmate's favor under the Heck rule until such
time as the charges were dismissed or convictions were reversed on direct appeal, expunged by a
state tribunal, or called into question by the issuance of a federal writ of habeas corpus. The court
found that the claims were legally frivolous and subject to dismissal under the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (PLRA). (State Correctional Institution-Retreat, Pennsylvania)

U.S. District Court
TORT LIABILITY

Thomas ex rel. Smith v. Cook County Sheriff, 401 F.Supp.2d 867 (N.D.Ill. 2005). The administrator
of a detainee's estate brought an action arising from the death of the detainee at the jail, allegedly
due to inadequate medical attention. The district court granted the defendants' motions to dismiss
in part, and denied in part. The court held that the administrator had standing to sue on behalf of
the surviving spouse and next of kin, and that the allegations were sufficient to state most of the §
1983 claims. The court found that allegations of conspiracy were insufficient to state a claim. The
court held that the allegations were sufficient to remove the shield of immunity under a state tort
immunity act by pleading "willing and wanton conduct." According to the court, allegations that an
institutional policy, whether an express policy or a widespread practice, led to the death of the
detainee due to deliberate indifference to the detainee's medical needs, were sufficient to state a §
1983 claim. The detainee was suffering flu-like conditions at the time of arrest and he complained
of these symptoms to medical personnel during his initial screening at the jail. Three days later his
condition worsened and he requested medical attention from several officers, who refused and told
him he was just "dopesick." The next three days the detainee, and fellow detainees on his behalf,
requested medical attention and their requests were denied by officers and medical technicians,
and even made written requests. The detainee was found unconscious on the floor of his cell on the
seventh day after his admission and he died of meningitis later that day. (Cook County
Department of Corrections, Illinois)

U.S. District Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR
NEGLIGENCE
PLRA- Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Torres v. Corrections Corp. ofAmerica, 372 F.Supp.2d 1258 (N.D.Okla. 2005). A state prison
inmate who was assaulted and battered by a prison officer brought a § 1983 action in state court
against the corporate administrator of the prison, and also asserted a negligence claim. The
district court dismissed the case in part and denied dismissal in part. The court held that the
inmate's § 1983 claims were subject to the exhaustion requirements of the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (PLRA). The court held that the inmate's state law claim of negligence against the
corporate administrator of the prison did not fall within the ambit of PLRA's exhaustion of
administrative remedies provision. (David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center, Oklahoma, operated
by Corrections Corporation of America)

U.S. District Court
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Valdes v. Crosby, 390 F.Supp.2d 1084 (M.D.Fla. 2005). The estate of an inmate who died in prison
after an alleged beating by correctional officers brought a § 1983 action against prison officials and
prison nurses. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants in part,
and denied it in part. The court found that summary judgment was precluded by a genuine issue of
material fact on a supervisory liability claim against a warden. The court also held that there were
genuine issues of material fact as to whether inmate abuse at the hands of prison officers occurred
with sufficient regularity to demonstrate a history of widespread abuse at the prison, and as to
whether the prison warden established customs and practices that resulted in deliberate
indifference to violations of inmates' constitutional rights. According to the court, it was clearly
established at the time of the inmate's death that the warden could face liability under § 1983
predicated on his failure to take reasonable steps in the face of a history of widespread abuse that
created a known substantial risk of serious harm to inmates. The court found that a prison
inspector was not liable on a § 1983 supervisory liability claim, since the inspector was neither
responsible for, nor had authority to prevent or correct problems relating to abusive officers. The
court concluded that nurses were not liable under§ 1983 where a nurse's physical examination of
the inmate following alleged abuse by officers during the extraction of the inmate from his cell
revealed that the inmate suffered only minor injuries consistent with those seen by medical
personnel in prisons following cell extractions. The court held that any delay in the nurse's
response to a call for immediate medical help for the inmate did not create or exacerbate injuries
the inmate received from an alleged beating by prison officers, since the nurse arrived within

XIX

27.124

minutes of receiving the call and officers were attending to the inmate’s medical needs by
administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation. (Florida State Prison)
U.S. Appeals Court
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

Warsoldier v. Woodford, 418 F.3d 989 (9th Cir. 2005). A Native American inmate sued state

U.S. District Court
NOMINAL DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

White v. Kautsky, 386 F.Supp.2d 1042 (N.D.Iowa, 2005). A state prison inmate sued a state
corrections director and a warden, claiming that a policy that did not allow attorneys to do legal
research for inmates in appropriate cases violated his right to have access to the courts. The
district court held that the inmate was injured by the policy for the purposes of a constitutional
claim, where he did not pursue his non-frivolous claim that noncompliance with extradition
procedures invalidated his conviction. The court concluded that the corrections department did not
provide the inmate with a reasonably adequate opportunity to present claimed violations, where
there was no legal library and the attorney who was provided to consult with the inmate was only
allowed to confer and consult about the lack of merit of any proposed litigation, without being
allowed to conduct any legal research. The court noted that the inmate’s question that required
research carried a great deal of significance for the inmate. The court awarded only nominal
damages in the amount of $1 and held that the inmate was not entitled to the compensatory
damages he had requested, equal to the estimated amount of legal fees that would have been
incurred with his lawsuit. The court declined to award punitive damages where there was no
showing that the department acted maliciously when it provided attorneys to inmates for the
limited purpose of advising and conferring, but did not allow the attorneys to conduct any legal
research. (Anamosa State Penitentiary, Iowa)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO TRAIN
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Ziemba v. Armstrong, 430 F.3d 623 (2nd Cir. 2005). A state prison inmate brought a civil rights
action alleging that prison officials failed to provide constitutionally-adequate health care, failed to
protect him from the use of excessive force, and used excessive force. The district court granted
summary judgment for the officials, in part, and they appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part,
reversed in part and remanded. The court held that evidence was sufficient to establish that a
state corrections commissioner exhibited deliberate indifference to the inmate’s constitutional
rights or was grossly negligent in training subordinates, and that evidence was sufficient to impose
supervisory liability on a prison warden. The inmate was allegedly placed in four-point restraints
for 22 hours, beaten, and denied medical care. The court found that summary judgment was
precluded by a genuine issue of material fact as to whether a prison nurse and medic were
deliberately indifference to the inmate’s serious medical needs. (Connecticut State Prison)

corrections officials challenging a prison hair grooming policy that required male inmates to
maintain hair no longer than three inches, alleging it violated his rights under the Religious Land
Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The district court denied the inmate’s request for
a preliminary injunction and the inmate appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded,
finding that the policy imposed a substantial burden on the inmate’s religious practice and that
the policy was not the least restrictive alternative to achieve the state’s interest in prison security.
The court noted that the inmate was not physically forced to cut his hair, but that he was
subjected to punishments including confinement to his cell, imposition of additional duty hours,
and reclassification into a less desirable work group. The court also noted that the state failed to
explain why its women’s prisons did not adhere to an equally strict grooming policy. The court
concluded that the inmate faced the possibility of irreparable injury absent the issuance of an
injunction and the balance of hardships favored the inmate. (Adelanto Community Correctional
Facility, California)

2006
U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY

Abdullah v. Washington, 437 F.Supp.2d 137 (D.D.C. 2006). An inmate brought a pro se civil rights

U.S. Appeals Court
NEGLIGENCE
FTCA- Federal Tort
Claims Act

Acosta v. U.S. Marshals Service, 445 F.3d 509 (1st Cir. 2006). A detainee brought an action against

action under § 1983 against the District of Columbia and certain jail officials, in their individual
and official capacities, seeking damages related to his alleged exposure to second-hand tobacco
smoke while confined at a jail. The district court granted the officials’ motion to dismiss in part,
and denied in part. The court held that the inmate's allegations that he was subjected to an
intolerable level of second-hand tobacco smoke while confined at the jail, and that jail officials were
deliberately indifferent to his condition because they did not resolve the numerous grievances he
filed on the issue, were sufficient to support an Eighth Amendment claim based on exposure to
environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). The court found that the inmate's Eighth Amendment right
to be free from levels of second-hand smoke that posed an unreasonable risk of serious damage to
the inmate's future health was clearly established, and thus, the officials were not entitled to
qualified immunity. (District of Columbia Department of Corrections, Central Detention Facility)
the United States Marshals Service, various county jails where he was detained, doctors in a
federal prison, a private medical center, a private doctor, and others, alleging claims under § 1983
and the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), and alleging negligence under state law. The district
court dismissed the action and the detainee appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The court held
that filing of an administrative claim with the United States Marshals Service was insufficient to

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satisfy the administrative exhaustion requirement of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), for
the purpose of § 1983 claims against county jails and a federal prison doctor. The court noted that
administrative claims against the county jails had to be directed to those facilities, and claims
alleging wrongdoing by a doctor at a federal prison had to be filed with the federal Bureau of
Prisons. The court ruled that FTCA claims against county facilities were barred by the
independent contractor exemption of the FTCA. According to the court, allegations did not state
deliberate indifference claims against a private medical center or a private doctor with allegations
that someone at a private medical center overmedicated him, and that a private doctor failed to
properly diagnose the severity of his foot injury. The detainee had been arrested on federal drug
and firearm charges and he was held without bail. During his pretrial detention, the United States
Marshals Service lodged him in several county jail facilities with which it contracts, and he also
spent time in two federal facilities. (Hillsborough County Department of Corrections, NH;
Cumberland County Jail, Maine; Merrimack County House of Corrections, NH; FMC Rochester,
MN; Strafford County House of Corrections, NH; FCI Raybrook, NY)
U.S. District Court
SANCTIONS
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

Americans United For Separation of Church and State v. Prison Fellowship Ministries, 432

U.S. Appeals Court
CONTEMPT

Armstrong v. Guccione, 470 F.3d 89 (2nd Cir. 2006). A prisoner incarcerated for civil contempt for

F.Supp.2d 862 (S.D.Iowa 2006). A separation of church and state advocacy group, and affected
state prison inmates, sued the State of Iowa, claiming that funding of a contract under which an
organization providing pre-release rehabilitation services to inmates through a program based on
Evangelical Christianity violated the Establishment Clause. The plaintiffs moved for declarative
and injunctive relief. The district court held that: (1) the service provider was operating under
color of state law, for purposes of a suit under § 1983; (2) the program was pervasively sectarian;
(3) the program did not involve payments made at the direction of inmates, which would not
violate Establishment Clause; (4) the program fostered excessive entanglement of government
with religion; (5) the contract violated the Establishment Clause. The service provider was
enjoined from further contract performance, would not be paid amounts due under its contract,
and would be forced to return all payments received. The court noted that the plaintiffs had
standing to sue the State of Iowa and corrections officials and the prison ministries organization,
even though they were not Iowa taxpayers, because the inmate plaintiffs had made contributions
to the telephone fund, designed to finance telephone use by inmates, from which withdrawals had
been allegedly made to pay for the prison ministry in question. The court noted that if secular
activities of a pervasively sectarian organization may be separated from sectarian activities, the
secular activities may be funded by the government without violating the Establishment Clause.
The court found that all instruction, regardless of subject, with exception of computer science, was
presented as an aspect of Evangelical Christianity, and participants were required to participate
in single and group devotional activities. According to the court, state prison inmates were not
given true freedom of choice, there was no secular alternative to participation in the program,
which offered superior living quarters and some relaxation of prison rules. The program provider
was required to return the $1,529,182 paid by the state. (Iowa Department of Corrections and
InnerChange Freedom Initiative, Newton Correctional Facility)

refusing to comply with an order, sought habeas corpus relief. The district court denied the
prisoner’s motion for bail and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed, remanded, and
ordered the case to be reassigned. The court held that the Non-Detention Act did not eliminate the
lower courts' inherent power to order coercive civil confinement, and implicitly authorized coercive
confinement in the face of civil contempt. The court found that civil confinement only becomes
punitive, for the purposes of a due process analysis, when it loses the ability to secure compliance.
The court held that a seven-year length of imprisonment for refusing to produce corporate records
and property, so as to comply with an order issued in a civil securities fraud action, did not violate
the prisoner’s due process rights, where the property in question had a “life-altering” value of $15
million, such that his refusal to comply indicated that he was willing to suffer jail time in hopes of
ending up in possession of the property. The court opened it’s opinion with the following statement:

“It has been said that a civil contemnor who is incarcerated to compel compliance with a court
order holds the key to his prison cell: Where defiance leads to the contemnor's incarceration,
compliance is his salvation.” (Metropolitan Correctional Center, Federal Bureau of Prisons, New

York)
U.S. Appeals Court
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
FAILURE TO PROTECT

Britt v. Garcia, 457 F.3d 264 (2d Cir. 2006). A prisoner brought a suit against correctional officials

and others, alleging failure to protect him in violation of Eighth Amendment, civil rights
conspiracy, and state law violations. Following a jury verdict in favor of the prisoner on the civil
rights conspiracy claim, the district court denied a post-trial motion for judgment as matter of law
on qualified immunity grounds, and ordered a new trial on the issue of punitive damages. The
officials appealed. The appeals court held that the officials were not entitled to qualified immunity
as a matter of law based on special verdict on which the jury answered “no” to the question asking
if the officials had failed to protect the inmate in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights, but
“yes” to question asking if they had conspired to violate his constitutional rights. The prisoner was
serving a state sentence for a felony conviction when he was assaulted by another inmate who
slashed his head, neck, and back. He was rushed to a hospital where he received multiple stitches

27.126
XX

to close his wounds. Upon his return to prison, he was placed in protective custody but was
allegedly attacked at least once more by another inmate, and his cell was allegedly set on fire. He
brought suit seeking compensation for his injuries. The jury assessed compensatory damages
against two officials in the amounts of $100,000 and $50,000, and punitive damages in the
amounts of $5 million and $2.5 million, respectively. The court concluded that punitive damages
“should not exceed $200,000” in the case of one defendant and $100,000 in the case of the other
defendant, and ordered a new trial on the issue of punitive damages when the prisoner refused to
agree to forego all punitive damages in excess of those amounts. (Sing Sing Correctional Facility,
New York)
U.S. District Court
OFFICIAL CAPACITY

Burkett v. Wicker, 435 F.Supp.2d 875 (N.D.Ind. 2006). A prisoner, proceeding pro se, brought a
civil rights action under § 1983 against a jail nurse and others, alleging that he was denied
medical treatment while he was a pretrial detainee. The inmate alleged that a jail nurse made a
false entry into the prisoner's medical record, denied him doses of his prescribed medication,
prevented him from seeing a doctor, and delayed filling his prescription, that the nurse knew that
his hand was injured and that it would get worse without treatment, and that because of her
deliberate indifference to his serious medical need, he developed an infection, his hand did not heal
properly, he had permanent disfigurement, and he was in prolonged, unnecessary pain. The
district court held that the allegations supported a claim for violation of Eighth Amendment's
prescription against cruel and unusual punishment. But the court found that no liability existed
against the nurse in her official capacity, for allegedly denying the prisoner medical treatment
while he was a pretrial detainee, in violation of the Eighth Amendment, absent any allegation that
the nurse was acting pursuant to a policy or custom. (Cass County Jail, Indiana)

U.S. District Court
CLASS ACTION
SETTLEMENT

Bynum v. District of Columbia, 412 F.Supp.2d 73 (D.D.C. 2006). Persons who had been, were, or

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

Clifton v. Eubank, 418 F.Supp.2d 1243 (D.Colo. 2006). An inmate brought a § 1983 action alleging

U.S. District Court
CLASS ACTION
PLRA- Prison Litigation
Reform Act

would be incarcerated by the District of Columbia Department of Corrections brought a § 1983
class action challenging the Department's policy of conducting suspicionless strip searches of
inmates who were declared releasable after their court appearances, and challenging alleged overdetentions. The district court preliminarily approved a proposed settlement. Following a final
approval hearing, the district court held that final approval was warranted and that the allocation
of a sum for distribution to all class members who submitted claims was a fair method of
distribution. The court held that the distribution fund of $12 million was very favorable, especially
in view of the low number of opt-outs and objectors. The court found that there was no collusion
between the parties or their counsel and that the settlement comported with the rule governing
class actions and with due process requirements. The court found that the attorney fee award of
33% of the settlement fund, or $4 million, was reasonable, noting that counsel had engaged in
protracted efforts over four years to obtain the outstanding settlement in both monetary and
injunctive terms, the case was complex and involved novel issues, the case carried a serious risk of
lack of success, and the settlement met with a high level of class satisfaction. The court defined the
“Over-Detention Injunctive Relief Class” as: (a) Each person who has been, is or will be
incarcerated in any District of Columbia Department of Corrections facility beginning in the three
years preceding the filing of the action on or about May 16, 2002 up to and until the date this case
is terminated; and (b) who was not released, or, in the future will not be released by midnight on
the date on which the person is entitled to be released by court order or the date on which the basis
for his or her detention has otherwise expired. (District of Columbia Department of Corrections)

violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment against a prison nurse and corrections
officers, arising out of the stillbirth of her fetus. The court denied the defendants’ motion for
summary judgment. The court held that the inmate's delayed labor, resulting in the stillbirth of an
otherwise viable fetus, constituted a physical injury to the mother sufficient to satisfy the Prison
Litigation Reform Act’s (PLRA) physical injury requirement, and that PLRA did not bar her
constitutional claims under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The inmate had told an
officer that she was in labor and needed medical assistance but the officer sent her back to her
housing unit. Later she told another officer that she was in labor and needed help but the officer
declined to provide her with medical assistance and told her to return to her unit. Upon her third
request for medical assistance, another officer sent her to the facility's medical unit where the
nurse examined the inmate and found no evidence that her water had broken. During the
examination the nurse did not use a fetal heart monitor to evaluate the status of the fetus,
apparently because she did not know how to use the monitor. The inmate was sent back to her
housing unit without treatment, even though she told the nurse that she had difficulties with prior
deliveries. The next day, another officer noticed Clifton's distress and sent her to the medical unit.
She was sent from the prison to a hospital, where it was determined that her fetus was dead.
(Women's Correctional Facility, Canon City, Colorado)

Ginest v. Board of County Com'rs of Carbon County, 423 F.Supp.2d 1237 (W.D.Wyo. 2006).

County jail inmates filed a motion for an award of attorney fees and expenses after obtaining a
consent decree in a § 1983 class action against a county and sheriff in his official capacity, for
deliberate indifference to their medical needs, and a contempt order against the defendants. The

27.127
XX

district court held that: (1) the class counsel for the inmates was entitled to attorney fees for time
and effort spent in monitoring compliance by the county and its sheriff with the remedial plan; (2)
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) did not preclude an award of attorney fees to the class
counsel; (3) the counsel would be awarded a 25% fee multiplier or enhancement; and (4) the
counsel was entitled to the award of expenses for his travel to Wyoming to review medical records
and perform other activities on behalf of the inmates. (Carbon County, Wyoming)
U.S. Appeals Court
PLRA-Prison Litigation
Reform Act
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
SPECIAL MASTER

Handberry v. Thompson, 436 F.3d 52 (2nd Cir. 2006). City prison inmates, between the ages of 16
and 21, brought a class action against city officials under § 1983, alleging failure to provide
adequate educational services. The district court entered declaratory judgment in favor of the
inmates and entered an injunction ordering the city to comply with the terms of an educational
plan and to provide additional required services to eligible inmates. The city appealed. The appeals
court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. The court held that the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (PLRA) prohibited prospective relief for violations of state law only. The court found
that the requirement that the city develop temporary education plans (TEP) for students who did
not have current individualized education plans (IEP) within thirty days of enrollment was
appropriately narrowly drawn. According to the court, a special monitor appointed to oversee the
implementation of the order was not a “special master” for the purposes of PLRA and therefore the
district court’s requirement that the city and state pay for the special monitor did not violate
PLRA, which required expenses of special masters to be borne by the judiciary. The court noted
that the special monitor was not given a mandate to exercise quasi-judicial powers, such as finding
facts that would be binding on the court. (New York City Department of Corrections, New York
City Department of Education)

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

Handberry v. Thompson, 446 F.3d 335 (2nd Cir. 2006). City prison inmates, between the ages of 16

U.S. Appeals Court
CLASS ACTION

In re Nassau County Strip Search Cases, 461 F.3d 219 (2d Cir. 2006). Arrestees brought an action
against a county and others, challenging the county correctional center's blanket strip search
policy for newly-admitted, misdemeanor detainees. The district court denied the plaintiffs' class
certification motions, and the plaintiffs appealed. The appeals court reversed in part and
remanded in part. The court held that common issues predominated over individual issues as to
liability in this case, and the class action device was a superior litigation mechanism as to the
issue of liability. (Nassau County Correctional Center, New York)

U.S. District Court
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY
VICARIOUS LIABILITY

Locicero v. O’Connell, 419 F.Supp.2d 521 (S.D.N.Y. 2006). An inmate brought a pro se § 1983

U.S. District Court
INSURANCE

North River Ins. Co. v. Broward County Sheriff's Office, 428 F.Supp.2d 1284 (S.D.Fla. 2006). An
insurer sued a county sheriff's office and a number of its officers, seeking a determination of its
coverage obligations regarding lawsuits involving former inmates who had been incarcerated over
20 years earlier, but who were recently exonerated. The insurer moved for summary judgment.
The district court held that “bodily injury” and “personal injury” covered by the policy did not cover
allegations of malicious prosecution and false imprisonment that occurred 20 years earlier. One of

and 21, brought a class action against city officials under § 1983 and the New York education code,
alleging failure to provide adequate educational services. After the entry of a declaratory judgment
in favor of the inmates, the district court entered an injunction ordering the city to comply with the
terms of an educational plan and to provide additional required services to eligible inmates. The
city appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, vacated in part and remanded. The appeals
court held that the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) prohibited prospective relief for violations
of state law only. The court held that the injunction was a necessary and narrowly drawn means of
effectuating prospective relief, as required by Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), even though
the court described the plaintiff class as consisting of inmates housed in one specific facility, where
that was the only facility that provided educational services, and inmates at city's other jails had
to transfer there to receive such services. According to the court, the special monitor appointed by
the district court to oversee implementation of the order was not a “special master,” and thus the
requirement that the city and state pay for the special monitor did not violate the provision of
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requiring expenses for special masters to be borne by the
judiciary. (New York City Department of Education, New York City Department of Corrections,
Rikers Island)

action against a correction facility's superintendent and a correction officer, alleging deprivations
of his Eighth Amendment right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment. The district court held
that the inmate's allegations were sufficient to plead that the superintendent was personally
involved in an alleged deprivation of the inmate's constitutional rights. The court found that the
inmate stated a claim against a prison superintendent for deliberate indifference under § 1983 by
alleging that the risk a corrections officer posed to inmates was obvious prior to the deprivation the
inmate allegedly suffered, and by alleging that a corrections officer reportedly was officially
reprimanded for misconduct towards inmates and that the severity of his misconduct rose to a
level requiring his temporary removal from duty or from a particular program. The inmate alleged
that the officer threatened him and hit him on more than one occasion. (Downstate Correctional
Facility, New York)

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XX

the complaints was filed by the estate of an inmate who died in prison in 2000 and was
posthumously exonerated later that year. The second complaint was filed by a person who was
arrested in 1979 and convicted in 1980 and spent 22 years in prison before he was exonerated and
released from prison in June 2001. (Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Florida)
U.S. District Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR
MEDICAL CARE
PLRA- Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Olivas v. Corrections Corp. of America, 408 F.Supp.2d 251 (N.D.Tex. 2006). An inmate brought a §

U.S. Appeals Court
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES

Patterson v. Balsamico, 440 F.3d 104 (2nd Cir. 2006). An African-American former employee of a
county sheriff's department brought an action against another corrections officer, alleging the
existence of a racially discriminatory hostile work environment and the intentional infliction of
emotional distress. After a jury trial, the district court awarded the former employee nominal
damages on the hostile work environment claim, $100,000 on the emotional distress claim, and
$20,000 in punitive damages. The court denied the corrections officer's motion for a new trial and
awarded the former employee attorney fees. The parties appealed. The court of appeals affirmed in
part, and vacated and remanded in part. The appeals court held that the district court did not
abuse its discretion when, pursuant to New York law, it declined to reduce compensatory damages
of $100,000 awarded to the plaintiff on his claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress,
arising from an assault in which the officer and others sprayed the plaintiff with mace, covered
him with shaving cream, and taunted him with racial slurs. The court noted that the plaintiff had
testified as to his humiliation, embarrassment, and loss of self-confidence, as well as to his
sleeplessness, headaches, stomach pains, and burning in his eyes from the use of mace. The
appeals court found that the punitive damages award of $20,000 did not exceed the maximum
permissible amount considering that this was a thoroughly reprehensible incident, particularly in
light of its racial motivation, and that the punitive damages award represented a relatively small
fraction of $100,000 compensatory damages awarded on the emotional distress claim. The court
noted that the officer against whom the award was made should have appreciated the gravity of
the racially motivated assault on a fellow officer and should have understood that such conduct
could have adverse economic consequences. But the appeals court concluded that the $20,000
damage award was excessive in light of the personal finances of the defendant corrections officer,
who earned an annual salary of approximately $37,632, was married and had two children. The
court found that an award of no more than $10,000 would provide sufficient punishment and deter
future conduct. The court remanded the case for a new trial on punitive damages, unless the
plaintiff agreed to remit the portion of the punitive damages award that exceeded $10,000. The
plaintiff alleged that he had been subjected to a racially discriminatory hostile work environment
and that his employment had been terminated because of his race. He alleged that he heard fellow
employees use racial slurs and make disparaging remarks about African-Americans on
approximately 12 occasions during his first three months of employment. (Oneida County
Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court
NOMINAL DAMAGES

Pearson v. Welborn, 471 F.3d 732 (7th Cir. 2006). An inmate brought an action against prison

1983 action against a private company that managed a prison, alleging violations of his
constitutional rights and a claim of negligence under state law. The corporation moved for
summary judgment and the district court granted the motion. The court held that: the company
was not liable for alleged deliberate indifference to the inmate's serious medical needs; even if the
corporation failed to properly prioritize the inmate's dental injury, the failure did not amount to
deliberate indifference to the inmate's serious medical needs; and the inmate did not suffer a
“physical injury” under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The court noted that a private
corporation that manages a prison can be sued by an inmate under § 1983 for an alleged
constitutional injury, since the operation of a prison is a fundamental government function and the
standards applicable to determining liability under § 1983 against a municipal corporation are
applicable to determining the liability of a private corporation performing a government function.
The court held that the inmate's injury, in which he broke two front teeth, was not a dental injury
that required emergency care, and therefore the private prison-management company was not
liable to the inmate under § 1983 for alleged deliberate indifference to inmate's serious medical
needs. The inmate did not initially seek emergency care, and in the days immediately following the
injury he did not suffer pain requiring more than over-the-counter medicine. According to the
court, even if the private prison-management corporation failed to properly prioritize the inmate's
dental injury, such failure did not amount to deliberate indifference to the inmate's serious
medical needs under the Eighth Amendment, for the purposes of the inmate's § 1983 claim against
the company. The inmate's allegation in the § 1983 action that he suffered some pain, and later
suffered depression and emotional injury resulting from the loss of his teeth, was insufficient to
establish a “physical injury” under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). (Corrections
Corporation of America, Mineral Wells Pre-Parole Transfer Facility, Texas)

personnel, alleging retaliation in violation of the First Amendment. The district court entered
judgment upon jury verdict in favor of the inmate. Inmate appealed the court’s refusal to award
attorney fees and declaratory relief, and a prison warden and social worker cross-appealed. The
appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that the inmate's oral complaints to prison
personnel about prison conditions, including the use of shackles in group therapy and denial of
yard time to prisoners in a pre-transfer unit, related to matters of public concern and were

