AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Corrections Law for Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities
Defenses: Eleventh Amendment Immunity
A man was sentenced to 18
months of incarceration, with 560 days of credit for time served, covering the
entire incarceration period. At the sentencing hearing, the judge stated that
the defendant “may be supervised . . . if the parole board determines it is
necessary.” The board would make that determination “[b]efore [he is]
released,” and the sheriff’s office was to “process him.” The judge predicted
that the defendant will never be transported.” The sheriff failed to release
the prisoner for a couple of days after sentencing, and by the time the
judgment was filed, the sheriff had processed the prisoner to the state
Department of Corrections, where the time served credit was applied, and he was
released. In a lawsuit against the sheriff in his official capacity for false
imprisonment and violation of Fourteenth Amendment due process, a federal
appeals court upheld dismissal of all claims. While sheriffs in Ohio are
generally regarded as county policymakers, state law required him to transport
the prisoner to the Department. As he acted as an arm of the state in doing so,
he was entitled to Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity from being sued in
federal court. Jones v. Hamilton Cty. Sheriff. #16-3259, 838 F.3d 782 (6th Cir.
A Christian pretrial detainee alleged that he made a religious vow to abstain from eating meat, animal fats, or gelatin. He also refuses to eat any part of a meal that contains those items or to trade those items for acceptable food. He sued a deputy sheriff in his official capacity for refusing to agree to supply him with vegetarian meals. A federal appeals court found that the sovereign immunity of the state of Georgia from damages under the Eleventh Amendment extended to the deputy's denial of his dietary request. The county sheriff derived his powers from the state under Georgia law and was largely independent of the county, and the providing of food to county jail inmates was a state function under a Georgia statute. The deputy's functions were derived from the sheriff, so his performance as also a state function. Lake v. Skelton, #15-13124, 840 F.3d 1334 (11th Cir. 2016).
A 59-year-old African-American man civilly committed as a sexually violent predator sued state employees, claiming that he was improperly denied certain treatments for Hepatitis C. Specifically, he claimed that a doctor used an explicitly racial classification to deny him interferon and ribavirin treatment since such treatment had been largely unsuccessful on African-American males. In addition, after reviewing the plaintiff's biopsy results, the doctor told him that his Hepatitis C had not progressed to a level that would justify the harsh side effects of the requested treatment. Several years later, the plaintiff was placed on interferon and ribavirin, and the treatment was ultimately unsuccessful. Federal civil rights claims against the defendants in their individual capacities were not barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity, since that immunity only extends to claims against the state, such as claims against the defendants in their official capacities. But it was not clearly established that the use of race-related success-of-treatment data as a factor in a medical treatment decision would be unconstitutional, so the doctor was entitled to qualified immunity. Mitchell v. State of Washington, #13-36217, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 4648 (9th Cir.).
A county sheriff was not entitled to Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity from a jail prisoner's claim under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 2 U.S.C. 12132, prohibiting disability discrimination in the providing of government services and programs. The statute unambiguously abrogates such immunity. While incarcerated, the plaintiff was injured, and the medical staff placed him in a special cell where he claimed that he enjoyed fewer privileges than other inmates. Black v. Wigington, #15-10848, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 1057 (11th Cir.).
An Oregon prisoner claimed that his due process rights were violated when he was housed in an Intensive Management Unit (IMU) for twenty-seven months without periodic, meaningful review of his status. While the court agreed that the alleged conditions of confinement in the IMU implicated a protected liberty interest, claims against the state department of corrections and officials in their official capacities for damages were barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity, while claims against individuals in their individual capacities were barred by qualified immunity, as the right asserted was not clearly established at the time. Summary judgment on a claim for declaratory judgment was also properly granted when the plaintiff had subsequently been released from the IMU and there was nothing to indicate that he was likely to be subjected to the same conditions again. Brown v. Oregon Dept. of Corr., #11-35628, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 8022 (9th Cir.).
Because failure to grow a beard was considered a sin equivalent in severity to eating pork for a Muslim inmate, his lawsuit over a policy prohibiting him from growing a one-eighth inch beard stated a claim for violation of his right to religious freedom. Prison officials failed to adequately explain how their policy was justified by health or security concerns, or that they used the least restrictive means of satisfying a compelling governmental interest. Couch v. Jabe, #11-6560, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 9602 (4th Cir.).
