AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Corrections Law for Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities
Back to list of subjects Back to Legal Publications Menu
Prisoner Assault By Inmates
Monthly Law Journal
Liability for Prisoner Assault by Inmates, 2007 (5) AELE Mo. L.J.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Transsexual Prisoners: Protection From Assault, 2009 (7) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Prisoners with HIV/AIDS. Part 2, 2014 (3) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
trial court acted erroneously in dismissing a pro se handwritten complaint
by a prisoner with a third-grade education for failure to state a claim.
He claimed that he was savagely attacked while on his way to the dining
hall by another prisoner who had been threatening him. He claimed that
the attack occurred because he was not a gang member and not a Muslim and
was housed in a unit in which gang members ruled, weapons were tolerated,
and violence was widespread. He also claimed to have asked officials to
move him, but to no avail. The appeals court found that the allegations
in the complaint were sufficient to make out a claim that the defendants
were aware of the severe risk of harm. The prisoner would be allowed to
amend his complaint. Lane v. Philbin, #14-11140, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 15797,
26 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 723 (11th Cir.).
After a prisoner was beaten to death by his cellmate, his estate sued, claiming that the decedent's Eighth Amendment rights were violated when he was housed with that cellmate. While upholding qualified immunity for other defendants, the appeals court reversed as to a deputy warden and a corrections officer. These two defendants allegedly knew from the population chart and cell checklist that the cellmate, a convicted murderer, was designated as a Level III mental health inmate who had previously been transferred to the lock-down segregation unit for disciplinary, protected custody. and mentally ill prisoners after assaulting his former cellmate. They also allegedly were aware of the cellmate's severe paranoid schizophrenia, his delusions, and his violent impulses. Bowen v. Warden, #15-11109, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 11298, 26 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 431 (11th Cir.).
Genuine issues of material fact precluded summary judgment for correctional officers on a prisoner's claim that they failed to protect him from a severe beating by another inmate. A reasonable jury could find that the correctional officers knew that the plaintiff faced a serious danger to his safety and could have easily averted the danger but failed to do so. There was evidence that the inmate repeatedly informed the officers that he was being threatened and robbed, and feared for his safety. Cox v. Quinn, #15-6943, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 12444 (4th Cir.).
A federal prisoner sued the U.S. government under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. 1346(b), claiming that he was severely beaten by another prisoner because of negligence by prison officials. The defendants were granted summary judgment under an exception to liability under the Act for “[a]ny claim based upon . . . the exercise or performance . . . [of] a discretionary function," in this case decided where to house inmates. While that lawsuit was pending, the prisoner filed a second claim asserting constitutional claims against prison employees arising out of the first incident. The first lawsuit was dismissed based on the discretionary function, and the second suit was then dismissed based on the first suit's dismissal. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this was improper. The trial court did not dismiss the first suit based on a finding that the employees were not negligent, but only based on an exception to the FTCA as to federal government liability. That had no bearing on the issue of whether employees could be liable instead on a constitutional claim. Simmons v. Himmelreich, #15-109, 2016 U.S. Lexis 3613.
A prisoner in the mental health ward of a county jail died as a result of being beaten and stabbed by his cellmate. His estate sued, claiming that the county and jail personnel acted with deliberate indifference to the decedent's safety. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants knew or should have known about the dangerous violent propensities of the cellmate, but disregarded the risk by placing him in the decedent's cell and by failing to adequately respond to the resulting attack. A federal appeals court, upholding a denial of summary judgment to the individual defendants, found that a reasonable jury could find that jail personnel were aware of the risk of the attack and had actually heard the assault and decided not to respond. Richko v. Wayne County, #15-1524, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 6835, 2016 Fed. App. 93P (6th Cir.).
A former gang member was attacked by other inmates and left permanently disabled and confined to a wheelchair. He was told that he had been targeted because his assailants thought he was a pedophile. He learned that his prison records had reference to the Adam Walsh Act, 42 U.S.C. 16901–91, creating a national sex offender registry, although his convictions were actually for other crimes. He filed a grievance asking that his prison records be corrected, and that he be placed in segregation because he heard that inmates at a new facility he had been transferred to were planning to attack him. He was assigned to a wheelchair accessible cell, but was attacked by his cellmate within a month over his "Walsh Act stuff." When he filed a grievance and objected to a new proposed cellmate, guards allegedly took him to a non-accessible cell and refused to help him to the toilet. Subsequently, he was found lying on the floor near the toilet, suffering a sprained spine, a shoulder contusion, and head lacerations. A federal appeals court vacated the dismissal of his First Amendment retaliation claim and an Eighth Amendment claim that a guard was implementing a policy of moving every prisoner who objects to a new cellmate, for the purpose of deterring prisoners from attempting to reserve one-person cells. Herron v. Meyer, #15-1659, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 7472 (7th Cir.).
Since the plaintiff prisoner alleged facts that, if true, would show that the Prison Housing Manager who failed to grant his transfer request had actual knowledge of an excessive risk to his safety, granting the defendant summary judgment on a claim for failing to protect the plaintiff against an attack carried out by his cellmate was erroneous. Raynor v. Pugh, #14-7746, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 4877 (4th Cir.).
An Indiana inmate sued prison staff members for allegedly failing to protect him from assault by other inmates who threw feces at him on four occasions over a two-year period. The trial court dismissed the lawsuit for failure to exhaust available administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform (PLRA) by pursuing grievances. The prisoner claimed, however, that prison staff members had interfered with his filing of formal grievances. A federal appeals court found that summary judgment had been improper for three of the four incidents--in one case, prison staff had returned his grievance form unprocessed, and in two other instances, he asked his counselor and unit manager for a grievance form but they refused to do so, even though they were responsible for giving him such a form upon request. The plaintiff failed to properly exhaust available administrative remedies as to the remaining incident, however, since he had failed to resubmit his formal grievance form to correct the statement that he had accepted an informal resolution; Hill v. Snyder, #15-2607, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 6206 (7th Cir.).
An Illinois prisoner sued three prison officials for failing to protect him from an attack by his cellmate, who stabbed him with a pen. A federal appeals court reversed summary judgment for the defendants. If a jury believed the prisoner's allegation that he alerted each of the defendant's of his cellmate's threats to stab him, a reasonable jury could find that they were aware of the danger posed to him. Gevas v. McLaughlin, #13-1057, 798 F.3d 475 (7th Cir. 2015).
A prisoner failed to show that prison officials were aware of a substantial risk of harm to him in the time leading up to his injuries in a prison riot to impose liability. But he did adequately show a basis for moving forward on an Eighth Amendment claim relating to his alleged conditions of confinement in the hospital for his injuries for a three day period. A deputy warden was not entitled to qualified immunity, as it was clearly established that forcing a prisoner to soil himself over several days while chained in a hospital bed could create an "obvious health risk," and constituted "an affront to human dignity." Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(e), however, the plaintiff could not recover compensatory or punitive damages in the absence of a claim of physical injury resulting from the hospital stay, but could seek nominal damages for an Eighth Amendment violation. Brooks v. Warden, #13-14437, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 15696 (11th Cir.).
A pretrial detainee in a county jail was attacked and stabbed. He claimed that his cries for help were ignored by an unidentified guard standing 10-15 feet away. He suffered injuries including severe nerve damage and an eye socket fracture that may lead to blindness. His lawsuit claimed that the jail failed to create or enforce policies necessary to protect detainees against attacks by other detainees and prisoners. The lawyer for the defense sent the plaintiff letters demanding that he sign a release to permit access to all his health records since his birth in 1977, including records with no apparent relevance to the lawsuit, such as records relating to venereal disease, AIDS and HIV, as well as allowing the disclosure of those records to persons not involved in the attack, injuries, or resulting medical treatment. When the plaintiff argued that the release should be limited to the hospital at which he was treated after the attack, the defense moved the court to dismiss the lawsuit for failure to prosecute. The court then dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice without any explanation and without waiting for a reply from the plaintiff. It also dismissed the plaintiff's motion for appointment of a lawyer, which had been pending for two months, as moot. Calling the dismissal under these circumstances "a miscarriage of justice," a federal appeals court vacated it, ordering further proceedings. Reyes v. Dart, #14-3441, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 16475 (7th Cir.).