27.129
XX

designed to effect a change in prison policy, and thus, they were protected by the First
Amendment. The court held that the inmate, who was awarded only nominal damages under the
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) in his action against prison personnel, was not entitled to an
attorney fee award greater than 150% of the nominal damages based on his claim for declaratory
judgment, that his punishment by personnel was illegal. The court noted that the only relief the
inmate secured was nominal damages, and since the inmate had already been transferred to
another facility, a declaratory judgment would have been largely duplicative of the jury's verdict
concluding that personnel had retaliated against inmate. (Tamms Correctional Center, Illinois)
U.S. District Court
OFFICIAL CAPACITY
RLUIPA - Religious
Land Use and
Institutionalized
Persons Act

Price v. Caruso, 451 F.Supp.2d 889 (E.D.Mich. 2006). A state prison inmate brought a pro se suit

U.S. District Court
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

R.G. v. Koller, 415 F.Supp.2d 1129 (D.Hawai’i 2006). Three juveniles who either identified

U.S. Appeals Court
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Rodriguez-Marin v Rivera-Gonzalez, 438 F.3d 72 (1st Cir. 2006). Employees of Puerto Rico's

against the director of the state corrections department, claiming that failure to provide
transportation to another facility in order to permit his minimum attendance requirement for
Jewish services to be satisfied, was a violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act (RLUIPA). The court found material issues of fact, as to whether there were sufficient
Jewish inmates in the prison to conduct services, precluded summary judgment. The court found
that the inmate's claim for damages, arising from the refusal of authorities to transport him to
another facility, was not rendered moot when he was transferred to another facility where need for
transportation no longer existed. According to the court, the inmate could pursue his damages
claim against the director in her official capacity, claiming that his rights under the RLUIPA were
violated because it was not clear whether, in accepting federal funding, the state had waived
sovereign immunity, and with it the director's official capacity immunity. (Southern Michigan
Correctional Facility)
themselves as, or were perceived to be, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender and who had been
confined at a state juvenile correctional facility brought claims against the facility alleging due
process, equal protection, Establishment Clause, and access to counsel violations. The district
court granted the juveniles’ motion for a preliminary injunction in part, and denied in part. The
court held that the juveniles had standing to seek a preliminary injunction preventing the facility
officials from engaging in unconstitutional conduct and requiring them to implement policies and
procedures to ensure their safety at the facility. Although none of the juveniles were incarcerated
at the time the complaint was filed, the court found that enjoining certain unconstitutional conduct
and requiring officials to implement policies and procedures to remedy those conditions would
remedy the juveniles' injury, and, the juveniles showed a likelihood of repetition of the injury given
that each of the juveniles had been incarcerated at the facility two to three times over a relatively
short period of time, each had been released only to return to the facility a short time later, and
the juveniles' experiences indicated that, at the time the complaint was filed, each juvenile was
likely to return to the facility. The court found that the facility's adoption of a youth rights policy
providing that youth should not be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation did not
render moot the juveniles' claims for injunctive relief from sexual orientation harassment, absent
evidence, aside from the policies themselves, that the facility had altered its treatment of its
lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender wards. According to the court, the facility's use of isolation to
“protect” its lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender wards was not within the range of acceptable
professional practices and constituted punishment in violation of their due process rights. The
court found that such practices were, at best, an excessive and therefore unconstitutional, response
to the legitimate safety needs of the institution. The court held that officials at the facility acted
with deliberate indifference in violation of due process in allowing pervasive verbal, physical, and
sexual abuse to persist against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender juveniles. The juveniles
complained of a relentless campaign of harassment based on their sexual orientation that included
threats of violence, physical and sexual assault, imposed social isolation, and near constant use of
homophobic slurs. (Hawai‘i Youth Correctional Facility)
corrections administration filed suit under § 1983 against the administration alleging political
discrimination, claiming that they were demoted in violation of their First Amendment and due
process rights. The district court entered a verdict for the employees, awarding compensatory and
punitive damages, and the defendants appealed. The court of appeals affirmed, finding that
evidence was sufficient to support the jury finding that the employees were demoted based on their
political affiliation. The court noted that the employees were long-standing, competent employees
and that both were demoted without being given any notice or opportunity to defend their
demotions, and that important documents were missing from their personnel files. According to
the court, punitive damages of $120,000 to $195,000 assessed against the chief legal advisor of the
new political administration were not excessive because the demotions jeopardized the employees'
livelihood. As a result of their demotions, one employee's salary was reduced by 60 percent and the
other's was reduced by 43 percent. Both employees suffered harm to their professional careers,
were unable to meet their financial obligations because of their reduced salaries, and suffered
emotional distress for which they sought medical attention. The court noted that “discrimination
based on political-party affiliation is rampant in government employment in Puerto Rico.”
(Administration of Corrections, Puerto Rico)

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U.S. Appeals Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR

Roles v. Maddox, 439 F.3d 1016 (9th Cir. 2006). A prisoner brought a pro se § 1983 claim asserting

U.S. Appeals Court
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Serna v. Colorado Dept. of Corrections, 455 F.3d 1146 (10th Cir. 2006). A prisoner brought
excessive force and inadequate medical care claims against various officers and officials. A state
prison director moved for summary judgment on the ground of qualified immunity. The district
court denied summary judgment and director appealed. The court of appeals reversed and
remanded. The court held that: (1) the director’s authorizing the use of a special team was not
personal involvement that could form the basis for supervisory liability; (2) the director’s receipt of
periodic reports about the team’s progress was not direct participation that could give rise to
liability; (3) the director’s conduct did not constitute failure to supervise; and (4) the director was
not deliberately indifferent to the rights of inmates. The director had, at a warden’s request,
authorized a special team to conduct cell invasions to find a loaded gun. (Colorado Territorial
Corrections Facility)

U.S. District Court
DEFENSES
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
MUNICIPAL
LIABILITY

Shaw v. Coosa County Com'n., 434 F.Supp.2d 1199 (M.D.Ala. 2006). The estate of deceased inmate

U.S. District Court
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
CRIPA- Civil Rights of
Institutionalized
Persons Act

violations of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights in connection with the confiscation of
magazines by prison officials. The district court dismissed the action and the prisoner appealed.
The appeals court affirmed, finding that the exhaustion requirement of the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (PLRA) applied to prisoners who were held in private prisons, and the prisoner's claim
that his constitutional rights were violated by the confiscation of his magazines was subject to the
PLRA exhaustion requirement. (Idaho Correctional Center, operated by Corrections Corporation of
America, Inc.)

brought an action against county commission and sheriff, stemming from the inmate's death while
incarcerated at the county jail. The district court granted the county’s motion for summary
judgment. The court found that, in matters related to supervision of inmates and otherwise
operating county jails, Alabama's sheriffs are state, not county officers, and the sheriff's authority
is totally independent of the county commission. According to the court, the county commission did
not owe a duty of care under Alabama law to the inmate, where policies of the commission with
respect to funding jails or providing medical treatment to persons held in jails were not the moving
force behind the alleged injury. The court noted that, under Alabama law, sheriffs have full
responsibility for daily management of jails, including inmate supervision, and they are not subject
to county oversight in their performance of this responsibility. (Coosa County Jail, Alabama)

Siggers-El v. Barlow, 433 F.Supp.2d 811(E.D.Mich. 2006). A state inmate filed a § 1983 action
alleging that a prison official transferred him in retaliation for his exercising his First Amendment
rights. After a jury verdict in the inmate's favor, the official filed a motion for a new trial, and the
inmate moved for costs and attorney fees. The district court held that the Civil Rights of
Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) that prohibited inmates from recovering mental or
emotional damages in the absence of a the physical injury, did not bar the inmate's claim for
emotional damages and that evidence supported the award of punitive damages. The court applied
only $1 of the inmate's damages award to his attorney fee award. The court noted that a jury may
be permitted to assess punitive damages in a § 1983 action when the defendant's conduct is shown
to be motivated by evil motive or intent, or when it involves reckless disregard or callous
indifference to the federally protected rights of others. According to the court, the jury's award of
punitive damages against the prison official was supported by evidence that the official transferred
the inmate in retaliation for the inmate's exercise of his First Amendment free speech rights in
complaining to the official's superiors about the official's misconduct, even though the official was
aware that the transfer would prevent the inmate from seeing his attorney, from paying his
attorney, and from seeing his emotionally-disabled daughter.
The court found that the jury did not improperly use punitive damages to compensate the
inmate for the prison official's misconduct because the amount of economic damages, $4,000, was
too low. The court held that the prison official's conduct in transferring the inmate was sufficiently
reprehensible to warrant a punitive damages award of $200,000, even though prisoner transfers
were routine, and the inmate suffered only $4,000 in economic damages. According to the court, a
lesser award would have encouraged bad behavior by prison officials. The court ruled that the
inmate was entitled to reimbursement for the work of law students in calculating his attorney fee
award, even though the law students were supervised by an attorney and obtained course credit
for their work. The inmate had been represented by the law school's clinical law program, and the
law students participated as competent and professional attorneys throughout discovery,
dispositive motions, interlocutory appeal, and trial. According to the court, in calculating the
attorney fee award, the rate of $85/hour, rather than the $25/hour proposed by the defendant, was
the appropriate billing rate for time spent by law students on the case, where affidavits from local
attorneys stated that prevailing billing rates for the work of summer associates and interns was
between $100 and $130 per hour. The court applied only $1 of the inmate's $219,000 damages
award to the $90,875 in attorney's fees awarded to the plaintiff, even though the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (PLRA) prescribed application of up to 25% of such damages awards. (Michigan
Department of Corrections)

27.131
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U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREETERMINATION
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
PLRA- Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Skinner v. Lampert, 457 F.Supp.2d 1269 (D.Wyo. 2006). An inmate, on behalf of himself and
current and future inmates at a state prison, brought a § 1983 action against state prison officials,
alleging that policies, practices, and customs of officials placed inmates at risk of unprovoked
assault, bodily injury, and death at hands of other inmates. The court found that conditions at the
prison violated inmates' Eighth Amendment right to be reasonably protected from physical
violence in the form of assaults by other inmates, and established a remedial plan to eliminate
those violations. The prison brought a motion to terminate the final decree and all related
prospective relief, under the two-year provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), and
the inmates brought a motion for contempt. The court held that its supervision over the prison's
inmate conflict documentation system could not be terminated and that the prison's interpretation
of “institutional deficiency” in the remedial plan constituted deliberate indifference. The court held
that the initial investigation requirement, reporting requirement, general incident tracking log
requirement, and educational requirement were narrowly tailored, as required by PLRA, and the
requirement for incorporation of various prison policies and state procedures were all narrowly
tailored and the least intrusive means as required by PLRA. (Wyoming State Penitentiary)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREETERMINATION
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

Skinner v. Uphoff, 410 F.Supp.2d 1104 (D.Wyo. 2006). A state prison inmate brought a § 1983

class action against prison officials, alleging failure to safeguard inmates against assaults by other
inmates, and seeking individual compensatory as well as class injunctive relief. The district court
granted injunctive relief and declaratory relief, finding that the defendants failed to adequately
train and supervise employees, failed to properly review policy violations, and failed to properly
discipline employees, all of which led to risks to inmate safety. In an effort to alleviate the
problems at the prison, a remedial plan was adopted and approved by the court. The parties filed
various motions to modify the remedial plan and the state moved for termination of the final
decree. The district court granted the motions in part, and denied in part. The court held that state
inmates and prison officials were entitled, under the remedial plan, to the opportunity to ask an
outside investigator about reports of his investigation of suspected premeditated inmate-on-inmate
assaults. The investigator was an independent contractor, and his reports bore directly upon
whether officials were complying with plan. The court held that the inmates had the right under
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) to pursue discovery as to existence of the alleged ongoing
and continuing constitutional violations before the court could terminate the remedial plan entered
in the inmates' action challenging officials' responses to inmate-on-inmate violence. The court
concluded that the inmates demonstrated good cause for a 60-day postponement of an automatic
stay of the remedial plan after the officials filed a motion for termination, where the inmates made
allegations of ongoing inmate-on-inmate violence and delays in the officials' remedial actions, and
a joint expert raised various concerns. (Wyoming State Penitentiary)

U.S. District Court
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
OFFICIAL CAPACITY

Smith v. Brevard County, 461 F.Supp.2d 1243 (M.D.Fla. 2006). The personal representative of the

U.S. District Court
PRIVATE OPERATOR
SOVEREIGN
IMMUNITY

Stephens v. Correctional Services Corp., 428 F.Supp.2d 580 (E.D.Tex. 2006). A pretrial detainee

estate of pretrial detainee who hung himself in his cell, brought a § 1983 action on behalf of the
survivors of the estate, against a county sheriff, officers, and a non-profit corporation which was
under contract to provide mental health services to the prisoners at detention center. The sheriff,
officers and corporation moved to dismiss and the district court granted the motion in part, and
denied in part. The court held that allegations by the estate that, prior to the detainee’s hanging
himself in his cell, his family members and friends called and went to the detention center in
person to inform the non-profit corporation that the detainee was suicidal, were sufficient to
satisfy the deliberate indifference test in the suit. After receiving knowledge of the detainee’s
suicidal tendency, the corporation failed to provide adequate mental health care to the detainee.
According to the court, knowledge that the detainee was actually threatening to commit suicide
was certainly enough to show knowledge of a substantial risk of suicide, rather than just a mere
possibility. The court held that the estate stated a cause of action under § 1983 against the county
sheriff, in his official capacity, for violating the detainee’s Fourteenth Amendment rights.
According to the court, violation of the detainee’s constitutional rights was the result of the
sheriff’s failure to provide adequate staffing and safe housing for suicidal inmates, and in light of
the sheriff’s knowledge that inmate suicide was a problem, his failure to address any policies that
were causing suicides constituted deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of inmates.
(Brevard County Detention Center, Florida)

brought an action against a private jail corporation, alleging civil rights violations and common
law negligence stemming from an attack while he was incarcerated. The corporation moved for
dismissal. The district court held that the corporation was not entitled to state sovereign immunity
and that the corporation was potentially liable under § 1983. The court found that the detainee
properly stated a negligence claim, and also a viable claim for failure to train and/or supervise. The
court noted that although the establishment and maintenance of jails were “governmental
functions” under state law, jail services provided by a private entity were not. The detainee
alleged that the corporation had a duty to protect his well-being and to ensure his reasonable
safety while incarcerated, and that the corporation breached such duty by not properly segregating
him from violent inmates who threatened his life. He alleged that he informed officials of the death
threats and they took no action, and that he was severely beaten by three prisoners and suffered

27.132
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life-threatening injuries. (Jefferson County Corrections Facility, Texas)
U.S. District Court
PRIVATE PROVIDER

Sykes v. McPhillips, 412 F.Supp.2d 197 (N.D.N.Y. 2006). The personal representatives for a mother and son's
estates brought a civil rights action under § 1983 against various employees of a substance abuse correctional
facility where the son had been confined, a private hospital which provided emergency medical services to the
son, and a physician. The representatives alleged constitutional violations arising from the delivery of emergency
medical services during the son's incarceration, as well as a state law malpractice/negligence claim. The hospital
and physician moved for summary judgment on the issue of their “state actor” status. The district court granted
the motion, holding that neither the hospital nor the physician were a “state actor” for the purposes of § 1983.
According to the court, hospitals and physicians that provide care outside of the prison facility may be held to be
state actors for purposes of § 1983 when they work pursuant to a contract, but the private hospital did not
voluntarily assume the function of the state by accepting the correctional facility's delegation of its duty to provide
emergency medical care to the prisoner. The court noted that the hospital did not have an implied contract with
the correctional facility to provide emergency medical services when it treated the prisoner, given that it was
federally mandated to do so by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). The
prisoner suffered from diabetes while confined at the facility and the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants were
deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. The defendants maintained that the prisoner received the same
medical care as any other patient, regardless of his prisoner status. The plaintiff disputed this by pointing out that
corrections officers exercised continual custody over the prisoner in a manner that interfered with the
confidentiality normally accorded the health information of free patients, the hospital accommodated the officers'
constant attendance upon the prisoner, and the state paid for his medical care. (Hale Creek Alcohol and Substance
Abuse Correctional Treatment Center, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court
FTCA- Federal Tort Claims
Act

Triestman v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471 (2nd Cir. 2006). A pro se federal prisoner, who was injured
when he was attacked by his roommate in a locked cell, brought an action against the federal Bureau of Prisons
(BOP) and the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The district court partially dismissed the
complaint and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded. The court held that the suit was
not barred by the discretionary function exception to the FTCA, as the complaint's allegations could be read to
refer to negligence of the officer on duty by failing to patrol or respond diligently. The court noted that the BOP
had in place a program statement which provided that “[s]ignaling devices will be available for inmate use in all
locked housing units that do not have continuous staff coverage,” and that “[i]nmates will not be left unattended in
locked areas unless a signaling device is available to them for emergencies.” According to the court, the language
of this program statement makes it clear that prison officials must provide “continuous staff coverage” to, and
may not leave “unattended,” any inmate in a locked housing unit who does not have access to an emergency
“signaling device.” The prisoner, a first-time, non-violent inmate, had originally been “designated a low security
inmate and initially housed [in a] low security facility.” But due to overcrowding, he was transferred to a
“medium/high security prison” and was assigned to share a cell with an inmate who, the prisoner argued, “was
known to the [BOP] to be a violent criminal and sexual predator.” He was assaulted by his cellmate, dislocating
his shoulder and having his hand burned with lit cigarettes. Despite his shouts for help, no officer responded, and
during that time the prisoner was at the mercy of his cellmate, and in excruciating pain and fear. (Federal Correct’l
Institution, Ray Brook, New York)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED
IMMUNITY
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES

Ziemba v. Armstrong, 433 F.Supp.2d 248 (D.Conn. 2006). A prison inmate sued a correctional officer under §
1983, seeking actual damages of $100,000 and punitive damages of $150,000, for injuries incurred when
excessive force was used to place the inmate in a four-point restraint. A jury returned a verdict against one officer,
who moved for judgment as matter of law and a new trial. The district court denied the motions, finding that the
officer was not entitled to qualified immunity and that the jury could find that the officer had the requisite state of
mind when he attacked the inmate. The court found that compensatory damages did not shock the conscience and
that punitive damages of $150,000 were warranted. The jury found that the officer hit the inmate in the face, knelt
on him and otherwise inflicted pain in the course of securing the inmate in a four-point restraint, where he
remained for 22 hours. The court noted that the officer engaged in reprehensible conduct by hitting the inmate
after the inmate was secured, and that punitive damages were only 50% higher than compensatory damages.
(Connecticut Department of Corrections)
2007

U.S. Appeals Court
NEGLIGENCE
FTCA- Federal Tort Claims
Act

Ashford v. U.S., 511 F.3d 501 (5th Cir. 2007). An inmate sued the United States under the Federal Tort Claims
Act (FTCA) alleging that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) was negligent in placing him in a prison
population with a gang member who had attacked him in the past. The district court entered summary judgment
for the BOP and the inmate appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded. The court held that the
discretionary-function exception to FTCA did not apply if the inmate raised a concern at a prison intake interview
that he would be endangered if he were placed in the prison population with the gang member. According to the
court, genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether the inmate raised a concern at the prison intake
interview, precluding summary judgment. (Federal Bureau of Prisons)

U.S. District Court
CONTRACT SERVICES
INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY
RESPONDEAT
SUPERIOR

Banks v. York, 515 F.Supp.2d 89 (D.D.C. 2007). A detainee in a jail operated by the District of Columbia
Department of Corrections (DOC), and in a correctional treatment facility operated by the District's private
contractor, brought a § 1983 action against District employees and contractor's employees alleging negligent
supervision under District of Columbia law, over-detention, deliberate indifference to serious medical needs,
harsh living conditions in jail, and extradition to Virginia without a hearing. The district court granted the
defendants’ motion to dismiss in part and denied in part. According to the court, the private corporation which
operated a prison as contractor for the District of Columbia, was performing functions normally performed by a

27.133
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municipality, and thus, the corporation could be liable to the prisoner under § 1983 if the prisoner alleged and
ultimately proved that his injuries were the result of an unconstitutional custom or policy of corporation. The
court held that the detainee sufficiently alleged that the Director of District of Columbia Department of
Corrections (DOC) was directly involved in violations of the detainee's constitutional rights, as required to state a
claim under § 1983 against a government official in his individual capacity. The detainee alleged that the Director
refused to transfer the detainee from the jail to a correctional treatment facility and failed to train DOC employees
under his supervision in such a way as to prevent the detainee's over-detention (detention beyond proper release
date). The court found that the Director of District of Columbia Department of Corrections (DOC) could not be
liable in his individual capacity, under the theory of respondeat superior, to the jail detainee for allegedly
unconstitutional actions or omissions of his subordinates. The court found that the detainee's allegations that a
DOC captain placed him in solitary confinement in retaliation for his oral complaint to the captain that his newlyassigned cellmate was HIV positive, stated a claim under § 1983 for retaliation for exercising First Amendment
free speech rights. The court found that whether the detainee had a protected right under the First Amendment, to
complain to the captain was not clearly established at the time, and thus, the captain had qualified immunity from
the detainee's§ 1983 claim. The court found that the detainee's allegations that the Director of the Department of
Corrections (DOC), despite his actual and constructive knowledge that DOC employees were engaged in conduct
that posed a pervasive and unreasonable risk of constitutional injury through over-detention, failed to train,
monitor, and discipline DOC employees with regard to timely release of inmates from DOC custody, and that the
Director's deliberate failure to do so caused detainee's over-detention, were sufficient when construed liberally to
state a claim under § 1983 for violation of due process and violation of protection against cruel and unusual
punishment. The court noted that the detainee had a clearly established constitutional protection against overdetention and thus, the Director was not entitled to qualified immunity. (Central Detention Facility. D.C. and
Correctional Treatment Facility operated by the Corrections Corporation of America)
U.S. District Court
BIVENS CLAIM
FTCA- Federal Tort Claims
Act

Barbaro v. U.S. ex rel. Federal Bureau of Prisons FCI Otisville, 521 F.Supp.2d 276, (S.D.N.Y. 2007). A federal
prison inmate brought a pro se Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) suit against the Bureau of Prisons (BOP),
alleging failure to treat his preexisting injuries, and asserted Eighth Amendment Bivens claims against individual
prison officials, alleging deliberate indifference to his medical needs. The district court granted the defendants'
motion to dismiss in part, on statutes of limitations grounds. Following the appointment of counsel for the inmate,
the inmate renewed his opposition to the motion to dismiss. The district court rejected the inmate’s opposition.
The prisoner alleged that officials failed to treat his preexisting back and neck injuries, allegedly leading to the
deterioration of his condition. (Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York)

U.S. District Court
CONTRACT SERVICES
STATE LIABILITY

Bush v. Butler, 521 F.Supp.2d 63 (D.D.C. 2007). An inmate sued two attorneys, an investigative reporter, a civil
liberties organization, and unknown defendants, alleging that the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to deprive
him of his civil rights and failed to prevent a conspiracy in violation of his civil rights. The inmate also asserted
state-law claims for legal malpractice, negligent misrepresentation, constructive fraud, breach of contract, breach
of implied warranty, civil conspiracy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of fiduciary duty.
The defendants filed motions to dismiss. The district court dismissed the case. The court held that the inmate
failed to sufficiently allege the existence of a conspiracy to deprive him of his civil rights when he asserted that
the defendants agreed to punish him by interfering with his access to the courts, breaching their contract with him,
and making fraudulent misrepresentations. The court noted that the inmate failed to describe the persons involved
in the alleged agreement, the nature of the agreement, the particular acts taken to form a conspiracy, and overt acts
taken in furtherance of the conspiracy. The court held that it did not have diversity jurisdiction over state-law
claims. (Eastern Correctional Institution, Maryland)

U.S. District Court
INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY

Cobb v. Marshall, 481 F.Supp.2d 1248 (M.D.Ala. 2007). An older black female correctional officer sued a sheriff
under Title VII, Fourteenth Amendment equal protection as enforced by § 1983, and state law for hostile work
environment sexual harassment, retaliation, and race discrimination. The sheriff moved to dismiss for failure to
state a claim. The district court granted the motion in part and denied the motion in part. The court held that the
Title VII claims would not be dismissed on the basis of failure to name the sheriff in the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge, but that the officer could not bring Title VII claims against the sheriff
in his individual capacity. The court found that the officer stated Title VII claims for retaliation and race
discrimination, where she alleged that she filed an EEOC charge and provided favorable testimony in support of a
coworker's claim “against the department,” that as a result of those activities she was subjected to various forms of
retaliation, including denial of her request for leave, all in violation of Title VII, and pleaded that she was
disciplined more harshly than other similarly-situated Caucasian employees and was denied certain benefits which
other similarly-situated Caucasian employees received. (Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, Alabama)

U.S. District Court
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Danley v. Allyn, 485 F.Supp.2d 1260 (N.D.Ala. 2007). A pretrial detainee brought a § 1983 action against jail
officers, alleging that he was subjected to excessive force and then denied medical treatment when they sprayed
him with pepper spray. The district court denied the defendants' motions to dismiss and they appealed. The court
of appeals vacated and remanded. On the remand, the district court again denied the defendants’ motion to
dismiss. The court held that the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity from the detainee's claim that the
officers subjected him to excessive force, in violation of Fourteenth Amendment, by pepper spraying him in
response to a dispute over toilet paper. The court noted that the officers had fair warning that to employ pepper
spray as punishment, or for the sadistic pleasure of the sprayers, as distinguished from what was reasonably
necessary to maintain prisoner control, was constitutionally prohibited. The court found that the detainee'
allegations that a jail administrator and sheriff created an atmosphere or practice under which the defendant
officers operated in allegedly subjecting the detainee to excessive force and then denying him medical treatment
when they sprayed him with pepper spray, were sufficient, if proven, to create supervisory liability under § 1983.
The court held that the detainee's claim of deliberate indifference on behalf of defendant officers, wherein they
failed to provide medical attention to the detainee after using pepper spray against him, was no more than a

