Part One: complete case summaries in alphabetical order.

Position:Case overview
  1. ACCESS TO COURTS: Privileged Correspondence/Mail


  3. MAIL: Postcards, Incoming Mail, Privileged Correspondence, Regulations, Notice, Refusal

  4. PRETRIAL DETENTION: Mail, Access to Court

    American Civil Liberties Union Fund of Michigan v. Livingston County, 796 F.3d 636 (6th Cir. 2015). A civil rights organization brought a [section] 1983 action against a county and county officials alleging that the jail's mail policy, pursuant to which all incoming and outgoing mail except "bona-fide legal mail" had to be on standard four-by-six-inch postcards, violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Following the grant of a temporary restraining order (TRO), the organization moved for a preliminary injunction. The district court granted the motion and the county appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that the organization had a likelihood of success on the merits of its claim that the policy violated the Fourteenth Amendment's due process protections. The court noted that the organization alleged that the jail blocked delivery of letters sent by the organization's attorney without providing the organization or the intended inmate recipients notice and opportunity to contest the decision. (Livingston County Jail, Michigan)

  5. ACCESS TO COURTS: PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act, Legal Mail

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

  7. MAIL: Legal Mail

    Angulo v. Nassau County, 89 F.Supp.3d 541 (E.D.N.Y. 2015). An inmate brought a pro se action against a county and its correctional facility personnel, alleging the defendants violated his constitutional rights through the destruction of various legal documents and his legal mail. The defendants moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion. The court held that: (1) the inmate's letter of complaint did not comply with the correctional facility's grievance procedure, and thus the inmate failed to properly exhaust his administrative remedies; (2) administrative remedies were "available" to the inmate, and thus the inmate was not excused from filing a grievance; (3) the inmate's allegations that personnel acted willfully and maliciously were insufficient to support the claim that personnel interfered with his ability to access the courts; and (4) personnel did not conspire to destroy the inmate's legal mail. (Nassau County Correctional Center, and Downstate Correctional Facility, New York)

  8. ACCESS TO COURTS: PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act

  9. CIVIL RIGHTS: ADA- Americans with Disabilities Act, Rehabilitation Act (RA), Conditions



  12. FACILITIES: Temperature

  13. LIABILITY: PLRA--Prison Litigation Reform Act, Injunctive Relief

    Ball v. LeBlanc, 792 F.3d 584 (5th Cir. 2015). Death row inmates brought a [section] 1983 action against a state department of corrections and state officials, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief based on allegations that heat in the prison violated the Eighth Amendment, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act (RA). Following a bench trial, the district court sustained the Eighth Amendment claims, rejected the disability claims, and issued a permanent injunction requiring the state to install air conditioning throughout death row. The department and officials appealed and the inmates cross-appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, vacated and remanded in part. The court held that: (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence of, or relying on heat index measurements of death-row facilities; (2) the district court did not clearly err in finding that heat in death-row cells posed a substantial risk of serious harm to inmates and that prison officials were deliberately indifferent to the risk posed to death-row inmates by the heat in prison cells; (3) housing of death-row inmates in very hot prison cells without sufficient access to heat-relief measures violated the Eighth Amendment; (4) inmates were not disabled under ADA or RA; and (5) permanent injunctive relief requiring the state to install air conditioning throughout death-row housing violated the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), where acceptable remedies short of facility-wide air conditioning were available. (Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Louisiana State Penitentiary)