The mother of a juvenile allegedly beaten to death by other residents at a juvenile detention facility sued the Districrt of Columbia, claiming that th death occurred because the facility was overcrowded and understaffed, that deliberate indifference was shown towards her son's safety, and that the District was negligent in hiring, training, and supervising its employees at the detention center in violation of District of Columbia tort law, the Eighth Amendment, and 42 U.S.C. 1983. A federal appeals court vacated the trial court's grant of summary judgment to the defendant and its denial of the plaintiff's motion to disqualify the Attorney General of the District of Columbia as the counsel for the defendant because of an alleged conflict of interest. The appeals court ruled that the trial court should have resolved the motion to disqualify before determining the merits of any dispositive motion, such as one for summary judgment, since the motion to disqualify called into question the integrity of the process in which the allegedly conflicted counsel participated. The plaintiff mother raised at least a plausible claim of conflict of interest, and the trial court did not consider the merits of her motion, instead granting summary judgment first and then denying the motion to disqualify as moot. Before becoming Attorney General, the counsel for the District had represented a class of detainees that included the decedent, on claims against the District for alleged overcrowding of its detention facilities and resulting unsafe conditions. Grimes v. District of Columbi, #13-7038, 794 F.3d 83 (D.C. Cir. 2015).
An arrestee claimed that he was "savagely" attacked by another intoxicated arrestee when they were both placed in a "sobering" cell by employees of the sheriff's department. A jury entered a verdict against both individual defendants and the county. A total of $2,605,632.02 in damages was awarded. Based on the jury's findings, the parties later stipulated to $840,000 in attorney fees, $12,000 in punitive damages against one jailer, and $6,000 in punitive damages against a second jailer. A federal appeals court rejected the claim that the individual defendants were entitled to qualified immunity as there was evidence from which the jury could have concluded that the jailers had been deliberately indifferent to the clearly established duty to protect the plaintiff against a substantial risk of harm, including evidence that one defendant had disregarded the plaintiff's pounding on the cell door at the time of the attack, while the other had placed the two arrestees in the same cell despite the fact that separate cells were then available. As to the jury's award of punitive damages, once a finding of deliberate indifference was reached, no additional evidence was needed to make a finding of "reckless disregard." The award against the county, however, was reversed as there was no evidence that the county had actual knowledge of the risk to the plaintiff's safety. Castro v. County of Los Angeles, #12-56829, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 7240 (9th Cir.).
An immigration detainee was being held at a county facility at the direction of federal immigration authorities. She sued both federal and county defendants for failing to protect her from attack by another detainee who threw a lightweight plastic chair at her, allegedly after she had reported prior threats to a correctional sergeant and an immigration agent. The plaintiff failed to establish that her statements made the immigration agent aware of facts from which an inference of a substantial risk of serious harm existed. The sergeant was also entitled to summary judgment as a reasonable jury could not find that a little red mark on the plaintiff's cheek resulting from the attack was objectively serious, particularly as the plaintiff did not seek medical attention, and the injury was treated with one pain pill. Chavero-Linares v. Smith, #13-3532, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 5931 (8th Cir.).
A D.C. prisoner was incarcerated for over two decades in both federal and state prisons on a conviction for raping and robbing a woman in 1981 when he was 18. After his parole, he was required to register as a sex offender, limiting his employment, housing, and other opportunities. During his incarceration, he suffered multiple instances of several sexual and physical assaults, and contracted HIV. In 2012, at the age of 50, he was exonerated and determined to be actually innocent of the robbery and rape, based on DNA evidence. He reached a settlement of claims against the federal government under the Unjust Convictions Act, 28 U.S.C. Secs. 1495 and 2513, and the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2671 et seq. of $1,128,082.19, based on $50,000 times the 22.56 years he was incarcerated. Continuing to pursue his claims against the District of Columbia under the D.C. Unjust Imprisonment Act, D.C. Code Sec. 2-421 et. seq., he was awarded $9,154,500 in damages for wrongful conviction, unjust imprisonment, sexual and physical assaults, contracting HIV, lost income, and physical and psychological injuries. A D.C. court found that his wrongful conviction and unjust imprisonment had been a proximate cause of all these damages. It also rejected an argument that D.C. was entitled to an offset from the award for the amount of the plaintiff's settlement with the federal government. Odom v. District of Columbia, #2013-CA-3239, 2015 D.C. Super. Lexis 2.
A prisoner claimed that he had been repeatedly sexually and physically assaulted by his cellmate and the cellmate's gang associates, that he lodged multiple complaints about this, but that six prison officials acted with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of injury to him. The trial court ruled that his claims failed because the defendant officials did not actually know about the risk. A federal appeals court vacated this judgment as to three defendants, ordering reconsideration. The appeals court stated that the subjective "actual knowledge required for a finding of deliberate indifference can be proved by "circumstantial" evidence, and that prison officials can be held liable when a risk is "so obvious" that it had to be known. The plaintiff was a short, middle-aged prisoner with both mental and physical problems that made him vulnerable to attacks and harassment. Since the trial court applied the wrong legal framework in considering this, further proceedings were required. The prisoner failed to preserve his objection to the dismissal of his claims against three other defendants. Makdessi v. Lt. Fields, #13-7606, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 3883 (4th Cir.).
A prison's Special Management Unit housed violent prisoners and those with a history of gang involvement while incarcerated. Those in the unit were confined to their cells 23 hours a day and allwed one hour daily in a recreation cage. A prisoner claimed that prison officials engaged in a pattern, practice, or policy of improperly placing prisoners with known conflicts with each other in the same cell, failing to intervene when predictable violence erupted between such prisoners, and improperly restraining prisoners who refuse cell assignments with prisoners known to be hostile to them. A federal appeals court vacated denial of class action certification and summary judgment on an Eighth Amendment claim. A proposed class of inmates placed in special housing unit cells with other inmates known to be hostile to them despite the facility's knowledge of the risk of violence from such cell assignments was not overly broad or improperly defined. A dismissal of a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act for negligence was properly dismissed, however, for failure to exhaust available administrative remedies. Shelton v. Bledsoe, #12-4226, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 253 (3rd Cir.).
A prisoner's mother claimed that two other inmates attacked and severely injured him, causing permanent mental impairment, when a corrections officer was escorting the three of them through an isolated prison passage. The federal appeals court found that there were triable issues of fact as to whether the officer was aware of an objectively substantial risk of serious harm since all three prisoners were high-security and mutually hostile prisoners and were half-restrained, lacking leg restraints. Both a federal civil rights Eighth Amendment claim and a state law gross negligence claim could proceed. Cortez v. Skol, #12-16688, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 1178 (9th Cir.).
An inmate gave information to several correctional officers that a prison nurse was bringing contraband into the facility. An officer later allegedly labeled him a "snitch" in front of other prisoners, exposing the fact that he had provided information about the nurse. The officer was not entitled to qualified immunity because prior precedent established that a detention officer violates a duty to protect a prisoner by labeling him a snitch in front of other inmates, exposing him to a risk of assault. A reasonable officer would have known that such actions violated the plaintiff's constitutional right to protection. Reeves v. King, #13-3416, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 23577 (8th Cir.).
A prisoner being admitted to a federal penitentiary allegedly told an intake psychologist that he was mentally ill to the extent that it impaired his ability to function and that he was afraid that he would be attacked if he was placed in the general population. He was placed in the general population and was attacked by another prisoner without provocation on his way to lunch, suffering extensive injuries to his face and head. He sued the U.S. government under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2674, claiming that the psychologist did not examine all his available medical documents before releasing him into the general population and that guards failed to monitor their assigned areas, thereby failing to observe the assault, all in violation of mandatory regulations. The federal appeals court overturned summary judgment granted to the government under the discretionary function exception to liability under the Act. The appeals court found that the government had failed to meet its burden of showing that the discretion function exception shielded it from liability as a matter of law under these circumstances. Keller v. United States, #13-3113, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 21718 (7th Cir.).
A federal prisoner filed a lawsuit claiming that he had been placed in administrative detention for 60 days in unlawful retaliation in violation of the First Amendment for filing a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), as well as a claim of failure to protect in violation of the Eighth Amendment based on an assault on him by another prisoner. The trial court granted summary judgment for the defendants, based on the plaintiff's alleged failure to exhaust available administrative remedies before suing, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. 1997e(a), as well as a ruling that the plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim was barred by his decision to file a FTCA claim regarding the assault. A federal appeals court vacated the trial court's ruling, holding that the failure to exhaust available administrative remedies should be excused because of specific allegations that one of the defendants intimidated him from pursuing a grievance by a threat to transfer him to another facility where she said he would be attacked and placing him in a special housing unit after he filed his FTCA claim, and that the FTCA claim did not bar the Eighth Amendment claim because the FTCA claim was dismissed by the trial court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and there was no judgment on the claim. Himmelreich v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, #13-4212, 766 F.3d 576 (6th Cir. 2014).