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continuation of the detainee's excessive force claim, and thus was not a separate cause of action under § 1983.
(Lauderdale Detention Center, Alabama)
U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO PROTECT
FTCA- Federal Tort Claims
Act

Davis v. U.S., 474 F.Supp.2d 829 (N.D.Tex. 2007). An inmate who was raped by a prison officer in a federal
medical center brought a Federal Tort Claims Act action against the United States, alleging negligence on the part
of other prison officers. The district court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The court found
that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to whether the prison officers were
working within the scope of their employment when they led the inmate to another officer who raped her, whether
the officers violated a duty to protect the inmate from harm, and whether their violations proximately caused the
inmate’s injury. (Federal Medical Center-Carswell, Texas)

U.S. District Court
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

Hadix v. Caruso, 492 F.Supp.2d 743 (W.D.Mich. 2007). Prisoners brought a suit to correct unconstitutional
prison conditions necessary for prisoner health and safety, and requested injunctive relief as to a heat-related
injury. The district court entered an injunction. The court held that prison officials may not, consistent with Eighth
Amendment values, cause the expected deaths of prisoners subject to heat-illness by exposing them to high heat
and humidity conditions. According to the court, the requirements for safe Eighth Amendment custody are
violated by housing high-risk inmates in facilities which are routinely at heat index levels above 90 during
summer months, when it is known that such heat conditions will reliably cause heat injury and death. The court
ruled that the prisoners were entitled to an injunction requiring that all prisoners classified at high-risk for heatrelated injury be housed in areas in which the heat index was reliably maintained below a heat index of 90. The
court noted that the injunction was necessary to prevent irreparable harm, including bodily injury and death, and
that the scope of the injunction was narrowly tailored and was the least intrusive means of correction of the Eighth
Amendment violation. (Southern Michigan Correctional Facility, Charles E. Egeler Correctional Facility)

U.S. District Court
NEGLIGENT HIRING
NEGLIGENT RETENTION

Heckenlaible v. Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail Authority, 491 F.Supp.2d 544 (E.D.Va. 2007). An inmate
brought an action against a correctional officer and regional jail authority, seeking to recover monetary relief for
injuries suffered as a result of an allegedly nonconsensual sexual encounter between her and the officer. The jail
authority moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion in part, and denied in part. The
court found that summary judgment was precluded by a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the
correctional officer, whose duties required him to observe inmates in the shower, was acting within the scope of
his employment when he allegedly sexually assaulted the inmate after he observed her showering and during a
“cell search” thereafter. The court held that the inmate’s deposition testimony that she was the victim of a sexual
assault by the correctional officer was sufficient to preclude summary judgment in favor of the jail authority on
her intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. The court found that absent evidence indicating that the
correctional officer was known by anyone to have a propensity to commit sexual assault at the time he was hired,
or evidence indicating that some testing would have revealed that the officer would pose a danger to inmates, the
jail authority was not liable under Virginia law on the inmate's negligent hiring claim. The court also found that
since the jail authority never received any complaints from inmates about the officer, and swiftly investigated the
matter and took appropriate action upon learning that a sexual encounter had occurred, it was not liable for
negligent retention. (Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)

U.S. District Court
NEGLIGENCE

Heredia v. Doe, 473 F.Supp.2d 462 (S.D.N.Y. 2007). An inmate filed a § 1983 action against county jail officials
alleging that he slipped and fell at a jail, and was denied proper medical treatment. The officials moved to dismiss
the complaint and the district court granted the motion. The court held that the inmate’s claim that he injured his
back when he slipped and fell at the county jail was nothing more than a claim for negligence, for which there was
no cause of action under § 1983. The inmate alleged he slipped and fell while walking to his cell and in the
process injured his back “to the point it swelled up and was in a lot of pain.” The court also found that officials
were not deliberately indifferent to the inmate’s medical needs, despite a one-day delay in providing treatment,
where the jail medical department took X-rays and provided pain medication. (Sullivan Corr’l. Facil., New York)

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

Hutchins v. McDaniels, 512 F.3d 193 (5th Cir. 2007). A prison inmate who was subjected to strip and cavity
searches by a prison officer brought suit under § 1983 to recover for alleged violation of his Fourth Amendment
rights. The district court entered an order dismissing the complaint and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court
reversed and remanded. The court held that the inmate’s allegations regarding strip and cavity searches to which
he was subjected by a prison officer who never accused him of possessing contraband during the search, and who
was allegedly wearing a “lewd smile” during the procedure, were sufficient to state a claim for violation of the
inmate's Fourth Amendment rights. The court noted that the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) prohibits a
prisoner from recovering compensatory damages in any federal civil action absent a showing of physical injury.
According to the court, the inmate's failure to allege that he had sustained any physical injury as a result of a strip
and cavity search, prevented him from asserting a claim for recovery of compensatory damages for emotional or
mental injuries that he allegedly suffered. The court noted that the inmate did not have to allege any physical
injury in order to state a claim for recovery of nominal or punitive damages for the officer's alleged violation of
his Fourth Amendment rights. (California Men’s Colony East)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO PROTECT
FAILURE TO TRAIN
POLICIES/PROCEDURES
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Jenkins v. DeKalb County, Ga., 528 F.Supp.2d 1329 (N.D.Ga. 2007). Survivors of a county jail detainee who had
died as the result of an apparent beating by a fellow inmate brought a § 1983, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment
action against a county sheriff in his individual capacity, and against corrections officers. The defendants moved
for summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds. The district court granted the motion. The 71 year old
pretrial detainee suffered from multiple mental illnesses including schizophrenia and dementia, which reportedly
manifested themselves in theform of delusions, paranoia, bizarre thoughts and behavior, physical violence, and
verbal outbursts that included racial epithets. The court held that county corrections officers' putting the inmate
into a cell different from the one to which he had been assigned, allegedly leading to the beating death of a pretrial
detainee who shared the same cell, did not violate the detainee's right against cruel and unusual punishment. The

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court noted that even though the action violated a jail policy, the policy was created primarily to keep track of
inmates' placement, not to maintain inmate safety, and there was no evidence of widespread inmate-on-inmate
violence due to the misplacement of inmates. The court found that the plaintiffs failed to show that the sheriff's
alleged poor training and supervision of corrections officers led to the officers' allegedly inadequate reaction to
the incident between the jail inmates, which ended with the beating death of one inmate. The court also found that
the sheriff's failure to comply with a court order to transfer the pretrial detainee to a mental health facility did not
show supervisory liability because the purpose of the transfer order was likely to get the detainee treatment for
mental illness, not to protect him. The court held that the county corrections officers were acting within the scope
of their duties when they mistakenly placed a fellow inmate in the same cell with a pretrial detainee, and thus the
officers were eligible for qualified immunity in the detainee’s survivors' § 1983 Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendment action. The court noted that the fact that the mistake violated jail policies or procedures did not mean
that the officers were not exercising discretionary authority. (DeKalb County Jail, Georgia)
U.S. District Court
NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION
DAMAGES

Limone v. U.S., 497 F.Supp.2d 143 (D.Mass. 2007). Two former prisoners whose convictions arising out of a
murder were overturned, and representatives of two co-defendants who died in prison, sued the United States and
individual federal and state law enforcement officers under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), Bivens, § 1983,
and state law, alleging their complicity in framing the prisoners. Following a bench trial, the district court entered
judgment for the plaintiffs. The court held that:(1) FBI agents engaged in malicious prosecution; (2) agents
engaged in a coercive conspiracy; (3) agents intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the prisoners; (4) agents
were negligent in their treatment of prisoners; (5) FBI was liable for negligent supervision of the agents activities;
(6) damages for wrongful imprisonment would be set at the rate of $1 million per year, adjusted for unrelated
concurrent sentences; (7) loss of consortium damages would be awarded to wives and children of prisoners; and
(8) damages would be awarded for intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Massachusetts)

U.S. District Court
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Murphy v. Franklin, 510 F.Supp.2d 558 (M.D.Ala. 2007). A pretrial detainee brought a § 1983 action against a
sheriff and jail administrator, alleging that he was subjected to punitive, degrading and inhumane treatment when,
without explanation, he was shackled hands-to-feet to the toilet in an isolation cell, and, on another occasion,
shackled to his cot. The district court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss in part and denied in part. The
court held that although the detainee's complaint against the sheriff and jail administrator did not allege that he
was subjected to mistreatment pursuant to any specific official policy, the detainee's allegations that the sheriff
promulgated all policies and procedures in the county jail, that the detainee was placed in an isolation cell and
shackled hands-to-feet to the toilet, which was nothing more than a hole in the ground covered by a grate, and that
the sheriff ordered the detainee removed from this cell for an interview and then reshackled to the toilet grate,
were sufficiently specific to state a § 1983 claim against the sheriff under the theory of supervisory liability. The
detainee alleged that without explanation, he was moved into a ‘lockdown’ cell for one day, in which his right
hand was cuffed to the frame of his cot and his right leg was shackled to the other end of the cot's frame. Again
without explanation, he was allegedly then moved to an isolation cell, where he was shackled hands-to-feet to the
toilet, which is actually nothing more than a hole in the ground. He alleged that he was held in this configuration
for almost 12 days and was not released to allow urination or defecation, which caused him to soil himself, and
that he was also not given any personal necessities such as clean, dry clothing, personal hygiene items, or
bedding. (Elmore County Jail, Alabama)

U.S. District Court
CONTRACT SERVICES
NEGLIGENCE

Norris v. Corrections Corp. of America, 521 F.Supp.2d 586 (W.D.Ky. 2007). The victim of an assault, rape, and
robbery filed suit against a private corrections company operating a prison under contract for a state, claiming the
company's negligence in allowing a prisoner to escape led to her injuries. The prisoner had crawled out of a
window of the facility and walked away. The corrections company moved for summary judgment. The district
court sustained the motion. The court ruled that the prisoner's harm to the victim was unforeseeable, and the
prisoner's acts were the intervening and superseding cause. The court noted that the company did not have a
special relationship by being in charge of a person with dangerous propensities that created a duty of care to
control the prisoner's conduct and to protect a third-party victim. (Marion Adjustment Center, Kentucky, Operated
by Corrections Corporation of America)

U.S. District Court
NEGLIGENT RETENTION

Orange v. Fielding, 517 F.Supp.2d 776 (D.S.C. 2007). A pretrial detainee brought a § 1983 action against two
detention center administrators to recover for a beating by officers. The court granted summary judgment in favor
of one administrator, and denied the other administrator's motion. The court held that the detainee's conclusory
statements in an affidavit, that the administrator was aware of an officer's aggressiveness toward inmates and
failed to protect the detainee, were insufficient to preclude summary judgment. The court found that the detainee's
affidavit stating that he spoke with the administrator several times about danger from officers, but that the
administrator failed to take action, raised genuine issues of material fact, precluding summary judgment in favor
of the other administrator. (Georgetown County Detention Center, South Carolina)

U.S. District Court
CLASS ACTION
CONSENT DECREE

Palmigiano v. Sundlun, 482 F.Supp.2d 207 (D.R.I. 2007). Inmates moved to join or intervene in a class action
lawsuit challenging prison conditions, settled by agreement 13 years previously. The district court denied the
motions. The court held that the agreement that settled a class action suit by inmates and called for complete
dissolution and dismissal of court orders, terminated the class action insofar as it concerned complaints regarding
prison conditions, precluding joinder of current inmates who alleged deficient medical, mental health and dental
care, environmental health and safety, management, security and inmate inactivity. (Adult Correctional
Institutions, Rhode Island)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY

Phillips v. Hust, 477 F.3d 1070 (9th Cir. 2007). A state prisoner brought a pro se § 1983 action against a prison
librarian in her personal and official capacities, alleging violation of his right to free speech and right of access to
court under the First Amendment. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the prisoner, and
subsequently awarded compensatory damages of $1,500. The librarian appealed. The appeals court affirmed in

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part, and remanded. The court held that the librarian’s refusal to allow the prisoner to comb-bind his petition for a
writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court violated the state prisoner’s First Amendment right of access
to the courts, where the prisoner raised a nonfrivolous claim in his certiorari petition, a state court applied an
incorrect legal standard in determining the prisoner’s ineffective assistance to counsel claim in his postconviction
petition, and the denial of the use of comb-binding machine frustrated his attempt to press his claim in the
Supreme Court. The court noted that even if Supreme Court rules did not require comb-binding, it was the binding
method the prison routinely made available to the prisoner and others, it was foreseeable that the librarian’s
refusal would obstruct the prisoner’s ability to file a petition in a timely manner, and the prisoner had no
independent tort cause of action against the librarian for violation of his rights. The court found that the librarian
was not entitled to qualified immunity for her conduct in refusing to allow the prisoner to use a comb-binding
machine, where her conduct violated the prisoner’s clearly established right to prepare, serve, and file court
documents in a timely manner, and not to be subjected to arbitrary enforcement of prison rules. The prisoner’s
petition missed the Supreme Court filing deadline and was denied as untimely. The appeals court held that the
librarian’s refusal was blatantly contrary to past practice and state prison regulations, and under existing
precedent, the librarian should have known that refusal of the prisoner’s request could result in missing the filing
deadline. According to the court, the damages award could be based on costs that the prisoner expended in
prosecuting his postconviction relief petition over the course of many years and any mental or emotional injury
the prisoner suffered, but the district court was required to make specific findings concerning the amount of the
costs expended as well as specific findings concerning mental or emotional injury. The court concluded that
where the district court’s findings are insufficient to indicate the factual basis for its ultimate conclusion
concerning damages in a § 1983 claim, its finding as to the amount of damages is clearly erroneous. On appeal to
the United States Supreme Court (555 U.S. 1150) the decision was vacated. (Snake River Correctional Institution,
Oregon)
U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES

Phillips v. Hust, 507 F.3d 1171 (9th Cir. 2007). A state prisoner brought a pro se § 1983 action against a prison
librarian in her personal and official capacities, alleging violations of his right to free speech and right to access
courts under the First Amendment. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of prisoner, and
subsequently awarded compensatory damages of $1,500. The librarian appealed. The appeals court affirmed in
part, reversed in part and remanded. The court held that the librarian's refusal to allow the prisoner to comb-bind
his petition for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court violated the prisoner's First Amendment
right of access to the courts, the librarian was not entitled to qualified immunity, and the district court was
required to make specific findings to support the damages award. The appeals court denied the librarian’s petition
for rehearing. In a dissent, Circuit Judge Kozinski expressed his “utter astonishment that we're leaving an opinion
on the books that not only denies the prison librarian qualified immunity but actually holds her liable. Her
transgression? Failing to help a prisoner bind a brief in a way that's not even permitted, and certainly not required,
by the Supreme Court's rules….How the prison librarian violated any of his rights, let alone his clearly established
rights, is a mystery that repeated readings of the majority opinion do not dispel.” (Snake River Correctional
Institution, Oregon)

U.S. District Court
CONTRACT SERVICES
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

Primus v. Lee, 517 F.Supp.2d 755 (D.S.C. 2007.) A prisoner brought a pro se medical malpractice action against a
prison surgeon, prison physician, and the director of the state Department of Corrections. The defendants moved
to dismiss, and the prisoner moved for leave to amend. The district court dismissed the action without prejudice
and granted the plaintiff’s motion to amend. The court held that the allegations did not state an Eighth
Amendment claim for deliberate indifference, and that the prisoner's proposed amendment would not be futile.
According to the court, the allegations that a prison surgeon negligently performed surgery, which resulted in the
unwanted removal of the prisoner's testicle, did not state a § 1983 claim for deliberate indifference to the
prisoner's serious medical needs under the Eighth Amendment. The prisoner's proposed amendment, alleging that
the surgeon contracted with the state corrections department to provide surgical treatment, and that the surgeon
unnecessarily and maliciously removed the prisoner's testicle in retaliation for the prisoner's lack of cooperation,
could state a § 1983 claim for deliberate indifference under the Eighth Amendment. The court noted that when a
physician cooperates with the state and assumes the state's constitutional obligation to provide medical care to its
prisoners, he or she acts “under color of state law,” for purpose of a § 1983 action. (Lee Correctional Institution,
South Carolina)

U.S. District Court
CONTRACT SERVICES
42 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1983

Probst v. Central Ohio Youth Center, 511 F.Supp.2d 862 (S.D. Ohio 2007). A plaintiff, on behalf of the estate of
her son who committed suicide while incarcerated at juvenile detention facility, brought a wrongful-death action
against the facility, its superintendent, a non-profit provider that performed suicide evaluations at the facility and a
social worker employed by the provider. The plaintiff asserted claims under § 1983 and state law. The facility and
non-profit moved for summary judgment. The district court denied the motion. The court held that under the state
compulsion test, the private provider that performed suicide evaluations at the juvenile detention facility was not a
“state actor” for § 1983 purposes. The court noted that the facility did not exert any control over suicide
evaluations and the provider performed evaluations on an as-needed basis using its own standards and procedures.
According to the court, the facility had discretion to implement the provider's recommendations resulting from the
evaluations. But the court held that the private provider was a state actor for § 1983 purposes because it was
performing a “public function.” (Central Ohio Youth Center)

U.S. District Court
SPECIAL MASTER

Roberts v. County of Mahoning, Ohio, 495 F.Supp.2d 784 (N.D.Ohio 2007). Pretrial detainees and convicted
prisoners being held in the custody of an Ohio sheriff at two correctional facilities that were allegedly
understaffed and overcrowded brought a § 1983 class action against the county, sheriff, and county
commissioners, alleging that conditions of confinement at those facilities were unconstitutional. The district court
appointed a special master for the remedial phase of the litigation. A three-judge panel of the district court

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approved the proposed stipulated order. The district court held that the appointment of a special master had
accomplished the court's original objective and the appointment would be terminated. The court noted that the
special master's reports and other actions had fulfilled the requirement that he “assist the parties, specifically the
Defendants, in attempting to find a solution to the problems which created the unconstitutional conditions in the
Jail,” and his fourth report had established a mechanism for the litigation's actual resolution. The first two reports
addressed a narrowly avoided crisis that would have resulted from massive layoffs of security staff as a result of a
budget shortfall in the county. The third report, filed after passage of a successful ballot issue increasing revenues
available for the funding of the MCJC, described the parties' continued cooperation in attempting to resolve the
problems facing the jail, in particular, the need for accelerated collection of the proceeds from the successful bond
issue. The court concluded “These reports, to which no party filed any objection, were instrumental in establishing
an informational foundation for discussions of possible remedies to the phenomenon of chronic and serious
crowding in the jail.” (Mahoning County Justice Center, Ohio)
U.S. District Court
SPECIAL MASTER

Roberts v. Mahoning County, 495 F.Supp.2d 719 (N.D.Ohio 2007). Pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners
being held in the custody of an Ohio sheriff at one of two correctional facilities that were allegedly understaffed
and overcrowded brought a § 1983 class action against the county, sheriff, and county commissioners alleging
that conditions of confinement at those facilities were unconstitutional. The district court held that there was clear
and convincing evidence that crowding was the primary cause of the violation of a federal right, and that no other
relief besides a prisoner release order would remedy that violation. The release order provided for incarceration of
all violent felons and for reopening of all jail facilities under the control of the county to maximum occupancy,
while at the same time protecting the constitutional rights of inmates in the county jail facilities. (Mahoning
County Justice Center, Ohio)

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

Rowe v. Jones, 483 F.3d 791 (11th Cir. 2007). Following settlement of county prisoners’ § 1983 class action
lawsuit against county officials, an inmate welfare fund was created. The district court dismissed the officials’
motion to terminate a permanent plan for a charitable trust providing for donations from the fund. The officials
appealed and the appeals court reversed and remanded with instructions. The court held that an order establishing
a charitable trust funded by an inmate welfare fund, and a later order continuing the charitable trust were “consent
decrees,” rather than “private settlement agreements,” under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The court
noted that PLRA’s termination provisions, limiting prospective relief, are applicable to consent decrees but not to
private settlement agreements. The court noted that county officials did not sign either the order or otherwise
indicate their consent to the charitable trust, the orders bore the district judge’s signature and the district court’s
official stamp, and the district court retained jurisdiction over the enforcement of the charitable trust in both
orders. (Glynn County Detention Center, Georgia)

U.S. District Court
RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR
RLUIPA- Religious Land
Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act

Schnitzler v. Reisch, 518 F.Supp.2d 1098 (D.S.D. 2007). An inmate who was a practicing Jehovah’s Witness
brought a § 1983 action against a secretary of corrections, warden, and prison officials, alleging that a prison's sex
offender treatment program violated his religious beliefs by requiring his participation in explicit group
discussions of a sexual nature as well as viewing certain images. The defendants moved for summary judgment
and the district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that the prisoner's First
Amendment rights were not violated by participation in the program, but the prisoner stated a claim for violation
of his statutory free exercise of religion under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act
(RLUIPA). The court held that the § 1983 claims against the secretary and warden were not based upon the theory
of respondeat superior. The court found that summary judgment was precluded by a genuine issue of material fact
as to the level of personal involvement of the warden and the Secretary of the South Dakota Department of
Corrections in the determination that no alternative form of sex offender treatment program should be provided to
the prisoner. (Mike Durfee State Penitentiary, Springfield, South Dakota)

U.S. District Court
FTCA- Federal Tort Claims
Act

Smith v. U.S., 518 F.Supp.2d 139 (D.D.C. 2007). The mother of a child who was murdered by a parolee brought
an action under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) against the United States. The district court granted the
defendants’ motion for dismissal. The court held that an FTCA claim did not accrue until the mother knew or
should have known that the parolee was the person who killed her daughter, and that his presence in the
community was connected to the government in some way. The court found that the mother failed to make a
necessary showing to delay the accrual of her claim, the mother was not entitled to deviation from the objective
standard for determining whether she established that she could not have discovered her injury and its cause with
the exercise of due diligence. According to the court, even if extreme circumstances could justify a deviation from
the objective standard for whether an FTCA plaintiff established that she could not have discovered her injury and
its cause with the exercise of due diligence, the mother’s affidavit and declaration of her psychiatrist demonstrated
that she had suffered tremendously since the death of her daughter, but it did not establish sufficiently extreme
mental disability. (District of Columbia)

U.S. District Court
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Streeter v. Goord, 519 F.Supp.2d 289 (N.D.N.Y. 2007). A prisoner brought a § 1983 action, alleging prison
officials and medical personnel acted with deliberate indifference in treating his sickle cell anemia in violation of
the Eighth Amendment. The court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The court held that the
inmate’s condition during the sickle cell crisis was a “serious medical condition,” for the purposes of an Eighth
Amendment § 1983 claim. The court found that there was no evidence that a prison doctor knowingly disregarded
an excessive risk to the prisoner's health or safety, and that a delay in flushing the prisoner's catheter was not a
serious medical need. According to the court, the prisoner's conclusory allegations about prison nurses were
insufficient to establish that they knowingly disregarded a serious risk to his health. The court concluded that
there was no evidence that the prison commissioner was aware of the alleged constitutional violations that
occurred, nor was there any evidence that he implemented or sanctioned policies or customs amounting to a
constitutional violation, as was required to impose supervisory liability in § 1983 action. The court also found that

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the prison superintendent had no personal involvement in alleged violations as was required to impose supervisory
liability under § 1983. The court noted that the superintendent was not serving at the prison at the time of the
events relevant to the prisoner’s claims. (Coxsackie Correctional Facility, New York)
U.S. District Court
SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY

Strope v. Collins, 492 F.Supp.2d 1289 (D.Kan. 2007). Inmates brought a civil rights action against prison
officials, stemming from censorship of magazines containing alleged nudity. The parties moved for summary
judgment. The district court granted the motions in part and denied in part. The district court held that summary
judgment on the inmates’ claims alleging First Amendment violations was precluded by genuine issues of
material fact, regarding whether prison officials' withholding of publications containing alleged nudity was
reasonably related to legitimate penological interests. The court found that an inmate who sued prison officials
was afforded adequate procedural due process in the denial of access to magazines containing alleged nudity,
where the inmate was given written notice of withholding of the magazine by way of an “Appeal of Censored
Material,” was told verbally about the refusal to process a Special Purpose Order (SPO) for a supplemental issue,
and had the opportunity to grieve the censorship and appeal decisions to prison officials who were not involved in
original process. According to the court, the prison officials were not entitled to sovereign immunity to the extent
that the inmates were seeking prospective injunctive relief from the officials in their official capacities, where the
inmates adequately indicated that they were challenging the nudity regulation itself and the manner in which it
could be applied prospectively. The court held that officials were not entitled to qualified immunity to the extent
that they were being sued in their individual capacities, where the claim that the censorship was not related to
legitimate penological interests implicated clearly-established First Amendment rights. The court held that
genuine issues of material fact, regarding the extent to which the prison warden personally participated in the
alleged deprivation of the inmates' First Amendment right to receive information by censoring magazines
containing alleged nudity, precluded summary judgment on claims alleging the warden's vicarious liability under
a federal civil rights statute. (Lansing Correctional Facility, Kansas)

U.S. District Court
INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY

Wakat v. Montgomery County, 471 F.Supp.2d 759 (S.D.Tex 2007). The estate of inmate who died in a county jail
brought a § 1983 action against the county, jail physician, and other county personnel. The defendants moved for
summary judgment. The district court held that the county was not liable based on a county policy, the county was
not liable for failure to train or supervise county jail personnel, and a physician did not act with deliberate
indifference to the inmate's serious medical needs. The court held that the county sheriff was not liable in his
individual capacity under § 1983 to the estate of the inmate absent a showing that he participated in any of the
alleged activities in any individual capacity. According to the court, the county was not liable to the estate under §
1983 for deliberate indifference to the inmate's serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment, since
the county policy did not directly cause county personnel to fail to seek physician approval to reinitiate the
inmate's prescription medication. The court noted that although the jail had a written policy of abruptly
discontinuing any narcotic medications when inmates were initially processed for booking, regardless of whether
the inmate had a valid prescription for the narcotic, the jail also had a policy allowing the narcotic medications to
be reinstated with the permission of a doctor. (Montgomery County Jail, Texas)

U.S. Appeals Court
FTCA- Federal Tort Claims
Act

Watson v. U.S., 485 F.3d 1100 (10th Cir. 2007). A guardian brought an action on behalf of an incapacitated
former federal prisoner under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), alleging that the government responded
negligently to the prisoner's medical condition, resulting in a brain hemorrhage that left him severely and
permanently disabled. The district court entered a jury verdict in favor of the defendants and the guardian
appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that there was sufficient evidence that the government
lacked notice of the need to closely observe the prisoner for post-surgical complications upon his return to the
correctional facility after brain surgery. Evidence indicated that the prisoner did not require observation upon his
return to the facility, that he was neurologically normal except for mild speech problems, and that he was
discharged with the instruction only that he continue speech and occupational therapy, with no need for further
observation. The court upheld the district court’s finding that the government did not breach any applicable
standard of care by failing to summon an air ambulance after the prisoner was found unconscious in his cell,
where expert physicians testified that the use of an air ambulance was dependent upon distance, necessity, and the
patient's best interest, but did not suggest that such factors applied to the prisoner's case. (Federal Correctional
Institute in El Reno, Oklahoma)
2008

