Part one: complete case summaries in alphabetical order.

Position:Case overview
  1. MAIL: Interference, Outgoing Mail

  2. PRIVACY: Mail

  3. SAFETY AND SECURITY: Mail, Security Restrictions

    Akers v. Watts, 740 F.Supp.2d 83 (D.D.C. 2010). A federal inmate brought a civil rights action against various officials, employees, and agents of federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States Attorney's Office for the District of Kansas, and the United States Marshals Service (USMS) in their individual capacities, alleging, among other things, that the defendants conspired to violate his constitutional rights by restricting his communications with persons outside the prison. The district court granted the federal defendants motion to dismiss. The court held that it did not have personal jurisdiction in the federal inmate's civil rights action against the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) officials, employees, and agents, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent, a Kansas Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA), or the United States marshals, where the complaint made no allegations that such defendants had any personal connection with District of Columbia other than their federal employment, and the mere fact that the defendants were federal government employees, affiliated with agencies that were headquartered or maintained offices in District of Columbia, was insufficient to render them subject to suit in their individual capacities.

    The court held that restrictions imposed upon, and Bureau of Prisons (BOP) interferences with, the correspondence of federal inmate, who had initiated fraudulent schemes from prison on more than one occasion and used the mail in furtherance of his efforts, served a legitimate penological interest by limiting the inmate's ability to manipulate or swindle others, and thus did not violate the inmate's First Amendment rights. The court noted that the inmate had no reasonable expectation of privacy in his non-legal mail, and therefore restrictions placed upon inmate's correspondence following his repeated efforts to initiate new fraudulent schemes while incarcerated did not violate the Fourth Amendment. (Administrative Maximum, Florence, Colorado, Federal Bureau of Prisons)

  4. ACCESS TO COURTS: Due Process, Initial Appearance

  5. IMMUNITY: Qualified Immunity

  6. MEDICAL CARE: Delay in Care, Deliberate Indifference, Medication

  7. PRETRIAL DETENTION: Medical Care, Medication

    Alexander v. City of Muscle Shoals, Ala., 766 F.Supp.2d 1214 (N.D.Ala. 2011). A pretrial detainee sued a city, city police officers, jailers, a mayor, and city council members, asserting [section] 1983 claims alleging deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs and his health and safety. The court found that qualified immunity applied to bar the [section] 1983 liability of jailers for deliberate indifference to the serious medical needs of the pretrial detainee, because the detainee failed to argue against the qualified immunity defense. According to the court, once a defendant raises a defense of qualified immunity, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing both that the defendant committed the constitutional violation and that the law governing the circumstances was already clearly established at the time of the violation, and the detainee failed to adequately respond to the qualified immunity defense. The court noted that the jailers did not contact medical professionals at the detainee's request for four days at most, and that the detainee, who complained that he was in pain, at that point had been without prescription pain medication to which he was addicted for at least three days. The court also noted that the detainee had already faked a suicide attempt to garner jailers' attention and had also been both combative and difficult. (City of Muscle Shoals Municipal Jail, Alabama)

  8. ACCESS TO COURTS: Assistance, Legal Materials

  9. CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT: Hygiene, Sanitation, Out of Cell Time

  10. CRUEL & UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT: Exercise, Medical Care, Temperature, Ventilation, Sanitation