A prisoner who was attacked by fellow inmates three times over approximately 118 months claimed that prison officials violated his Eighth Amendment rights by failing to protect him against these assaults. The appeals court noted, however, that the defendant officials had offered to put the plaintiff into protective custody, an offer he declined, and when they nevertheless placed him in protective custody anyway, he asked to be returned to the general population, repeatedly insisting that there was no problem. Based on these facts, the plaintiff failed to show the deliberate indifference to a known risk of harm needed for a constitutional violation, or even negligence, for that matter. Walls v. Tadman, #13-2262, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 15284 (8th Cir.).
A number of plaintiff prisoners claimed that they were seriously injured in assaults by other inmates who used prison issued padlocks as weapons. The prison had a longstanding practice of issuing footlockers with padlocks to most inmates. A federal appeals court found that the small number of assaults that had occurred involving the use of the padlocks as weapons were insufficient to support the claim that supplying the padlocks to prisoners rose to a constitutional violation. Lakin v. Barnhart, #13-2211, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 12756 (1st Cir.).
A pretrial detainee in a county facility was housed in a small unit with an upper level open to the lower level. Both minimum and medium security detainees were housed there. Four or five fights were reported there every day, with 20-30 estimated to occur but remain unreported. The detainee had a reputation as a bully, and was known for stealing food. One day, he was confronted by approximately 12 angry prisoners outside of his upper level cell. An officer was with the crowd, and a verbal dispute ensued. The inmates did not disperse, and as the detainee began to walk to the lower level, an inmate struck him. The officer restrained that inmate, but another inmate then struck him. The detainee suffered a concussion and the loss of sight in one eye. Evidence in his lawsuit included statements from some inmates that officers could and should have stopped the argument. Overturning summary judgment for the defendant county, a federal appeals court found that there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether there had been deliberate indifference concerning the need for pre-service training of officers in conflict de-escalation and intervention, and whether the lack of such training helped cause the plaintiff detainee's injuries. Thomas v. Cumberland Cnty., 12-3959, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 6668 (3rd Cir.).
A pretrial detainee claimed that he was attacked by other inmates after a several-minute long verbal fight in the presence of corrections officers. His lawsuit asserted federal civil rights claims against the county and policymakers for failure to properly train the officers. A federal appeals court found that there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether the defendants exhibited deliberate indifference to the need for pre-service training of officers in conflict de-escalation and the issue of whether the lack of such training helped cause the plaintiff's injuries. A reasonable jury could, based on the evidence, find in favor of the plaintiff who presented evidence that similar fights regularly occurred in the prison, and that the failure to provide the training at issue did not align with prevailing standards and was a careless and dangerous practice. Thomas v. Cumberland County, #12-3959, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 6668 (3rd Cir.).
A pretrial detainee in a county jail was murdered by another pretrial detainee with mental problems. In a lawsuit seeking to hold the sheriff individually liable, he was entitled to qualified immunity. Even if the plaintiffs were assumed to have established that the sheriff violated the decedent's constitutional rights by failing to adequately train the detention officers regarding the movement of mentally ill detainees, they did not establish that this violated clearly established law. It was also not clearly established that failing to segregate inmates with mental health issues violated the decedent's constitutional rights. There was also no evidence that the sheriff was on notice about alleged violations of jail policy. Keith v. DeKalb County, Georgia, #13-11250, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 7617, 24 Fla. L. Weekly C 1280 (11th Cir.).
A federal prisoner served as an informant in an investigation of a prison officer who he claimed coerced him into sexual relations. He wore a wire, and the officer resigned because of the investigation. He was promised that he would be kept safe and be transferred to a lower security facility, which he was for several months. He was then, however, transferred to a high-security facility, and the federal Bureau of Prisons allegedly failed to use confidential correspondence channels in addressing his grievance against this, as a result of which prison staff learned of his role as an informant against the officer. Within hours, he allegedly was placed in a cell with two known sex offenders, who severely beat and assaulted him, resulting in injuries requiring hospitalization. He was later transferred to a state facility for his protection. A lawsuit he filed against the Bureau of Prisons seeking injunctive relief was improperly dismissed as moot. The defendants had not met the heavy burden of showing "that it is absolutely clear the allegedly wrongful behavior could not reasonably be expected to recur," or that the alleged deliberate indifference to his safety had been unambiguously terminated, since he might be returned to a high security federal facility. Doe v. Wooten, #13-10280, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 6395, 24 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 1242 (11th Cir.).
A prisoner allegedly approached a sergeant and told him that his cellmate of one week had twice swung at him, that he wasn't taking his medication, and that he was hearing voices telling him to attack people. Accordingly, the prisoner asked that his cellmate be moved. The sergeant instructed another officer to try to make sure that the cellmate took his mediation. He also asked other officers about the cellmate, but none indicated knowing of any problems with him. The next evening, the cellmate attacked the prisoner, damaging one of his teeth. A nurse recommended that the tooth be removed, but the prisoner did not see a dentist for approximately a month. Summary judgment for the defendants was upheld, with the appeals court finding no evidence that the sergeant was subjectively aware that the cellmate was dangerous or that staff members failed to act promptly once they were aware of the prisoner's serious medical needs. The prisoner never filled out the proper request to see a dentist or indicated that he had a medical emergency. Olson v. Morgan, #12-2786, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 8188 (7th Cir.).
A prisoner claimed that prison officials were deliberately indifferent in failing to adequately protect him against being assaulted and stabbed by his cellmate. The defendants were improperly granted summary judgment. The appeals court found that there were facts alleged from which a reasonable jury could infer that the defendants had actual knowledge that the cellmate posed a substantial risk of serious harm, including his violent past, his disruptive actions, his having started a previous dangerous fire that endangered the plaintiff, and the fact that he had not expressed regret for the fire, which he had started with the plaintiff's personal papers and photographs. There was also evidence that they knew that the plaintiff feared for his life from the cellmate. There was clearly established law that, under such circumstances, the failure to investigate the substantial risk of harm could constitute deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Qualified immunity was therefore not available to the defendants on summary judgment. Caldwell, et al. v. FCI Talladega Warden, #12-11818, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 6367 (11th Cir.).
An inmate was assaulted with a knife by another prisoner in a back hallway, and nearly killed when his throat was cut. The appeals court upheld summary judgment for the defendant prison officials on a deliberate indifference claim, as well as the denial of the plaintiff prisoner's request to conduct additional discovery. The only evidence that the plaintiff produced was related to the prison's policies about buying craft materials and disposing of used hobby craft blades. The record did not show that a lapse in the oversight of cutting instruments created a substantial risk of excessive inmate on inmate violence, and even if it did, the defendants were not deliberately indifferent to the risk. Additionally, while the warden was aware that some assaults had occurred in the back hallway area, the policies for monitoring that area did not create a substantial risk of serious harm. Harrison v. Culliver, #11-14864, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 6093 (11th Cir.).
A prisoner sought damages for injuries he received when he was attacked by another prisoner at a county detention facility. He claimed that the facility staff were negligent in classifying him and housing him with his assailant, and because they failed to release him in a timely manner. Overturning an award of damages, the Supreme Court of Tennessee found that the injuries that he received as a result of the delay in releasing him were not reasonably foreseeable. There had been no prior incident between the two prisoners. King v. Anderson County, #E2012-00386-SC-R11, 2013 Tenn. Lexis 989.
A prisoner acting as his own lawyer filed a lawsuit claiming that jail officials willfully failed to stop other prisoners from attacking him. The trial judge held a "merit-review hearing" with the plaintiff over the phone, and then dismissed the lawsuit for failing to state a claim. There was no transcript of the hearing. A federal appeals court reversed, characterizing what the trial judge did as an "inquisitorial" procedure not allowed under U.S. law. While a judge may dismiss a lawsuit deemed frivolous, but when the validity of an asserted claim depends on the accuracy of factual allegations, as it did here, and an oral hearing is required, it must be carried out in a manner governed by trial procedures. While the judge would be permitted to interview a plaintiff acting as his own attorney if he needed to do so to clarify an unclear complaint, he should not turn such an interview into a cross-examination that attempts to elicit admissions. Williams v. Wahner, #12-1886, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 20116 (7th Cir.).
A prisoner claimed that the defendant prison officials were responsible fot using excessive force against him on several occasions. After the lawsuit was dismissed, he appealed, and sought an order giving him the trial transcript for free on the basis of poverty. Denying this request, the appeals court noted that he was not--and could not--proceed as a pauper because he had "three strikes (meritless lawsuits), and the exception for prisoners in imminent danger of serious physical injury did not apply. Maus v. Baker, #13-2420, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 18661 (7th Cir.).