U.S. Appeals Court
STATE REMEDIES

Alba v. Montford, 517 F.3d 1249 (11th Cir. 2008). A federal prisoner incarcerated in a privately operated
correctional facility brought a pro se § 1983 action against prison employees for allegedly acting with deliberate
indifference to his medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The district court interpreted the
complaint as asserting a claim under Bivens and dismissed it for failure to state a claim because the prisoner had
adequate state remedies available. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that even
assuming that the private prison was a government actor for the purposes of Bivens liability, alternative remedies
existed by which the prisoner could recover from its employees. (McRae Correctional Facility, Corrections
Corporation of America, Georgia)

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Antoine v. County of Sacramento, 566 F.Supp.2d 1045 (E.D.Cal. 2008). A pretrial detainee brought a civil rights
action against corrections officers based upon the officers' use of a “grating” restraint practice. After a jury verdict
in favor of the detainees, the officers moved for a new trial. The district court granted the motion in part and
denied in part. The court held that it was proper to permit an expert witness to express his opinions regarding the
propriety of the “grating” practice in the context of whether the officers' decision to employ that practice rather
than the “prostraint” restraining chair was appropriate. The court found that the compensatory damages instruction
given in the detainee's civil rights action was in error since it permitted the jury to believe that it could award an

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unlimited amount of non-compensatory damages to compensate the plaintiff for the abstract “value” of his
constitutional rights. According to the court, the use of the term “constitutional injuries”--combined with the
instruction allowing the jury to award nominal damages, and the omission of the $1.00 limit--invited the jury to
award an unlimited amount of damages based on the importance of the plaintiff's constitutional rights in lieu of
awarding compensatory damages. The jury awarded the detainee $20,000 in compensatory damages as well as
$25,000 in punitive damages against each of four defendants, and $50,000 against one defendant. (Sacramento
County, California)
U.S. Appeals Court
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY
CONTRACT SERVICES

Brown v. District of Columbia, 514 F.3d 1279 (D.C. Cir. 2008). A District of Columbia prisoner brought Eighth
Amendment civil rights claims against the District, mayor, operator of a private prison and various correctional
officials and employees, among others. The district court dismissed certain claims for failure to effect service and
others for failure to state a claim. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and
remanded. The court held that the prisoner stated a claim for violation of his Eighth Amendment rights through
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. The court also found that the allegations were sufficient to
state a claim for Monell liability against the District for Eighth Amendment violations by alleging that prison
officers failed to transfer him for treatment for 60 days following a physician's notification that the prisoner was in
need of immediate hospitalization for gallstones. The court found that the allegations were insufficient to state a
supervisory liability claim against a correctional official who supervised the care of prisoners “housed in contract
facilities” for alleged wrongdoing at a correctional facility that did not qualify as a “contract facility”. (District of
Columbia, Corrections Corporation of America, Occoquan Correctional Facility in Lorton, Virginia)

U.S. District Court
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
NEGLIGENCE
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Buckley v. Barbour County, Ala., 624 F.Supp.2d 1335 (M.D.Ala. 2008). An inmate brought § 1983, Eighth
Amendment and due process claims, as well as state law claims, against a county and a work-crew supervisor,
alleging that his back was injured as the result of a failure to train him in equipment safety before he cleared trees
as part of a prison work crew. The county and supervisor filed separate motions to dismiss. The district court
granted the motions in part and denied in part. The court held that the inmate's allegations that the county failed to
train him and another inmate in equipment operations safety, that they were ordered while part of a community
work squad to use chainsaws to cut a large oak tree to clear it from a roadway, and that the tree rolled onto the
inmate, breaking his back, were sufficient to plead a causal connection between the county's practice or custom of
failing to train and the inmate's injury. The court noted that the inmate was not required to allege a specific
practice or custom of failing to train inmates to avoid falling trees. The court held that the inmate's allegations
were also sufficient to show the county's awareness of facts from which an inference of a substantial risk of harm
could be drawn, as required to plead a deliberate indifference § 1983 Eighth Amendment claim. According to the
court, the inmate's allegations that a prison work-crew supervisor was aware that the inmate was not trained in
equipment safety and felt unqualified to use a chainsaw, yet still ordered the inmate to use a chainsaw to cut a
fallen tree hanging over a ditch, were sufficient to plead a § 1983 Eighth Amendment claim against the
supervisor. The court also denied qualified immunity from the inmate’s allegations. According to the court, under
Alabama law, the inmate's allegations that the work-crew supervisor ordered him and another inmate to cut a tree
hanging over a ditch with chainsaws, with the knowledge they were not trained in equipment safety, and that the
tree rolled onto the inmate breaking his back, were sufficient to plead willful negligence by the supervisor.
(Barbour County Community Work Squad, Alabama)

U.S. District Court
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES

Cameron v. Myers, 569 F.Supp.2d 762 (N.D.Ind. 2008). A prisoner moved for a default judgment on a § 1983
claim against a prison doctor for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth
Amendment. The district court granted the motion. The court held that the prison doctor was deliberately
indifferent to the prisoner's serious medical needs, and an award of $250,350 in compensatory damages, and
denial of punitive damages was warranted. According to the court, the doctor was deliberately indifferent to the
prisoner's serious medical needs in failing to provide the prisoner with the necessary and urgent medical care and
treatment required for his Crohn's disease, which also led to the prisoner's development of a flesh eating disease.
The court found that the doctor was plainly subjectively aware of the prisoner's objectively serious medical
condition because of the diagnosis established in his previous doctor's medical records as well as by what the
prisoner told him, and the doctor's inaction forced the prisoner to endure tremendous pain and suffering stemming
from his untreated Crohn's disease as well as the newly formed flesh eating disease, which ceased only when the
prisoner moved to a new facility and began treatment under another physician. (Indiana State Prison)

U.S. District Court
CLASS ACTION
CONSENT DECREE
DAMAGES
SETTLEMENT

Craft v. County of San Bernardino, 624 F.Supp.2d 1113 (C.D.Cal. 2008). County jail inmates brought a class
action alleging that a county's practice of routinely strip-searching inmates without probable cause or reasonable
suspicion that the inmates were in possession of weapons or drugs violated the Fourth Amendment. After the
court granted the inmates’ motion for partial summary judgment, the parties entered into private mediation and
reached a settlement agreement providing for, among other things, a class fund award of $25,648,204. The
inmates moved for the award of attorney's fees and costs. The district court held that class counsel were entitled to
an attorney's fees award in the amount of 25% of the settlement fund plus costs. The court noted that counsel
obtained excellent pecuniary and nonpecuniary results in a complex and risky case involving 150,000 class
members, 20,000 claims, and five certified classes, each of which presented unsettled legal issues. According to
the court, tens or hundreds of thousands of future inmates benefited from policy changes brought about by the
suit, and the attorneys were highly experienced and highly regarded civil rights lawyers with extensive class
action experience. (San Bernardino County Jail, California)

U.S. Appeals Court
BIVENS CLAIM
FAILURE TO PROTECT

Dale v. Poston, 548 F.3d 563 (7th Cir. 2008). A federal prison inmate brought a Bivens action against several
corrections officers, alleging deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment based on the officers'
failure to prevent an assault by a fellow inmate. Following a jury verdict for the inmate on the issue of
administrative exhaustion, the district court granted summary judgment for the officers. The inmate appealed. The

27.140
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appeals court affirmed. The court found that the subjective prong of the inmate's claim was unsatisfied, since the
inmate had given the officers inadequate details of the danger involved. The prisoner told officers that other
inmates were “pressuring” him and “asking questions,” but never gave more details despite the officers' requests,
preventing them from determining whether a true threat was at play. The inmate declined offers to remain in
protective custody. (Federal Penitentiary, Terre Haute, Indiana)
U.S. District Court
CLASS ACTION
CONSENT DECREETERMINATION
PLRA- Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Emerson-West v. Redman, 574 F.Supp.2d 433 (D.Del. 2008). A state inmate filed a motion for relief from the
district court's order terminating a consent order entered in a class action that challenged prison conditions and
disciplinary procedures. The inmate moved for a preliminary injunction and for summary judgment. The district
court denied the motions. The court held that the inmate received adequate notice of prison officials' motion for
relief from the consent order, and that termination of the consent order was warranted. The court noted that the
inmate was not a named class member, the inmate's name never appeared in the case, officials mailed copies of
their motion for relief to pro se plaintiffs who had appeared in the case and to the former attorney who represented
the class, and the court reopened the case when an inmate filed a motion to vacate the judgment. According to the
court, termination of the consent order was warranted under the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(PLRA), where the consent order encompassed the state's entire penal system of discipline and sanctions and there
was no mention that it was entered to correct constitutional violations, particularly with respect to due process
issues. The court noted that a subsequent United States Supreme Court decision provided clear guidance regarding
prisoners' due process rights, and the consent order was not the least intrusive means to correct any alleged
constitutional violation. (James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Delaware)

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

Estate of Trentadue v. U.S., 560 F.Supp.2d 1124 (W.D.Okla. 2008). In a suit arising from the death of a special
housing unit (SHU) inmate at a Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma, the district court ruled in favor of the
plaintiff’s family members on their claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress under the Federal Tort
Claims Act (FTCA), and awarded a total amount of $1.1 million in damages to the individual family members. On
appeal, the court remanded for additional findings. On remand, the district court held that evidence supported a
$250,000 award to the inmate’s wife for the extreme and outrageous actions of the federal government in the
aftermath of the inmate's death and prior to her viewing the body, including the failure to inform her in advance of
the numerous extensive injuries on his body and the fact that an autopsy had been performed. The court found that
the siblings who were present when the numerous, extensive, and unexpected injuries to inmate's body were first
discovered were entitled to awards ranging from $150,000-$200,000, and brothers who never personally viewed
the injuries were entitled to between $50,000 and $100,000. The district court held that the plaintiffs'
understandable emotional reaction to the inmate’s death was needlessly and recklessly intensified by the United
States' failure to inform the family in advance as to the existence of the extensive injuries and that an autopsy had
been performed, and throughout the trial, the court heard no explanation for the defendant's silence in this regard.
The inmate had been returned to prison as a parole violator and was placed in a segregation single cell at his
request. The inmate was found hanging in his cell approximately 20 minutes after the previous routine cell check
by correctional officers. Other cuts and abrasions found on his body indicated persistent attempts to cause himself
serious injury or death. Permissible items found in the cell supported presumptions that cuts on the body were
self-inflicted. (Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

U.S. Appeals Court
NOMINAL DAMAGES
PLRA- Prison Litigation
Reform Act
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Fegans v. Norris, 537 F.3d 897 (8th Cir. 2008). A state inmate sued prison officials, alleging that they violated the
Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), as well as his free exercise and equal protection
rights, by enforcing a grooming policy and denying him Kosher meals. The district court entered judgment for the
inmate with respect to the Kosher meals, but entered judgment for the prison officials with respect to the
grooming policy. The inmate appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that the prison policy
prohibiting male inmates from wearing hair below their collar, which prevented the inmate, who followed the
Assemblies of Yahweh, from leaving his hair untrimmed, did not violate RLUIPA. Prison officials gave examples
of inmates using hair to conceal contraband and to change their appearance after escaping, and, although the
officials allowed shoulder-length hair in the women's barracks, the women were housed in a single unit and thus
had less opportunity to obtain and transport contraband. The court also found that the policy did not violate the
inmate’s free exercise rights. According to the court, the policy did not violate the inmate's equal protection rights,
inasmuch as differences in security risks between male and female inmates was a valid reason for differing hairlength rules for men and women, and the policy was reasonably related to the state's legitimate, penological
interests of safety and security. The appeals court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in
awarding nominal damages, as limited by PLRA, of $1,500 for the prison officials' constitutional violation of
failing to provide Kosher meals, which amounted to $1.44 for each constitutional violation. The court also held
that the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to award punitive damages for the prison officials'
constitutional violation of failing to provide Kosher meals. The district court accurately stated the legal standard
for the award of punitive damages, but found that prison officials did not act with malice, and that punitive
damages were not warranted to deter future unlawful conduct, because the officials already had instituted a policy
for providing Kosher meals. (East Arkansas Regional Unit of the Arkansas Department of Corrections)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

Ford v. County of Grand Traverse, 535 F.3d 483 (6th Cir. 2008). A state inmate brought a § 1983 action against
jail officials and the county claiming, among other things, that the county's policy or custom regarding the
provision of medical care at the jail on weekends reflected deliberate indifference to her medical needs and caused
injuries resulting from a fall from the top bunk in her cell when she had a seizure. After a jury found against the
county, the district court denied the county's motions for judgment as a matter of law. The county appealed. The
appeals court affirmed, finding that sufficient evidence existed for reasonable minds to find a direct causal link
between county's policy of permitting jail officials to “contact” medical staff simply by leaving a medical form in
the nurse's inbox, even though a nurse might not see the notice for 48 hours, and the alleged denial of the inmate's
right to adequate medical care, allegedly leading to the inmate suffering a seizure and falling from a top bunk.

27.141
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According to the court, the deposition testimony of a doctor provided a basis for finding that the inmate would not
have suffered a seizure had she been given medication within a few hours of her arrival at the jail. The inmate, a
self-described recovering alcoholic who also suffers from epilepsy, was arrested on a probation violation and
taken to the jail. That afternoon, she had a seizure, fell from the top bunk of a bed in her cell, and sustained
significant injuries to her right hip and right clavicle. Her case proceeded to trial and the jury found that none of
the jail officials were deliberately indifferent to her serious medical needs, but determined that the county's policy
regarding weekend medical care exhibited deliberate indifference to, and was the proximate cause of, her injuries.
The jury awarded her $214,000 in damages. (Grand Traverse County Jail, Michigan)
U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Gibson v. Moskowitz, 523 F.3d 657 (6th Cir. 2008). The representative of the estate of a mentally disabled inmate
who died of dehydration in a state prison brought a § 1983 action against a prison psychiatrist and others, alleging
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, and asserting medical malpractice claims. The district court
denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment, and subsequently entered judgment, upon a jury verdict, in
favor of the representative. The court awarded $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive
damages. The psychiatrist appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part and reversed in part. The court held that
evidence was sufficient to support a determination that the inmate had an objectively serious medical condition
and that the psychiatrist subjectively ignored the inmate's serious medical needs. The court found that the
compensatory damages award was not excessive and that the representative was entitled to recover punitive
damages. The court found that the punitive damages award was not excessive. The case was remanded to the
district court to provide justification for its allocation of $1.5 million in compensatory damages awarded by the
jury between the § 1983 Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim and the medical malpractice claim. The
court had allocated $683,500, representing Michigan's high-tier non-economic damages cap to the medical
malpractice claim, and the rest to the deliberate indifference claim, but it failed to provide any explanation for the
allocation. The appeals court held that the allocation did not follow intuitively from the evidence, since a higher
standard of culpability was required for the deliberate indifference claim. (Riverside Corr’l Facility, Michigan)

U.S. Appeals Court
MUNICIPAL LIABILITY
OFFICIAL CAPACITY
POLICIES/PROCEDURES

Hampton Co. Nat. Sur., LLC v. Tunica County, Miss., 543 F.3d 221 (5th Cir. 2008). A surety company and its
agents, who were white, brought a § 1983 action against an African-American county sheriff in his individual
capacity and against the county, alleging that the sheriff's removal of the agents from the roster of approved bail
bond agents in the county constituted First Amendment retaliation and violated the Fourteenth Amendment's due
process and equal protection clauses. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants and the
plaintiffs appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part. The court held that the
sheriff was entitled to qualified immunity on the due process claim since there was no clearly established law in
the state as to whether the agents had a property right to issue bonds in a particular county, and thus no clearly
established law that would render the sheriff's actions objectively unreasonable. The court found that the county
was potentially liable since, under the governing state's law, sheriffs were final policymakers with respect to all
law enforcement decisions made within their counties, and the sheriff's decision was the type of single decision by
a relevant policymaker that could form the basis of § 1983 “municipal” liability. According to the court,
summary judgment was precluded by a fact issue as to whether the African-American sheriff failed to place the
agents back on the approved roster after they satisfied the arrearages that had given rise to their removal, while
simultaneously reinstating black bail bond agents who had been removed for the same reason. The court also
found that there were fact issue as to the credibility of the sheriff's stated reason for not reinstating the bail bond
agents, namely that the agents had failed to satisfy arrearages that had given rise to removal. (Tunica County,
Mississippi)

U.S. District Court
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Harnett v. Barr, 538 F.Supp.2d 511 (N.D.N.Y. 2008). A prisoner brought a civil rights action against corrections
defendants, alleging they interfered with the practice of his religion in violation of the First Amendment and the
Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The district court denied the defendants’ motion
to dismiss. The court held that, without more, it could not be stated that the prisoner could prove no set of facts
that would entitle him to relief under the First Amendment or RLUIPA. The prisoner alleged that the corrections
defendants confiscated his religious meal, denied a sweet breakfast at the end of Ramadan, denied the ability to
retain food in his cell on Mondays and Thursdays, and denied permission to hem his pants. The court found that
failure of a supervisory official to investigate a letter of protest written by the inmate is not sufficient to show
personal involvement for the purposes of establishing § 1983 liability. According to the court, the same is true if
the only involvement of the supervisory official is to refer the inmate's complaint to the appropriate staff for
investigation. (Upstate Correctional Facility, New York)

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

Hines v. Anderson, 547 F.3d 915 (8th Cir. 2008). Inmates appealed an order of the district court that had
terminated a consent decree that regulated prison medical care. Inmates had filed a class action against the state in
1973, resulting in a 1977 consent decree that set medical standards for the prison. The appeals court affirmed the
district court ‘s ruling. The court held that the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) did not require an
investigation and/or evidentiary hearing before termination of a consent decree. The court noted that the consent
decree that regulated prison medical care did not constitute a final judgment, and therefore inmates had no
property right that would entitle them under the due process clause to further discovery and a pre-termination
evidentiary hearing. The court found that although the record presented a picture of what, at times, may have
constituted less than optimum care of inmates, it failed to show current and ongoing deliberate disregard of the
inmates' serious medical needs, which was required to maintain the consent decree. According to the court, the
type of day-to-day oversight on all aspects of medical care encompassed in the consent decree was broader than
necessary to assure protection of the right to reasonable medical care in the face of a known substantial risk of
harm to the inmate. Because the consent decree was not narrowly tailored nor was it the least intrusive means to
protect the inmates' Eighth Amendment rights, it violated the provisions of PLRA . (Minnesota Correctional
Facility at Oak Park Heights)

27.142
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U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
NEGLIGENCE
RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR

Jackson v. Correctional Corporation of America, 564 F.Supp.2d 22 (D.D.C 2008). An inmate brought an action
against a prison's medical provider, alleging medical negligence and violations of the Eighth Amendment. The
court held that the inmate stated a medical negligence claim and the provider was liable under the theory of
respondeat superior. The inmate alleged that he was deprived of medication prescribed for his stomach ailments
for 19 days. The court held that an award of $9,500 in compensatory damages for medical negligence was
warranted, where the inmate experienced a burning pain in his stomach and esophagus that increased over time
without his medication and at times prevented him from sleeping or eating. (Center for Correctional Health Policy
and Studies, Inc., Correctional Corporation of America, District of Columbia Correctional Treatment Facility)

U.S. Appeals Court
BIVENS CLAIN
FTCA-Federal Tort Claims
Act

Jackson v. Kotter, 541 F.3d 688 (7th Cir. 2008). A prisoner brought an action against federal prison employees and
the federal government, alleging negligence under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) and constitutional claims
pursuant to Bivens. The district court dismissed the action and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed
in part and reversed and remanded in part. The court held that a Physician's Assistant (PA) in the prison did not
act with deliberate indifference toward the prisoner in response to an alleged back injury suffered by the prisoner
after being escorted out of his cell for a strip search. According to the court, the PA saw the prisoner shortly after
his alleged injuries and ordered an x-ray, personally observed the prisoner's condition and took into consideration
prior x-rays of his spine, and afforded some of the pain treatment that the prisoner demanded. (United States
Penitentiary, Terre Haute, Indiana)

U.S. District Court
NEGLIGENT
SUPERVISION

Jean-Laurent v. Wilkinson, 540 F.Supp.2d 501 (S.D.N.Y. 2008). A prisoner in a state correctional facility brought
a civil rights action against officers and supervisors claiming violation of his rights under the First, Fourth, Eighth,
and Fourteenth Amendments. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants in part and denied
in part. The court held that striking the prisoner in the face several times while he was standing naked in a
stairwell surrounded by several officers, absent any indication that the prisoner posed a threat, was not within the
corrections officer's asserted good-faith effort to maintain order, discipline, and security due to a stabbing that
recently had occurred within the prison. The court found that the objective condition for a Fourteenth Amendment
excessive force civil rights claim was satisfied where the corrections officer, without reason or provocation, struck
the prisoner several times across his face, causing swelling on the left side of his face, a cut to the inside of his
mouth, his ear to bleed, and a hearing impairment. The court held that summary judgment was precluded by a fact
issue as to whether the prisoner was under constant supervision by corrections officers and to what proximity he
was to other inmates so as to determine whether he could have acquired contraband. The court also found
summary judgment was precluded by a fact issue as to whether senior corrections officers were grossly negligent
in supervising a junior officer who allegedly violated the prisoner's Fourth Amendment rights through a strip
search, and as to whether the Fourth Amendment rights of the prisoner were violated during a second strip search
and alleged use of excessive force. (George Motchan Detention Center, New York City Dept. of Correction)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO TRAIN
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Jones v. Taylor, 534 F.Supp.2d 475 (D.Del. 2008). A state prisoner brought a civil rights action alleging that a
corrections officer used excessive force against him, another officer did not protect him, and a former
commissioner and a former warden did not properly train and supervise officers in dealing with prisoners. The
district court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The court held that the supervisors were not
the driving force behind the alleged use of excessive force by the corrections officer and were not deliberately
indifferent to the plight of the state prisoner. The court denied the prisoner’s claim for improper training, noting
that the officer received training prior to his employment and that he attened annual refresher courses. The court
noted that the officer had never been disciplined. The court held that the officer did not use excessive force
against the prisoner, where the officer, alone in a small space with the prisoner who was not handcuffed,
perceived a threat from the prisoner, and used minimal force, which included an A-frame chokehold. The court
noted that the prisoner was handcuffed once he was under control, received only minimal injury and never sought
follow-up medical treatment after his initial visit with a nurse. The use of force was investigated and approved by
the officer's supervisor, and the prisoner was found guilty of disorderly and threatening behavior with regard to
the incident. (Sussex Correctional Institute, Delaware)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES

May v. Rich, 531 F.Supp.2d 998 (C.D.Ill. 2008). A state prisoner brought suit against a prison employee, alleging
civil rights claims for denial of access to the courts and retaliation for filing grievances and litigation. Following a
jury trial, the jury returned a general verdict in favor of the prisoner, awarding $2,388. The prison employee
moved for judgment as matter of law or, in the alternative, for a new trial. The district court granted the motion,
entering a judgment for the defendant as a matter of law. The court held that the prisoner did not suffer an actual
injury, as required for a denial of access claim. The court found that the employee did not retaliate against the
prisoner by filing a disciplinary report based on his possession of prison contraband. The court noted that the
employee had an absolute duty to file a disciplinary report against the prisoner for possession of carbon paper,
which was contraband in the prison system, such that reporting the prisoner could not be deemed retaliation for
the prisoner's exercise of First Amendment rights in filing civil rights suits. (Pontiac Correctional Center, Illinois)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES

McCabe v. Mais, 602 F.Supp.2d 1025 (N.D.Iowa 2008). County jail detainees brought a § 1983 action against a
county jail officer, alleging that the officer conducted illegal strip searches and visual body cavity searches.
Following a jury trial, the district court granted the officer's motion reduce the jury’s damages award, and after the
detainees refused to accept the reduced damages award, ordered a new trial on the issue of damages. After a jury
returned a verdict in favor of the detainees in the amount of $55,804, the detainees moved for new trial. The court
held that a new trial on damages was not warranted and that the damages award was not so inadequate as to shock
the conscience. The court noted that there was no evidence that the detainees were subjected to repeated violations
of their Fourth Amendment rights, or that the illegal searches were conducted in a violent or mocking way, and
detainees' own descriptions of their emotional distress was not compelling. (Linn County Jail, Iowa)

27.143
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U.S. District Court
CONTRACT SERVICES
OFFICIAL CAPACITY

Moonblatt v. District of Columbia, 572 F.Supp.2d 15 (D.D.C. 2008). A former inmate filed a § 1983 action
against the District of Columbia, alleging that correctional officers employed by a contractor hired to operate a
detention center violated his civil rights on account of his race, religion, and sexual orientation. The district court
denied summary judgment for the defendants. The court held that summary judgment was precluded by fact issues
as to whether the District had constructive or actual notice of the inmate's mistreatment, and whether the
contractor acted pursuant to a state custom or policy. The court found that an employee of a contractor hired by
the District of Columbia to operate a detention center, sued in his official capacity, was subject to liability under §
1983 for alleged deprivations of the inmate's constitutional rights by correctional officers. (Correctional Treatment
Facility, District of Columbia, operated by Corrections Corp. of America)