A prisoner who belongs to the Ahlus Sunnati Wal Jama'ah faith argued that none of the services two prisons offered for three varieties of Islam (Nation of Islam, Moorish Science Temple, and Sunni) were sufficient to meet his religious needs. A federal appeals court found that individual state prison officials, since they were not personally the grant "recipients" of federal funds, could not be held individually liable under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) of 2000, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc et seq. That statute was passed under the spending power given to Congress by the Constitution. As to a claim under the First Amendment, it was not clearly established that the providing of Sunni religious services was inadequate for prisoners of his faith. Sharp v. Johnson, #08–2174, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 2560 (3rd Cir.).
A Missouri prisoner sought damages for false imprisonment, claiming that he remained incarcerated for fourteen months after the end of his sentence, because prison officials failed to credit him for time served prior to sentencing, contrary to the court's order. The state Department of Corrections was immune from a claim for damages under the Eleventh Amendment. The trial court acted erroneously, however, in dismissing the former prisoner's damage claims against individuals on the basis that his proper remedy was a habeas petition. He was not seeking release from custody, the appeals court noted, but compensation for prior unlawful confinement. Harris v. McSwain; #11-1320, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 9527 (Unpub. 8th Cir.).
A prisoner claimed that prison officials deprived him of due process in connection with a disciplinary hearing concerning his killing of another inmate. Official capacity claims were barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Individual capacity claims against a prison investigator assigned to help him were also rejected on appeal. The prisoner claimed that the investigator, to whom he had given written interrogatories for several witnesses, had violated his due process rights by delaying his access to the responses until after the disciplinary hearing. The appeals court found that the minimal due process available for a disciplinary hearing does not include access to interrogatory responses. Additionally, the prisoner had no due-process right to confront or cross-examine witnesses, "and was not even entitled to a hearing investigator." Thompson v. Stapleton, #09-1504, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 25702 (Unpub. 6th Cir.).
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Secs. 12131-12165, a federal appeals court ruled, does not validly abrogate state sovereign immunity in a lawsuit brought by disabled inmates who claimed that they were denied access to prison educational and work programs on the basis of their disabilities. The lawsuit was filed against Mississippi state prison officials in their official capacities. The court reasoned that in authorizing such claims, Congress exceeded its authority to the extent that they are not “congruent and proportional” to the enforcement of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The parties in the case agreed that none of the defendants' conduct arguably violated the Fourteenth Amendment. Hale v. King, #07-60997, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 21463 (5th Cir.).
A prisoner's cellmate attacked and killed him on the first night they were housed together. His estate filed a federal civil rights lawsuit over the alleged failure to protect him against the assault. No evidence was presented that would indicate that the individual defendants had any knowledge of the risk to the prisoner that would indicate that they acted with deliberate indifference. Additionally, as to money damage claims against state officials in their official capacities, the Texas Tort Claims Act did not waive Eleventh Amendment immunity in federal court. Walker v. Livingston, #09-20508, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 12391 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
Even if there was little need for the use of force against the prisoner, and little threat to the safety of other inmates or staff members, since the prisoner was in his cell at the time, he failed to show a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. The officer only struck him once and merely inflamed an old injury, causing the prisoner's finger to become swollen. The minor amount of force used, the minor resulting injury, and a finding that the officer did not act in a sadistic or malicious manner supported the dismissal of individual capacity claims against the officer for excessive use of force. The court also rejected the argument that official capacity claims, which were barred by the Eleventh Amendment, could be pursued because of the state of Pennsylvania's waiver of sovereign immunity for claims involving state property. The court did not agree with the prisoner's argument that inmates such as himself were state property, as the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits human beings from being property. Matthews v. Villella, #4:08-CV-0964, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 8858 (M.D. Pa.).
A medical service that provided care to prisoners failed to show that it was an arm of the state of Delaware for purposes of asserting Eleventh Amendment immunity from a lawsuit for damages arising out of the successful suicide of a prisoner with psychiatric problems after he was removed from suicide watch and placed on a less restrictive watch status. The medical service was a corporate entity, was not exempt from state taxation, and there was no showing that a judgment against it would be paid out of state funds. The defendant also failed to show that it was entitled to state law tort immunity. Lamb v. Taylor, #08-324, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 26853 (D. Del.).
A prisoner could proceed with his claims that a captain slammed his head and face into a concrete sidewalk, rendering him unconscious. If the prisoner's version of the incident were believed, it established the excessive use of force. On claims against the captain in his official capacity and against the correctional center, the defendants were entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity because these were essentially claims against the State of Louisiana. Cain v. White, #08-1015, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 23322 (W.D. La.).
