Part 1: complete case summaries in alphabetical order.

PositionCase overview

Part 1 presents complete summaries for each case, alphabetically by year published. The major topic section and subtopics are identified before each case summary. This format makes it easier for the reader to review every case. Part 2 presents the summaries under each of the 50 major topic areas.

  1. MEDICAL CARE: Deliberate Indifference, Emergency Care, Religion

  2. RELIGION: Medical Care

    Abdur-Raqiyb v. Erie County Medical Center, 536 F.Supp.2d 299 (W.D.N.Y. 2008). A jail prisoner brought a federal civil rights suit against public hospitals and a physician, alleging violation of his First and Eighth Amendment rights during emergency treatment for a suspected heart attack. The district court granted the defendants' motions for summary judgment. The court held that the hospitals' failure to communicate, that allegedly resulted in an overdose of morphine upon the prisoner's arrival at a second hospital, did not involve the requisite deliberate indifference for an Eighth Amendment claim. The court noted that the failure to communicate did not establish the intent to cause the prisoner pain or physical harm or a conscious disregard of a substantial risk of harm.

    The court held that the Muslim prisoner's First Amendment right to free exercise of religion was not violated when hospital personnel administered drugs that were pork-derived and gave him a CT scan in which shellfish-derived dye was used to rule out a possible heart attack, in response to his complaints of chest pain, without informing him in advance of the nature of the substances involved. The court noted that the prisoner acknowledged that his religion permitted the administration of otherwise forbidden substances in emergencies, and hospital staff would have exposed themselves to liability had they not administered the medications and CT test. (Groveland Correctional Facility, New York)


  4. SEARCHES: Visitor Searches

  5. VISITING: Restrictions, Visitor Searches

    Adeyola v. Gibon, 537 F.Supp.2d 479 (W.D.N.Y. 2008). An inmate brought a pro se action against a sheriff and correctional facility officials, alleging that they violated his constitutional rights by refusing to allow females to visit him unless they removed their head scarves for a search or presented proof that they were practicing Muslims. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the sheriff and officials. The court held that the inmate failed to allege any injury in fact and thus lacked standing. The court held that the allegations, even if proven, did not violate any First Amendment right of the inmate to have visitors, in that it was reasonable for officials to require visitors to remove scarves to determine that they were not attempting to bring in contraband, and he was not denied visitors, given that visitors were simply required to agree to certain conditions before being allowed to see an inmate. (Erie County Holding Center, New York State Department of Correctional Services)

  6. PERSONNEL: Discipline, Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment, Promotion, Retaliation, Termination, Title VII

    Admire v. Strain, 566 F.Supp.2d 492 (E.D.La. 2008). A former deputy sheriff brought an action against county officials under Title VII and [section] 1983, alleging discriminatory failure to promote, disparate treatment with respect to promotion, disparate treatment with respect to disciplinary action, discriminatory termination, retaliation for engaging in protected activities, and discriminatory hostile work environment. The district court granted the officials' motion for summary judgment in part and denied in part. The court held that a county jail warden's alleged statement that "women don't belong in law enforcement" did not constitute direct evidence of gender discrimination sufficient to establish the female deputy sheriff's claims under Title VII for discriminatory failure to promote, even if the statement was proximate in time to the denial of a promotion, where the deputy was already in law enforcement when the warden made the statement.

    The court held that summary judgment was precluded by a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the county jail warden's failure to promote the female deputy sheriff was motivated by gender discrimination. According to the court, the county's failure to promote the female deputy sheriff to corporal on the ground that candidates selected for promotion received higher scores on a test, or to promote her to sergeant on the ground that the successful candidate had more experience, was already a corporal, and had no disciplinary marks on his record were not a pretext for gender discrimination, in violation of Title VII, where there was no direct evidence of discrimination, and six of ten employees promoted to corporal were female, and two of four employees promoted to sergeant were female.