A trial court improperly granted summary judgment to a prison guard in a pretrial detainee's lawsuit for failing to protect him from being stabbed by another inmate. The plaintiff stated that the guard let inmates who were supposed to be in their cells locked up out and let them congregate in a darkened corridor after which she left her post, so that over 20 maximum security prisoners were milling around without supervision. If true, this could give rise to an inference of a conscious disregard of a significant risk of violence. Counsel should have been appointed for the prisoner because the case, while not complex, required evidence that the plaintiff had no access to, such as the need to depose the guard, after the prisoner was transferred 300 miles away. The prisoner should have also been allowed to testify as to having overheard other pisoners in the dayroom ask the guard to let others out of their cells to join them in the dayroom. Junior v. Anderson, #11-2999, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 15573 (7th Cir.).
A correctional officer was not entitled to summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity for failing to protect a detainee at a county jail against being attacked by three prisoners. There was evidence that the detainee's cellmate had told the officer that the detainee was in danger and that the officer had promised to "talk to the lieutenant and see what can be done." From this evidence, a reasonable jury could find that the officer perceived that there was a serious risk to the detainee's safety. If that was true and the officer then failed to discuss the matter with the lieutenant, that could be found to constitute deliberate indifference. The lieutenant, however, was entitled to qualified immunity, as there was no evidence that he knew anything about a risk of harm to the detainee. Glaze v. Andrews, #12-2022, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 14625 (8th Cir.).
A 67-year-old male prisoner prone to disorientation and confusion and suffering from dementia sued jail officers and the county sheriff after his cellmate at the county jail severely beat him. The defendants were entitled to qualified immunity because there was no evidence that officers were subjectively aware that the plaintiff faced a substantial risk of serious harm or that the sheriff's department policies or customs caused his injuries. His wife's claims for loss of consortium were also rejected. Goodman v. Kimbrough, #12-10732, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 12740 (11th Cir.).
After a prisoner who belonged to a gang was assigned to share a cell with a member of a rival gang, he was injured in an attack by his cellmate. A federal appeals court upheld summary judgment for defendant prison officials. There was no evidence that officials were deliberately indifferent to the risk of the assault occurring if the two prisoners were housed together. While the plaintiff allegedly informed an officer that he should not be housed with his cellmate, there was no other evidence showing that any of the defendants knew of any facts that would support an inference that they knew housing the two men together created a substantial risk of violence. While the plaintiff had been involved in an earlier fight with a member of a rival gang, he himself had said that the fight was personal and not gang related, and that the differences had since been resolved. There were no earlier disputes between the plaintiff and the man assigned to be his cellmate. Labatad v. Corrections Corporation of America, #12-15019, 714 F.3d 1155 (9th Cir.).
A prisoner who served almost 28 months in a six-man cell claimed that conditions there constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. His claims were plausible that he was deprived of the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities and subjected him to unreasonable health and safety risks because of inadequate space and ventilation, stifling heat in summer and freezing cold in winter, unsanitary conditions, including urine and feces on the floor, too narrow a mattress, insufficient cleaning supplies, and noisy crowded conditions making sleep difficult and putting him at constant risk of violence from his cellmates. Claims against some defendants were rejected, but allowed to proceed against others, with qualified immunity issues to be resolved after further facts were determined. Walker v. Schult, #12-1806, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 10397 (2nd Cir.).
A federal judge stated that a proposed wide-ranging consent decree was "the only way to overcome the years of stagnation that permitted [the prison] to remain an indelible stain on the community, and it will ensure that OPP inmates are treated in a manner that does not offend contemporary notions of human decency." The approved decree aims at remedying problems that led to years of rapes, suicides, violence, and other consequences of poor conditions at the Orleans Parish Prison in Louisiana. The decision notes that prisoners testified to being assaulted by fellow inmates, sometimes in the plain view of officers, and that there was evidence that some prisoners with mental health problems had been living in cells filled with feces. The decree mandates increased staffing and training, among other things, and continuing oversight of the facility's operations. The judge found that the decree was narrowly tailored to remedy unconstitutional conditions. Jones v. Gusman, #12-859 2013 U.S. Dist. Lexis 79684 (E.D. La.).
A pretrial detainee in a county detention facility was housed in a maximum security cellblock because of a history of problems during a prior detention and a parole hold. While housed there another inmate severely beat him. He sued, claiming that the approach used in classifying detainees for cellblock placement created a risk to his safety by not taking steps to separate violent offenders from nonviolent ones, leading to his assault. Upholding summary judgment for the defendant sheriff's department, a federal appeals court found that the plaintiff failed to provide any real evidence that the security classification policy in effect represented a systematic failure to avoid obvious risks to detainee safety. Smith v. Sangamon Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't., #11-1979, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 7830 (7th Cir.).
A prisoner stated a plausibly valid claim that 13 prison officials failed to adequately protect him against assault by other prisoners by placing him in a recreation yard with others who had learned that he was cooperating with investigators in intercepting notes which prisoners were passing among each other. He failed, however, to show that there was deliberate indifference in placing him in a locked recreation pen with one specific prisoner. He state a valid claim that one prison official reacted unreasonably to one attack on him, but not to another attack. He also stated a valid claim for officials keeping him too long in administrative segregation. Bistrian v. Levi, #10-3629, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 19973 (3rd Cir.).
A federal appeals court rejected the failure to protect claim of a pretrial detainee stabbed by other prisoners. He claimed that a guard falsely told other prisoners that he was a leader of the Black Disciples gang. The appeals court found that the defendants did not have actual notice of a risk of harm to him beyond the "general risk of violence in a maximum security unit," which was insufficient to support a claim of deliberate indifference. The fact that a female correctional officer witnessing the attack did not herself intervene, but rather called for backup, watching the fight from a secure location until others arrived, was not a basis for liability. Shields v. Dart, # 11-2336, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 24742 (7th Cir.).
A sex offender, arrested for failing to report his new address, was attacked in the county jail's protective custody pod. He failed to show that the prisoner who assaulted him was even aware that he was a sex offender, undercutting his theory that the jail ignored the risk that he would be attacked because of his sex offender status. He also failed to show that another prisoner attacked by his assailant was a sex offender. Holden v. Hirner, #10-3656, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 23953 (8th Cir.).
A prisoner faced threats of assault from other prisoners who knew that he had cooperated in the prosecution of a fellow escapee, who joined a white supremacist group. He was transferred to various facilities as a result. He claimed that prison officials deliberately ignored the risk that inmates would attack him, subjected him to unconstitutional conditions, and retaliated against him for complaining to his sentencing judge and for filing a lawsuit. Upholding summary judgment for the defendants, a federal appeals court ruled that the conditions the plaintiff faced in the facilities he was transferred to did not constitute "atypically harsh conditions of prison confinement." The efforts to protect him against assault had generally been successful (for seven years after one attack), and there was no proof of unconstitutional retaliation. Yeadon v. Lappin, #10-3744, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 10706 (7th Cir.).
A pretrial detainee failed to show that a police detective, by disclosing to other prisoners his role as a state witness in a murder prosecution, caused him to suffer an assault. At the same time, the appeals court ordered further proceedings on the prisoner's claim for emotional and mental damages from the fear he suffered because of the detective's disclosure to the other prisoners, which was allegedly done when he declined to be interviewed about an unrelated matter. This claim was not barred by 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e), which prohibits the awarding of damages for mental or emotional distress without a showing of prior physical injury, the court ruled, as the prisoner could still be awarded nominal or punitive damages for the violation of his constitutional rights. Harris v. Matthews, #10-1405, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 6386 (10th Cir.).
A prisoner confined in a privately operated facility claimed that the company in charge or its authorized decision maker failed to enforce a policy of protecting inmates from harm, resulting in him being stabbed by a prisoner with known violent propensities. The prisoner failed to show that the defendant knew or should have known that housing him with the prisoner who attacked him created a dangerous risk of harm given his prior conduct and mental illness. Additionally, the prisoner could not assert his right to a jury trial simply because of his dissatisfaction with the findings of the magistrate judge, having previously waived a jury trial. Winding v. The Geo Group, Inc., #09-60693, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 26259 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A man civilly committed in Illinois as a sexually dangerous person failed to show that facility staff members acted with reckless disregard to the danger of an attack on him by his cellmate or that they treated him, as a black man, differently than similarly situated white detainees. Young v. Monahan, #09-3401, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 4692 (7th Cir.).
A supervisor in a jail or other detention facility, including a sheriff, can be held personally liable based on a finding of deliberate indifference to the rights of detainees under his control. A federal appeals court overturned the dismissal of a lawsuit against a county sheriff. The plaintiff prisoner claimed that other inmates in Los Angeles County jail gathered in a group at his cell door, threatening him with physical harm. When he yelled for a guard to come to his aid, one allegedly instead opened his cell gate, allowing the other inmates to enter and repeatedly stab him and his cellmate. The plaintiff prisoner was stabbed some twenty-three times.