State prison officials sued in their individual capacities were entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. The prisoner also failed to show that three defendants did anything other than deny a grievance, which did not suffice to show personal participation in the alleged violation of his rights. Supervisory officials could not be held liable for problems with the inmate's medical treatment solely on the basis of knowledge of his medical grievances and history. Preble v. Milyard, Civil Action No. 07-cv-01361, 2008 U.S. District Lexis 81316 (D. Colo.).
The state of Louisiana was immune, under the Eleventh Amendment, from a prisoner's lawsuit claiming that his exposure to occasional second-hand smoke while housed in a non-smoking dormitory aggravated his bronchitis, causing him to gasp for breath and suffer nausea. Evidence also showed that violators of the dormitory's non-smoking policy were disciplined, and that the plaintiff's "sporadic" exposure to second-hand smoke did not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation. Robinson v. Louisiana, Civil Action No. 05-1016, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 88604 (M.D. La.).
Prisoner allegedly denied non-mandatory medicine for arthritis during a jail lockdown failed to show that individual defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, so that individual defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. Claims against state agencies were barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity. Mayes v. Issac, No. 07-51013, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 20555 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
Federal magistrate finds that Congress, in passing the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc, did not unequivocally waive state immunity from suits for damages, so that an inmate's claim for damages against an official in his official capacity was barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity, and a claim for money damages was not available under the Act against a prison official in his individual capacity. On the prisoner's claim for alleged violation of his First Amendment rights to religious freedom by denying his request to purchase an ankh cross, however, the magistrate found that 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e did not bar punitive damages because punitive damages are not for mental or emotional injury. Additionally, even if he were seeking damages for mental or emotional injury, those damages would potentially be recoverable because Sec. 1997e does not apply to First Amendment claims. Porter v. Caruso, No. 1:05-CV-562, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 64347 (W.D. Mich.).
Prisoner could not seek to impose civil liability on South Carolina correctional officials in their official capacities, as such claims were essential claims for money damages against the state. The prisoner could continue to pursue individual capacity claims against the defendants for alleged excessive use of force in the course of a search of the prisoner's cell. Frost v. Ozmint, No. 8:07-83, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 15784 (D.S.C.).
A prisoner with a hearing impairment could not recover damages for any alleged emotional injury he suffered from the failure of a Nebraska prison to provide him with visual alarms and assistive communication devices in the segregation unit he was housed in, because he did not assert any claim for physical injuries are required by 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(e). His claims for damages against the State of Nebraska for disability discrimination were further barred by the Eleventh Amendment. The prisoner could, however, amend his complaint to seek injunctive or other equitable relief. If he did not do so, his lawsuit would be dismissed. Stainbrook v. Houston, No. 4:07CV3196, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 81195 (D. Neb.).
A Maine state prison, as an agency of the state, could not be sued for damages under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 for alleged use of excessive force against a prisoner, because of Eleventh Amendment Immunity, and the fact that the state is not a "person" subject to such liability. To the extent that there could arguably be a state law claim against the prison, there was no showing that the state had waived its 11th Amendment immunity from a suit in federal court. Additionally, the prison could not be held vicariously liable under federal law for the actions of a prison officer on the basis that it was his employer. Warren v. Maine State Prison, No. CV-07-24, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 42982 (D. Maine).
The use of a Taser® against a prisoner is not, by itself, a violation of constitutional rights when it is used to obtain his obedience, and the plaintiff prisoner did not prove that its use against him was objectively unreasonable under the circumstances. A correctional officer was therefore entitled to qualified immunity on the prisoner's claims against him individually. The prisoner had just suffered minor injuries during an altercation with officers while receiving his medication. He subsequently refused to obey orders to sit on his bunk while officers re-entered his cell to retrieve some dropped keys, and the Taser® was used against him to compel his compliance, after which the keys were retrieved, and a nurse entered the cell to provide medical assistance. Claims against the officer in his official capacity were barred by the Eleventh Amendment, as the state of Kansas had not waived its immunity against federal civil rights lawsuits for damages under the general language of a state statute, Kan. Stat. Ann. Sec. 19-811. Hunter v. Young, No. 06-3371, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 13886 (10th Cir.).