U.S. District Court
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Munyiri v. Haduch, 585 F.Supp.2d 670 (D.Md. 2008). A motorist who was arrested for driving around a police
roadblock and subsequently failing to stop when signaled by a pursuing squad car brought a civil rights action
against an arresting officer, police commissioner and warden at central booking facility to which she was
transported. She alleged she was subjected to unlawful strip and visual body cavity searches. The defendants
moved to dismiss. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that allegations
in the motorist's complaint were sufficient to state a supervisory liability claim against the Secretary of the
Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) and the warden at a central booking
facility, for intrusive searches to which she was subjected.
The court found that the allegations in the
offender's complaint-- that she was improperly subjected to a strip search and to a visual body cavity search as the
result of a policy implemented by the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional
Services (DPSCS) and by a warden at the central booking facility-- adequately pleaded the minimum facts
necessary to state a supervisory liability claim against the Secretary and the warden under § 1983. The policy
allegedly authorized strip searches and visual body cavity searches of all persons admitted to the facility,
regardless of the charges filed against them or circumstances surrounding their arrest. (Baltimore Central Booking
and Intake Facility, Maryland)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Murphy v. Gilman, 551 F.Supp.2d 677 (W.D.Mich. 2008). A civil rights action was brought against state prison
officials, raising claims arising from the death of a prisoner, who died from dehydration after a four-day period
during which he received no medical care and little water and food. A jury found that certain defendants were
deliberately indifferent to the prisoner's serious medical needs, the defendants were grossly negligent, and one
defendant was liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The jury awarded $250,000 in actual
damages, and $2,500,000 in punitive damages. The defendants moved for judgment as a matter of law, and to stay
enforcement of the judgment. The plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial. The district court denied the motions,
finding that evidence supported the finding that an official knew of the obvious risks to the prisoner. The court
held that punitive damages of $1,250,000 per prison official defendant was not constitutionally excessive for the
dehydration death of a physically vulnerable prisoner, who was trapped without physical necessities or medical
care for five days during a heat wave and who was awarded $250,000 in actual damages. The court noted that
evidence established that prison officials kept the prisoner's water turned off, knew that the prisoner was not
drinking, and knew the prison was on a heat alert. (Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, Michigan)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREETERMINATION
PLRA- Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Osterback v. McDonough, 549 F.Supp.2d 1337 (M.D.Fla. 2008). Inmates sued corrections officials, alleging that
conditions of close management (CM) status amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. Following the grant of
the inmates' motion to certify the class, and issuance of an order entering the officials' revised offer of judgment
(ROJ), the officials moved to terminate the ROJ pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The
district court granted the motion. The court held that corrections officers were deliberately indifferent in violation
of the 8th Amendment when inmates on close management (CM) status who truly were suicidal or otherwise
suffered from severe psychological distress declared psychological emergencies. According to the court, the
officers failed to summon mental health staff, and inmates thereafter attempted to commit suicide or otherwise
harmed themselves, or, in one case, actually committed suicide. The court held that accreditation reports for
correctional institutions were inadmissible hearsay in the inmates' action. The court held that termination of the
revised offer of judgment (ROJ), which was previously adopted by the district court as a final order and judgment,
was appropriate under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) in that isolated instances of prison staff's failure
to appropriately respond to a bona fide psychological emergency of inmates in close management status did not
create a current and ongoing violation of the class members' Eighth Amendment rights. (Everglades Correctional
Institution, Florida)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO PROTECT
FTCA-Federal Tort Claims
Act
NEGLIGENCE

Parrott v. U.S., 536 F.3d 629 (7th Cir. 2008). A federal inmate brought an action against the Bureau of Prisons
(BOP) and several of its employees under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), alleging the employees
negligently handled his personal property and failed to protect him from being attacked by another inmate. The
inmate had been stabbed 22 times in the head and arm by another inmate and he was hospitalized for two weeks.
The district court granted summary judgment for the government and the inmate appealed. The appeals court
affirmed in part, vacated and remanded in part. The court held that the confiscation of the inmate's property,
followed by sending such property to the inmate's sister, was a “detention” for the purposes of the exception to
liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for claims arising from detention of goods by a law
enforcement officer. The court found that summary judgment was precluded by a genuine issue of material fact as
to whether a former separation order was in effect between the inmate and another inmate who attacked him. The
court noted that if a valid separation order is in effect between inmates, prison staff have no discretion in
enforcing such an order, and violation of the order will not be sheltered from liability under the Federal Tort
Claims Act (FTCA). (U.S. Penitentiary, Terre Haute, Indiana)

U.S. Appeals Court
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

Pierce v. County of Orange, 519 F.3d 985 (9th Cir. 2008). Pretrial detainees in a county's jail facilities brought a §
1983 class action suit against the county and its sheriff seeking relief for violations of their constitutional and
statutory rights. After consolidating the case with a prior case challenging jail conditions, the district court

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rejected the detainees' claims and the detainees appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part and
remanded. The court held that the injunctive orders relating to the jail's reading materials, mattresses and beds,
law books, population caps, sleep, blankets, dayroom access (not less than two hours each day), telephone access
and communication with jailhouse lawyers were not necessary to correct current ongoing violations of the pretrial
detainees' constitutional rights. Inmates had alleged that they were denied the opportunity for eight hours of
uninterrupted sleep on the night before and the night after each court appearance. The court found that an
injunction relating to restrictions of the detainees' religious rights based on security concerns was narrowly drawn
and extended no further than necessary to correct the violation of the federal right of pretrial detainees in
administrative segregation. According to the court, providing pretrial detainees housed in administrative
segregation only ninety minutes of exercise per week, less than thirteen minutes per day, constituted punishment
in violation of due process standards. The court also found that the county failed to reasonably accommodate
mobility-impaired and dexterity-impaired pretrial detainees in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA). The court affirmed termination of 12 of the injunctive orders, but found that the district court erred in its
finding that two orders were unnecessary. (Orange County, California)
U.S. Appeals Court
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

Pierce v. County of Orange, 526 F.3d 1190 (9th Cir. 2008). Pretrial detainees in a county's jail facilities brought a
§ 1983 class action suit against the county and its sheriff, seeking relief for violations of their constitutional and
statutory rights. After consolidating the case with a prior case challenging jail conditions, the district court
rejected the detainees' claims, and the detainees appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and
remanded. The court held that injunctive orders relating to the county jail’s reading materials, mattresses and
beds, law books, population caps, sleep, blankets, telephone access, and communication with jailhouse lawyers
were not necessary to current the current and ongoing violations of pretrial detainees' constitutional rights. The
court found that an injunction relating to restrictions of detainees' religious rights based on security concerns was
narrowly drawn and extended no further than necessary to correct the violation of the federal right of pretrial
detainees in administrative segregation. The injunctive order, with its provision for the curtailment or elimination
of pretrial detainees' religious rights based on security concerns, provided for no more than a minimum level of
ongoing participation in religious activities. The court held that providing pretrial detainees housed in
administrative segregation only 90 minutes of exercise per week, less than 13 minutes per day, constituted
punishment in violation of due process standards. The court found that an order requiring that inmates in
administrative segregation be permitted exercise at least twice each week for a total of not less than 2 hours per
week was necessary to correct the current and ongoing violation.
The court found that the county failed to reasonably accommodate mobility-impaired and dexterity-impaired
pretrial detainees in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The county did not offer any
legitimate rationale for maintaining inaccessible bathrooms, sinks, showers, and other fixtures in the housing areas
and common spaces assigned to mobility and dexterity impaired detainees, and the county offered no explanation
or justification for the significant differences between the vocational and recreational activities available to nondisabled and disabled detainees. Termination of injunctive orders requiring that inmates be provided with seating
while detained in holding cells, or elsewhere, awaiting transport to or from court and requiring that inmates be
given at least fifteen minutes within which to complete each meal did not constitute an abuse of discretion since
the treatment of detainees in the county's holding cells and the time allowed for meals did not violate the
detainees' constitutional rights. The court held that restrictions placed on use of the day room, limiting
administrative segregation detainees' use of the room to one or two inmates at a time, were reasonably related to
institutional security concerns. (Orange County Jail System, California)

U.S. District Court
SETTLEMENT

Platcher v. Health Professionals, Ltd., 549 F.Supp.2d 1040 (C.D.Ill. 2008). The estate of an inmate brought a
civil rights suit against a state department of corrections and private health professionals who worked at an
institution's health care center, alleging the inmate died from hypothermia as the result of being stripped, beaten,
and placed in a cold cell. The estate moved to enforce a settlement agreement reached with the state defendants.
The district court granted the motion to enforce the settlement. The court held that the estate was not required to
accept a confidentiality clause that was not discussed in an oral agreement simply because his counsel may have
had constructive notice of an alleged state policy to include confidentiality clauses. According to the court, there
was no evidence that counsel contemplated inclusion of a confidentiality clause during negotiations. (Menard
Correctional Center, Illinois)

U.S. District Court
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
FTCA-Federal Tort Claims
Act

Potter v. Ledesma, 541 F.Supp.2d 463 (D.Puerto Rico 2008). A federal inmate filed an action to recover damages
he suffered when prison officials failed to provide medical treatment after a cell door closed on his finger. The
district court granted the officials’ motion to dismiss in part and denied in part. The court held that the Federal
Tort Claims Act's (FTCA) exclusivity provision did not bar the inmate's Eighth Amendment claim. According to
the court, the inmate's allegation that he was entitled to money damages due to prison officials' deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs after a cell door closed on his finger raised a cognizable claim for
violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. (Puerto Rico)

U.S. District Court
MEDICAL CARE
NEGLIGENCE

Presley v. City of Blackshear, 650 F.Supp.2d 1307 (S.D.Ga. 2008). A mother brought an action against a city
police officer and a county paramedic, arising out of her son's death while detained in a county jail after his arrest.
The district court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The court held that the arresting officer
was not deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of the detainee who died of an apparent drug
overdose after being arrested on drug charges and placed into custody at a county jail, absent evidence that the
arresting officer actually saw the detainee swallow any drugs that allegedly led to his death. The court held that
the county paramedic who responded to the jail was not deliberately indifferent despite any alleged negligence in
the paramedic's original diagnosis. The court noted that the paramedic promptly responded to both calls from
county jail concerning the detainee, and, each time, examined the detainee to determine whether further medical
treatment was needed. According to the court, the paramedic's alleged bad judgment and negligence in caring for

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the pretrial detainee who died of an apparent drug overdose, was insufficient to show a lack of good faith for the
purposes of statutory immunity from negligence or malpractice liability under Georgia law. (City of Blackshear
and Pierce County Jail, Georgia)
U.S. Appeals Court
BIVENS CLAIM
ALIEN

Rasul v. Myers, 512 F.3d 644 (D.C. Cir. 2008). Former detainees at a military facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
sued the Secretary of Defense and commanding officers alleging they were tortured. The detainees asserted claims
under the Alien Torture Statute, under the Geneva Conventions, under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act
(RFRA) and also asserted Fifth and Eighth Amendment claims on a Bivens cause of action. The defendants
moved to dismiss and the district court granted the motion in part and denied the motion as to the RFRA claim.
Both sides appealed. The district court affirmed in part and reversed as to the RFRA claim. The court held that the
acts of torture allegedly committed against aliens detained at the military base in Cuba were “within the scope of
employment” of military personnel who were allegedly committing such acts, for the purpose of deciding whether
the United states should be substituted as defendant. The court found that the aliens were without property or
presence in the United States and therefore lacked any constitutional rights and could not assert a Bivens claim
against military personnel for alleged due process violations and cruel and unusual punishment inflicted upon
them. The court held that the term “persons” as used in the RFRA to generally prohibit the government from
substantially burdening a “person's exercise of religion” did not extend to non-resident aliens. (United States
Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO PROTECT

Sandage v. Board of Com'rs of Vanderburgh County, 548 F.3d 595 (7th Cir. 2008). The family of murder victims
brought a civil rights action under § 1983 against county officials, alleging that a county sheriff's department's
failure to act on the victims' complaint deprived the victims of their lives without due process of law, in violation
of the Fourteenth Amendment. The victims had complained that they were being harassed by a murderer who was
a county jail inmate and they asked county officials to revoke the inmate’s work-release privilege and re-imprison
him. The inmate ultimately murdered the victims while he was on work release. The inmate had been serving a
four-year sentence for robbery. The district court dismissed the complaint, and the plaintiffs appealed. The
appeals court affirmed, finding that the sheriff's department's failure to act on the victims' complaint did not
deprive the victims of due process. The court noted that the county officials had no duty to protect the victims
against private violence, and the officials' failure to revoke the inmate's work release did not create the danger that
the inmate posed to the victims. (Vanderburgh County Jail, Indiana)

U.S. Appeals Court
CLASS ACTION
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
REMEDIES

Shook v. Board of County Commissioners of County of El Paso, 543 F.3d 597 (10th Cir. 2008). County jail
inmates brought a class action suit alleging that jail conditions for prisoners with mental health needs violated the
Eighth Amendment's ban against cruel and unusual treatment. The district court denied the prisoners' motion for
class certification and dismissed the suit. The appeals court reversed and remanded. On remand, the district court
again denied certification, and the inmates appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that class certification
could be denied due to unmanageability, namely the difficulty of crafting specific injunctive relief applicable to
the class as a whole. The court noted that the plaintiff inmates variously complained that they were denied
medications, inadequately supervised, or subjected to excessive force or excessive restraint, and the propriety of
the jail's actions depended on circumstances that varied from class member to class member. (El Paso County Jail,
Colorado)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES

Smith v. City of Oakland, 538 F.Supp.2d 1217 (N.D.Cal. 2008). After a jury rendered a verdict in favor of a
parolee and his girlfriend based on a finding that officers planted a semi-automatic rifle in his residence in order to
frame him, the officers filed post-trial motions seeking to overturn the jury's verdict on both liability and damages.
The district court held that substantial evidence supported the jury's verdict in favor of the parolee but that the $5
million dollar emotional distress award to the parolee was grossly excessive. According to the court, the
emotional distress award to the parolee for malicious prosecution that resulted in 4 1/2 months imprisonment, the
indignity of having to defend himself against trumped-up criminal charges and parole revocation proceedings, the
uncertainty and apprehension about his fate and future caused by the false arrest, and loss of his house and
relationship with his girlfriend was grossly excessive. The court granted a new trial on damages unless the parolee
accepted a reduction from $5 million to $3 million. The court found that the parolee was not precluded from
recovering damages that accrued after the indictment on his malicious prosecution claim against the police
officers. The court noted that the parolee's testimony was corroborated by another witness, the lack of any
fingerprints on the gun, expert's testimony about standard police procedures, the testimony of a parole agent that
an inspection of the parolee's home was scheduled for that same day, the lack of any other guns or ammunition
found in the search of the house, and inconsistencies in the officers' testimony. The court also found that the
award of $750,000 to the parolee's girlfriend for emotional distress suffered when officers' conducted a
suspicionless search of the parolee’s residence while she was present was grossly excessive, and was subject to
reduction to $300,000. (City of Oakland, California)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO SUPERVISE

Stutes v. Tipto, 540 F.Supp.2d 516 (D.Vt. 2008). A Vermont inmate incarcerated in Oklahoma in a privatelyowned facility brought an action against Vermont prison officials and facility employees claiming cruel and
unusual punishment. The inmate alleged that his time spent outdoors in cold weather exposed him to “the
potential of hypothermia, frostbite, and cold-related infections such as influenza, ear infections, upper respiratory
infections, bronchitis and more.” Shortly after his exposure to the cold, he began suffering from flu-like
symptoms. The district court dismissed the action. The court held that a state corrections commissioner was not
subject to liability under § 1983 for alleged mistreatment of the inmate, even though the inmate sent a letter to the
commissioner asking for protection from retaliation, and submitted a formal grievance form to the commissioner
after the alleged mistreatment, where there was no indication that the commissioner was responsible for a policy
or custom that led to the wrongdoing, or that he failed to properly supervise employees who committed the
allegedly wrongful acts. (North Fork Correctional Facility, Oklahoma, Corrections Corporation of America)

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U.S. District Court
CLASS ACTION
SETTLEMENT

Tardiff v. Knox County, 567 F.Supp.2d 201 (D.Me. 2008). An arrestee who was subjected to a strip and visual
body cavity search brought a § 1983 action against a county for alleged violations of her Fourth Amendment
rights. She brought the action after opting out of a class action against the county in which her claim had initially
moved forward and in which she was named as class representative. The county asserted counterclaims for breach
of contract and equitable estoppel and the parties cross-moved for summary judgment. The district court held that
the settlement agreement in a prior class action did not contain an implied term that the arrestee, as named class
representative, would not opt out of the agreement. (Knox County Jail, Maine)

U.S. District Court
CONTRACT SERVICES
FAILURE TO PROTECT

Tatsch-Corbin v. Feathers, 561 F.Supp.2d 538 (W.D.Pa. 2008). Survivors of an inmate who committed suicide
sued a jail's forensic specialist under § 1983, claiming violations of the Fourteenth Amendment's prohibition
against deprivations of life without due process. The district court denied the forensic specialist’s motion to
dismiss. The court found that the fact that the jail's forensic specialist lacked a contractual relationship with either
the jail or a health care contractor retained by the county did not preclude her from being considered a “state
actor,” as required for imposition of liability under § 1983 in connection with the inmate's suicide. According to
the court, her role was to provide mental health care to inmates, regardless of her other job responsibilities or the
contractual nuances through which she came to work at the jail, and she could not have done so without the
authorization of the state. The court found that the inmate's survivors alleged sufficient facts to establish that the
forensic specialist should have known, or did know, that the inmate presented a suicide risk and failed to take
necessary or available precautions to protect him. According to the court, alleged facts suggested that the inmate
had made various threats to kill himself, which had been taken seriously enough by jail officials to warrant the
request of an evaluation by a mental health professional, and he had a documented history of attempted suicide
and psychiatric hospitalization, of which the specialist was allegedly aware. (Blair County Prison, Pennsylvania)

U.S. District Court
DAMANGE
SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY

Williams v. Beltran, 569 F.Supp.2d 1057 (C.D.Cal. 2008). A state inmate brought an action against a prison,
alleging violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) by forcing him to shave
his beard, which he had worn for religious reasons. The district court dismissed the case. The court held that
RLUIPA unambiguously conditions receipt of federal prison funds on the waiver of Eleventh Amendment
sovereign immunity, and the remedial clause in RLUIPA providing for “appropriate relief” was not sufficiently
broad to waive state sovereign immunity from money damages. The court noted that there are three main
exceptions to the broad grant of sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment: first, Congress may
authorize such a suit in the exercise of its power to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment; second, a state may waive
its sovereign immunity by consenting to suit; and third, suit may be brought to enjoin a state official rather than
against the state itself. The court concluded that California had not waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity
from money damages under RLUIPA and absent the availability of monetary relief, the plaintiff lacked any
remedy for his alleged RLUIPA claim. (California State Prison Lancaster)

U.S. District Court
FTCA-Federal Tort Claims
Act

Zabala-Calderon v. U.S., 616 F.Supp.2d 195 (D.Puerto Rico 2008). A female detainee filed suit, under the
Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), seeking injunctive relief and damages from the United States for injuries she
allegedly suffered from falling to the ground when exiting the bus managed by the United States Marshal Service
(USMS) during her transport from a detention center to a federal courthouse while she was fully restrained with
handcuffs, a belly chain, and shackles. The district court denied the government’s motion for summary judgment,
finding that fact issues precluded summary judgment as to whether the detainee's injuries were caused by the
government's negligence. The court found genuine issues of material fact remained as to whether the government
failed to follow a standard of care and skill in transporting the female detainee by placing shackles on her that
were allegedly too short for her to step down from a bus managed by the United States Marshal Service (USMS)
and by allegedly failing to assist her as she stepped down from bus, resulting in the detainee's falling to the ground
and sustaining injuries. (Metropolitan Detention Center, Puerto Rico)
2009

U.S. District Court
FTCA-Federal Tort Claims
Act
NEGLIGENCE

Abuhouran v. U.S., 595 F.Supp.2d 588 (E.D.Pa. 2009). A prisoner brought a negligence action against the United
States under the Federal Tort Claims Act alleging prison officials exposed him to excessive amounts of
environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). The defendants moved for summary judgment and the district court granted
the motion. The court held that the prisoner was precluded, under the discretionary function exception of the
Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), from challenging the warden's designation of smoking areas, as federal
regulations explicitly assigned the exercise of choice or judgment to the warden to designate areas subject to ETS.
The court noted that the stated policy considerations for implementing the “no smoking areas” in prisons was to
provide a clean air environment and to protect the health and safety of staff and inmates, suggesting the
designation of smoking areas was the kind of discretionary function the FTCA exception was meant to shield. The
court held that under Pennsylvania law, the prisoner failed to present any medical evidence or expert witnesses to
establish a causal connection between his exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and his alleged injury,
as required to prevail on his negligence claim. The court also held that the prisoner failed to present any evidence
of an actual injury. (Federal Detention Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
MUNICIPAL LIABILITY

Askew v. Sheriff of Cook County, Ill., 568 F.3d 632 (7th Cir. 2009). A pretrial detainee brought a § 1983 action
against a prison guard and a sheriff, asserting excessive force and deliberate indifference claims against the guard
and a municipal liability claim against the sheriff. The district court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss.
The detainee appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded. The appeals court held that upon determining
that a county was a required party in the pretrial detainee's § 1983 suit against a prison guard and the sheriff, the
district court was required to order that the county be made a party, rather than dismissing the suit. The court
noted that a county in Illinois is a necessary party in any suit seeking damages from an independently elected
county officer, and, because state law requires the county to pay, federal law deems it an indispensable party to
the litigation. But the court found that the Illinois county was not a party that was required to be joined if feasible

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in § 1983 suit brought against a prison guard in his individual capacity. (Cook County Jail, Illinois)
U.S. District Court
CONTRACT SERVICES
POLICIES/PROCEDURES
RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR
VICARIOUS LIABILITY

Austin v. Taylor, 604 F.Supp.2d 685 (D.Del. 2009). A state prisoner brought an action alleging a § 1983 claim for
inadequate medical care in violation of the Eighth Amendment and a state law medical negligence claim against a
medical service corporation under contract with the state to provide healthcare services at a prison. The district
court dismissed the case in part. The court held that the corporation that provided prison healthcare was not a
state actor entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity on the state prisoner's § 1983 claim. The court noted that
despite having been named in hundreds of § 1983 actions, the corporation had never been held to be an arm of the
state for Eleventh Amendment purposes. The court noted that the corporation was an autonomous actor and was
not immune from state taxation, and any judgment against the corporation would not be paid from the state
treasury. According to the court, although the corporation could not be held liable for allegedly medically
negligent acts of an employee under the theories of respondeat superior or vicarious liability, the corporation
could be directly liable for acts of the employee if the employee's acts were deemed the result of the corporation's
policy or custom that was so likely to result in the violation of constitutional rights that the corporation could
reasonably be said to have been deliberately indifferent to the prisoner's serious medical need in violation of the
Eighth Amendment. The court noted that a “policy” of the corporation is made when a decision-maker possessing
final authority to establish a policy with respect to an allegedly violative action issues an official proclamation,
policy or edict. According to the court, the “custom” of the corporation can be proven by showing that a given
course of conduct, although not specifically endorsed or authorized by law, is so well-settled and permanent as to
virtually constitute law. (Howard R. Young Correctional Institution, Wilmington, Delaware)

U.S. District Court
NOMINAL DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Baker v. Wilkinson, 635 F.Supp.2d 514 (W.D.La. 2009). A Louisiana state prisoner brought a § 1983 action, in
forma pauperis, against a warden, assistant warden, prison operator, and two nurses, alleging that he was denied
adequate medical care related to hemorrhoids. The defendants moved for summary judgment. The district court
denied the motion. The court held that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to
whether the prisoner suffered an injury as a result of the delay in appropriate medical care, whether he was
entitled to damages for emotional distress, and whether he was entitled to nominal or punitive damages. (Winn
Correctional Center, Louisiana, Corrections Corporation of America)

U.S. Appeals Court
BIVENS CLAIM
FAILURE TO PROTECT

Boyd v. Driver, 579 F.3d 513 ((5th Cir. 2009). Following his acquittal on charges of assaulting prison employees,
a federal inmate filed a pro se Bivens action against numerous prison employees, alleging a “malicious
prosecution conspiracy.” The inmate alleged that prison employees committed perjury and tampered with
evidence in his prosecution for assaulting employees. The district court dismissed the action and the inmate
appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part. The appeals court held that the
inmate was not required to exhaust his administrative remedies with regard to his claim in his Bivens action,
where the claim was not “about prison life” within the meaning of the exhaustion provision of the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). According to the court, the allegation by the inmate, that prison employees
committed perjury and tampered with evidence in conspiring to maliciously prosecute him for assault, did not,
without more, state any constitutional claim, as required to support a Bivens action. But the court held that
allegations that prison employees gave perjured testimony at the inmate's criminal trial and destroyed and
tampered with video evidence of the alleged assaults stated a claim for a due process violation, sufficient to
support his Bivens action. (Federal Correctional Institution Three Rivers, Texas)

U.S. District Court
SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Boyd v. Nichols, 616 F.Supp.2d 1331 (M.D.Ga. 2009). A female, who had been housed in a jail for violation of
her probation, brought an action against a former jailer, county, and former sheriff, under § 1983 and state law,
relating to the sexual assault of the inmate by the jailer. The county and sheriff moved for summary judgment and
the district court granted the motions. The court held that the sheriff was not “deliberately indifferent” to a
substantial risk of serious harm to the inmate under the Eighth Amendment or the Georgia constitution in failing
to protect the inmate from sexual assaults by a jailer, absent evidence that the sheriff had knowledge or indication
that the jailer was a threat or danger to inmates, or that male guards, if left alone with female inmates, posed a risk
to the inmates' health and safety. The court noted that the sheriff's actions in calling for an investigation and
terminating the jailer's employment upon learning of the jailer's actions was not an “indifferent and objectively
unreasonable response” to the inmate's claims, and thus, there was no violation of the inmate's rights. The court
held that the jail's staffing did not pose a “substantial risk of serious harm” to the inmate who was sexually
assaulted by a jailer, as required to show violation of the Eighth Amendment and Georgia constitution, absent
evidence that the jail was inadequately staffed. According to the court, the county did not have a policy or custom
of underfunding and understaffing the jail, as would constitute deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of
serious harm to the inmate, and thus the county could not be liable under § 1983 to the inmate who was sexually
assaulted by a jailer. The court found that the sheriff's failure to train deputies and jailers in proper procedures for
escorting and handling female inmates did not support supervisory liability on the § 1983 claim of the inmate,
where the sheriff had no knowledge of any prior sexual assaults at the jail or any problems with jailers improperly
escorting and handling female inmates, and the jailer who committed the assault had been trained previously on
how to interact with inmates and knew it was improper to have intimate contact with inmates. During the time
period in question, the county did not have a policy prohibiting a male jailer from escorting a female inmate
within the Jail. The court held that the county and sheriff had sovereign immunity from the state law claims of the
inmate, absent evidence that such immunity had been waived by an act of the General Assembly. (Berrien County
Jail, Georgia)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO TRAIN
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Brickell v. Clinton County Prison Bd., 658 F.Supp.2d 621(M.D.Pa. 2009). A former inmate filed a § 1983 action
against a county, county prison board, and various county officials to recover for injuries she sustained while
working in a jail kitchen. The district court dismissed the case in part, and denied dismissal in part. The court held
that the sheriff was not subject to supervisory liability under § 1983 for alleged failure to obtain adequate medical
treatment for the inmate after she suffered burns while working in a jail kitchen, where the sheriff did not

