Part one: complete case summaries in alphabetical order.

Position:Case overview
  1. Beds, Safety

  2. Beds, Safety

  3. FTCA- Federal Tort Claims Act, Policies/Procedures

  4. Safety Regulations

    Alvarado-David v. U.S., 972 F.Supp.2d 210 (D. Puerto Rico 2013). A prisoner brought an action against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), alleging he fell out of his bunk and hit a toilet bowl, breaking his frontal teeth and upper lip because the United States' failed to provide prisoners with ladders to climb to their bunks. The United States moved to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under the FTCA's discretionary function exception. The district court granted the motion. The court held that the decision by Bureau of Prisons (BOP) personnel not to provide ladders or other equipment for the prisoners to climb to their bunks fit within the discretionary function exception to the FTCA. The court noted that no rules or regulations governed the use of ladders or bunk beds in correctional facilities, and the decision not to provide ladders in correctional facilities for safety reasons, as ladders could be broken off and used as weapons or escape devices, was grounded in considerations of public policy. (Metropolitan Detention Center, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico)

    1 PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act

  5. Emotional Distress, Segregation

  6. Communications with Prisoners, Correspondence, Retaliation

  7. Individual Capacity, Injunctive Relief, Official Capacity, PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act

  8. Security Restrictions

    Aref v. Holder, 953 F.Supp.2d 133 (D.D.C. 2013). Current and former prisoners brought an action against the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), BOP officials, and the Attorney General, claiming that their First and Fifth Amendment rights were violated when they were placed in Communications Management Units (CMUs), in which their ability to communicate with the outside world was seriously restricted. Following dismissal of all but the procedural due process and First Amendment retaliation claims, the defendants moved to dismiss the First Amendment claims. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that: (1) the prisoner's release from BOP custody rendered moot his official-capacity claims for equitable relief; (2) a second prisoner sufficiently alleged a First Amendment retaliation claim; but (3) the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) barred the prisoners' individual-capacity claims against a BOP official for mental or emotional injury. (Federal Correctional Institutions in Terre Haute, Indiana, and Marion, Illinois)

  9. Discrimination, Records

  10. ADA--Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination, RA- Rehabilitation Act

  11. ADA--Americans with Disabilities Act, Equal Protection

  12. Procedures, Right of Access

  13. ADA--Americans with Disabilities Act, Equal Protection, RA- Rehabilitation Act, Records

  14. ADA--Americans with Disabilities Act, Equal Protection, Parole-Conditions

    Armstrong v. Brown, 732 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 2013). Disabled state prisoners and parolees brought a class action against state prison officials, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. Seventeen years later, the plaintiffs moved for an order requiring officials to track and accommodate the needs of the class members housed in county jails and to provide a workable grievance procedure. The prisoners and parolees filed a renewed motion, which the district court granted. The defendants appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part and dismissed in part. The court held that: (1) Amendments to the California Penal Code relating to the legal custody of parolees did not relieve officials of responsibility for the discrimination suffered by disabled parolees housed in county jails, past and present, or of their obligation to assist in preventing further Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations; and (2) orders requiring officials to track and accommodate the needs of disabled prisoners and parolees housed in county jails and to provide a workable grievance procedure were consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act and did not infringe on California's prerogative to structure its internal affairs. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

  15. Prisoner on Prisoner Assault

  16. Qualified Immunity

  17. Storage

  18. State Statute

    Ayotte v. Barnhart, 973 F.Supp.2d 70 (D.Me. 2013). A state inmate filed a [section] 1983 action alleging that prison officials failed to protect him from a padlock assault by a fellow prisoner, and retaliated against him for filing complaints about prison conditions. The officials moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that the decision by state prison officials to provide inmates with padlocks to secure their personal belongings did not demonstrate deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of serious harm, as required to establish an Eighth Amendment violation, despite the history of padlocks being used as weapons by some prisoners. The court noted that a state statute required officials to provide inmates with a reasonably secure area for their personal belongings, and there were generally only one or two padlock assaults per year.