Florida State Department of Corrections was entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity against prisoner's claim that he was provided with inadequate medical care and treatment. Claims against a doctor failed to show deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, as even the inmate admitted that he was provided with a special relief cream for his arthritis when he complained of pain, along with anti-inflammatory medication and an order barring him from standing for longer than ten minutes. He also did not even claim that these specific treatments failed to help him, and only complained that he was denied special boots, which he claimed were needed for his arthritis. Leonard v. Dept. of Corrections, State of Florida, No. 06-11223, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 9691 (11th Cir.).
State of Wisconsin was entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity in federal court against a lawsuit by a county seeking to recover expenses that occurred while jailing a fugitive awaiting extradition. The state never made an express waiver of its immunity to suit in federal suit which would apply in these circumstances. Charles County v. State of Wisconsin, No. 05-2808, 447 F.3d 1055 (8th Cir. 2006) [N/R]
Los Angeles County Sheriff, in establishing policies concerning the assignment of detainees at the jail was carrying out state law enforcement functions rather than acting as a county policymaker, and the county therefore could not be held liable for injuries a detainee allegedly suffered because he was placed in close proximity to other prisoners who threatened and assaulted him. The sheriff was entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. Bougere v. County of Los Angeles, No. B183930 2006 Cal. App. Lexis 1065, 141 Cal. App. 4th 237 (Cal. 2d App. Dist. 2006) [2006 JB Sep]
The waiver of sovereign immunity by Pennsylvania under state law for dangerous conditions on governmental property did not apply to a Pennsylvania prisoner's lawsuit against the state in federal court asserting a state law negligence claim for injuries he allegedly suffered when his Achilles tendon was torn by a pipe protruding from his cell floor. The statute containing the waiver itself said that it did not waive the state's Eleventh Amendment immunity, preventing it from being sued for damages in federal court. Prisoner also failed to show that prison officials acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs following his injuries, as required for a federal civil rights claim. Brooks v. Beard, No. 05-3196, 167 Fed. Appx. 923 (3rd Cir. 2006). [N/R]
U.S. Supreme Court rules that states and state agencies can be sued for damages for disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to the extent that a disabled prisoner asserts a claim for conduct that actually violates constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment. U.S. v. Georgia, No. 04-1203, 04-1236 126 S. Ct. 877 (2006). [2006 JB Mar]
State correctional official sued in her official capacity was immune under the Eleventh Amendment from claims for money damages for alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132, but the State of Michigan waived any Eleventh Amendment immunity from disability discrimination damage claims under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 794, when it accepted federal funds for its corrections department. Deaf inmate stated a possible claim for disability discrimination by alleging that he was denied access to a device which would let him communicate by telephone on a basis comparableto the telephone access given to hearing inmates. Tanney v. Boles, No. 04-71260, 400 F. Supp. 2d 1027 (E.D. Mich. 2005). [N/R]
State correctional agencies were immune from a federal civil rights lawsuit for damages under the Eleventh Amendment as they are not "persons" for purposes of claims under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. Plaintiff prisoner also failed to show that individual correctional officers he sued were individually liable for alleged violations of his rights, since there was no proof that the claimed denial of access to the court resulted in any prejudice to a particular non-frivolous legal claim, and an officer who opened his legal mail did so solely for the purpose of looking for contraband and did so in the prisoner's presence. Kelley v. DiPaola, No. CIV.A.04-11192, 379 F. Supp. 2d 96 (D. Mass. 2005). [N/R]
Blind inmate's disability discrimination damage claims against the State of New Jersey, which did not involve a denial of access to the courts, but rather denial of talking books, a talking watch, and a walking cane, were barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Cochran v. Pinchak, No. 02-1047, 401 F.3d 184 (3d Cir. 2005). [2005 JB Jun]
Muslim prisoner's federal civil rights lawsuit against state correctional authorities in their official capacity, claiming that they violated his right to religious freedom and equal protection of law by failing to provide him with ritually slaughtered meat while providing kosher meals to Jewish inmates was barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity. His lawsuit against the defendants in their official capacity was, in essence, a lawsuit against the State itself, and the State of Kansas had not waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity. The prisoner failed to sue the defendants, the Secretary of the state Department of Corrections, and the warden, in their individual capacities. Johnson v. Simmons, No. CIV.A.02-3020, 338 F. Supp. 2d 1241 (D. Kan. 2004). [N/R]