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participate in or have knowledge of any violations of the inmate's rights, did not direct jail employees to commit
the violations, and did not acquiesce in the employees' violations. The court found that the inmate's allegation that
a county prison board failed to adopt, and the jail's warden and deputy wardens failed to implement, policies
regarding treatment of severe burns and general medical treatment was sufficient to state a claim against the board
and officials under § 1983 for violation of her Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care, where the
inmate claimed that there was a total absence of policy concerning medical treatment for severe burns or general
medical care when prison facilities were inadequate. According to the court, the county's alleged negligence in the
training of kitchen staff at the county jail was not sufficiently shocking to support the inmate's § 1983 due process
claim pursuant to a state-created danger theory based on the inmate's allegation that she suffered severe burns
while transferring a hot container from a stove to a top shelf of upright warmers, even if the county officials knew
or should have known that the inmate was physically unable to place the container on the top shelf in a safe
fashion. (Clinton County Prison Board, Clinton County Correctional Facility, Pennsylvania)
U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Cabral v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, 587 F.3d 13 (1st Cir. 2009). A nurse practitioner working as a contractor in a
county house of correction brought an action against a county sheriff claiming that she was barred from entering
the house of correction, in violation of her free speech rights, for informing the Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI) of alleged prisoner abuse. The county sheriff brought an Administrative Procedure Act (APA) proceeding
against the United States Department of Justice, seeking discovery of relevant documents. The district court
denied the requested discovery and the sheriff appealed. A jury found in favor of the contractor in the underlying
free speech case and the district court denied the defendants' motions for a new trial. The appeals from the two
judgments were consolidated. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that the sheriff's request for information
concerning a meeting between the nurse and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) would directly and
adversely impact the FBI investigations into prisoner abuse in the house of correction and violate the Privacy Act,
so as to warrant denial of such requests. The court held that evidence was sufficient to support the jury's
determination that the county sheriff barred the nurse practitioner from a county house of correction with a
conscious indifference to her free speech rights, as was necessary to support an award of punitive damages in the
nurse’s § 1983 action. The court found that the award of $250,000 in punitive damages to the nurse was not
excessive, where the sheriff's conduct was reprehensible and the award could have been greater. (Suffolk County
House of Correction, Massachusetts)

U.S. District Court
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY

Chao v. Ballista, 630 F.Supp.2d 170 (D.Mass. 2009). A former state prisoner brought a § 1983 action against
officials at the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC), alleging that the officials failed to properly
investigate and protect her from sexual abuse by a prison guard. The officials moved to dismiss the complaint on a
number of grounds. The district court held that the former prisoner was not subject to the Prison Litigation
Reform Act's (PLRA) exhaustion requirement. The court found that the former prisoner's allegations in her
amended complaint that, over the course of a year, she and the prison guard engaged in 50 to 100 sexual
encounters in a prison facility without detection, that the guard had a sexual relationship with at least one other
female inmate, that sexual encounters continued even after the guard was reassigned to different duties, and that a
prison nurse placed the prisoner on oral contraceptive pills during the relevant time period, sufficiently stated a §
1983 claim against prison officials. The district court held that DOC officials were not entitled to qualified
immunity, given the extent of the abuse, the numerous warning signs alleged, and the available sources of
information. (South Middlesex Correctional Center, Massachusetts)

U.S. District Court
FTCA-Federal Tort Claims
Act
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY

Chehade Refai v. Lazaro, 614 F.Supp.2d 1103 (D.Nev. 2009). A German citizen, who was detained by
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials at a Nevada airport, and later transferred to a local jail, after
his name had been erroneously placed on a watch list, brought an action against the United States, DHS officials,
a police department, a city, and a police chief, alleging various constitutional violations. The district court granted
the DHS and United States motions to dismiss in part, and denied in part. The court held that DHS officials could
not bypass constitutional requirements for strip searches and body-cavity searches of non-admitted aliens at a
border by sending the German citizen to a detention facility where they allegedly knew strip searches occurred in
the absence of reasonable suspicion under circumstances in which the DHS officials could not perform the strip
search themselves. According to the court, regardless of any reasonable suspicion that detention center officials
had for a strip search, federal officials at the border needed reasonable suspicion for a strip search.
The court found that the Fourth Amendment right of a non-admitted alien to be free from a non-invasive, nonabusive strip search absent suspicion to conduct such a search was clearly established in 2006, when the German
citizen was detained at an airport, and thus, a DHS officer was not entitled to qualified immunity. The court held
that the German citizen who was detained after arriving at a United States airport and was asked to spy for the
United States government in order to obtain an entry visa was not subjected to “involuntary servitude” in violation
of the Thirteenth Amendment, where the German citizen never actually spied for the United States.
The court found that the German citizen adequately alleged that the defendant's actions constituted extreme
and outrageous conduct, as required to state claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress under Nevada
law, where he alleged that DHS officials told him that if he did not spy for the United States government, he
would never be able to return to the United States where his daughter and grandchild lived.
According to the court, the detained German citizen's negligence claim, alleging that the United States owed
him a duty of care not to cause him to be detained in a local jail when he had not been and was never charged with
any criminal offense, was not barred by the discretionary function exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act
(FTCA). The court noted that although the government claimed that immigration officials had discretion in
choosing where to house aliens, under an Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) memorandum, the alien
should never have been booked into local jail. (North Las Vegas Detention Center, Nevada)

U.S. District Court
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

Chester v. Beard, 657 F.Supp.2d 534 (M.D.Pa. 2009). Pennsylvania death-row inmates brought a class action
under § 1983 against Pennsylvania Department of Corrections officials, seeking a permanent injunctive relief
against alleged violations of their right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment and their right to due

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process, arising from Pennsylvania's use of lethal injection as an execution method. The district court denied the
defendants’ motion to dismiss. The court held that the inmates had Article III standing to bring a § 1983 challenge
to the state's use of lethal injection as an execution method, seeking permanent injunctive relief, even if the
inmates were not under active death warrants. The court noted that the fact that the inmates were subject to the
death sentence conferred a sufficient personal stake in the action to satisfy the standing requirements. The court
held that the death-row inmates stated a § 1983 claim against the DOC by alleging that the state's use of lethal
injection as an execution method, in the absence of adequate training for those conducting the executions, exposed
the inmates to the risk of extreme pain and suffering. (Pennsylvania Department of Corrections)
U.S. Appeals Court
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
FAILURE TO ACT
FAILURE TO PROTECT

Clem v. Lomeli, 566 F.3d 1177 (9th Cir. 2009). A state inmate brought a § 1983 action against a prison officer,
alleging his Eighth Amendment rights were violated when the officer failed to alleviate a substantial risk posed by
his drunk, threatening cellmate. The district court entered judgment following a jury verdict in favor of the officer
and the inmate appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded. The appeals court held that the inmate was
entitled to a “failure to act” jury instruction, where evidence showed that the officer heard the inmate's call for
help immediately prior to his beating by his cellmate and that the officer took no steps to abate any risk to the
inmate. The court also found that the district court's jury instruction error in the inmate's § 1983 action was not
harmless, where the instruction added an extra element to the inmate's burden of proof by requiring the jury to
find that some act of the officer was the moving force that directly caused the ultimate injury. The court noted that
the entire verdict consisted of a response of “no” to the question of whether the officer was deliberately indifferent
to a serious risk of harm by failing to remove the inmate from his cell, and the court never explained to the jury
what “deliberately indifferent” meant. (Mule Creek State Prison, California)

U.S. Appeals Court
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
PLRA- Prison Litigation
Prison Litigation
RLUIPA- Religious Land
Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act

Crawford v. Clarke, 578 F.3d 39 (1st Cir. 2009). Muslim inmates confined in a special management unit (SMU)
sued the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC) under the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), alleging that he violated their right to freely exercise their religion by
preventing them from participating in Jum'ah Friday group prayer. The district court entered an injunction
requiring closed-circuit broadcasting of Jum'ah in any SMU in which the plaintiff inmates were housed or might
be housed in the future, and subsequently denied the commissioner's motion for reconsideration. The
commissioner appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that the district court did not abuse its
discretion in issuing the injunction requiring corrections officials to provide closed circuit television broadcasts of
services in any SMU in which the plaintiff inmates were housed or might be housed in the future, as opposed to
the SMU in which they were currently housed, without making findings as to whether other SMUs were suitable
for closed circuit broadcasts. The court found that the injunction did not violate the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(PLRA), where the prospective relief was narrowly drawn and providing closed-circuit broadcasting was the least
intrusive means to alleviate the burden on the inmates’ rights. The court noted that the commissioner put nothing
in the record to differentiate other SMUs on the issues of a compelling governmental interest or least restrictive
means. (Massachusetts Department of Correction, MCI-Cedar Junction)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES
QUASI-JUDICIAL
IMMUNITY

Delaney v. District of Columbia, 659 F.Supp.2d 185 (D.D.C. 2009). A former inmate and his wife brought a §
1983 action, on behalf of themselves and their child, against the District of Columbia and several D.C. officials
and employees, alleging various constitutional violations related to the inmate's incarceration for criminal
contempt due to his admitted failure to pay child support. They also alleged the wife encountered difficulties
when she and her child attempted to visit the husband at the D.C. jail. The defendants moved to dismiss. The
district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that District of Columbia judges and
court clerks were entitled to quasi-judicial immunity against the § 1983 claims for monetary damages for alleged
infringement of Fifth Amendment due process rights. According to the court, the defendants’ acts of issuing court
orders regarding the plaintiff's child support obligations, calculating the plaintiff's probation period, issuing
hearing notices, filing court documents, and posting the plaintiff's child support payments, were performed
pursuant to judicial functions. The court held that the inmate's wife did not allege that any District of Columbia
custom or policy caused the alleged violation of her Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizure,
precluding her § 1983 claim against a D.C. corrections official, even if the corrections officer's request that the
inmate's wife wait to speak to a corrections official prior to exiting the visiting area constituted a seizure.
The court held that an attorney, who was an African-American woman, stated a § 1983 claim against the
District of Columbia and D.C. jail official for violations of her Fifth Amendment due process rights by alleging
that an official refused to allow her to visit her clients at the jail based on her gender and race. (Lorton and Rivers
Correctional Centers, and District of Columbia Jail)

U.S. District Court
FTCA-Federal Tort Claims
Act
NEGLIGENCE

Edwards v. District of Columbia, 616 F.Supp.2d 112 (D.D.C. 2009). The representative of the estate of a woman
who committed suicide while being held in a District of Columbia jail brought an action against the District and
the jail's medical services contractor in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, alleging negligence in the
provision of mental health care in ensuring that the woman was not a danger to herself. The representative also
alleged that the District and contractor failed to adequately provide a medical response upon discovering the
woman in the immediate moments after her suicide. The contractor removed the case to federal district court and
moved to dismiss. The district court held that the representative was required to exhaust administrative remedies
under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) on claims against the contractor before bringing an action under FTCA
and that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the FTCA claims and claims against the District.
(District of Columbia Jail)

U.S. Appeals Court
NOMINAL DAMAGES
SETTLEMENT

Estate of Enoch ex rel. Enoch v. Tienor, 570 F.3d 821 (7th Cir. 2009). The estate and minor sisters of an 18-yearold female prisoner who committed suicide while on suicide watch at a correctional institution brought an action
against correctional officers and staff, alleging violations of the prisoner's civil rights and seeking $5 million for
the estate plus $5 million for the sisters. After accepting the defendants' offer of a judgment for $635,000, the

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plaintiffs filed a motion requesting $328,740 in attorney fees. The district court awarded $100,000 to the
plaintiffs, with $1,500 to be taxed as fees for the guardian ad litem. The plaintiffs appealed. The appeals court
reversed and remanded, holding that the fact that the case was settled for $635,000 did not warrant a reduction in
the requested attorney fees. The court noted that $635,000 was not a nominal award, and the Farrar analysis for
determining attorney fees, which considered the extent of relief compared to the relief sought, was not relevant in
cases in which the recovery was not merely nominal. The court found that the district court did not abuse its
discretion in awarding $1,500 in fees to the guardian ad litem. (Taycheedah Correctional Institution, Wisconsin)
U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY

Estate of Henson v. Wichita County, Tex., 652 F.Supp.2d 730 (N.D.Tex. 2009). Daughters of a pre-trial detainee,
who died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease while being held in a county jail, brought a § 1983 action
against the county and jail physician for violation of the detainee's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The
court held that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to whether the jail
physician was a supervisor, whether a policy of intimidation of jail nurses was a moving force behind the alleged
violation of the rights of the detainee, whether the physician failed to supervise nurses, and, if so, whether his
failure to supervise amounted to deliberate indifference. The court held that the jail physician was entitled to
assert a defense of qualified immunity, even though he was a contract physician. (Wichita County Jail, Texas)

U.S. District Court
FLSA-Fair Labor Standards
Act

Fraternal Order of Police Barkley Lod. v. Fletcher, 618 F.Supp.2d 712, (W.D.Ky. 2008). A police union, union
local, and current and past corrections officers at the Kentucky State Penitentiary filed a complaint alleging
violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Portal to Portal Act (PPA) and mandatory career retention
programs provisions under state statutes. The action was brought against a former Kentucky Governor, the
Department of Corrections Commissioner, and three wardens, all in their individual and official capacities. The
district court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss in part and denied in part. The court held that state
officials and public employees can be liable as “employers” under FLSA. The plaintiffs alleged that the
defendants exempted and continued to deny overtime compensation to them in violation of FLSA. (Kentucky
State Penitentiary)

U.S. District Court
FHA-Fair Housing Act

Fross v. County of Allegheny, 612 F.Supp.2d 651 (W.D.Pa. 2009). A group of convicted sex offenders brought a
civil rights action against a county, alleging that a county ordinance that restricted the residency of sex offenders
violated their constitutional rights, the Fair Housing Act (FHA), and state law. The district court granted summary
judgment for the plaintiffs, finding that the ordinance was preempted by state law. The ordinance barred offenders
from residing within 2,500 feet of any child care facility, community center, public park or recreation facility, or
school. According to the court, the ordinance was contradictory to and inconsistent with various provisions of
state law, and interfered with the state's express objectives of rehabilitating and reintegrating offenders, diverting
appropriate offenders from prison, and establishing a uniform, statewide system the for supervision of offenders.
(Allegheny County, Pennsylvania)

U.S. Appeals Court
SETTLEMENT

Gevas v. Ghosh, 566 F.3d 717 (7th Cir. 2009). A prisoner brought a § 1983 action alleging prison staff members
and administrators were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. After a telephonic conference among
all of the parties was held, an agreement was supposedly reached, but there was no court reporter or recording of
the conference. The district court granted the defendants' motion to enforce the settlement agreement and ordered
the prisoner to sign the release and settlement agreement within 30 days or have his case dismissed. The prisoner
appealed. The appeals court affirmed. According to the court, the magistrate judge's failure to record the
settlement agreement did not invalidate the settlement, and the magistrate judge did not coerce the prisoner into
settling. The court noted that both parties assumed the risk that the judge would recall the discussion differently
than they did, when neither asked that any part of the discussion be placed on the record. According to the court,
having made no such request to have the discussion placed on the record, the prisoner had to live with the
consequences. (Stateville Correctional Center, Illinois)

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY

Gilmore v. Bostic, 636 F.Supp.2d 496 (S.D.W.Va. 2009). A state prison inmate brought an action against a
probation officer, the state parole board, and state correctional facility employees, asserting that his constitutional
rights were violated by allegedly false information in his presentence report for a burglary conviction and in the
prison file which resulted in the inmate's classification in the state penal system at a higher level than was
appropriate and in a sex offender designation. The district court held that: (1) the board was entitled to absolute
immunity; (2) employees were not liable in their official capacities on claims for compensatory relief but the
employees sued in their individual capacities were liable; (3) the inmate stated a violation of a protected liberty
interest in parole release under the state constitution; (4) the inmate stated a claim under the state constitution for
violation of a protected liberty interest in not being required to undergo sex offender treatment; and (5) the inmate
adequately alleged a physical injury required to recover for mental or emotional injury. (Kanawha County Adult
Probation Department, West Virginia Board of Prob. and Parole, Huttonsville Correctional Center, West Virginia)

U.S. District Court
CLASS ACTION
CONSENT DECREETERMINATION

Graves v. Arpaio, 633 F.Supp.2d 834 (D.Ariz. 2009). Pretrial detainees in a county jail system brought a class
action against a county sheriff and a county board of supervisors, alleging violation of the detainees' civil rights.
The parties entered into a consent decree which was superseded by an amended judgment entered by stipulation of
the parties. The defendants moved to terminate the amended judgment. The district court entered a second
amended judgment which ordered prospective relief for the pretrial detainees. The amended judgment provided
relief regarding the following: population/housing limitations, dayroom access, natural light and windows,
artificial lighting, temperature, noise, access to reading materials, access to religious services, mail, telephone
privileges, clothes and towels, sanitation, safety, hygiene, toilet facilities, access to law library, medical care,
dental care, psychiatric care, intake areas, mechanical restraints, segregation, outdoor recreation, inmate
classification, visitation, food, visual observation by detention officers, training and screening of staff members,
facilities for the handicapped, disciplinary policy and procedures, inmate grievance policy and procedures, reports

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and record keeping, security override, and dispute resolution. The detainees moved for attorney's fees and
nontaxable costs. The district court held that: (1) the class of detainees was the prevailing party entitled to
attorney's fees; (2) the initial lodestar figure of $1,239,491.63 for attorney's fees was reasonable; (3) Kerr factors
provided no basis for downward adjustment of the initial lodestar; (4) the attorney's fees award would not be
reduced for limited success; (5) the amount requested as reimbursement for attorney's fees was fully compensable
under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA); (6) PLRA did not require appointment of class counsel for the
award of attorney's fees and non-taxable costs; and (7) the class was entitled to interest on the award of attorney'
fees from the date of the court's order ruling in favor of the detainees on the motion to terminate. The court noted
that defending and enforcing the judgment for more than five years and obtaining prospective relief required
substantial time and labor, the issues presented were not novel but many were difficult and complex, conducting
discovery, marshaling evidence, and presenting that evidence during a 13-day evidentiary hearing required
considerable skill, commitment of attorneys' time and advancement of costs limited attorneys' ability to take on
new cases, and the attorneys would not receive any compensation for their work representing the detainees except
as awarded by the court. (Maricopa County Sheriff and Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Arizona)
U.S. Appeals Court
CLASS ACTION
PLRA-Prison Litigation
Reform Act

Hagan v. Rogers, 570 F.3d 146 (3rd Cir. 2009). Fourteen state prisoners jointly filed a single § 1983 complaint, on
behalf of themselves and a purported class, claiming violation of their Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights
by prison officials' purported deliberate indifference to the exposure of prisoners to an outbreak of a serious and
contagious skin condition, allegedly scabies. The prisoners sought class certification, requested to proceed in
forma pauperis (IFP) under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), and sought appointment of counsel. The
district court denied joinder (combining actions), dismissed with leave to amend for all except one prisoner, and
denied class certification. The prisoners appealed. The appeals court reversed in part, vacated in part, and
remanded. The appeals court held that: (1) IFP prisoners were not barred from joinder by PLRA; (2) each joined
prisoner was required to pay the full individual filing fee; and (3) the typicality and commonality requirements
were satisfied for class certification. The court noted that prisoners proceeding in forma pauperis (IFP) remained
within the definition of “persons” under the permissive joinder rule, and thus, the prisoners were not categorically
barred from joinder in their civil rights action, despite concerns that joinder would undermine PLRA by
permitting split fees or avoiding the three-strike rule that limited IFP status. (Adult Diagnostic and Treatment
Center, New Jersey)

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Hall v. Terrell, 648 F.Supp.2d 1229 (D.Colo. 2009). A female detainee brought a § 1983 action against a
correctional officer, alleging that he raped her while she was in custody. Following entry of default judgment
against the officer, a bench trial to determine damages, and the entry of a judgment awarding compensatory and
punitive damages, the detainee moved for prejudgment interest and attorney fees. The district court granted the
motion for attorney fees in part. The court held that the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) applied to the
detainee's request for attorney fees where the detainee was, at every stage of the lawsuit, a prisoner confined to a
correctional facility, she was the prevailing party in her suit, and the suit was an action in which attorney fees
were authorized under § 1988. The court held that the reasonable hourly rate for the lodestar amount, in
determining the award of attorney fees under PLRA, was the hourly rate for Criminal Justice Act (CJA)
appointments in Tenth Circuit and District of Colorado. According to the court, under PLRA, the appropriate
hourly rate for the award of paralegal fees was 64% of the average rate that she had requested for non-senior
attorneys, and for an assistant was 50% of such rate. The court held that under PLRA, 10 percent was the
appropriate percentage of the judgment obtained by the detainee against the corrections officer, where the factor
of the opposing party's culpability or bad faith favored the detainee, the factor of ability to satisfy the award of
attorney fees suggested that the detainee should bear some portion of attorney fees, and the factor of the
possibility that the award might deter other persons favored the detainee. The district court had awarded
$1,354,070 in damages, comprised of $354,070.41 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.
(Denver Women's Correctional Facility, Colorado)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES
FAILURE TO DIRECT
FAILURE TO
SUPERVISE
SUPERVISORY
LIABILITY

Hamilton v. Lajoie, 660 F.Supp.2d 261 (D.Conn. 2009). An inmate filed a pro se § 1983 action against the State
of Connecticut, a warden, and correctional officers, seeking compensatory and punitive damages for head trauma,
abrasions to his ear and shoulder, and post-traumatic stress due to an officers' alleged use of unconstitutionally
excessive force during a prison altercation. The inmate also alleged inadequate supervision, negligence, and
willful misconduct. The court held that the inmate's factual allegations against correctional officers, in their
individual capacities, were sufficient for a claim of excessive force in violation of the inmate's Eighth Amendment
rights. The officers allegedly pinned the inmate to the ground near his cell, following an inspection for
contraband, and purportedly sprayed the inmate in the face with a chemical agent despite his complaints that he
had asthma. The court found that the inmate's allegations against the warden in his individual capacity were
sufficient for a claim of supervisory liability, under § 1983, based on the warden's specific conduct before and
after the altercation between the inmate and correctional officers. The inmate alleged that the warden was
responsible for policies that led to his injuries and for procedures followed by medical staff following the incident,
and the warden failed to properly train officers, to adequately supervise medical staff, to review video evidence of
the incident, and to order outside medical treatment of the inmate's injuries even though a correctional officer
received prompt medical care at an outside hospital for his head injury sustained in the altercation. (CorriganRadgowski Correctional Center, Connecticut)

U.S. Appeals Court
CLASS ACTION

Harper v. Sheriff of Cook County, 581 F.3d 511 (7th Cir. 2009). A former detainee filed a class action against a
sheriff, claiming that new detainees remanded to the sheriff's custody after a probable cause hearing were
unconstitutionally required to undergo intake procedures at the county jail before release on bond. The district
court certified the class and the sheriff appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded. The court held that the
former detainee's class action lacked a predominance of common issues, precluding certification of the class,
where the detainee had not challenged any particular intake procedure. The court noted that the reasonableness of

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the delay between posting bond and release and the reasonableness of the time and manner of assigning
identification numbers prior to release required individual determinations based on the length of delay for each
detainee and the conditions and exigencies of the jail existing on that particular day. According to the court,
resolution of an equal protection claim could be satisfied in an individual suit. The court noted that the detainee
was not interested in a large damage award, and his constitutional claims required individualized liability and
damages determinations that could be better litigated in an individual suit. (Cook County Jail, Illinois)
U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Haynes v. Stephenson, 588 F.3d 1152 (8th Cir. 2009). A state inmate brought a § 1983 action for retaliatory
discipline against a corrections officer who had filed a disciplinary report against the inmate after the inmate had
filed a grievance report against an officer for directing “profane or abusive language” toward him. After a bench
trial, the district court awarded the inmate $1.00 in compensatory damages and $2,500.00 in punitive damages.
The officer appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that the district court did not err in
concluding that the inmate established a prima facie case of retaliatory discipline and in determining that the
officer's retaliation against the inmate was reprehensible. According the appeals court, evidence supported the
district court's findings that the officer was knowingly untruthful in claiming that the inmate lied in the grievance,
the officer's retaliatory conduct was willful, reckless, and malicious, and the officer knew that Arkansas
Department of Corrections (ADC) regulations prohibited him from filing the disciplinary report. The court held
that the district court did not err in concluding that the high, 2,500:1 ratio of punitive to economic damages
awarded to the inmate in his § 1983 action did not offend due process, where the officer’s action was sufficiently
egregious to sustain the punitive damages. (Arkansas Dept. of Corr., Tucker Max. Security Unit)

U.S. Supreme Court
CIVIL LIABILITY

Haywood v. Drown, 129 S.Ct. 2108 (2009). A state prisoner brought civil rights actions in the New York Supreme
Court against several correction employees for allegedly violating his civil rights in connection with prisoner
disciplinary proceedings. The action was dismissed as barred by a state “jurisdictional” statute requiring that such
causes of action for damages arising out of the conduct of state corrections officers within the scope of their
employment be filed against the state in the New York Court of Claims. The prisoner appealed. The New York
Supreme Court Appellate Division affirmed, and the prisoner appealed. The New York Court of Appeals
affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded. The
court held that, having made the decision to create courts of general jurisdiction which regularly sat to entertain
analogous civil rights actions against state officials other than corrections officers, New York was not at liberty to
shut the doors of these courts to civil rights actions to recover damages from its corrections officers for acts within
the scope of their employment, and to instead require that such damages claims be pursued against the state in
another court of only limited jurisdiction. (New York)

U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Hendrickson v. Cooper, 589 F.3d 887 (7th Cir. 2009). A prisoner brought a § 1983 action against a prison officer
alleging excessive force. The district court entered judgment following a jury verdict in favor of the prisoner and
denied the officer's motion for judgment as matter of law or a new trial. The officer appealed. The appeals court
affirmed. The court held that the issue of whether the officer attacked the prisoner for the malicious purpose of
causing harm was for the jury, as was the issue of whether the attack caused the prisoner to feel pain. According
to the court, the jury's award of compensatory damages of $75,000 for the prisoner's pain and suffering was not
excessive, noting that objective medical evidence was not required to support a compensatory damages award.
The court also found that the jury's punitive damages award of $125,000 against the officer was not excessive, in
light of the prisoner’s description of how much pain the officer inflicted by throwing him to the ground and
kneeing him in the back. The court noted that the officer acted with a malicious desire to cause the prisoner harm,
the officer's use of force was completely unjustified, the officer goaded the prisoner into leveling an assault which
the officer then used as an excuse to attack, the officer laid in wait for the prisoner to enter a housing unit, the
prisoner was disabled, and when the prisoner appeared the officer grabbed, shoved, floored, and kneed him. The
appeals court opinion began with the following statement: “Prison is rough. Violent prisoners can pose a serious
threat, requiring prison officers to use force to maintain order. Sometimes, though, the only real threat comes from
a rogue officer who attacks a prisoner for no good reason.” (Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, Indiana)

U.S. District Court
CONTRACT SERVICES
PRIVATE OPERATOR

Hinton v. Corrections Corp. of America, 624 F.Supp.2d 45 (D.D.C. 2009). An inmate, acting pro se and in forma
pauperis, brought a § 1983 action against a private corporation that operated the treatment facility where the
inmate was held in custody, alleging the facility failed to provide prescription eyeglasses in violation of the Eighth
Amendment. The district court dismissed the case. The court held that the inmate's allegations were insufficient to
state a § 1983 claim for an Eighth Amendment violation. According to the court, the corporation had no duty to
provide eye glasses, eye care, or eye treatment, as the corporation's contract with the government did not stipulate
that the corporation was to provide eye care, and a separate entity, other than the corporation, was under contract
to provide eye care to inmates at the facility. (Central Treatment Facility, District of Columbia, operated by
Corrections Corporation of America)

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES

Kahle v. Leonard, 563 F.3d 736 (8th Cir. 2009). An individual who was raped by a trainee corrections officer
while she was a pretrial detainee, brought a § 1983 action against the trainee corrections officer and other public
officials and entities. After a jury found the trainee corrections officer liable and awarded damages, the district
court granted the plaintiff's motion for attorneys' fees. The trainee corrections officer appealed. The appeals court
affirmed in part and remanded in part. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by
admitting the plaintiff's psychologist's report as a supplemental report, and the district court's jury instructions did
not constitute an abuse of discretion. The district court applied one percent of the detainee’s $1.1 million
judgment ($11,000) to attorneys' fees. With the detainee’s legal expenses totaling $186,208.88, the defendant was
responsible for $175,208.88 in attorneys' fees, in addition to the $1.1 million judgment. The appeals court did not
affirm the award of only one percent and remanded the case for further proceedings. (Pennington County Jail,
South Dakota)

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U.S. Appeals Court
SETTLEMENT

King v. Rivas, 555 F.3d 14 (1st Cir. 2009). A pretrial detainee brought an action against corrections officers and
others, alleging constitutional violations relating to a false accusation of threatening a guard. Prior to trial, the
defendants made a package settlement offer, which was rejected by the detainee. Following the trial of one officer,
a jury awarded the detainee damages in an amount less than the settlement offer. The parties moved for attorney's
fees and costs. The district court granted the detainee's motion and denied the defendant's motion. The officer
appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded. The court held that the package settlement offer is to be taken
on its own terms and compared with the total recovery package in determining whether a defendant is entitled to
costs following the detainee’s success at trial. The court held that the officer was entitled to costs, excluding
attorney's fees, and that the detainee was entitled only to attorney's fees and costs accrued prior to the rejected
offer. (Hillsborough House of Corrections, New Hampshire).

