Byline: Derek Hawkins
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Case Name: Kirk Horshaw v. Mark Casper, et al.
Case No.: 16-3789
Officials: EASTERBROOK, ROVNER, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.
Focus: 8th Amendment Violation Imminent Danger
On October 5, 2012, Kirk Horshaw was brutally beaten by other inmates at Menard Correctional Center, acting on the instructions of a gang leader who felt himself disrespected. The injuries were grave; Horshaw was lucky to survive and still suffers pain and the effects of brain trauma. Horshaw had been warned that an attack was in prospect; a few days (maybe weeks) before the attack he received an anonymous letter stating that he would be "eradicated" for disrespecting the gang's leader. In this suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 Horshaw contends that he gave Mark Casper, a guard, a letter describing this threat. Horshaw asserts that Casper promised to investigate yet did nothing. Horshaw also contends that he sent a note to Michael Atchison, then the prison's warden, describing the threat and asking for protection.
The defendants concede that the attack occurred and that Horshaw's injuries are serious. But both Casper and Atchison deny receiving these documents from Horshaw or having any other reason to think that he was in danger. Unless they knew that he was at serious risk, they cannot be liable. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994).
Farmer holds that liability for...