Part one: complete case summaries in alphabetical order.

Position:Case overview
 
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  1. LIABILITY: Injunctive Relief, Sovereign Immunity

  2. MENTAL PROBLEMS (PRISONER): Delay in Care, Due Process, PAMII-Protection and Advocacy for Mentally Ill Individuals Act, Transfer

    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)

  3. CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT: Conditions of Confinement, Transfer

  4. LIABILITY: Injunctive Relief

  5. MENTAL PROBLEMS (PRISONER): Delay in Care, Due Process, Transfer

    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)

  6. ADMINISTRATION: Employee Discipline, Employee Qualifications, Policies/Procedures

  7. PERSONNEL: Assignment, BFOQ-Bona Fide Occupational Qualification, Termination, Title VII, Sex Discrimination

  8. PRIVACY: Staff of Opposite Sex

  9. SUPERVISION: Cross Gender Supervision

    Ambat v. City and County of San Francisco, 693 F.Supp.2d 1130 (N.D.Cal. 2010). Sheriffs deputies brought an action against a city and county, alleging various claims including retaliation, and that a gender based staffing policy violated Title VII and California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Cross-motions for summary judgment were filed. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants in part, and denied in part. The court held that the sheriffs department policy that only female deputies would be assigned to female-only housing units was implemented to protect the interests that amount to the essence of the Sheriffs business, including safety and privacy, as required to establish a bona fide occupational qualification as a defense to the deputies' claims of employment discrimination under Title VII and California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The court noted that the policy was implemented to prevent sexual misconduct and inappropriate relationships between male deputies and female inmates, to alleviate male deputies' fears of false accusations of misconduct resulting in a reluctance to supervise female inmates closely, which created opportunities for smuggling and use of contraband, and to prevent female inmates from being required to dress and undress in front of male deputies.

    The court found that the sheriff was entitled to deference in his policy judgment to implement the department policy that only female deputies would be assigned to female-only housing units and in determining whether the policy was reasonably necessary to achieve issues of safety and privacy and to ensure normal operation of the jails, as required to establish a bona fide occupational qualification as a defense to the deputies' claims of employment discrimination under Title VII and California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The court noted that, despite not conducting formal studies or seeking consultation, the policy was based upon the sheriffs experience and observations over thirty years as sheriff and conversations with senior officials and jail commanders over several months. The court noted that suggested non-discriminatory alternatives to the sheriffs department policy, including cameras and additional training, were not feasible alternatives that furthered the objectives of safety, security and privacy. Installation of cameras in the units was cost-prohibitive and did not address privacy concerns or the fact that misconduct took place outside of the units, additional training would not eliminate sexual abuse since deputies already knew it was forbidden, and there was no effective testing or screening method to identify deputies who might engage in sexual misconduct.

    The court found that the fact that the deputy made statements to the National Academy of Arbitrators, alleging that the sheriff was influenced by financial contributions and nepotism and that the sheriffs general counsel had engaged in sex tourism was a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason to terminate the deputy under Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. (San Francisco Sheriffs Department, California)

  10. CIVIL RIGHTS: Civil Commitment, Due Process

  11. RELEASE: Civil Commitment, Due Process

    Bailey v. Pataki, 722 F.Supp.2d 443 (S.D.N.Y. 2010). State prisoners brought a [section] 1983 action against the former governor and governor's staff, alleging violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The district court denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment. The court held that summary judgment was precluded by a genuine issue of material fact as to whether civil confinements of prison inmates comported with Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process. The court also found a genuine issue of material fact as to whether state inmates' right to a pre-deprivation hearing prior to a civil commitment at the end of their prison sentences was clearly established. (New York Department of Correctional Services)

  12. LIABILITY: Failure to Supervise, Failure to Train, Municipal Liability

  13. MEDICAL CARE: Deliberate Indifference, Policies, Training

  14. PRETRIAL DETENTION: Medical Care

  15. TRAINING: Failure to Train, Medical Care

    Beatty v. Davidson, 713 F.Supp.2d 167 (W.D.N.Y. 2010). A former pretrial detainee brought a [section] 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 facet 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 [section] 1983. (Erie County Holding Center, Pennsylvania)

  16. PERSONNEL: FMLA-Family Medical Leave Act, Promotion, Retaliation

    Bosse v. Baltimore County, 692 F.Supp.2d 574 (D.Md. 2010). A correctional officer in the Baltimore County Department of Corrections sued the county, the director of the department, and his supervisor, alleging interference and retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The court held that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact, as to...

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