U.S. Appeals Court
DAMAGES
FTCA- Federal Tort
Claims Act

Limone v. U.S., 579 F.3d 79 (1st Cir. 2009). Former prisoners whose murder convictions were overturned, and
representatives of codefendants who died in prison, brought an action against the United States Government,
asserting claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) arising from the Government's involvement in
framing the prisoners. Following a bench trial, the district court entered judgment for the plaintiffs, and the
Government appealed. The appeals court held that evidence supported the district court's conclusion that the FBI's
conduct in cultivating witness's testimony inculpating wrongly accused defendants in a state murder prosecution,
while possessing information undercutting the testimony's veracity, was extreme and outrageous, as required to
state a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress under Massachusetts law and the Federal Tort Claims
Act (FTCA). According to the court, the FBI agents knowingly participated in events leading to wrongful
indictment, prosecution, conviction and continued incarceration of the defendants, they aided a witness in framing
the plaintiffs and they bolstered the credibility of the witness's testimony. The appeals court held that the FBI's
conduct did not fall within the Federal Tort Claims Act's (FTCA) discretionary function exception, and thus the
Government was not immune from the defendants' claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress under
Massachusetts law and FTCA. According to the court, the FBI's conduct violated due process. The appeals court
ruled that non-economic damages awards of $1 million per year of wrongful incarceration in the plaintiffs' action
were not excessive and the damages awards were not grossly disproportionate to the injuries sustained and did not
shock the conscience. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, Suffolk County, Massachusetts)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONTRACT SERVICES
DAMAGES

Medical Development Intern. v. California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 585 F.3d 1211 (9th Cir.
2009). A medical services provider for two California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)
prisons brought an action in state court against CDCR and the receiver appointed by the United States District
Court for the Northern District of California to oversee the delivery of medical care to prisoners incarcerated by
the CDCR. The provider sought damages for the receiver's refusal to pay for services it provided under contract
with CDCR. After the case was removed to the district court, the court granted the receiver's motion to dismiss.
The provider appealed, but the appeal was stayed to allow the provider to seek leave from the Northern District to
sue the receiver. Subsequently, the Northern District denied the provider's request, and then denied the provider's
motion for clarification. The provider appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded
to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. The appeals court held that the receiver
was not immune in his official capacity from the claim of a medical services provider seeking damages for the
receiver's refusal to pay for services it provided under contract with CDCR. The court noted that the receiver held
“all powers vested by law in the Secretary of the CDCR as they relate[d] to the administration, control,
management, operation, and financing of the California prison medical health care system,” which necessarily
included the power to control CDCR with regard to paying the provider. (California Department of Corrections
and Rehabilitation)

U.S. Appeals Court
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY

Merriweather v. Zamora, 569 F.3d 307 (6th Cir. 2009). A former federal prisoner filed a Bivens complaint
claiming deprivation of his First, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment rights by prison mailroom employees' routinely
opening and reading prisoner's mail outside of his presence, although the mail was marked as “legal mail” or
“special mail” pursuant to Bureau of Prison's (BOP) regulations. The district court denied the employees summary
judgment on the grounds of qualified immunity. The employees appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part,
reversed in part, and remanded. The appeals court held that: (1) a fact issue precluded summary judgment as to
whether two envelopes from the prisoner's attorney were opened outside the presence of the prisoner; (2) an
envelope from federal community defenders was properly labeled legal mail; (3) nine envelopes containing the
word “attorney/client” were properly labeled legal mail; (4) prison employees' opening of the prisoner's legal mail
outside his presence violated his clearly established First and Sixth Amendment rights; (5) prison mailroom
supervisors were not protected by qualified immunity; but (6) prison mailroom employees were protected by
qualified immunity. According to the court, the former prisoner's allegations that prison mailroom employees
opened his legal mail outside his presence despite his repeated complaints to mailroom supervisors were sufficient
to find that mailroom supervisors acted unreasonably in response to the prisoner's complaints, precluding the
supervisors' protection by qualified immunity from the prisoner's claims. The prisoner alleged that the supervisors'
conduct encouraged an atmosphere of disregard for proper mail-handling procedures, where one supervisor stated
that the prison did not have to follow case law but only the Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) policy, and that other
supervisors knew of the prisoner's complaints but did nothing to correct the admitted errors. (Michigan Federal
Detention Center. Federal Bureau of Prisons)

U.S. District Court
CLASS ACTION

Miller v. Washington County, 650 F.Supp.2d 1113 (D.Or. 2009). Inmates brought a class action against county
and sheriff, alleging that the county's policy of strip searching inmates was unconstitutional. The parties crossmoved for summary judgment, and the inmates additionally moved for class certification. The district court held
that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether the county's
blanket policy of strip searching all individuals transported from another correctional or detention facility was
justified by the need for institutional security. The court denied class certification, finding that the county's strip

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search policy regarding arrestees did not present common questions of law or fact. The court stayed the action,
noting that the appellate court was reviewing a strip search policy at the time. (Washington Co. Jail, Oregon)
U.S. District Court
DAMAGES

Nails v. Laplante, 596 F.Supp.2d 475 (D.Conn. 2009). A state prisoner filed a civil rights action alleging that
physicians had been deliberately indifferent to his medical needs and violated his rights under the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA). The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The court held
that the prisoner's disagreement over the treatment provided by the defendant physicians was insufficient to show
that the physicians actually were aware of a substantial risk that the prisoner would suffer serious harm as the
result of their actions or inactions, as required for a claim of deliberate indifference under Eighth Amendment, or
a claim under Title II of ADA. The court noted that a private suit for money damages under Title II of ADA could
have been maintained against the physicians in their official capacities only if the prisoner, as plaintiff, could have
established that the Title II violation had been motivated by either discriminatory animus or ill will due to the
prisoner’s disability. (Osborn Correctional Institution, Connecticut)

U.S. Appeals Court
INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY
RLUIPA-Religious Land
Use & Inst. Persons Act

Nelson v. Miller, 570 F.3d 868 (7th Cir. 2009). A Roman Catholic prisoner sued a prison chaplain in his official
and individual capacities for alleged violations of his rights under the free exercise and establishment clauses of
the First Amendment, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), and the Illinois
Religious Freedom Restoration Act (IRFRA). The district court entered partial summary judgment in favor of the
chaplain, and, after a bench trial on the remaining issues, found against the prisoner on all counts. The prisoner
appealed. The appeals court held that the Roman Catholic prisoner's practice of his religion, which compelled him
to abstain from all meat on all Fridays and during Lent and to avoid the meat of four-legged animals, was
substantially burdened under the First Amendment, RLUIPA, and IRFRA by the requirement that he document
that his preferred diet was compelled by his religion. The court found that denial of the prisoner's request that he
not be given the meat of four-legged animals did not constitute a substantial burden on his religious exercise for
the purposes of the First Amendment, RLUIPA, and IRFRA since a regular diet would still be nutritionally
adequate if all meat of four-legged animals were skipped, and thus the prisoner was not put to a choice between
his religious beliefs and adequate nutrition. But the denial of a non-meat diet on Fridays and during Lent
substantially burdened the prisoner's practice of his religion. According to the court, since the prisoner currently
received a non-meat diet and there was no evidence that the prison intended to revoke the prisoner's religious diet,
the prisoner's claim for injunctive relief was moot. The court noted that RLUIPA, which was enacted pursuant to
the Spending Clause, could not subject state officials to suit in their individual capacities. (Tamms Correctional
Center, Illinois)

U.S. District Court
CONSENT DECREETERMINATION
PLRA-Prison Litigation
Reform Act

North Emerson-West v. Redman, 630 F.Supp.2d 373 (D.Del. 2009). A state inmate filed a motion for relief from
the district court's order terminating a consent order entered in a class action challenging prison conditions and
disciplinary procedures. The court denied the motion. The district court held that the inmate did not have standing
to challenge the order, which was brought 30 years earlier, under Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The court
held that termination of the consent order was warranted, where the consent order encompassed the state's entire
penal system of discipline and sanctions, that there was no mention that it was entered to correct constitutional
violations, particularly with respect to due process issues and subsequently a United States Supreme Court
decision provided clear guidance regarding prisoners' due process rights, and finally that the consent order was not
the least intrusive means to correct any alleged constitutional violation. (James T. Vaughn Correctional Center,
Smyrna, Delaware)

U.S. District Court
ALIEN
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
MUNICIPAL LIABILITY

Ortega Melendres v. Arpaio, 598 F.Supp.2d 1025 (D.Ariz. 2009). Detainees of Hispanic descent brought an
action against a county sheriff for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that deputies from the sheriff's office
profiled, targeted, and ultimately stopped and detained persons based on their race in violation of the Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendments. The district court ruled against the defendants’ motion to dismiss. The court held that:
(1) allegations were sufficient to state Fourth Amendment claims; (2) allegations were sufficient to state equal
protection claims; (3) the county was subject to municipal liability; and (4) the court would not dismiss the county
sheriff's office as a non-jural entity. The plaintiff was detained for four hours in a police holding cell without
being apprised of any charges against him, and was then handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement
officials.
The court held that an allegation that deputies placed the Hispanic passenger of a speeding vehicle in full
custodial arrest for violating United States immigration laws, even after the passenger provided them with
sufficient immigration documents, including a United States Visa containing a fingerprint and picture, a
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) permit, and a Mexican Federal Voter Registration Card with a picture
and fingerprint, was sufficient to state a claim for a Fourth Amendment violation for being placed into full
custodial arrest without probable cause. The court noted that an allegation that the deputies' request for an
Hispanic driver's Social Security card was not “standard procedure” for all routine traffic stops conducted by the
county. According to the court, allegations that the county sheriff made a public statement that physical
appearance alone was sufficient to question an individual about their immigration status, that the county's crime
suppression sweeps had been allegedly targeted at areas having a high concentration of Hispanics, and that the
county had used volunteers with known animosity towards Hispanics and immigrants to assist in crime sweeps,
were sufficient to allege a discriminatory purpose, as required to state a § 1983 equal protection claim. (Maricopa
County Sheriff's Office, Cave Creek Holding Cell, Arizona)

U.S. District Court
BIVENS CLAIM
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY

Padilla v. Yoo, 633 F.Supp.2d 1005 (N.D.Cal. 2009). A detainee, a United States citizen who was designated an
“enemy combatant” and detained in a military brig in South Carolina, brought an action against a senior
government official, alleging denial of access to counsel, denial of access to court, unconstitutional conditions of
confinement, unconstitutional interrogations, denial of freedom of religion, denial of right of information, denial
of right to association, unconstitutional military detention, denial of right to be free from unreasonable seizures,

27.155
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and denial of due process. The defendant moved to dismiss. The district court granted the motion in part and
denied in part. The court held that the detainee, who was a United States citizen, had no other means of redress for
alleged injuries he sustained as a result of his detention, as required for Bivens claim against the senior
government official, alleging the official's actions violated constitutional rights. The court noted that the Military
Commissions Act was only applicable to alien, or non-citizen, unlawful enemy combatants, and the Detainee
Treatment Act did not “affect the rights under the United States Constitution of any person in the custody of the
United States.” The court found that national security was not a special factor counseling hesitation and
precluding judicial review in the Bivens action brought by the detainee. Documents drafted by the official were
public record, and litigation may be necessary to ensure compliance with the law.
The court held that the detainee sufficiently alleged that the official's acts caused a constitutional deprivation,
as required for the detainee's constitutional claims against the official. The detainee alleged that the senior
government official intended or was deliberately indifferent to the fact that the detainee would be subjected to
illegal policies that the official set in motion, and to a substantial risk that the detainee would suffer harm as a
result, that the official personally recommended the detainee's unlawful military detention and then wrote opinions
to justify the use of unlawful interrogation methods against persons suspected of being enemy combatants.
According to the court, it was foreseeable that illegal interrogation policies would be applied to the detainee, who
was under the effective control of a military authority and was one of only two suspected enemy combatants held
in South Carolina.
The court found that the detainee's allegations that he was detained incommunicado for nearly two years with
no access to counsel and thereafter with very restricted and closely-monitored access, and that he was hindered
from bringing his claims as a result of the conditions of his detention, were sufficient to state a claim for violation
of his right to access to courts against a senior government official.
According to the court, the detainee's allegations that a senior government official bore responsibility for his
conditions of confinement due to his drafting opinions that purported to create legal legitimacy for such treatment,
were sufficient to state a claim under the Eighth Amendment, and thus stated a due process claim under the
Fourteenth Amendment. The detainee alleged that while detained, he suffered prolonged shackling in painful
positions and relentless periods of illumination and intentional interference with sleep by means of loud noises at
all hours, that he was subjected to extreme psychological stress and impermissibly denied medical care, that these
restrictions and conditions were not justified by a legitimate penological interest, but rather were intended to
intensify the coerciveness of interrogations.
The court held that federal officials were cognizant of basic fundamental civil rights afforded to detainees
under the United States Constitution, and thus a senior government official was not entitled to qualified immunity
from claims brought by the detainee. The court also held that the official was not qualifiedly immune from claims
brought by the detainee under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). (Military Brig, South Carolina)
U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES

Phillips v. Hust, 588 F.3d 652 (9th Cir. 2009). An inmate brought a § 1983 action against a prison librarian,
claiming that her failure to allow him access to a comb-binding machine violated his First Amendment right of
access to the courts. The district court granted summary judgment to the inmate, and after a bench trial, awarded
the inmate $1,500 in compensatory damages. A panel of the court of appeals affirmed, and the librarian's petition
for a rehearing en banc was denied. The United States Supreme Court granted the librarian's petition for a writ of
certiorari, vacated the panel opinion, and remanded. On remand, the appeals court reversed and remanded, finding
that the librarian was entitled to qualified immunity. According to the court, it was objectively legally reasonable
for the prison librarian to conclude that her denial of access to the comb-binding machine would not hinder the
inmate's capability to file his petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States, and thus
the librarian was entitled to qualified immunity from the inmate's § 1983 suit in light of the Supreme Court's
flexible rules for pro se filings, which did not require and perhaps did not even permit comb-binding. (Snake
River Correctional Institution, Oregon)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONTEMPT

Plata v. Schwarzenegger, 560 F.3d 976 (9th Cir. 2009). In a class action brought on behalf of state prisoners,
alleging that state officials were providing inadequate health care in violation of the Eighth Amendment and the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the receiver appointed to oversee the provision of health care at state
prisons moved for an order of contempt based on the state's failure to fund the receiver's capital projects. The
district court ordered the state to fund the projects and to show cause why it should not be held in contempt. The
state appealed, and alternatively filed a petition for a writ of mandamus. The appeals court dismissed the appeal
and denied the writ of mandamus. According to the court, the state failed to prove that it would be damaged or
prejudiced in a way not correctable on appeal, weighing against granting the state's petition for a writ of
mandamus to prevent the district court from holding it in contempt based on its failure to fund the receiver's
capital projects. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

U.S. Appeals Court
INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY
RLUIPA-Religious Land
Use & Inst. Persons Act

Rendelman v. Rouse, 569 F.3d 182 (4th Cir. 2009). A state prisoner brought an action against state prison officials
in their official and individual capacities, seeking injunctive relief and damages under the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and § 1983 based on the officials' refusal to make any accommodation
for his kosher dietary restrictions. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the officials and the
prisoner appealed. The appeals court dismissed in part and affirmed in part. The appeals court held that RLUIPA
did not authorize a claim for money damages against an official sued in her individual capacity when invoked as a
spending clause statute. The court held that the prisoner's claim for injunctive relief under RLUIPA based on the
state prison officials' refusal to make accommodations for his kosher dietary restrictions was rendered moot by his
transfer to a federal prison. The court noted that even if the prisoner's claim was capable of repetition because
there was a possibility that he could return to state prison if his appeal of a federal conviction was successful, the
claim would not likely persist in evading judicial review, as the prisoner would have sufficient opportunity to reinitiate an action seeking injunctive relief if he returned to state prison. (Maryland Correctional InstitutionHagerstown)

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U.S. District Court
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY
RLUIPA-Religious Land
Use & Inst. Persons Act

Rouser v. White, 630 F.Supp.2d 1165 (E.D.Cal. 2009). A California state prisoner brought a § 1983 action against
current and former directors of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and wardens
at two prisons at which the prisoner was housed, alleging violations of federal and state constitutions, and the
Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), related to his practice of the Wiccan religion.
The defendants moved for summary judgment and the district court granted the motion in part and denied in part.
The court held that the officials significantly burdened the prisoner's exercise of the Wiccan religion under
RLUIPA by inhibiting the prisoner's timely receipt of religious articles, restricting Wiccans' use of chapel space,
failing to announce Wiccan group worship to the general population, prohibiting use of certain items that are part
of group worship, blocking access to religious items, and failing to retain a paid chaplain to provide services to the
prisoner and other Wiccans. According to the court, the officials made no deliberate change in policies to prevent
the recurrence of the events that caused understaffing that resulted in the prisoner being barred from attending
group services. The court held that the failure of the officials to hire a paid chaplain to attend to the religious
needs of the prisoner and other Wiccans constituted a substantial burden on the prisoner's religious exercise under
RLUIPA, where paid chaplains had certain rights and authority within institutions, which volunteer chaplains and
inmates themselves were denied, thus hindering the prisoner's religious exercise. The court found that neither
limited resources, nor lack of necessary accommodations to facilitate the religious needs in prisons, constituted a
compelling interest under RLUIPA, and thus the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation could
not avoid liability under RLUIPA in the prisoner's action.
The court held that a prison warden, but not the director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, was liable for violation of the prisoner's free exercise of the Wiccan religion arising from denial of
the prisoner’s request for a “Witches Bible” while the prisoner was in administrative segregation. According to
the court, even if the warden did not personally sign the form denying the request, it was reasonable to assume
that the person who signed the form did so with the warden's authority. But the court found that the proffered
reasons were rationally related to the denial of the prisoner's request for incense and candles, and thus did not
violate the prisoner's right of free exercise of religion. The director and warden denied the request based on fire
safety concerns. The court held that California prison officials instituted a policy of denominational preference by
harassing the prisoner on the basis of his Wiccan faith, and denying him access to religious articles, group worship, and a spiritual leader, thus weighing against the officials under the test to determine whether they violated
the prisoner's rights under the Establishment Clause. The court noted that the officials' policy to announce to the
general population times for certain religious services, but not to announce Wiccan services, had the primary
effect of advancing or inhibiting religion.
The court denied qualified immunity to the director and the warden because the law was well-settled at the
time. The court concluded that the prisoner was entitled to injunctive relief on his claims, even though officials
had changed some policies to facilitate the prisoner's access to religious items and group worship. The court found
that these changes had not improved the process for approving orders for religious items nor altered the way in
which religious groups gained access to items in lockers, and a pattern of constitutional violations existed sufficient to call into question the permanence of any changes the defendants had made. (Pleasant Valley State Prison,
California)

U.S. District Court
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

Scott v. DiGuglielmo, 615 F.Supp.2d 368 (E.D.Pa. 2009). A state inmate filed an action seeking a declaration that
he had serious and continuing mental health condition and had not been receiving adequate treatment, and an
injunction ordering prison officials to make corrections to his prison charts. The district court granted the officials’ motion to dismiss in part and denied in part. The court held that the inmate had standing to seek declaratory
and injunctive relief against prison officials based on his claim that he had a serious and continuing mental health
condition and had not been receiving adequate treatment, where the alleged denial of proper medical and psychiatric care was continuing, and there was a substantial likelihood that his injury would be addressed by the requested
relief. (State Correctional Institution at Graterford, Pennsylvania)

U.S. Appeals Court
BIVENS CLAIM
FTCA-Federal Tort Claims
Act

Smith v. U.S., 561 F.3d 1090 (10th Cir. 2009). An inmate brought an action against prison employees, the U.S.
Attorney General, and the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, alleging that he was exposed to asbestos
while assigned to work at a prison. The district court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss, and the inmate
appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. The court held that the Inmate Accident Compensation Act was the exclusive remedy against the government for a prisoner with alleged work-related
injuries, and thus dismissal of the prisoner's claims under Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) was warranted. The
court held that the federal workers' compensation scheme for participants in a prison work program lacked the
requisite procedural safeguards of the inmate's constitutional rights to foreclose a Bivens action by the inmate.
According to the court, the inmate's allegations that prison employees had known that asbestos was present in a
closet in which the inmate was working when he was exposed to asbestos were sufficient to state an Eighth
Amendment Bivens claim against those employees. (United States Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES

Tardiff v. Knox County, 598 F.Supp.2d 115 (D.Me. 2009). After granting a detainee's motion for summary judgment on liability under § 1983 for a strip search she underwent at a county jail, the county moved to exclude the
detainee's evidence of lost income or profits allegedly caused by her mental distress growing out of the strip
search. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that the detainee's tardy
pretrial disclosure of economic loss information did not prejudice the county's ability to investigate so as to warrant the exclusion of evidence of the detainee's evidence of lost income or profits. The court found that damages
for economic loss based upon a lost future contract were not recoverable in the civil rights suit seeking damages
allegedly caused by the detainee's mental distress, since the jury would have to speculate in order to determine
whether the detainee suffered an economic loss on a future contract and, if so, how much. (Knox County Jail,
Maine)

XXIII

27.157

U.S. Appeals Court
CLASS ACTION

Vallario v. Vandehey, 554 F.3d 1259 (10th Cir. 2009). County jail inmates sued a county sheriff and a county's
administrator of jail operations in their official capacities, alleging disregard of risks to inmates from restraint
chairs and other devices, and the denial of access to psychiatric care for indigent inmates. The district court granted the inmates' motion for class certification and the defendants petitioned for interlocutory appeal. The appeals
court granted the petition and remanded the case. The court held that the district court abused its discretion by
misconstruing the complaint as alleging that denial of adequate mental health treatment affected all inmates, and
abused its discretion by refraining from any consideration whatsoever of the action's merits. (Garfield Co. Jail,
Colo.)

