Part 2: Case Summaries by Major Topic.

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Part 2: Case Summaries by Major Topic 1. ACCESS TO COURT U.S. Appeals Court Abdul-Muhammad v. Kempker, 450 F.3d 350 (8th Litigation Reform Act Cir. 2006). State prisoners brought a civil EXHAUSTION rights action under [section] 1983 against prison officials, challenging certain prison policies, and alleging that the defendants retaliated against them for filing an earlier lawsuit The district court dismissed the case and the prisoners appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the prisoners failed to exhaust their administrative remedies, as required under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). According to the court, the notice the prison officials received during the prison grievance process, "by virtue of their employment and association with the Department of Corrections," was insufficient to satisfy the requirement under PLRA that prisoners exhaust their administrative remedies prior to bringing suit for damages against the officials. The court noted that the prisoners did not name during the grievance process each official that the prisoners later sued. Under PLRA, a prisoner who files a complaint in federal court asserting multiple claims against multiple prison officials based on multiple prison grievances must have exhausted each claim against each defendant in at least one of the grievances. (Potosi Correctional Center, Missouri) U.S. District Court Anderson-Bey v. District of Columbia, 466 RETALIATION FOR F.Supp.2d 51 (D.D.C. 2006). Prisoners LEGAL ACTION transported between out-of-state correctional facilities brought a civil rights action against the District of Columbia and corrections officers, alleging common law torts and violation of their constitutional rights under First and Eighth Amendments. The prisoners had been transported in two groups, with trips lasting between 10 and 15 hours. The defendants brought motions to dismiss or for summary judgment which the court denied with regard to the District of Columbia. The court held that: (1) a fact issue existed as to whether the restraints used on prisoners during the prolonged transport caused greater pain than was necessary to ensure they were securely restrained; (2) a fact issue existed as to whether the officers acted with deliberate indifference to the prisoners' health or safety in the transport of the prisoners; (3) a causal nexus existed between the protected speech of the prisoners in bringing the civil lawsuit against the corrections officers and subsequent alleged retaliation by the officers during the transport of prisoners; (4) a fact issue existed as to whether the officers attempted to chill the prisoners' participation in the pending civil lawsuit against the officers; and (5) a fact issue existed as to whether conditions imposed on the prisoners during the transport were justified by valid penological needs. The court found that the denial of food during a bus ride that lasted between 10 and 15 hours was insufficiently serious to state a stand-alone cruel and unusual punishment civil rights claim under the Eighth Amendment. The court also found that the denial of bathroom breaks during the 10 to 15 hour bus trip, did not, without more, constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. The court stated that the extremely uncomfortable and painful shackles applied for the numerous hours during transports, exacerbated by taunting, threats, and denial of food, water, medicine, and toilets, was outrageous conduct under District of Columbia law, precluding summary judgment on the prisoners' intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against the corrections officers. (District of Columbia) U.S. Appeals Court Bell v. Konteh, 450 F.3d 651 (6th Cir. 2006). A PLRA-Prison state prison inmate brought pro se [section] Litigation Reform Act 1983 action against a prison's warden and EXHAUSTION correction officers, alleging they failed to protect him from violence by the other inmates in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The district court dismissed the action, citing the inmate's failure to comply with the requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The inmate appealed and the appeals court reversed. The appeals court held that the inmate had satisfied the adequate-control component of PLRA's exhaustion requirement with respect to his claim against the warden, given the details contained in two grievances he filed against the warden. The inmate had filed a pair of grievances that, together, alleged that the warden had the inmate moved to a different unit for no justifiable reason, that both the inmate and his case manager had informed the warden that the inmate could be in danger if housed with the other prisoners in that unit, and that the inmate was subsequently attacked by two fellow prisoners in his cell while sleeping. (Trumbull Correctional Institution, Ohio) U.S. District Court Price v. Wall. 464 F.Supp.2d 90 (D.R.I. 2006). A RETALIATION FOR state prisoner brought a pro se civil rights LEGAL ACTION action under [section] 1983 against various TRANSFER prison officials, alleging the officials retaliated against him in violation of his First Amendment rights. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The court held that: (1) the prisoner's transfer to an out-of-state correctional system was not adverse; (2) the prisoner's classification while confined in the out-of-state correctional facility to a restrictive or harsh classification was not adverse, for the purposes of his First Amendment retaliation claim; (3) the prisoner's transfer was not in retaliation for his legal activities; and (4) the officials were not liable for retaliation based on the prisoner's classification while confined in the out-of-state correctional facility. The court noted that the prisoner's classification was not significantly more severe than his classification while confined at the in-state correctional facility. (Rhode Island Department of Corrections) U.S. District Court Scott v. Ozmint, 467 F.Supp.2d 564 (D.S.C. PLRA-Prison 2006). A state prisoner brought a civil rights Litigation action seeking an injunction requiring a state Reform Act corrections director and prison chaplains to recognize the Neterian faith as a religion. The defendants moved for summary judgment and the district court granted the motion. The court held that: (1) the prisoner did not satisfy the requirement of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) that he show physical injury as required for a civil rights suit for mental or emotional injury; and (2) the decision was reasonably related to legitimate penological concerns. According to the court, the decision not to recognize the prisoner's Neterian faith, which meant that the prisoner could not hold group religious meetings, but still could practice his faith individually, was reasonable related to legitimate penological interests, and thus did not violate the prisoner's free exercise rights. The court noted that the prisoner failed to provide information about the faith and names of religious leaders who could be contacted regarding its practice, as required under the prison regulation. Limited information available about the faith indicated that group worship was not necessary for its practice, and accommodating the prisoner's request for twice-weekly group meeting for the three inmates would have unduly burdened the prison resources. (McCormick Correctional Institution, South Carolina) U.S. Appeals Court Simpson v. Nickel, 450 F.3d 303 (7th Cir. 2006). RETALIATION FOR A state inmate filed a [section] 1983 action LEGAL ACTION alleging that prison officials retaliated against him for exercising his First Amendment rights. The inmate asserted that, after he wrote a letter and filed a suit complaining about abuse by the staff of the prison where he was confined, the targets of his accusations retaliated by issuing bogus conduct reports and arranging for him to be disciplined. The prisoner spent 300 days in segregation and lost 25 days of recreation privileges. The district court dismissed the complaint and the inmate appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded. The court held: (1) the inmate was not required to establish or demonstrate in his complaint that the original speech was fruthful where the complaint set out the inmate's grievance clearly enough to put officials on notice; (2) the inmate did not vouch for the correctness of the prison disciplinary board's findings against him because the board's report was included with his filing; and (3) the disciplinary board's finding did not collaterally prevent the inmate from filing the [section] 1983 action. (Wisconsin) U.S. District Court Wilson v. Taylor, 466 F.Supp.2d 567 (D.Del. RETALIATION FOR 2006). Thirty-one Black inmates filed a LEGAL ACTION [section] 1983 action alleging that state prison officials routinely denied their right to procedural due process during disciplinary hearings and security classification determinations. The officials moved to dismiss the complaint and the inmates asked for summary judgment. The motions were granted in part and denied in part. The court held that Delaware has created no constitutionally protected liberty interest in an inmate's security classification, even when the change in classification is for disciplinary reasons. The court held that an inmate's allegation that he was transferred to a housing unit with far fewer privileges after filing a civil rights action against the prison officials, in violation of his First Amendment right of access to courts, sufficiently alleged a retaliation claim against the officials, and that a genuine issue of material fact as to the reason for the inmate's transfer to a more restrictive facility precluded summary judgment. (Delaware Department of Correction) U.S. Appeals Court Whitington v. Ortiz, 412 F.3d 804 (10th Cir. EXHAUSTION 2007). A state prisoner brought a [section] 1983 action alleging his rights...

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