For liability, a supervisor's "participation could include his own culpable action or inaction in the training, supervision or control of his subordinates, his acquiescence in the constitutional deprivations of which the complaint is made, or conduct that shows a reckless or callous indifference to the rights of others." The injured prisoner asserted that the county sheriff "receives weekly reports from his subordinates responsible for reporting deaths and injuries in the jails, and receives ongoing reports of his Special Counsel and Office of Independent Review." He was allegedly "given notice, in several reports, of systematic problems in the county jails under his supervision that have resulted in . . . deaths or injuries," but failed to take corrective action. Starr v. Baca, #09-55233, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 2798 (9th Cir.).
A Mississippi prisoner claimed that prison officials knew he was housed with n inmate with a violent history, but failed to take steps to protect him from assault. The trial court ruled against him. The prisoner made a post-trial motion asking for a jury trial, but he had previously waived a jury, and made his request too late. The prisoner's appeal was found to be frivolous, as he raised no substantial issues, and submitted no transcript of the trial for the court to examine (after representing that he didn't need one to make his arguments). Winding v. Williams, #09-60943, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 26301 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A Texas prisoner claimed that while he was a pretrial detainee at a county jail, a guard failed to protect him from assault by putting him in the same holding cell as an inmate with whom he had previously fought. She had allegedly broken up that fight. That inmate allegedly subsequently attacked him and broke his rib. The guard, however, stated that she had never seen the plaintiff involved in a fight with his assailant or anyone else, and that he was not on a no contact list with any prisoner because of a fight. There was no record of the alleged prior fight between the two prisoners. A federal appeals court upheld summary judgment for the defendant guard, as the prisoner failed to produce sufficient evidence to defeat the material presented by her. Green v. Ross, #09-20540, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 18666 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
After a detainee in a county jail told a deputy that he was having trouble with other prisoners, she told him to move his mattress into a day room attached to the cellblock, where he would be directly in her line of sight at all times. Despite this, he was sexually assaulted in the afternoon after this deputy's shift ended. The deputy who relieved her did not see the attack. Jail officials were unable to identify who staged the attack, partially because the victim's account of the incident was inconsistent with the physical evidence. Upholding summary judgment for the county in the detainee's lawsuit, a federal appeals court found no evidence of deliberate indifference by any jail personnel, and any failure to observe or prevent the attack was, at most, negligence, which is inadequate for a federal civil rights claim. The county had taken significant steps to try to protect inmate safety, including moving prisoners who face special threats to separate cellblocks, and providing for deputies to be able to directly observe nearly the entire cellblock. There was no evidence that any county custom or policy caused the attack. Brown v. Harris County, Texas, #10-20213, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 25569 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
A prisoner who was attacked by another inmate sufficiently raised a factual issue as to whether a defendant officer was deliberately indifferent for failing to recommend that he be transferred after he allegedly told her that he wanted to be transferred because he feared serious, imminent injury. Because the inmate who made threatening statements about the plaintiff allegedly made conflicting statements concerning his intentions during the officer's investigation, a reasonable jury could find her reliance on his statements as a basis for not recommending a transfer to be unreasonable. Because of this, she was not entitled to qualified immunity. Burling v. Simon, #10-40047, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 26418 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
While incarcerated in Pennsylvania, a prisoner was assaulted by his former cellmate, suffering injuries to his knee, teeth, nose, and the top of his head. He sued, claiming that prison personnel knew of the cellmate's violent propensities, but disregarded the serious risk of harm in placing them together in the same cell. The court found no evidence of inadequate medical care for the prisoner's injuries on the part of a prison nurse, and upheld summary judgment for other prison personnel on failure to protect claims. There was no evidence that they had any reason to know that there was a substantial risk of harm to the plaintiff prisoner from his former cellmate. Additionally, when they learned of the assault, they moved his attacker to a different cellblock, and directed the plaintiff to prison medical staff for treatment. Everett v. Donate, #10-2197, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 21302 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
A pretrial detainee claimed that a jail guard and various supervisory officials failed to properly protect him from an assault by another detainee that allegedly caused him facial injuries requiring surgery. Summary judgment for the defendants was affirmed, as the prisoner did not show that any of them failed to respond reasonably to a substantial risk of harm. An earlier incident between the plaintiff and his assailant resulted in no injury, and the two detainees appeared after that to be reconciled, so the defendants did not act with knowledge or notice of a substantial risk of serious harm. Schoelch v. Mitchell, #08-2776, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 23416 (8th Cir.).
A pre-trial detainee claimed that a correctional officer opened his cell door to allow another inmate to enter and attack him with a master lock inside a sock, causing serious injuries. His lawsuit sought damages against his assailant, the correctional officer, and the warden. Claims against the warden were properly rejected, because there was no indication that he was personally involved in the incident in any way. Claims against the attacking inmate were rejected as he is a private person and did not act under color of law as required for a federal civil rights lawsuit. Finally, the appeals court ruled that the correctional officer's alleged conduct was, at most, negligence, and did not rise to the level of deliberate indifference required for a federal civil rights claim. Burton v. Kindle, #10-2915, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 23299 (Unpub.3rd Cir.).
A federal prisoner filed a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming that prison officials had been deliberately indifferent to his safety, seeking compensatory and punitive damages for past assaults on him by other inmates. He also sought an injunction against the defendants housing him with inmates who pose a danger to his safety, which was denied because the alleged risk of harm was speculative. He was allegedly attacked because other prisoners learned that he had quit a gang and had cooperated with authorities. A federal appeals court ruled that he was not entitled to an injunction, as prison officials had transferred him to a new facility, and had not shown that he was in any immediate danger of attack there. Pinson v. Pacheco, #10-1360, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 20813 (Unpub. 10th Cir.).
A federal appeals court overturned the dismissal of a prisoner's lawsuit claiming that officers failed to protect him against assault by a fellow inmate. His complaint sufficiently alleged that one officer observed the fight, but failed to intervene, and that another officer knew of the grudge that his assailant had against him but still sent him into the housing unit to pick up supplies, resulting in the attack. Brown v. N. Carolina Dep't of Corr., #08-8501, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 525 (4th Cir.). On remand, Brown v. Winkler, #5:08CV113, 2010 U.S. Dist. Lexis 9546 (W.D.N.C.), summary judgment was granted for the defendants. The officer that the prisoner claimed sent him into the housing unit presented evidence that she was not even at work at the time. The officer who allegedly witnessed the attack but failed to intervene presented evidence that he was in another building at the time.
A prisoner claimed that correctional employees were deliberately indifferent to his safety when they double-celled him in the general population rather than placing him in protective custody when he had initiated the process of dropping out of a prison gang. Rejecting this claim, the court found that there was "uncontroverted evidence" that the prisoner actually did not begin the "official debriefing and dropout process" until well after the attack, that he himself had asked that he not be placed in protective custody, and that the defendants lacked any information that would have indicated that the plaintiff's cellmate posed a risk to his safety. Sherwood v. Tancrator, #08-56119, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 18215 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
A prisoner attacked by his cellmate, suffering injuries including severe bleeding from lacerations, claimed that prison employees violated his rights by assigning him to a cell with another prisoner known to be dangerous, and by failing to provide adequate medical attention following the attack. A federal appeals court found that the prisoner had failed to show how the defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. The court ordered further proceedings, however, as to the prisoner's claims against a former guard for failure to protect, finding that it was unreasonable to have dismissed claims against the guard based on the prisoner's failure to serve him. "It is unreasonable to expect incarcerated and unrepresented prisoner--litigants to provide the current addresses of prison-guard defendants who no longer work at the prison. Thus, we conclude that, as long as the court-appointed agent can locate the prison-guard defendant with reasonable effort," service should be obtained. Claims against the warden for failure to protect the prisoner against the assault were properly rejected, as the prisoner's prior grievance asking to be transferred because his cellmate was "unhygienic" did not show that the warden was aware of, but disregarded, a serious risk of assault. Richardson v. Johnson, #08-16795, 598 F.3d 734 (11th Cir. 2010).
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.).
Officials at a treatment center for sex offenders were properly denied summary judgment in a lawsuit claiming that the were deliberately indifferent to the risk that he would be assaulted by another offender. He adequately alleged that it was "readily apparent" that placing him in a room with another sex offender who then assaulted him subjected him to an objectively serious risk of harm. There were also sufficient facts from which a jury could find that a defendant acted with deliberate indifference to a serious medical need by failing to provide him with prescribed psychological treatment. Nelson v. Shuffman, #09-2225, 603 F.3d 439 (8th Cir. 2009).