U.S. District Court
POLICIES/PROCEDURES
SANCTIONS
SETTLEMENT

Walker v. Gomez, 609 F.Supp.2d 1149 (S.D.Cal. 2009). A prisoner brought an action against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, alleging violations of their settlement agreement with the prisoner that
resulted from a prior complaint, discrimination based on race as a policy, and retaliation. The prisoner moved to
enforce the settlement agreement and for monetary sanctions. The court held that the prison officials' conduct of
placing the prisoner under lockdown for a period of 10 days following incidents of riots and attempted murder
was not a severe restriction on the prisoner's activities amounting to a breach of the terms of the prior settlement
agreement. The court found that prison officials did not violate the settlement agreement's requirement that they
implemented policies and procedures within the prison system which held inmates accountable for their own individual conduct rather than institute prison-wide lockdowns based on race. The court held that a prison counselor's
conduct of asking the prisoner if he wished to transfer to another prison that would cater to his “sensitive needs”
was not in retaliation in violation of the settlement agreement. The court noted that the act of asking the prisoner if
he would like to volunteer for a transfer was simply because a new facility was in place and inmates were needed
to successfully operate it, and, moreover, the counselor testified that she asked the same question of other inmates
and she posted a sign on her office window conveying the same inquiry she posed to prisoner, and, further, the
prisoner was never transferred. According to the court, a prison counselor's conduct of staying in the same room
as the prisoner while he completed confidential calls did not amount to retaliation in violation of the settlement
agreement. (Calipatria State Prison, California)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO PROTECT
FAILURE TO TRAIN
NEGLIGENCE

Wilson v. Taylor, 597 F.Supp.2d 451 (D.Del. 2009). The mother of a deceased prisoner, who died in his solitary
cell as a result of asphyxia due to hanging after an apparent attempt to feign suicide, brought a § 1983 action
against Delaware Corrections officials. The district court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment.
The court held that fact issues precluded summary judgment on the mother’s § 1983 claim, custom or policies
claim, deliberate indifference claim, qualified immunity grounds, wrongful death claim, and claim for punitive
damages. The court found genuine issues of material fact as to: (1) whether the prisoner's detention was valid at
the time of his death; (2) whether Delaware Corrections officials failed to train and or maintain customs, policies,
practices, or procedures, relating to the prisoner's repeated release inquiry; (3) whether Delaware Corrections
officials' ignored the prisoner's risk of hurting himself to get the attention of guards as to his repeated release inquiries; (4) whether a correctional officer acted in good faith and without gross or wanton negligence in throwing
the prisoner against a bench in his cell while holding his throat and threatening him verbally; and (5) whether
Delaware Corrections officials' conduct in ignoring the prisoner's repeated release inquiries was a proximate cause
of the prisoner's ultimate death. The court also found that fact issues existed as to whether Delaware Corrections
officials acted outrageously and with reckless indifference to the rights of others, precluding summary judgment
on the mother's § 1983 claim for punitive damages. (Delaware Correctional Center)

U.S. District Court
CONTRACT SERVICES
PRIVATE OPERATOR

Wormley v. U.S., 601 F.Supp.2d 27 (D.D.C. 2009). A detainee brought an action against private correctional entities, the District of Columbia, the federal government and officials, stemming from an alleged five-month jail
over-detention. The court held that the conduct of federal officials in allegedly causing the five-month jail overdetention did not violate a clearly established federal right of which a reasonable officer would have known, for
the purposes of the officials' qualified immunity defense to the detainee's Fifth Amendment claim, since the officials did not participate in the actual over-detention. The court found that the private correctional vendor sued by
the detainee, stemming from an alleged five-month jail over-detention, was acting “under color of state law,” for
purposes of the detainee's § 1983 claims, since the vendor was performing a traditional government function by
administering the District of Columbia Correctional Treatment Facility. (Washington Halfway Homes, Fairview
Halfway House, Correctional Treatment Facility, Corrections Corporation of America, District of Columbia)
2010

U.S. District Court
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY

Advocacy Center for Elderly and Disabled v. Louisiana Dept. of Health and Hospitals,
731 F.Supp.2d 583 (E.D.La., 2010). A disability advocacy organization and incompetent detainee's next friend
brought an action against the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and Department officials, challenging
the Department's practice of subjecting incompetent criminal defendants to extended delays in parish jails before
their transfer to a mental health facility. The defendants moved to dismiss. The district court denied the motion.
The court held that the action fell within the Ex Parte Young exception to sovereign immunity, where the organization alleged an ongoing violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and sought prospective relief in the form of a
permanent injunction requiring officials to accept custody of incompetent defendants and provide them with proper restorative treatment. The court noted that the Ex Parte Young exception to sovereign immunity holds that a
suit is not barred when it is brought against state officials to enjoin the enforcement of an allegedly unconstitutional law. The court found that the disability advocacy organization had associational standing to bring the due
process challenge where the organization was allied with and representative of its constituents, who had standing
to sue in their own right. The federal laws under which the Advocacy Center was established include the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act of 1986 (“PAIMI”). (Louisiana Department of Health
and Hospitals, Feliciana Forensic Facility)

XXIII

27.158

U.S. District Court
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

Advocacy Center for Elderly and Disabled v. Louisiana Dept. of Health and Hospitals, 731 F.Supp.2d 603
(E.D.La. 2010). A disability advocacy organization brought an action challenging the Louisiana Department of
Health and Hospitals' practice of subjecting incompetent criminal defendants to extended delays in parish jails
before their transfer to a mental health facility. The organization moved for a preliminary injunction. The district
court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that the organization demonstrated a substantial
likelihood of success on the merits of its due process claim, and demonstrated a substantial threat of irreparable
injury if the injunction did not issue. The court found that the organization demonstrated that the threatened injury
outweighed the damage the injunction might cause, and the organization demonstrated that the public interest
would not be disserved if an injunction was issued. The organization claimed that the Louisiana Department of
Health and Hospitals' practice of subjecting criminal defendants found to be incompetent to stand trial to extended
delays in parish jails before their transfer to a mental health facility was not rationally related to the restoration of
the defendants' competency, in violation of their due process rights, where incompetent defendants remained in
parish jails because mental health facility was full, not because remaining in jail might restore their competency.
The court noted that the organization presented evidence that continued incarceration in parish jails could exacerbate the incompetent defendants' mental conditions. The court held that inadequate funding could not excuse the
Department's perpetuation of unconstitutional conditions of confinement. (Louisiana Department of Health and
Hospitals, Feliciana Forensic Facility)

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

Armstrong v. Schwarzenegger, 622 F.3d 1058 (9th Cir. 2010). A class of disabled state prison inmates and parolees moved for an order requiring state prison officials to track and accommodate the needs of disabled parolees
housed in county jails, and to provide access to a workable grievance procedure pursuant to the officials' obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Rehabilitation Act, and prior court orders. The district
court granted the motion and the state appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part and vacated in part. The appeals court held that: (1) contractual arrangements between the state and a county for incarceration of state prison
inmates and parolees in county jails were subject to ADA; (2) the district court's order was not invalid for violating federalism principles; (3) the state failed to show that the order was not the narrowest, least intrusive relief
possible, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA); but (4) there was insufficient evidence to justify the system-wide injunctive relief in the district court's order. The court noted the state's recent proposal to alter
its sentencing practices to place in county jails approximately 14,000 persons who would otherwise be incarcerated in state prisons. The court also noted that the state's contracts with counties were not simply for incarceration,
but to provide inmates and parolees in county jails with various positive opportunities, from educational and
treatment programs, to opportunities to contest their incarceration, to the fundamentals of life, such as sustenance,
and elementary mobility and communication, and the restrictions imposed by incarceration meant that the state
was required to provide these opportunities to individuals incarcerated in county jails pursuant to state contracts to
the same extent that they were provided to all state inmates. The district court’s order did not require the state to
shift parolees to state facilities if county jails exhibited patterns of ADA non-compliance; rather, the order required that, if the state became aware of a class member housed in a county jail who was not being accommodated, the state either ensure that the jail accommodated the class member, or move the class member to a state or
county facility which could accommodate his needs. In finding that statewide injunctive relief was not needed, the
court held that evidence of ADA violations was composed largely of single incidents that could be isolated, and
the district court's order identified no past determinations that showed class members in county jails were not
being accommodated. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

U.S. Appeals Court
OFFICIAL CAPACITY
POLICIES/PROCEDURES

Avalos v. Baca, 596 F.3d 583 (9th Cir. 2010). A detainee brought an action against officers of a county sheriff's
department in their official and individual capacities for alleged violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights based on his over-detention and the officers' alleged efforts to procure an involuntary waiver of his
civil rights claim. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the officers. The detainee appealed.
The appeals court affirmed. The court held that the officers were not liable under § 1983 in their official capacities
on the over-detention claim, absent evidence that they had a policy, practice, or custom of over-detaining inmates.
According to the court, the detainee had no freestanding constitutional right to be free of a coercive waiver, and
even if the detainee had a right to be free from a coercive waiver, the officers were entitled to qualified immunity
on the involuntary waiver claim. The detainee had been arrested on a warrant from another county for domestic
abuse and was transported to the arresting county jail. The arresting county had the responsibility to notify the
other county, under state law, but failed to do so. Over two months later the arresting county realized that the
detainee had been over-detained and released him. On the day of his release, a deputy in street clothing asked the
detainee, who did not speak English, to sign papers that were an offer to settle his claim for over-detention for
$500. The detainee asserted that he did not know what was in the papers. (Los Angeles Sheriff's Department,
California)

U.S. District Court
FAILURE TO SUPERVISE
FAILURE TO TRAIN
MUNICIPAL LIABILITY

Beatty v. Davidson, 713 F.Supp.2d 167 (W.D.N.Y. 2010). A former pretrial detainee brought a § 1983 action
against a county, jail officials, and a nurse, alleging that the defendants denied him adequate medical care while
he was a pretrial detainee, in violation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights. The defendants moved for summary
judgment. The district court denied the motion. The court held that the detainee's diabetic condition was a serious
medical condition and that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the nurse was deliberately indifferent to the detainee's diabetic condition, precluding summary judgment for the nurse. The court held that summary judgment was precluded by a genuine issue of material fact as to whether jail officials were grossly negligent in supervising subordinates who allegedly violated the former pretrial detainee's constitutional rights. According to the court, a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the county lacked a system at its jail for
managing chronically ill inmates and failed to train and properly supervise its staff, precluding summary judgment
for the county on the former pretrial detainee's municipal liability claim under § 1983. (Erie County Holding Center, Pennsylvania)

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U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO PROTECT
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

Brown v. North Carolina Dept. of Corrections, 612 F.3d 720 (4th Cir. 2010). An inmate brought a § 1983 suit
against correctional officers and the North Carolina Department of Corrections, claiming that they violated his
Eighth Amendment rights by being deliberately indifferent to the serious harm he suffered at the hands of a fellow
inmate. The district court dismissed the action and the inmate appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded.
The court held that the prisoner, who suffered significant physical injuries as the result of another inmate's attack,
sufficiently alleged a § 1983 claim of deliberate indifference to his Eighth Amendment rights against an officer
who allegedly observed the altercation and failed to respond, and another officer who allegedly was aware of the
other inmate's grudge but still sent the prisoner into a housing block to pick up supplies. The court found that the
inmate stated a § 1983 claim against a corrections officer of deliberate indifference by alleging that an officer was
in “the Block” when the assault occurred, and a reasonable person could infer from that statement that the officer
was aware of the attack, and that his failure to intervene represented deliberate indifference to a serious risk of
harm. (Alexander Correctional Institute, North Carolina)

U.S. District Court
PLRA- Prison Litigation
Reform Act
SETTLEMENT
CONSENT AGREEMENTTERMINATION

Clark v. California, 739 F.Supp.2d 1168 (N.D.Cal. 2010). The state of California, Governor and various state
prison officials filed a motion pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) to terminate the prospective
relief in a 2001 settlement agreement and an order that required them to comply with a remedial plan designed to
ensure that California prisoners with developmental disabilities were protected from serious injury and discrimination on the basis of their disability. Developmentally disabled prisoners moved for enforcement of, and further
relief under, the settlement agreement and order. The court held that for the purposes of a motion pursuant to the
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), testimony from a few prison staff members at individual prisons did not
prove systemic compliance with the remedial plan. The court held that termination of the settlement agreement
and order entered pursuant to Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) was unwarranted since the state defendants
failed to carry their burden to show the absence of current and ongoing rights violations under ADA and Rehabilitation Act, and the prospective relief contained in the settlement agreement and order remained necessary, was
sufficiently narrow, and was minimally intrusive. According to the court, the defendants failed to fulfill their obligation to provide developmentally disabled California prisoners with the accommodations and program modifications that would enable them to gain access to prison programs, services, and activities afforded non-disabled
prisoners. The court found that the state defendants were not deliberately indifferent, so as to violate the Eighth
Amendment, even though the state defendants had not adequately implemented the remedial plan, where the correction department's policies provided for constitutionally acceptable treatment. The court ruled that further relief
was necessary under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) to secure the rights of class of developmentally
disabled prisoners, where the defendants demonstrated an ignorance of conditions for developmentally disabled
prisoners and an inability to recognize the gravity of and to remedy the problems that had been identified by the
court expert and others. According to the court, the defendants demonstrated an inability to take remedial steps
absent court intervention, evidence reflected that the defendants had failed to comply with the remedial plan even
nine years later, and the remedial plan in its current form did not go far enough to ensure compliance with the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

U.S. District Court
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

Couch v. Jabe, 737 F.Supp.2d 561 (W.D.Va. 2010). An inmate, proceeding pro se, brought a § 1983 action claiming that prison officials violated his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights when they applied a Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) regulation to exclude the books Ulysses and Lady Chatterley's Lover from the
prison library and prevented him from ordering those books from a private, approved vendor. The parties crossmoved for summary judgment. The district granted the inmate’s motion, finding that the regulation violated the
First Amendment, and that injunctive relief was warranted. The court held that the regulation was not reasonably
related to legitimate penological interests, and thus, was overbroad, in violation of the First Amendment. The
court noted that legitimate government interests in security, discipline, good order and offender rehabilitation
were not rationally related to the regulation, which forbid all “explicit ... descriptions of sexual acts” including
“sexual acts in violation of state or federal law,” and encompassed much of the world's finest literature, but did
not extend to “soft core” pornography. According to the court, while the inmate had no right to a general purpose
reading library under the First Amendment, where the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) decided to
provide a general literary library to offenders, VDOC officials were constrained by the First Amendment in how
they regulated the library. The court concluded that the appropriate remedy following a determination that the
First Amendment was violated by a prison regulation, which excluded the books Ulysses and Lady Chatterley's
Lover from a prison library, was injunctive relief against the enforcement and application of the regulation. (Augusta Correctional Center, Virginia)

U.S. Appeals Court
FAILURE TO PROTECT
FAILURE TO TRAIN
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

Davis v. Oregon County, Missouri, 607 F.3d 543 (8th Cir. 2010). A pretrial detainee brought an action under §
1983 and various state law authority against a county, county sheriff's department, and a sheriff, alleging the defendants violated his rights in failing to ensure his safety after a fire broke out at the county jail. The district court
granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The detainee appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The
court held that the county jail's smoking policy did not demonstrate that the sheriff acted with deliberate indifference in violation of the due process rights of the detainee caught in his cell during a jail fire, even if a jailer supplied cigarettes to inmates, since the jail had an anti-smoking policy in effect at all relevant times. The court noted
that the jailer who allegedly supplied the cigarettes to the inmates had retired nine months before the fire occurred,
and jail officials made sweeps for contraband as recently as five days before the fire. According to the court, the
county jail's inoperable sprinklers and lack of extra fire safety equipment such as oxygen tanks did not amount to
deliberate indifference in violation of the due process rights of the detainee caught in his cell during a fire, where
jail officials took action to deal with fire hazards by prohibiting smoking and searching for contraband, and fire
extinguishers and smoke detectors were present at the time of the fire. The court held that any failure of the sheriff
to engage his officers in more exhaustive emergency training did not amount to deliberate indifference in violation of the due process rights of the detainee caught in his cell during a fire, even if the officers' lack of training

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presented a substantial safety risk. The court noted that the officers' actions in removing inmates from their cells
after they discovered the fire demonstrated that they did not disregard the risk. (Oregon County Jail, Missouri)
U.S. District Court
TORT LIABILITY

Dean v. Walker, 743 F.Supp.2d 605 (S.D.Miss. 2010). Motorists injured when a squad car commandeered by an
escapee collided with their vehicle brought a § 1983 action in state court against a county sheriff and deputy sheriffs, in their individual and official capacities, the county, and others, asserting various claims under federal and
state law. The case was removed to federal court where the court granted in part and denied in part the defendants'
motion for summary judgment. The defendants moved to alter or amend. The court denied the motion. The court
held that the “public duty” doctrine did not relieve the county of tort liability to the motorists under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act (MTCA). The court found that the county sheriff and deputy sheriffs who were in vehicular
pursuit of the escaped jail inmate when the escapee's vehicle crashed into the motorists' vehicle owed a duty to the
motorists as fellow drivers, separate and apart from their general duties to the public as police officers, and thus
the “public duty” doctrine did not relieve the county of tort liability in the motorists' claims under the Mississippi
Tort Claims Act (MTCA). (Jefferson–Franklin Correctional Facility, Mississippi)

U.S. District Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

Durrenberger v. Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice, 757 F.Supp.2d 640 (S.D.Tex. 2010). A hearing impaired prison
visitor brought an action against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), alleging failure to accommodate his disability during visits in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act.
The district court denied summary judgment for the defendants and granted summary judgment, in part, for the
visitor. The court held that acceptance by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) of federal financial
assistance waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity from the prison visitor's action alleging disability discrimination in violation of the Rehabilitation Act, where the Act expressly stated that acceptance of federal funds
waived immunity. The court held that summary judgment as to compensatory damages was precluded by a genuine issue of material fact as to the amount of damages suffered by the visitor by the prison's failure to accommodate his disability. The court found that a permanent injunction enjoining future violations of the Rehabilitation
Act by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) was warranted in the hearing impaired prison visitor's
action alleging failure to accommodate, where TDCJ had not accommodated the visitor in the past, continued to
not provide accommodations and gave no indication that it intended to provide any in the future. (Hughes Unit,
Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division)

U.S. District Court
NEGLIGENCE
STATE LIABILITY
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

Estate of Crouch v. Madison County, 682 F.Supp.2d 862 (S.D.Ind. 2010). An inmate's estate brought a § 1983 suit
against a county and corrections officers, claiming that the officers were deliberately indifferent to the inmate's
serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and that the county was liable for failure to train its
officers or establish policies regarding the medical care of inmates. The defendants moved for summary judgment.
The district court granted the motion. The court held that the inmate did not show signs of an objectively serious
need for medical attention prior to 3:00 a.m. on the day of his death from a drug overdose, at which time he was
found unresponsive. According to the court, the Indiana Tort Claims Act entitled the corrections officers and
county to immunity on state law negligence claims arising from the inmate's death, which occurred while he was
assigned to a community corrections program maintained under the supervision of a governmental entity. (Madison County Community Justice Center, Indiana)

U.S. Appeals Court
CLASS ACTION
POLICIES/PROCEDURES
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY

Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington, 621 F.3d 296 (3rd Cir. 2010). Affirmed 132
S.Ct. 1510 (2012). A non-indictable arrestee brought a class action pursuant to § 1983 against two jails, alleging a
strip search violated the Fourth Amendment. After granting the motion for class certification, the district court
granted the arrestee's motion for summary judgment, denied his motion for a preliminary injunction and denied
the jails' motions for qualified and Eleventh Amendment immunity. The jails appealed. The appeals court reversed
and remanded. The appeals court held that as a matter of first impression in the circuit, the jails' policy of conducting strip searches of all arrestees upon their admission into the general prison population was reasonable. The
court found that jails were not required to provide evidence of attempted smuggling or discovered contraband as
justification for the strip search policy. According to the court, the decision to conduct strip searches, rather than
use a body scanning chair, was reasonable. The court noted that the chair would not detect non-metallic contraband like drugs, and there was no evidence regarding the efficacy of the chair in detecting metallic objects. The
appeals court decision was affirmed by the United States Supreme Court in 2012 (132 S.Ct. 1510). (Burlington
County Jail, Essex County Correctional Facility, New Jersey)

U.S. District Court
CONTRACT SERVICES
POLICIES/PROCEDURES

George v. Sonoma County Sheriff's Dept., 732 F.Supp.2d 922 (N.D.Cal. 2010). A county inmate's estate and survivors filed a § 1983 action alleging that the inmate received inadequate medical care from medical staff at a
county detention facility and at a medical center. The court held that the medical center, that was contractually
obliged to undertake medical treatment of inmates from the county detention center, and its physicians, were state
actors, and thus were subject to liability under § 1983 in action alleging that county inmate's death was result of
inadequate treatment he received at the center, even though the center was a privately owned facility that cared for
patients other than inmates, and inmates could be sent to other facilities. The court held that summary judgment
for the defendants was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to whether physicians at the medical center
with which the county had contracted to provide care for its inmates had an ulterior financial motive to discharge
the inmate before his condition had stabilized, had a predetermined length of inmate's hospital stay, and had no
intention of fully treating the inmate. (Sonoma Co. Main Adult Det.Facility, and Sutter Medical Center, Calif.)

U.S. Appeals Court
CONSENT DECREEMODIFICATION

Graves v. Arpaio, 623 F.3d 1043 (9th Cir, 2010). Pretrial detainees in a county jail system brought a class action
against a county sheriff and the county supervisors board, alleging violation of the detainees' civil rights. The
parties entered into a consent decree which was superseded by an amended judgment entered by stipulation of the
parties. The defendants moved to terminate the amended judgment. The district court entered a second amended
judgment which ordered prospective relief for the pretrial detainees. The district court awarded attorney fees to

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the detainees. The sheriff appealed the second amended judgment. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that
the district court did not abuse its discretion by ordering prospective relief requiring the sheriff to house all detainees taking psychotropic medications in temperatures not exceeding 85 degrees and requiring the sheriff to
provide food to pretrial detainees that met or exceeded the United States Department of Agriculture's Dietary
Guidelines for Americans. The district court had held that air temperatures above 85 degrees greatly increased the
risk of heat-related illnesses for individuals taking psychotropic medications, and thus that the Eighth Amendment
prohibited housing such detainees in areas where the temperature exceeded 85 degrees. (Maricopa County Sheriff,
Jail, Maricopa County Supervisors, Arizona)
U.S. District Court
FTCA- Federal Tort Claims
Act

Hanson v. U.S., 712 F.Supp.2d 321 (D.N.J. 2010). An inmate brought a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) action,
alleging that a Bureau of Prisons (BOP) officer slammed his head on the floor and choked him in an attempt to
force the inmate to spit out contraband that the inmate was attempting to swallow. The government filed a motion
for summary judgment and the district court denied the motion. The court held, for the purposes of the inmate's
FTCA claim, under New Jersey law the BOP officers employed unreasonable force while attempting to search the
inmate for contraband. According to the court, summary judgment was precluded by material issues of fact regarding whether the BOP officers used reasonable force in holding and searching the inmate. (Federal Correctional Facility in Fort Dix, New Jersey)

U.S. Appeals Court
SUPERVISORY LIABILITY
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE

Harper v. Lawrence County, Ala., 592 F.3d 1227 (11th Cir. 2010). Following a pretrial detainee's death from alcohol withdrawal while in a county jail, the detainee's estate brought an action against the county, sheriff, police
officers, and others under § 1983 and state law, alleging deliberate indifference to the detainee's serious medical
needs. The district court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss and the defendants appealed. The appeals court
affirmed and reversed in part. The court held that allegations supported a claim that jailers were deliberately indifferent to the detainee's serious medical needs, but that the sheriff and others did not have actual knowledge of the
detainee's erratic and strange behavior while in jail. The court found that allegations supported a claim that the
sheriff and jail administrators were deliberately indifferent. The court held that allegations that jailers were told by
other inmates and other jail staff that the pretrial detainee was displaying erratic and strange behavior, and that
jailers took no steps to secure immediate medical attention for the detainee, supported a § 1983 claim that jailers
were deliberately indifferent to the detainee's serious medical needs under the due process clause. The court held
that the detainee’s estate failed to allege how the sheriff and jail administrators could possibly have had actual
knowledge of the detainee's erratic and strange behavior while in jail, as required to support a § 1983 claim alleging deliberate indifference to the detainee’s serious medical needs. According to the court, for the purposes of a
jailer's claim of qualified immunity from the § 1983 claim that he was deliberately indifferent to the pretrial detainee's serious medical needs under the due process clause, it was clearly established at the time of the detainee’s
confinement that a jail official who was aware of, but ignored, dangers of acute alcohol withdrawal and waited for
an emergency before obtaining medical care was deliberately indifferent to the inmate's constitutional rights. The
court found that the complaint's specific allegations that the sheriff and jail administrators who were responsible
for management and administration of the jail had customs or policies of improperly screening inmates for alcohol
withdrawal and improperly handling inmates addicted to alcohol or drugs, together with its factual detail concerning prior a similar incident, satisfied the pleading standards for stating a § 1983 claim of deliberate indifference to
the pretrial detainee's serious medical needs under the due process clause based on supervisor liability. (Lawrence
County Jail, Alabama)

U.S. District Court
SUPERVISORY LIABIITY

Hawkins v. Brooks, 694 F.Supp.2d 434 (W.D.Pa. 2010.) A state prisoner brought a pro se § 1983 action against
various prison officials and corrections officers, alleging retaliation, harassment, due process violations, defamation of character, and mental anguish. The defendants moved to dismiss. The district court granted the motion in
part and denied in part. The court held that the prisoner's conduct of pressing charges against a corrections officer
who the prisoner claimed raped and impregnated her and complaining about other officers' alleged harassment
amounted to a “constitutionally protected activity,” as required for the prisoner to state a § 1983 retaliation claim.
The court found that corrections officers' alleged conduct of withholding the prisoner's incoming and outgoing
mail in retaliation for the prisoner's pressing rape charges against an officer at another prison amounted to an
“adverse action,” as required to establish a prima facie pro se § 1983 retaliation claim against the officers. But the
court found that a prison official's alleged conduct of reassigning the prisoner to a different unit in the same prison
did not rise to the level of an “adverse action,” as required to establish a prima facie pro se § 1983 retaliation
claim. The court found that the prisoner had no liberty interest in her place of confinement, transfer, or classification, and thus, prison officials' alleged refusal to have the prisoner transferred to an out-of-state institution did not
violate her due process rights. The court found that the prisoner's assertions that she made supervisory prison
officials aware of the harassment and retaliation she allegedly suffered at the hands of correctional officers as a
result of her pressing rape charges against a correctional officer at another facility, and that none of the supervisory officials offered assistance or took any corrective action, were sufficient to state a claim for supervisory liability, in her § 1983 retaliation action. (State Correctional Institution at Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania)

U.S. District Court
DAMAGES

In re Nassau County Strip Search Cases, 742 F.Supp.2d 304 (E.D.N.Y. 2010). Arrestees brought a class action
against a county, among others, challenging the county correctional center's blanket strip search policy for newly
admitted, misdemeanor detainees. The defendants conceded liability, and following a non-jury trial on the issue of
general damages, the district court held that each arrestee was entitled to the same dollar amount per new admit
strip search by way of the general damages award, that it would exclude any information concerning the effect
that the searches had upon arrestees in awarding general damages, and an award of $500 in general damages to
each arrestee was appropriate. (Nassau County, New York)

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U.S. District Court
DELIBERATE
INDIFFERENCE
FAILURE TO PROTECT

Jackson v. Stevens, 694 F.Supp.2d 1334 (M.D.Ga. 2010.) An inmate brought a § 1983 suit against a prison official asserting an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim. The official moved for summary judgment and
the district court denied the motion. The court held that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of
material fact as to whether the prison official had subjective knowledge of a serious risk of harm to the inmate
from a second inmate, whom the official heard say that he would try to kill or harm the first inmate if they were
put in a cell together, and whether the official disregarded the risk when she admonished the second inmate before
placing him in a cell with the first inmate. Immediately after the official closed the cell door, the second inmate
immediately hit the inmate. (Washington State Prison)

U.S. Appeals Court
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES
PUNITIVE DAMAGES

King v. McMillan, 594 F.3d 301 (4th Cir. 2010). A female former deputy sued her employer sheriff in his official
capacity, under Title VII, for sexual harassment and in his individual capacity, under state law, for battery. The
sheriff left office and the incoming sheriff was substituted in the action. A jury returned verdicts for the deputy on
both claims, and the district court entered judgment for the deputy, awarded compensatory and punitive damages,
and granted the sheriff's post-trial motion to reduce the compensatory damages award. Both sheriffs appealed. The
appeals court affirmed. The court held that substitution was appropriate for the claim under Title VII. The court
held that, under Virginia law, the punitive damages award of $100,000 imposed for the sheriff's battery of the
female deputy by unwanted touching was not excessive. The court also found that the compensatory damages
award of $50,000, which the district court had reduced from $175,000, was not excessive. (City of Roa