    The court found that verbal abuse, threats, and two strip-searches of the inmate by a prison guard were not de minimis, and thus were sufficiently adverse to support the inmate's First Amendment retaliation claim against the guard. Because inmates; rights against retaliatory action by prison officials for filing complaints about their treatment were clearly established, the court ruled that the prison guards were not entitled to qualified immunity from liability in the inmate's [section] 1983 First Amendment retaliation action. (Maine State Prison)

  19. Prisoner on Prisoner Assault

  20. Equipment, Security

  21. Failure to Protect, Safety

  22. Locks, Pretrial Detainees, Safety

    Baker v. RR Brink Locking Systems, Inc., 721 F.3d 716 (5th Cir. 2013). A pretrial detainee brought an action against the manufacturer of allegedly faulty locks on cell doors that permitted another inmate to enter the detainee's cell and assault and rape him. The manufacturer moved for summary judgment. The district court denied the motion and then denied reconsideration. The manufacturer moved for permission to file an appeal before the case had been adjudicated. The motion was granted in part. The appeals court affirmed, allowing the case to continue. (RR Brink, Harrison County Detention Center, Mississippi)

  23. Contract Services, Policies/Procedures, Training

  24. Due Process, Equal Protection, Medical Care, Mentally 111, Suicide

  25. Medical Care, Protection from Harm, Suicide

  26. Equal Protection, Failure to Protect, Medical Care, Suicide

  27. Classification, Medical Screening, Psychological Screening, Suicide

  28. Contract Services, Deliberate Indifference, Mental Health, Pretrial Detainee, Suicide

  29. Deliberate Indifference, Due Process, Equal Protection, Right to Treatment, Suicide, Training

  30. Alien, Due Process, Equal Protection, Females, Intake Screening, Medical Care, Mental Health, Suicide

  31. Deliberate Indifference, Medical Care, Medical Screening

    Belbachir v. County of McHenry, 726 F.3d 975 (7th Cir. 2013). The administrator of the estate of a female federal detainee who committed suicide in a county jail filed suit against the county, county jail officials, and employees of the medical provider that had a contract with the county to provide medical services at the jail, alleging violation of the detainee's due process rights and Illinois tort claims. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of all county defendants. The administrator appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. The appeals court found that the jail inmate who was detained by federal immigration authorities pending her removal hearing was in the same position as a lawfully arrested pretrial detainee. The court noted that a pretrial detainee was entitled, pursuant to the due process clause, to at least as much protection during her detention as convicted criminals were entitled to under the Eighth Amendment- namely protection from harm caused by a defendant's deliberate indifference to the inmate's safety or health. The court asserted that persons who have been involuntarily committed are entitled, under the due process clause, to more considerate treatment during detention than criminals whose conditions of confinement are designed to punish.

    The court found that the alleged conduct of a clinical social worker at the county jail who interviewed the detainee, in noting that the detainee suffered from a major depressive disorder, hallucinations, acute anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness, but allegedly failing to report those findings to the jail guards or any other jail staff or to recommend that the detainee be placed on a suicide watch or receive mental health treatment, amounted to deliberate indifference to the detainee's risk of suicide, in violation of the detainee's due process rights.

    The court held that a nurse manager employed by the medical provider was not deliberately indifferent to the detainee's risk of suicide, as would violate the detainee's due process rights, where the nurse manager treated the detainee for panic attacks and anxiety, and recommended that she be given a cellmate and transferred to a medical treatment area at the jail, both of which were done, and there was no showing that the nurse manager knew that the detainee was suicidal.

    According to the court, the county sheriffs and county jail director's failure to provide annual training to jail staff on how to recognize the risk of suicide in detainees, and their failure to implement a suicide prevention policy, did not render the county liable under [section] 1983 for the detainee's suicide during her detention at the jail, absent a showing that such failures caused the detainee's suicide. (McHenry County...

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