U.S. Appeals Court Christian v. Wagner, 623 F.3d 608 (8th MEDICAL CARE Cir. 2010). A pretrial detainee brought a [section] 1983 action against jail officials and employees, alleging a due process violation arising out of his exposure to a cleaning solvent. After a jury found in favor of the defendants, the district court denied the detainee's motion for a new trial or judgment as a matter of law. The detainee appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that the jury could reasonably find that the detainee failed to show mat a physician or other medical personnel had diagnosed him with a serious medical need while incarcerated, as would support a finding that such need was objectively serious. The court noted that medical personnel who examined the detainee found no objective evidence supporting a diagnosis, and the record did not contain a medical order to jail employees. The court also held that evidence supported the finding that me detainee's need for medical attention was not so obvious that a layperson must have recognized it, as would support a finding that such need was objectively serious. According to the court, the detainee's testimony that he informed jail employees that he coughed up blood and experienced difficulty breathing was corroborated only by his mother, whereas several jail employees testified they did not observe the detainee suffering adverse reactions to cleaning solutions and had no recollection of his complaining of a medical problem. (Johnson County Jail, Iowa) U.S. Appeals Court Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders SEARCHES of County of Burlington, 621 F.3d 296 (3rd Cir. 2010). Affirmed 132 S.Ct. 1510 (2012). A non-indictable arrestee brought a class action pursuant to [section] 1983 against two jails, alleging a strip search violated die Fourth Amendment. After granting the motion for class certification, the district court granted the arrestee's motion for summary judgment, denied his motion for a preliminary injunction and denied the jails' motions for qualified and Eleventh Amendment immunity. The jails appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded. The appeals court held mat as a matter of first impression in the circuit, the jails' policy of conducting strip searches of all arrestees upon their admission into the general prison population was reasonable. The court found that jails were not required to provide evidence of attempted smuggling or discovered contraband as justification for the strip search policy. According to the court, the decision to conduct strip searches, rather man use a body scanning chair, was reasonable. The court noted that the chair would not detect non-metallic contraband like drugs, and there was no evidence regarding the efficacy of the chair in detecting metallic objects. The appeals court decision was affirmed by the United States Supreme Court in 2012 (132 S.Ct. 1510). (Burlington County Jail, Essex County Correctional Facility, New Jersey) U.S. District Court Ford v. Clarke, 746 F.Supp.2d 273 CLASSIFICATION DUE (D.Mass. 2010). An inmate brought an PROCESS DISCIPLINE action challenging his confinement in a Departmental Disciplinary Unit (DDU) at a prison while a pretrial detainee and, later, as a convicted felon serving his sentence. The Department of Corrections' employees filed a motion for summary judgment, which die court allowed in part and denied in part. The court held that the detainee's incarceration in the DDU was intended as punishment, and thus, the Department of Corrections violated the detainee's substantive due process rights. According to die court, the Deputy Commissioner of the Prison Division of Department of Corrections stated, when he placed the pretrial detainee in DDU after his criminal sentence had been completed, that it was meant as punishment and deterrence, as well as for the safety and security of the institution and staff. The detainee's confinement in DDU was imposed as part of 10-year disciplinary sanction that he had received while serving his prior criminal sentence, and the Commissioner never reassessed the detainee's direat to the institution or others, but, instead relied on conduct which had occurred years earlier. According to the court, the detainee retained a liberty interest in freedom from disciplinary confinement without due process, even after he pled guilty and was sentenced, and thus, the Deputy Commissioner of Correction's failure to provide the detainee wim any procedural protections at the time he was returned to DDU as a pretrial detainee, or at the time he was placed in the DDU as a convicted prisoner, violated his procedural due process rights. (Departmental Disciplinary Unit MCI-Cedar Junction, Massachusetts) U.S. Appeals Court Forrest v. Prine, 620 F.3d 739 (7th Cir. SEARCHES USE OF 2010). A pretrial detainee brought a FORCE [section] 1983 action against a police officer alleging the officer used excessive force against him when he used a stun gun in a holding cell. The district court entered summary judgment for the officer. The detainee appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that the officer did not violate the pretrial detainee's right to be free of Ulegal search and seizure when he used a stun gun on the detainee while attempting to conduct a strip search in a holding cell following the detainee's arrest. The court held that the officer's decision to use the stun gun on the detainee did not violate the detainee's due process guarantees, where the officer was aware that die detainee had attacked another officer earlier in the night, and the detainee appeared to be intoxicated. The court noted that the detainee was a relatively large man confined in an enclosed space of relatively small area, and he was facing the officer, pacing in the cell, clenching his fists, and yelling obscenities in response to orders to comply with the strip search policy. (Rock Island County Jail, Illinois) U.S. Appeals Court Department of Agriculture's Dietary MEDICAL CARE Guidelines for Americans. The district CONDITIONS court had held that air temperatures above 85 degrees greatly increased the risk of heat-related illnesses for individuals taking psychotropic medications, and thus that the Eighth Amendment prohibited housing such detainees in areas where the temperature exceeded 85 degrees. (Maricopa County Jail, Maricopa County Supervisors, Arizona) U.S. District Court Hunt ex rel. Chiovah v. Dart, 754 USE OF FORCE FAILURE F.Supp.2d 962 (N.D.I11. 2010). A pretrial TO PROTECT detainee's estate brought a civil rights action against a sheriff, whose actions allegedly led to the deadi 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 diat 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. Appeals Court Jones v. Muskegon County, 625 F.3d 935 MEDICAL CARE (6th Cir. 2010). A father, as die personal representative of the estate of a deceased pretrial detainee, brought an action against a county and various corrections officers and medical staff, alleging constitutional claims pursuant to [section] 1983, gross negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The district court granted the defendants' motions for summary judgment. The father appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded. The court held that assignment charts listing corrections officers assigned to the pretrial detainee's area during die period in which his health deteriorated, and affidavits from other detainees who witnessed his deterioration and the officers' alleged failure to the assist detainee, were insufficient to create a fact issue as to whether the officers were deliberately indifferent towards the detainee's serious medical needs in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court noted that the affidavits referred to "guards" in a general sense without specifying wrongdoing attributable to any particular officer, and did not specify which officers observed the detainee's deterioration or ignored his requests for medical care. The court found that a correctional officer's failure to immediately call an ambulance upon observing die pretrial detainee's deteriorating health condition was not deliberate indifference towards his serious medical needs as would violate the Fourteenth Amendment, where the officer believed the decision to call an ambulance was not hers to make but was command's, and the officer attended to die detainee's medical needs and made efforts to make him more comfortable. But the court found that summary judgment was precluded by a genuine issue of material fact as to whether prison nurses were aware of me risk to the pretrial detainee's health and chose to disregard the risk, and whether the prison nurses were grossly negligent under Michigan law as to the pretrial detainee's medical care. (Muskegon County Jail, Michigan) U.S. District Court Lum v. County of San Joaquin, 756 FAILURE TO PROTECT F.Supp.2d 1243 (E.D.Cal. 2010). An WRONGFUL DEATH arrestee's survivors brought an action RELEASE MEDICAL CARE against a county, city, and several city and county employees, alleging [section] 1983 claims for various civil rights violations and a state law claim for wrongful death arising from the arrestee's accidental drowning after his release from the county jail...
Part two: case summaries by major topic.
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