  14. CIVIL RIGHTS: Sexual Harassment, Search, Grievance, Conspiracy, Restraints

  15. CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT: Ventilation, Sanitation, Lighting

  16. FACILITIES: Ventilation, Sanitation


  18. PRETRIAL DETENTION: Excessive Force, Searches, Grievance, Conditions

  19. SANITATION: Sewerage, Housekeeping

  20. USE OF FORCE: Excessive Force, Restraints

    Barnes v. County of Monroe, 85 F.Supp.3d 696 (W.D.N.Y. 2015). A state inmate brought a [section] 1983 action against a county, county officials, and correctional officers, alleging that the officers used excessive force against him and that he was subjected to unconstitutional conditions of confinement during his pretrial detention. The defendants moved for judgment on the pleadings. The district court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that the former pretrial detainee's allegation that a county correctional officer used excessive force when he responded to a fight between the detainee and fellow inmates, and jumped on the detainee's back, striking him in face and knocking out a tooth, and that the officer was not merely using force to maintain or restore discipline but that the entire incident was "premeditated," stated a [section] 1983 excessive force claim against officer under the Due Process Clause. According to the court, the former detainee's allegations that county correctional officers used excessive force when they pushed him face-first into a glass window, pushed him to the floor, kicked, stomped on and punched him, and used handcuffs to inflict pain, that as a result of the altercation, the inmate urinated and defecated on himself and experienced dizziness and a concussion, and that the force used on him was in response to his reaching for legal papers and attempting to steady himself, stated a [section] 1983 excessive force claim against the officers under the Due Process Clause.

    The court found that the former detainee's allegations that a county correctional officer who responded to a fight between the detainee and other inmates "collaborated" with fellow officers to delay an emergency call, allowing the detainee to be attacked by inmates, stated a conspiracy claim in violation of his constitutional rights under [section] 1983.

    The court held that the former detainee's allegations that, before being placed in a special housing unit (SHU), he was subjected to a strip search by a county correctional officer, that during the course of the strip search the detainee felt that he was degraded and humiliated, and he subsequently filed grievance against the officer, that later the same day the officer approached the detainee's cell and made sexual comments and gestures, and that other officers filed a false misbehavior report against him in retaliation for the detainee's grievance, stated a [section] 1983 First Amendment retaliation claim against the officers. The court found that the former detainee's allegations that, after he was released from a special housing unit (SHU), county correctional officers placed him in a poorly ventilated cell where he was exposed to human excrement and bodily fluids over the course of multiple days, and that he was subjected to extreme conditions in the SHU by way of 24-hour lighting by the officers, stated a [section] 1983 conditions-of-confinement claim against the officers under the Due Process Clause. (Upstate Correctional Facility and Monroe County Jail, New York)

  21. PERSONNEL: Contractor

  22. SAFETY AND SECURITY: Contraband

    Barouch v. United States Department of Justice, 87 F.Supp.3d 10 (D.C.D.C, 2015). A prisoner who was convicted of bribing a public official and conspiracy to commit bribery moved for acquittal. The district court denied the motion, finding that evidence was sufficient to establish that the prisoner induced a prison official to assist in smuggling contraband. According to the court, the prisoner found a lucrative business opportunity in the institution's ban on tobacco and cell phones. He paid a prison nurse to smuggle this contraband into the prison and to look the other way when it came to reporting his illegal possessions to other prison authorities. The prisoner and nurse were eventually caught and prosecuted. Following a two-day jury trial, the prisoner was convicted. (Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Penitentiary-Lee County, Virginia)


  24. MEDICAL CARE: Inadequate Care, Medication, Training

  25. SANITATION: Showers, Housekeeping

  26. TRAINING: Medical Care, Failure to Training

    Brauner v. Coody, 793 F.3d 493 (5th Cir. 2015). A state prisoner, who was a paraplegic, brought an action against a prison medical director, assistant warden, and prison doctors, alleging deliberate indifference to his serious medical condition. The district court denied the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. The defendants appealed. The appeals court reversed, finding that: (1) prison doctors were not deliberately indifferent to the prisoner's serious medical needs by failing to provide him with adequate pain management; (2) officials were not deliberately indifferent by subjecting the prisoner to unsanitary showers; and (3) doctors did not fail to provide adequate training and supervision regarding proper wound care, even if the prisoner's wound care by nurses and other subordinates was occasionally sporadic, where the doctors were active in managing it, and they regularly changed the prescribed frequency of the bandage changes based on the changing condition of the...

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