    The court found that the female deputy sheriff who was denied promotion to corporal on the ground that she had an adverse disciplinary action within six months of seeking promotion, was not similarly situated to a male sergeant who was appointed lieutenant within six months of an adverse disciplinary action, and thus the deputy failed to establish disparate treatment claim under Title VII, even though the county had no written policy against promoting deputies within six months of disciplinary actions, where the county applied different standards to promotions up to the rank of sergeant and appointments to lieutenant and above. (St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Office, Louisiana)

  7. FEMALE PRISONERS: Medical Care

  8. IMMUNITY: Sovereign Immunity

  9. MEDICAL CARE: Involuntary Treatment, Negligence, Records-Access, Right to Refuse

    Allen v. Woodford, 543 F.Supp.2d 1138 (E.D. Cal. 2008). A state prisoner brought a civil rights action under [section] 1983 against various state and prison officials, a physician, and a hospital, alleging that her constitutional rights were violated when officials permitted the physician and the hospital to perform improper, medically unnecessary, invasive surgery without her authorization. She also asserted claims for professional negligence, civil battery, intentional misrepresentation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The prisoner moved to compel production of documents requested through subpoenas directed to non-parties. The court granted the motion, finding that Eleventh Amendment immunity did not bar compliance with subpoenas directed to non-parties, and state sovereign immunity did not bar compliance with subpoenas directed to non-parties. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Central California Women's Facility)

  10. IMMUNITY: Qualified Immunity

  11. USE OF FORCE: Deadly Force, Excessive Force

    Alvarado v. Battaglia, 539 F.Supp.2d 1022 (N. D. Ill. 2008). A state prisoner brought a [section] 1983 action against a warden and corrections officers arising from an alleged incident in which an officer discharged a firearm in the direction of the prisoner and other inmates from a guard tower that overlooked the inmates' recreation yard. The district court held that the prisoner stated an excessive force claim against the officer who allegedly discharged the firearm but failed to state a claim against the warden. According to the court, the prisoner's allegations that the corrections officer discharged a firearm in the direction of the prisoner and other inmates in response to the inmates' banter were sufficient to state an excessive force claim, so as to overcome the officer's qualified immunity defense. The court found that the prisoner's allegations that prison officials knew that the corrections officer who allegedly discharged the firearm was mentally unstable, yet allowed her to continue working, were insufficient to establish that the warden acted with deliberate indifference, as required for the warden to be held liable under [section] 1983 for the officer's actions. (Stateville Correctional Center, Illinois)

  12. ADMINISTRATION: Employee Qualifications, Working Conditions

  13. PERSONNEL: Promotion, Hostile Work Environment, Title VII

    Anderson v. Nassau County Dept. of Corrections, 558 F.Supp.2d 283 (E.D.N.Y. 2008). A female county correctional employee, a sergeant, brought a Title VII action against a county department, lieutenant, undersheriff, and sheriff, alleging she was passed over for promotion to the rank of lieutenant in violation of [section] 1983, Title VII, and the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL). The district court held that summary judgment for the defendants on the hostile work environment claims was precluded by a triable issue of fact as to whether the employee's treatment was severe and pervasive. The court also found triable issues of fact as to how many promotions were made after the employee became eligible for the rank of lieutenant, the reasons for failure to promote her, and the defendants' intent in selecting the persons who were promoted. (Nassau County Sheriff's Department, New York)

  14. FEMALE PRISONERS: Medical Care

  15. IMMUNITY: Qualified Immunity

  16. MEDICAL CARE: Involuntary Medication

  17. PRETRIAL DETENTION: Involuntary Medication

  18. TRAINING: Medical Care, Failure to Train

    Anglin v. City of Aspen, Colo., 552 F.Supp.2d 1205 (D.Colo. 2008). A pretrial detainee brought a civil rights action, alleging that a county sheriff, county jailers, and others violated her rights to due process and free speech, as well as her right to be free from unreasonable seizure, by forcibly injecting her with antipsychotic medication while in custody at a county jail. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants in part. The court held that a county sheriff's deputy personally participated in the decision to sedate the detainee and therefore the deputy could be liable in his individual capacity under [section] 1983. The deputy had called paramedics and admittedly lobbied the medics to sedate the detainee, he allegedly falsely...

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