A county juvenile training facility was not entitled to Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity against liability in a federal civil rights lawsuit concerning the alleged failure to adequately train employees and failure to investigate and prevent sexual abuse committed against one juvenile resident by another. The facility was not an arm of the state, because the county rather than the state would be responsible for paying any damage award against the facility, even though the facility was built pursuant to a state statutory scheme concerning juveniles found to be delinquent, dependent, abused, unruly or neglected, as well as juvenile traffic offenders. S.J. v. Hamilton County, Ohio, No. 02-3852, 374 F.3d 416 (6th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Federal trial court reinstates prisoner's disability discrimination case against prison officials under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq. claiming that his rights were violated when he was denied the services of an aide to take him to the law library, school, recreation and the barbershop. The prisoner uses a wheelchair because of severe osteoarthritis in his hips, and the trial court originally dismissed the ADA claim on the basis of them being barred by sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment because his claim was against state officials. The claim was reinstated on the basis of Tennessee v. Lane, #02-1667, 124 S. Ct. 1978 (2004), finding that Congress expressed its intent to abrogate Eleventh Amendment immunity unequivocally when it wrote the ADA and that it had the power to enact at least that portion of it that applies to cases implicating the fundamental right of access to the courts. Flakes v. Frank, 322 F. Supp. 2d 981 (W.D. Wis. 2004). [N/R]
Prisoner's negligence claims against state prison officials in their official capacity in federal court seeking money damages but not injunctive relief were barred by the Eleventh Amendment. The enactment of the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, M.G.L.A. ch. 258 Sec. 1 et seq., did not waive the state's Eleventh Amendment immunity in federal court. Tort Claims Act's provisions barred negligence claims against correctional officials in their individual capacities. Caisse v. Dubois, No. 3-1176, 346 F.3d 313 (1st Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Iowa State Tort Claims Act, I.C.A. Sec. 669.4, providing a limited waiver of sovereign immunity to lawsuits brought in state courts, did not expressly waive Eleventh Amendment immunity of the state and state agencies for purposes of detainee's suit against the state mental hospital, among other defendants, in federal court. Tinius v. Carroll County Sheriff Department, 255 F. Supp. 2d 971 (N.D. Iowa 2003). [N/R]
Eleventh Amendment immunity barred prisoner's claims against state probation board and prisons, as Pennsylvania did not waive its immunity for purposes of federal civil rights lawsuits, Congress did not abrogate state immunity in general, and plaintiff did not seek relief against state officers in their individual capacities. Berthesi v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation, 246 F. Supp. 2d 434 (E.D. Pa. 2003). [N/R]
Georgia sheriffs held to be an "arm of the State" in establishing "use-of-force" policy for county jails, and therefore entitled, in their official capacity, to Eleventh Amendment immunity from liability. Sheriff was not subject to federal civil rights lawsuit for damages for alleged assault on a detainee by deputy and a police officer after the arresting officer stated that the prisoner had previously struck him. Manders v. Lee, #01-13606, 338 F.3d 1304 (11th Cir. 2003). [2003 JB Oct]
Recipients of collect calls from Ohio inmates could pursue their claim against counties and telecommunications providers that rates were so unreasonably high as to violate their equal protection right to fundamental freedom of speech and association. Claims against the State of Ohio were barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity, and anti-trust and telecommunications statute claims were not viable. McGuire v. Ameritech Services, Inc., 253 F. Supp. 2d 988 (S.D. Ohio 2003). [2003 JB Aug]
New York State Department of Corrections (DOCS) was immune under the Eleventh Amendment from a state prisoner's federal civil rights lawsuit challenging prison conditions. Claims against prison superintendent and two guards were also dismissed because of failure to prisoner to exhaust available administrative remedies, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(a). Miller v. New York State Department of Corrections, 217 F. Supp. 2d 391 (S.D.N.Y. 2002).[N/R]
District of Columbia correctional officials could not assert an Eleventh Amendment immunity defense in a federal civil rights claim filed against them in their official capacity by a prisoner. Eleventh Amendment immunity only applies to states, and the District of Columbia is not a state. Jones v. Barry, #01-2092, 33 Fed. Appx. 967 (10th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
Federal appeals court rules that Congress did not properly abrogate states' Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit in enacting disability discrimination statutes concerning public services. Eleventh Amendment immunity barred mentally ill prisoners' class action lawsuit against Louisiana state correctional department for purported violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act. Reickenbacker v. Foster, #00-31121, 274 F.3d 974 (5th Cir. 2001). [2002 JB May]