  11. EXERCISE AND RECREATION: Exercise, Outdoor Exercise

  12. FOOD: Nutrition, Quality, Religious Diet

  13. HYGIENE-PRISONER PERSONAL: Hygiene Items, Toilet Paper

  14. MAIL: Delivery, Delay

  15. MEDICAL CARE: Mental Health

  16. MENTAL PROBLEMS (PRISONER): Failure to Provide Care

  17. PRIVACY: Nudity, Searches, View by Staff


  19. RELIGION: Diet, Free Exercise, Place to Worship

  20. RULES & REGULATIONS- PRISONER: Rules-Items Permitted

  21. SANITATION: Sewerage, Showers

  22. SEARCHES: Body Cavity Searches, Opposite Sex, Privacy

    Antonetti v. Skolnik, 748 F.Supp.2d 1201 (D.Nev. 2010). A prisoner, proceeding pro se, brought a [section] 1983 action against various prison officials, alleging various constitutional claims, including violations of the First, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The district court dismissed in part. The court held that the prisoner's allegations were factually sufficient to state a colorable [section] 1983 claim that prison officials violated the Eighth Amendment by depriving him of needed medical care. The prisoner alleged that he was housed in segregation/isolation, leading to a mental health breakdown, and: (1) that he was seen by mental health professionals eight times over a five year period instead of every 90 days as required by administrative regulations; (2) that mental health professionals recommended he pursue art and music for his mental health but that prison officials denied him the materials; (3) and that the officials' actions resulted in the need to take anti-psychotic and anti-depression medications due to suffering from bouts of aggression, extreme depression, voices, paranoia, hallucinations, emotional breakdowns and distress, unreasonable fear, and systematic dehumanization.

    The court found that the prisoner's allegations were factually sufficient to state a colorable [section] 1983 claim for a violation of his First Amendment right of access to courts, where the prisoner alleged that he was housed in segregation for several years and was repeatedly denied materials Such as books, paper, pens and envelopes, as well as assistance from a law clerk.

    The court held that the prisoner's allegations were sufficient to state a colorable [section] 1983 claim that he was deprived of personal hygienic items and sanitary conditions in violation of the Eighth Amendment, where the prisoner alleged he was regularly deprived of toilet paper and soap, that he was only allowed to shower twice a week, that he was made to strip in dirty showers full of filth and insects, that the unit in which he resided was littered with food and urine and contained open sewers, and that he suffered illness as a result.

    The court found that the prisoner's allegations that he was subjected to a policy of a minimum of five hours of outside exercise per week but that administrative regulations provided for a minimum of seven hours and controlling consent decrees required eight hours, were sufficient to state a colorable [section] 1983 claim under the Eighth Amendment.

    According to the court, the prisoner's allegations that officials deprived him of incoming mail without notice and without a post-deprivation remedy were factually sufficient to state a [section] 1983 claim under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

    The court found that the prisoner's allegations were sufficient to state a [section] 1983 claim of deprivation of property without due process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment where the prisoner alleged that prison officials confiscated various items from his cell that they deemed to be contraband, but that he had purchased them at the prison or had the items given to him by employees of the prison, and that officials told him he had no right to be made aware of rules, policies or regulations.

    The court ruled that the prisoner's allegations were sufficient to state a [section] 1983 claim for violations of the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment where the prisoner alleged that he was locked down for 23 and 24 hours in a cell with a steel door, that prison officials disconnected the intake vent that pulled dust and allergens from the cell, that the prison heating system was not on in the winter, and that as a result of these conditions, he suffered cracked lips and nostrils which bled and refused to heal, as well as difficulty breathing and sleeping.

    According to the court, the prisoner's allegations that he was denied access to a priest, a place of worship, communion, confessional, congregation with those of his faith and a kosher diet in accordance with his beliefs were sufficient to state a colorable [section] 1983 claim for violations of First Amendment right to free exercise of his religion.

    The court found that the prisoner's allegations that the food he was provided lacked nutritional value and was of lesser quality than food provided to other inmates, that officers made trays of food from dirty food carts located next to inmate showers and that birds picked at the inmate's food while the carts were outside were factually sufficient to state a colorable [section] 1983 Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim.

    The court held that the prisoner's allegations were factually sufficient to state a colorable [section] 1983 claim for violations of his Fourth Amendment right to be free of unlawful searches and Eighth Amendment right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment. The prisoner alleged that whenever he was moved from his cell to any other location he was made to stand in a brightly lit shower in full view of female employees, made to strip naked, place his bare feet on a filthy floor covered in insects and scum, spread his buttocks, lift his penis, then put his fingers in his mouth without any opportunity to wash his hands, and that the process was unnecessary because inmates were in full restraints, escorted and solitary at all times.

    The court found that the prisoner's allegations...

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