A female prisoner being transported was placed in a van with four male prisoners. The van was allegedly very dark and she was instructed where to sit. During the transport, she claimed, a male prisoner in the same caged area as her within the van managed to remove his hand restraints, grab her arm, sit her on his lap, pull her pants down, and rape her. A federal appeals court, overturning summary judgment for the defendant officers on a failure to protect claim, found that there was evidence from which a factfinder could conclude that they acted with deliberate indifference towards a substantial risk to her safety Whitson v. Stone County Jail, #08-1468, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 8299 (8th Cir.).
A prisoner claimed that a prison inspector and a guard, as well as others, violated his rights by assigning him to a cell with a dangerous cellmate who attacked him. A federal appeals court noted that the prisoner's own sole complaint about his cellmate prior to the attack was that he was "unhygienic," which did not suffice to put anyone on notice that there was a substantial risk of assault. Richardson v. Johnson, #08-16795, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 4269 (11th Cir.).
The estate of an inmate fatally stabbed with a homemade glass shank by a fellow prisoner who broke a cell window sued the Ohio state correctional authorities for wrongful death. Affirming a judgment for the defendant, the appeals court found that the prior conduct of the assailant had not provided notice that he would attack the decedent. While the assailant was involved in many altercations, all but one of these incidents occurred ten years before the attack. Additionally, the most recent prior incident, which occurred two years before, involved the assailant threatening officers with a piece of glass and did not make it foreseeable that he would commit similar violent acts against fellow inmates. Elam v. Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction, #09AP-714, 2010 Ohio App. Lexis 1010 (10th Dist.).
A pretrial detainee claimed that a warden and a deputy at a jail failed to protect him from other prisoners, resulting in one hitting him in the face and another stabbing him in the eye. A jury found that these defendants had been negligent, and awarded $12,500 in damages against them, but rejected the claim that they had violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights. Upholding this result, a federal appeals court found that jury instructions on the federal constitutional claims properly required a finding of deliberate indifference for liability. McCray v. Peachey, #08-31077, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 4159 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
Four days before an assault by his cellmate, which resulted in a prisoner's death from his injuries, he had filed an emergency grievance requesting placement in another cell. His estate's lawsuit adequately alleged that a defendant warden had engaged in a practice of housing him in "explosive" situations that ended in physical confrontations, and that the warden either actually knew of or consciously turned a blind eye towards obvious risks of assault and injury. Santiago v. Walls, #07-1219, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 6465 (7th Cir.).
Reinstating a prisoner's claim that correctional officers failed to protect him against assault by another inmate, a federal appeals court noted that the prisoner sufficiently alleged that the first officer observed the fight and failed to intervene, and that the second officer was aware that the other inmate had a grudge against him but still sent him into the housing unit to pick up supplies. He also claimed that a third officer was present in the unit when the attack occurred, and it could be reasonably inferred that his failure to respond showed deliberate indifference. Brown v. N.C. Dept. of Corrections, #08-8501, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 525 (Unpub. 4th Cir.).
A DUI arrestee, while at a local jail, had a verbal dispute with two prisoners. An officer, acting for the purpose of relieving overcrowding in the booking area, then placed the arrestee and one of these two prisoners into a drunk pod with several others. Minutes later, the other prisoner gave the arrestee a severe beating. In a failure to protect lawsuit against the officer, the officer was properly denied summary judgment. His contention that he relied on an alleged policy directing that he place intoxicated and non-intoxicated prisoners together in the event that the booking area became too crowded did not entitle him to qualified immunity since such a policy, even if it existed, did not explicitly authorize what he allegedly did--ignore the risk of an assault by the other prisoner. Bass v. Goodwill, #08-6168, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 26767 (10th Cir.)
A prisoner in a medium security facility sued the state for alleged failure to properly protect him from the risk of the assault by three other prisoners he suffered in the bathroom of a recreational yard. The court found no evidence that the state had either actual or constructive notice of the risk of such an attack. There was no indication that the three assailants were particularly prone to violence or were a threat to the plaintiff. Further, the plaintiff had no prior encounters with these assailants, and had not requested protective custody. The fact that another prisoner had been attacked in the same bathroom four years earlier did not make the later assault reasonably foreseeable. Vasquez v. N.Y., #506205, 2009 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 8936 (A.D. 3rd Dept.).
The record showed that each time the plaintiff prisoner reported that his life was in danger, prison officials conducted an investigation and found his claim to be unfounded, but still relocated him. The prisoner's claim of failure to protect really was based on his preference for single cell housing status, but his mere disagreement with his classification in the general population of the prison did not entitle him to get what he wanted. Parker v. Currie, #08-41023, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 92 (5th Cir.).
A prisoner was found guilty of self-mutilation, fraud, and bribery in a disciplinary hearing, based on evidence that he and another prisoner had staged their fight. He then filed a lawsuit against a number of correctional officers, asserting that they failed to protect him from assault, provided him with inadequate medical attention for his injuries, and created an atmosphere where prisoners could be deprived of due process. Since the prisoner had staged a "phony" fight, his failure to protect claim lacked merit, and success on that claim would imply the invalidity of his disciplinary conviction, which had not been set aside. He also failed to show that he really needed any medical treatment, as he did not suffer serious injuries. His other claims were also without merit. Jackson v. Mizzel, #09-30667, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 1258 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A prisoner claimed that the warden, two caseworkers, and the prison education director failed to provide him with needed protection against a beating by another prisoner. The fact that the other prisoner had a history of assaults did not establish that the warden knew of and disregarded an excessive risk he posed to the plaintiff's safety. One of the caseworkers had carried out his duties by noting in his logbook and informing his supervisor that the assailant had made statements about fighting the plaintiff and his failure to take further steps did not amount to deliberate indifference. A second caseworker, who initialed the logbook, at worst was negligent in failing to take action in response to the threat. The prisoner failed to present any evidence supporting his contention that the education director did anything to incite other prisoners against the plaintiff, although he did allegedly show them written complaints the plaintiff had filed against the director. Norman v. Schuetzle; #08-1686, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 26702 (8th Cir.).
A prisoner asserted that another inmate shoved him in the face during basketball games, punched him in the face, fracturing his jaw, in the dining hall, and falsely accused him of being a child molester. Rejecting his claims of failure to protect and inadequate medical care, the appeals court found that there was no evidence that corrections officers or a nurse knew of and disregarded an excessive risk to his safety. Any fear of harm from the other inmate was not strong enough to prevent the plaintiff from voluntarily playing in basketball games where the other inmate was present. As for a defendant mental health counselor, there was no evidence that the plaintiff had ever complained to him concerning any threats. As for the medical care claims, the prisoner both failed to establish deliberate indifference to a serious medical need and failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies prior to filing suit, as required by 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(a). Davis v. Williams, #09-2602, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 26637 (Unpub.3rd Cir.).
Parents of a pretrial detainee sued correctional officials for his murder by another patient while at a state hospital for observation. The murder occurred during a "free period" when patients were allowed to visit each other's rooms. A deputy superintendent was entitled to qualified immunity from liability, as it was not clearly established that, in the absence of individualized threats or a history of prior violence that the failure to discontinue a long-standing practice of allowing unsupervised visits to patient rooms by other patients constituted deliberate indifference to the risk of assaults. The defendant commissioner of corrections could have reasonably thought that existing staffing, which complied with hospital recommendations, was sufficient to be constitutionally adequate, so she was also entitled to qualified immunity. Mosher v. Nelson, #09-1636, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 27730 (1st Cir.).
A prisoner failed to show that jailers violated his rights by not protecting him from attacks by other inmates, since they acted on his requests for cell transfers based on his fears of threats to his safety. Inadequate medical care claims were also rejected, since evidence showed that jail medical staff responded "diligently" to all of his "myriad" medical complaints. Krause v. Leonard, #09-40273, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 24387 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A prisoner was not entitled to an injunction directing his transfer to another facility based on the alleged risk of assault he faced while visiting with his family. He had not shown that his conditions of confinement created a substantial risk of such attacks. Johnson v. Miles, #08-0658, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 22704 (Unpub. 2nd Cir.).
After a detainee testified against a member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT), a white prison gang, he was allegedly attacked by another ABT member when he was placed in the general jail population as a pretrial detainee. After the attack, he was put into administrative segregation for his safety. In his lawsuit against jail officials over the attack, the detainee failed to show that the defendants knew of a substantial risk that he would be attacked by ABT members, so he could not show that they acted with deliberate indifference to his safety. He did, however, state a valid claim for deliberate indifference to his medical needs after the attack, asserting that the defendants knew he suffered from persistent pain, but delayed getting him under a doctor's care for a significant period of time. His placement in administrative segregation was not a violation of his rights, but done for his safety, and his placement in solitary confinement did not violate his due process rights. Perez v. Anderson, #08-10952, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 23818 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A prisoner failed to show that prison officials should be held liable for another prisoner's attack on him. The inmate who attacked him, while having a troubled past history, had recently completed an anger management program and earned his way into a preferred housing unit by his positive behavior, and the defendants had no reason to know of his dangerousness. Further, while the prisoner claimed that the supervisor of a restaurant management class at the prison was inciting other inmates against him because he had asked that the supervisor be fired, he did not request protection. The defendants' conduct did not amount to deliberate indifference to a known risk of assault. Norman v. Schuetzle, #08-1686, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 26702 (8th Cir.).
