Part one: complete case summaries in alphabetical order.

PositionCase overview
  1. MEDICAL CARE: Failure to Provide Care, Deliberate Indifference

    Al-Turki v. Robinson, 762 F.3d 1188 (10th Cir. 2014). A prisoner brought a [section] 1983 action against several prison officials and a prison nurse for alleged failure to provide him with a medical evaluation or treatment while he suffered through several hours of severe abdominal pain from what turned out to be kidney stones. The district court granted qualified immunity to the prison officials, but denied the nurse's motion for summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds. The nurse appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that the prisoner's claim of pain satisfied the objective component of his deliberate indifference claim, and that it was clearly established at the time of the incident that repeatedly refusing to provide treatment to a prisoner who was complaining of severe abdominal pain would be deliberate indifference. (Limon Correctional Facility, Colorado)

  2. FAILURE TO PROTECT: Prisoner on Prisoner Assault

  3. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES, PRISONER: PLRA--Prison Litigation Reform Act, Exhaustion

  4. PRETRIAL DETENTION: Grievance, PLRA--Prison Litigation Reform Act, Failure to Protect

    Albino v. Baca, 747 F.3d 1162 (9th Cir. 2014). A detainee in a county jail brought a [section] 1983 action against a sheriff, alleging failure to protect him against other inmates, deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, failure to adequately train and supervise deputies, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and gross negligence. The district court granted summary judgment for the sheriff. The detainee appealed. The appeals court affirmed and then the court granted a rehearing en banc. The appeals court then reversed and remanded. The court held that administrative remedies at the jail were not available within meaning of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), and therefore the detainee satisfied his exhaustion requirement. (Los Angeles County Men's Central Jail, California)

  5. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES, PRISONER: Right of Access, Due Process, Policies and Procedures

  6. MEDICAL CARE: Methadone, Medication, Inadequate Care

    44: STANDARDS: Standards

    Alvarado v. Westchester County, 22 F.Supp.3d 208 (S.D.N.Y. 2014). Jail inmates, who were addicted to heroin before being taken into custody, brought a pro se [section] 1983 action against a county, the provider of on-site medical services at a jail, and county officials, alleging refusal to accept a grievance deprived them of First Amendment right to petition the government for redress, deliberate indifference to serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, and deliberate indifference to risk of inadequate medical care at the jail. The defendants moved to dismiss. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that: (1) the inmates had no First Amendment right to have grievances processed or investigated in any particular manner; (2) the mere receipt of the inmates' grievance by an assistant warden and the county executive was insufficient to establish their personal involvement; (3) the inmate's allegations established a deputy commissioner's personal involvement; (4) the allegations supported the inmates' [section] 1983 claim that the provider was deliberately indifferent; and (5) the allegations satisfied Monell's policy or custom requirement to support a [section] 1983 claim against county. The court noted that the inmates alleged that the county had knowledge of and acquiesced into a pattern of deliberate indifference to the risk that the provider of on-site medical services at jail was providing inadequate medical care where: the inmate sent a letter to county officials stating the provider was not issuing methadone to inmates who were using heroin; the inmates were experiencing withdrawal symptoms; the letter came less than three years after Department of Justice issued a report identifying areas of medical care provided at jail which fell below constitutionally required standards. (Correct Care Solutions Medical Services P.C., and Westchester County Jail, New York)

