Part two: case summaries by major topic.

PositionP. 35-76

Alphabetically by Year within Each Topic


U.S. District Antonetti v. Skolnik, 748 F.Supp.2d 1201 (D.Ncv. Court ASSISTANCE 2010). A prisoner, proceeding pro sc, brought a LEGAL MATERIALS [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. 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. (High Desert State Prison, Nevada) U.S. Appeals Fletcher v. illenard Correctional Center, 623 F.3d Court FILING FEES 1171 (7th Cir. 2010). A state prisoner subject to PLRA-Prison the Prison Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA) three Litigation Reform strikes provision brought a civil rights action Act against a prison, warden, and various prison employees, alleging the defendants violated his federal constitutional rights by using excessive force to restrain him and by recklessly disregarding his need for medical attention. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to pre-pay the filing fee, and a motions panel authorized the prisoner's appeal. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that that while the prisoner's allegation of excessive force satisfied the three strikes provision's imminent danger requirement, the prisoner failed to exhaust administrative remedies under the PLRA. The court noted that the prisoner had an administrative remedy under an Illinois regulation providing an emergency grievance procedure for state prisoners claiming to be in urgent need of medical attention. (Menard Correctional Center. Illinois) U.S. District Franco-Gonzales v. Holder, 767 F.Supp.2d 1034 Court PLRA-Prison (C.D.Cal. 2010). Aliens, who were diagnosed with Litigation Reform severe mental illnesses, filed a class action, Act APPOINTED alleging that their continued detention without ATTORNEY RIGHT TO counsel during pending removal proceedings violated COUNSEL the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the Rehabilitation Act, and the Due Process Clause. The aliens moved for a preliminary injunction. The district court granted the motion in part. The court held that the aliens were not required to exhaust administrative remedies, since the very core of the aliens' claim was that without the appointment of counsel, they would be unable to meaningfully participate in the administrative process before the BIA, and the BIA did not recognize a right to appointed counsel in removal proceedings under any circumstances; therefore, resort to the BIA would be futile. The court held that the mentally ill aliens who were detained pending removal proceedings without counsel and for prolonged periods without custody hearings, were entitled to a mandatory preliminary injunction requiring the immediate appointment of qualified counsel to represent them during their immigration proceedings and custody hearings. (Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Northwest Detention Center, Tacoma, Washington) U.S. District Hartty v. County of Suffolk, 755 F.Supp.2d 422 Court PLRA-Prison (E.D.N.Y.2010). An inmate brought a [section] 1983 Litigation Reform action against a sergeant and a county, alleging Act EXHAUSTION failure to protect him from harm and deliberate TRANSFER indifference to his health and safety. The district court denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment. The court held that the inmate's transfer from one county prison to another county prison deprived him of a meaningful opportunity to pursue his administrative remedies following an attack by another inmate, and therefore, his failure to exhaust administrative remedies prior to bringing his [section] 1983 action against the sergeant and the county was excused. The court noted that the inmate handbook permitted an inmate five days to file a grievance, and the inmate was transferred within two days of the attack. The court held that summary judgment was precluded by a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the inmate faced a real and significant threat of harm from other inmates, and whether the prison sergeant was aware of a substantial risk of harm to the inmate from other inmates. The court also found a genuine issue of material fact as to whether moving an inmate only in response to a direct threat, within or outside of the jail, was a reasonable protective measure. (Suffolk County Correctional Facility, New York) U.S. Appeals Hebhe v. Piller, 627 F.3d 338 (9th Cir. 2010). A Court LAW LIBRARY state prisoner, proceeding pro se, brought a [section] 1983 action against prison officials, alleging denial of his right to court access and violations of the Eighth Amendment. The district court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded. The court held that the prisoner's allegations that prison officials denied him access to a prison law library while the facility was on lockdown, and that he was prevented from filing a brief in support of his state court appeal of his conviction, were sufficient to plead an actual injury as required to state a claim for violation of his First Amendment right to court access, and his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. The court held that allegations by the state prisoner that prison officials forced him to choose between spending eight hours per week for eight months on either exercising outdoors or using the law library to research his [section] 1983 complaint and state-law habeas petition were sufficient to plead claim of an Eighth Amendment violation. (California State Prison-Sacramento C-Facility) U.S. District Hunt ex rel. Chiovari v. Dart, 754 F.Supp.2d 962 Court EXPERT (N.D.I11. 2010). A pretrial detainee's estate WITNESS brought a civil rights action against a sheriff, whose actions allegedly led to the death of detainee while he was in custody at a county jail. The district court granted the sheriff's motion for summary judgment. According to the court, the mere fact that the pretrial detainee died while he was in the custody of the sheriff at the county jail was not sufficient to give rise to an excessive force claim under the due process clause, without identifying any responsible officer, or providing any admissible evidence regarding what happened to the detainee or what the detainee or any officers in the vicinity were doing at the time of the detainee's collapse. The court found that the opinions of medical experts, that the detainee's death resulted from trauma to the head from an assault, "was hopelessly speculative" and therefore inadmissible. (Cook County Jail, Illinois) U.S. District Jones v. Mathai, 758 F.Supp.2d 443 (E.D.Mich. Court EXHAUSTION 2010). A prisoner brought an action against several PLRA-Prison prison officials, including a prison doctor, Litigation Reform alleging retaliation and deliberate indifference to Act his serious medical needs. The district court denied the doctor's motion to dismiss or for summary judgment. The court held that the doctor was not entitled to dismissal of the prisoner's claims alleging retaliation for failure to exhaust, where the doctor had filed two motions for summary judgment, a motion to dismiss, and a motion for reconsideration that all determined the prisoner had exhausted his claim under the requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995. (Deerfield Correctional Facility, Michigan) U.S. District Kasiem v. Switz, 756 F.Supp.2d 570 (S.D.N.Y. 2010). Court PLRA-Prison A state prisoner, proceeding pro se, brought a Litigation Reform [section] 1983 action against the New York Act EXHAUSTION Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) and prison employees, alleging violations of his rights involving the defendants' purported failure to adequately treat his claimed hearing problems and related ear pain. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants. The court held that the prisoner failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, as required under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), prior to bringing a [section] 1983 action, where any grievances possibly covering his claims were never fully exhausted or became exhausted only months after the suit was filed. (Sullivan Correction Facility, New York) U.S. Appeals Parzyck v. Prison Health Services, Inc., 627 F.3d Court PLRA-Prison 1215 (11 th Cir. 2010). A prisoner who was denied Litigation Reform an orthopedic consultation for his continual and Act...

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