A prisoner claimed to have reported that he received a letter saying that a prison gang had called for a "hit" on him because documents in his cell were used to prosecute a gang member for a murder. Prison officials decided not to place him in protective custody, instead transferring him to another facility, believing that the threat to him was localized to the institution. When he was attacked by gang members six months later in his new facility, he sued a prison official for failing to take adequate measures to protect him. A federal appeals court found that the defendant was not entitled to qualified immunity, because there was evidence that he was aware of facts from which it could be inferred that that the prisoner faced a serious risk of harm, and that the defendant actually made that inference. He allegedly disregarded knowledge that gang "hits" could be transferred to other facilities, and recommendations that the prisoner be placed in protective custody. Hamilton v. Eleby, #08-4499, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 18020 (Unpub. 6th Cir.).
A deceased prisoner's estate failed to show that a correctional facility had constructive notice of another prisoner's attack on the decedent. The court found no liability for negligence and wrongful death in failing to prevent the attack and death. While the attacker did have a history of removing glass from windows, the incidents involving this, except for one, were all over ten years old, and none of these incidents led to violence against another prisoner. There was no indication of a propensity for violent attacks from which the facility should have been able to anticipate the attack. Elam v. Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction, #2007-07728, 2009 Ohio Misc. Lexis 138 (Ohio Ct. of Claims).
When an inmate failed to inform prison employees that his cellmate had allegedly made threats against him, they could not be held liable for failure to prevent the ensuing attack. The prisoner also failed to show deliberate indifference to his resulting injuries, when he was provided with cool compresses and pain medication, as well as seen by a nurses three hours after the assault, and by a doctor who provided additional treatment the following morning. Whaley v. Erickson, #08-1628, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 16589 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
A prisoner who claimed to have been injured in an attack by other prisoners himself stated that jail policies required violence prone prisoners be separated out and alleged that deputies violated those policies when they placed him in a cell with the prisoner who attacked him. He did not claim, however, that the sheriff had directed the deputies to violate those policies or knew that anyone would do so. The sheriff, therefore, could not be subjected to supervisory liability. The prisoner also failed to show that the deputies were alerted to the threat against him in time to take action to prevent the assault. Gross v. White, #08-14411, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 15939 (Unpub. 11th Cir.).
The estate of a prisoner murdered by another inmate failed to show that county officials acted with deliberate indifference to the safety of the murdered prisoner. The county's booking policy did not approve of the housing of violent and nonviolent prisoners together, but instead mandated that incoming prisoners be classified as high risk or low risk after an intake interview. High-risk prisoners were then housed in a separate area, in order to separate out violent offenders. There was no evidence that the county had any notice of the purported inadequacy of this policy. Moyle v. Anderson, #08-3730, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 15120 (8th Cir.).
A prisoner in protective custody claimed that a warden acted with deliberate indifference when, after Hurricane Katrina, he was transferred to a field at another facility, where he was placed with the general population and attacked by other prisoners. The appeals court ordered limited discovery to focus on the issue of qualified immunity for the warden, and specifically on the warden's knowledge of facts from which he could reasonably conclude that an excessive risk of harm was present. Morgan v. Hubert, #08-30388, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 14355 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A prisoner who presented evidence establishing a "tangible threat" to his safety, who also claimed to have spoken directly to certain prison officials about the threat before he was attacked by another prisoner could proceed with his lawsuit on a failure to protect claim. Prison officials denied that the prisoner told them about the threat, but this merely created a disputed issue of fact, which could not be decided on a motion for summary judgment. There was also a disputed issue of fact as to whether the level of human waste in the prisoner's cell rendered it uninhabitable. Morris v. Ley, #08-2549, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 13588 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
A jury verdict for a correctional officer in a lawsuit over the failure to protect a prisoner from a beating by his cellmate had to be overturned and further proceedings ordered when a jury instruction improperly indicated that, in order to find the officer liable, the jurors would have to conclude that the officer himself directly caused the prisoner's injuries. The instructions would not have allowed the jury to find for the plaintiff on the basis of his claim that the officer improperly failed to act, hearing the plaintiff's call for help, and failed to then take any steps to prevent the assault. Clem v. Lomeli, #07-16764, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 11931 (9th Cir.).
A prisoner could pursue claims against an officer who allegedly arranged for and paid members of a prison "clique" to attack him after the officer was told that the prisoner had reported him for taking payments from prisoners. He had no claim, however, against another officer who told the first officer about his reporting, since that officer was not shown to have had knowledge that the information would lead to retaliatory action. Davis v. Tucker, #08-40157, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 7288 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
When correctional officers were not aware of any risk that a prisoner might be attacked in his sleep by his cellmate, they could not be held liable for failing to prevent the attack. Once they learned that the attack was taking place, they immediately responded, running to the cell, calling for backup, commanding the cellmate to stop, and breaking up the fight within minutes. Their three to five minute delay in opening the cell door complied with a policy designed to protect officer safety in the maximum-security facility. Eddmonds v. Walker, #08-1906, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 5962 March 18, 2009 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
Federal appeals court upholds jury verdict finding that a correctional officer violated a prisoner's civil rights by disregarding his warning that another prisoner had threatened him, after which he was attacked with a razor, but awarding him no damages. Compensatory damages may only be awarded for actual injuries stemming from the violation of inmate rights. The trial judge did not abuse his discretion in failing to allow additional evidence concerning whether the inmate's loss of a kitchen job resulted from the attack after the deliberating jury asked a question concerning this. The jury evidently did not believe that the prisoner met his burden of establishing actual damages, and the prisoner did not request an award of nominal damages. Scott v. Mahlmeister, #07-4197, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 5711 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
Based on the fact that a sergeant was subjected to discipline for handling the aftermath of an assault on a prisoner improperly, there was a genuine issue of material fact requiring the overturning of a dismissal of the prisoner's lawsuit. The plaintiff prisoner stated that he was held against his will by other prisoners who entered his cell and robbed him, and that, following this incident, the sergeant and an officer had him make an in-person identification of his assailants, which resulted in a further violent assault on him later. While the favorable resolution of the inmate's grievance, resulting in the discipline of the sergeant, did not, by itself, prove that there was deliberate indifference to a serious risk of physical harm to the prisoner, it was sufficient to defeat the motion for dismissal of the lawsuit against the sergeant. Additionally, summary judgment should not have been granted to the officer, since there was sufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury or judge could have found that the officer ignored an "obvious" risk of physical harm to the prisoner. Weatherholt v. Bradley, #08-7157, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 5211 (Unpub. 4th Cir.).
Prisoner failed to show that the defendant prison officials had the required knowledge that he faced a substantial risk of serious harm from another prisoner, making them liable for failing to provide him protection against the assault that occurred. Moorman v. Jowers, #08-10262, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 4928 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
There was no evidence that deliberate indifference by three jail officers was the cause of a pretrial detainee's death from a beating by his cellmate. While the claim was governed by the Fourteenth Amendment rather than the Eighth Amendment because the decedent was a pretrial detainee, the legal standard for liability was still deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of serious injury. There was no indication that the officers believed that such a risk existed. Further, they were all off-duty when the beating actually took place, after the cellmate returned from a court appearance. Their placement of the cellmate in the cell did not cause the detainee's death. Jenkins v. DeKalb County, Georgia, No. 07-15820, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 657 (11th Cir.).
The plaintiff prisoner failed to show that he had been threatened by the inmate who attacked him, and that the defendant prison officials had been aware of any such threat and acted with deliberate indifference to the risk of harm. Cortez v. Ford, Civil Action No. 1:07-CV-1466, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 86348 (M.D. Pa.).
A prisoner's allegation that a lieutenant at the prison deliberately permitted another prisoner to throw feces on him, if true, showed an Eighth Amendment violation. Norfleet v. Stroger, No. 08-1066, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 22495 (7th Cir.).