  7. PERSONNEL: Sex Discrimination, BFOQ--Bona Fide Occupational Qualification, Supervision

  8. PRIVACY: View by Staff, Staff of Opposite Sex, Observation by Staff

  9. SUPERVISION: Cross Gender Supervision

    Ambat v. City and County of San Francisco, 757 F.3d 1017 (9th Cir. 2014). Current and former sheriffs deputies brought an action against a city and county, alleging various claims including retaliation and that a policy prohibiting male deputies from supervising female inmates in housing units of jails operated by the county violated Title VII and California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The district court granted the defendants' motion on gender discrimination claims and denied the plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration. The plaintiffs appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and vacated in part, and dismissed the appeal in part. The court held that the county was not entitled to summary judgment based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) defense, in light of fact issues as to whether a reasoned decision-making process, based on available information and experience, led to the sheriffs adoption of the policy such that the policy would be entitled to deference. The court also found fact issues as to whether the policy of excluding male deputies because of their sex was a legitimate proxy for reasonably necessary job qualifications. The court noted that the primary justification for the policy was to protect the safety of female inmates by reducing the possibility of sexual harassment and abuse by male deputies, a secondary justification was that employing male deputies in female housing pods posed a threat to jail security because of a threat of manipulation, a tertiary justification was protecting the privacy interests of female inmates, and the final justification was promoting female inmates' rehabilitation. (San Francisco Sheriffs Department, California)

  10. CIVIL RIGHTS: Execution, Free Speech and Association

    American Civil Liberties of Missouri Foundation v. Lombardi, 23 F.Supp.3d 1055 (W.D.Mo. 2014). An organization brought an action against the director of the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC), challenging the constitutionality of a Missouri statute prohibiting unauthorized disclosure of execution team members. The director moved to dismiss. The district court denied the motion, finding that: (1) the organization had standing to bring the action; (2) the action was not barred by the Eleventh Amendment; (3) the organization stated viable claim under the First Amendment; and (4) the organization stated a viable due process claim. (Missouri Department of Corrections)

  11. ACCESS TO COURTS: Legal Mail


  13. LIABILITY: Injunctive Relief

  14. MAIL: Legal Mail, Withholding Correspondence, Notice, Limitation

    American Civil Liberties Union Fund of Michigan v. Livingston County, 23 F.Supp.3d 834 (E.D.Mich. 2014). A civil rights organization brought a [section] 1983 action against a county and county officials alleging that the jail's postcard-only mail policy violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Following the grant of a temporary restraining order (TRO), the organization moved for preliminary injunction. The district court granted the motion. The organization had sought a preliminary injunction enjoining the jail policy of refusing to promptly deliver properly marked legal mail sent by an organization attorney and individually addressed to an inmate. The court held that there was a likelihood of success on the merits of its claim that the policy violated the First Amendment protection accorded inmates' legal mail. The court noted that the organization sent letters in envelopes that were individually addressed to individual inmates, were labeled "legal mail," clearly delineated that the mail came from an organization attorney, the letters asked if the inmate was interested in meeting with an organization attorney to obtain legal advice regarding the jail policy of limiting all incoming and outgoing mail to one side of a four by six-inch postcard, but the letters were not delivered. The jail opened the letters and read them, and the jail failed to notify the inmates or the organization that the letters were not delivered. (Livingston County Jail, Michigan)

  15. CIVIL RIGHTS: Aliens

  16. LIABILITY: Preliminary Injunction

    Arpaio v. Obama, 27 F.Supp.3d 185 (D.D.C. 2014). The Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, brought an action against the President of the United States, alleging that executive actions deferring action with respect to certain programs affecting undocumented immigrants were unconstitutional and otherwise illegal. The sheriff moved for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the programs, and the President moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The district court dismissed the action. The district court held that the sheriff did not suffer an injury in fact, and therefore lacked standing in his personal and official capacities to bring an action. The court noted that the sheriff sought to vindicate only a general interest in the proper application of the Constitution and laws, and, although the sheriff alleged that undocumented immigrants had targeted him for assassination as a result of his "widely known stance on illegal immigration," the programs in question did not cause threats to the sheriffs life, and the sheriffs stance pre-existed the instant action and the challenged programs. (Maricopa County Sheriff, Arizona)

  17. FEMALE PRISONERS: Searches, Privacy

  18. IMMUNITY: Qualified Immunity

  19. PRIVACY: Searches, Staff of Opposite Sex, View by Staff

  20. SEARCHES: Strip Searches, Opposite Sex

    Baggett v. Ashe, 41 F.Supp.3d 113 (D.Mass. 2014). A former female inmate and current female inmates brought a class action against a sheriff and an assistant...

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