Connecticut state Department of Corrections was immune from a state prisoner's federal civil rights lawsuit for alleged violation of his Eighth Amendment right to be free from deliberate indifference to his medical needs, but a state statute, C.G.S.A. Sec. 4-165, that provides personal immunity for state employees could not be used to shield them from claims for violation of federal law. Torrence v. Pelkey, 164 F. Supp. 2d 264 (D. Conn. 2001). [N/R]
Inmate's claims that state department of corrections violated state labor laws by failing to compensate inmates adequately for work assignments and refusal to allow them to bargain collectively were barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity, as were his claim that his rights were violated when he was locked in his cell for twenty days under keep-lock conditions when ammunition was found in several areas of the prison accessible to inmates. Bryant v. N.Y. State Department of Correction Services, 146 F. Supp. 2d 422 (S.D.N.Y. 2001). [N/R]
Prisoner failed to state a claim against the State of Mississippi under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 for money damages as states and state agencies are not "persons" subject to such liability under the statute. Lofton v. United States, #2000-CP-00671-SCT, 785 So. 2d 287 (Miss. 2001). [N/R]
297:132 Federal appeals court rules that Los Angeles County sheriff's department, in checking records to determine when prisoners are to be released, acts on behalf of the county whose jails it administers, and not as an "arm of the state," and therefore is not entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity in lawsuit by former prisoners claiming that they were improperly detained for longer time periods. Streit v. County of Los Angeles, #99-55897, 236 F.3d 552 (9th Cir. 2001).
291:35 U.S. Supreme Court rules that Congress exceeded its authority by attempting to make employment discrimination provisions of Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) applicable to state government; employees can no longer sue states under this federal statute for money damages for disability discrimination. Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama v. Garrett, #99-1240, 531 U.S. 356 (2001).
265:4 State was not entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but African-American employees suffering from skin condition requiring them to wear beards did not have a disability for purposes of ADA. Seaborn v. State of Fla. Dept. of Corrections, #97-2855, 143 F.3d 1405 (11th Cir. 1998).
253:3 Correctional officer liable for $175,000 for shooting prisoner to break up altercation and prison doctor liable for $50,000 for medical malpractice for treatment of prisoner's wounds; fact that state of California would indemnify defendants for damages did not render lawsuit one against the state, so defendants were not entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity in federal court. Ashker v. Calif. Depart. of Corrections, 112 F.3d 992 (9th Cir. 1997).
[N/R] Eleventh Amendment barred claims for money damages in federal court against state of Indiana and its Department of Corrections. Lembach v. State of Indiana, 987 F.Supp. 1095 (N.D. Ind. 1997).
[N/R] Eleventh Amendment barred prisoner's damage claims against state prison officials in their official capacity, but not his claims for injunctive relief. Ganther v. Ingle, 75 F.3d 207 (5th Cir. 1996).
230:26 Lawsuit against prison officials and guards by prisoner allegedly raped by HIV positive cellmate should not have been dismissed as frivolous, despite his failure to specify required mental state of individuals or name of guard who allegedly stood by and failed to intervene during rape. Billman v. Indiana Dept. of Corrections, 56 F.3d 785 (7th Cir. 1995).
230:25 Seizure and loss or destruction of prisoner's Koran, Islamic prayer shawl, and other religious items did not violate his right to exercise his religion; prison had valid regulation allowing only prisoners who designated themselves a member of a religious group to possess such items, and prisoner did not do so.Caffey v. Johnson, 883 F.Supp. 128 (E.D. Tex. 1995).
229:8 In suit over death of inmate allegedly shot to death by correctional officer, Eleventh Amendment barred state law damage claims from being asserted by plaintiffs in federal court when damages, if awarded, would ultimately be paid by state. Gaston v. Colio, 883 F.Supp. 508 (S.D. Cal. 1995).
States and state agencies or "entities" may immediately appeal trial court denials of Eleventh Amendment immunity claims; Eleventh Amendment provides not only a defense to liability, but an immunity to suit, including the burdens of discovery and trial. Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority v. Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., 113 S.Ct. 684 (1993).
Federal appeals court holds that civil rights claims brought against a state or state agency directly under Sec. 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment are barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity. Santiago v. NYS Dept. of Correctional Services, 945 F.2d 25 (2nd Cir. 1991).
Prison warden sued in his individual capacity for alleged violation of inmate's right to medical treatment was not entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity, even if he was acting in his official capacity when the alleged incident occurred. Harrington v. Grayson, 764 F.Supp. 464 (E.D. Mich. 1991).