Prisoner who was a member or associate of the Mexican Mafia gang could pursue his claim that a prison guard put him at risk of assault by gang members by telling others that he had engaged in a homosexual act. This was the case even though he had not actually been subsequently attacked as a result of the statement. The prisoner presented undisputed facts indicating that the gang did not tolerate homosexual acts, and that the guard knew of the risk of harm that making such a statement to gang members created. The court stated that this was different from cases in which prisoners' claims of a failure to protect were rejected when they were based on a speculative fear that they would later be attacked if other prisoners thought that they were a "snitch," since the alleged action here would create a known specific risk of attack. Radillo v. Lunes, 1:04-CV-5353, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 82576 (E.D. Cal.).
Prisoner failed to show that the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Correctional Services had personal knowledge of a history of inmate attacks on other prisoners in a facility's recreation yards, or that prisoners there had a substantial risk of being attacked. There was, however, sufficient evidence to raise a genuine factual issue as to whether the superintendent of that facility did have such knowledge. There was, however, a lack of proof that any of the defendants failed to take reasonable measures to prevent prisoners from bringing weapons into the yard or that the security methods employed were unreasonable. There was no evidence that the use of metal detectors would have substantially reduced the risk of inmate violence. Warren v. Goord, 05 Civ. 9590, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 76875 (S.D.N.Y,).
Prison officials were entitled to summary judgment in prisoner's lawsuit claiming that they violated his rights by failing to protect him from an assault by a fellow prisoner, since the defendants were not made aware of the risk of such harm. The plaintiff's prior statements indicating that other prisoners were "asking questions" about his trips to court and/or "pressuring" him were insufficient to put the defendants on notice that there was a threat to his safety in the form of other prisoners who might attack him. Additionally, the fact that other prisoners thought he was a "snitch" was not, by itself, enough to establish his claim, as he could have requested protective custody, but failed to do so. Dale v. Poston, No. 06-2847, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 24667 (7th Cir.).
Federal magistrate recommends that court grant summary judgment to deputy warden on prisoner's lawsuit claiming that he was injured in a prison riot that the deputy warden failed to prevent. The riot involved a fight between Northern and Southern Hispanic inmates, and a subsequent lockdown. The deputy warden later allegedly saw that a controlled unlock was not going as the warden had planned, but then failed to ask that the yard be closed down until after a riot started. The court ruled that the plaintiff failed to show that the deputy warden had been aware of a change in plan regarding the release of prisoners into the yard, and disregarded the risk thereby created. Lopez v. Butler, No. CIV S-04-0822, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 89642 (E.D. Ca.).
Prisoner allegedly assaulted and injured by fellow inmate failed to show that sheriff, deputies, or the county were aware of the danger he encountered from being transported together with the other prisoner on an elevator. He failed to show that they acted with deliberate indifference to the risk of harm to him. Farah v. Wellington, No. 07-3476, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 21166 (Unpub. 6th Cir.).
Prisoner stabbed by other inmates failed to show any deliberate indifference by the warden or two associate wardens. These officials could not be held liable simply on the basis of responsibility for the alleged actions of their subordinates. Following a trial against a deputy warden and several officers, the court granted judgment as a matter of law for the deputy warden, and the jury returned a verdict for the remaining defendants. The appeals court found that the evidence supported the jury's finding that there was no showing of deliberate indifference. Brown v. Kelly, No. 07-60329, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 20564 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
In a lawsuit by a pretrial detainee attacked by other prisoners who were gang members, he failed to show that correctional officials and officers acted with deliberate indifference in housing gang members together with non-gang members and allegedly periodically leaving them unsupervised. He failed to show the existence of a "de facto" policy of housing gang members and non-gang members together, of allowing gang members to retain weapons, or of leaving prisoners unsupervised. Further, he failed to show that officers were aware of a specific threat to him, since he did not tell them about threats after a first attack, or tell them that the attack occurred because he was not a gang member. Klebanowski v. Sheahan, No. 06-2572, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 18760 (7th Cir.).
Prisoner did not show that prison officials were on notice that he faced a substantial risk of assault by a fellow inmate and disregarded that risk. His claim that the risk should have been obvious to them after another prisoner called him a child molester was insufficient. Davis v. Williams, No. Civ. No. 05-067, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 64032 (D. Del.).
A detainee presented no evidence, for six assaults on him by other prisoners, that jail guards knew about the risks to his safety. Summary judgment should not have been granted, however, as to a seventh assault, which the detainee claimed was watched by one of the guards, as there was a genuine issue of material fact, in that instance, whether the guard was deliberately indifferent to the plaintiff's safety. There were also genuine issues as to whether three guards acted with deliberate indifference to the detainee's medical needs. Grieveson v. Anderson, No. 05-4681, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 17554 (7th Cir.).
While a inmate's complaint stated viable claims that prison officials violated his civil rights by failing to protect him from an assault by a fellow prisoner, as well as a viable claim for negligence under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the prisoner failed to seek to hold the U.S. government, the proper defendant in the FTCA claim, liable, so that claim was properly dismissed. The federal civil rights claim was also properly dismissed as frivolous because it was time barred. Bynum v. Menifee, No. 07-30821, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 13261 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
Prisoner failed to properly allege that prison officials violated his Eighth Amendment rights by failing to protect him from attack by another prisoner. Specifically, he failed to assert that officials had subjective awareness of the risk of harm to him or that they were actually aware of his own earlier attack on the other prisoner, or the likelihood that the other prisoner would retaliate. Given that the prisoner was acting as his own attorney, and that the trial court noted that he might have been able to allege additional facts to show the officials' had subjective knowledge of the risk of an attack on him, the complaint should not have been dismissed with prejudice without first giving him a chance to amend the lawsuit. Clark v. Maldonado, No. 07-14876, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 16564 (Unpub. 11th Cir.).
Prison personnel were entitled to qualified immunity on a prisoner's claim that they failed to protect him against attack by another inmate. A prison unit classification officer and a reviewing classification committee member made reasonable attempts to prevent a feared assault, including transferring various prisoners who allegedly were harassing him, and denying his transfer request after these harassers had been transferred out. The fact that the prisoner's ultimate assailant remained did not show that they acted with deliberate indifference, particularly as the purported "gang leader" had also been transferred out. The court also found that, even if an officer had told the attacker about statements that the plaintiff prisoner had "snitched" on him, this did not cause the attack, since the plaintiff had already been labeled a "snitch" and targeted by the prison gang. Moore v. Lightfoot, No. 06-41648, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 13624 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
Other prisoners beat up a detainee at a county jail after word spread throughout the facility that he was charged with child rape. The appeals court held that one defendant officer was not entitled to qualified immunity in a lawsuit brought by the detainee for failure to protect him, as this officer's own statements showed that he was aware of facts which could have indicated that a substantial risk of harm of such an assault existed and that he in fact drew the inference that the risk existed. The court also held that there was a clearly established right to be protected against assault under these circumstances. A claim against a second officer for excessive use of force was rejected, because the detainee himself testified that a blow to his neck did not hurt, and there was no injury that could be objectively verified. Leary v. Livingston County, No. 06-2603, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 12370 (6th Cir.).
A prisoner's allegations that he was diagnosed with emphysema and subsequently suffered chest pains because of smoking by his cellmate--and that prison officials knew of this problem, but did nothing to remedy it, were sufficient to state a claim for both present and future injury based on violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. The plaintiff prisoner also adequately presented a claim that prison officials failed to protect him from another cellmate who attacked him after having previously threatened to kill him. Glick v. Walker, No. 07-2929, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 7716 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
Prisoner attacked by other prisoners who allegedly identified him as a "snitch" based on the circulation of information to that effect by an unidentified prison guard could not pursue his failure to protect claim when he had no evidence that any of the defendants were direct participants in the alleged actions. Skinner v. U.S. Bureau of Prisons, No. 07-6293, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 8754 (10th Cir.).
Correctional officer on duty did not violate a prisoner's rights by failing to prevent another inmate's attack on him with a metal pipe when the officer had no prior warning that such an attack was threatened. Blaylock v. Borden, No. 06 Civ. 4387, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 31743 (S.D.N.Y.).
Officers were not entitled to qualified immunity on claims that they failed to properly protect a prisoner against an assault by another inmate. The plaintiff claimed that the attack occurred because two of the officers opened cell doors to enable the attack, that he suffered fear for his life from the officers' death threats, which were made "credible" by their conduct, and that one officer also labeled the prisoner a "snitch." If the facts were as alleged by the prisoner, no reasonable officer could have believed that such conduct was constitutional. Irving v. Dormire, No. 07-1591, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 4925 (8th Cir.).
Prisoner failed to show that prison employees were deliberately indifferent to her serious dental needs, improperly revoked her authorization to receive acne medication from an outside source, or failed to protect her from an assault by another prisoner. Wilkens v. Ward, No. 07-6225, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 4211 (10th Cir.).
Federal trial court finds no evidence to support prisoner's claim that jail employees paid other prisoners or gave them cigarettes to attack him. Additionally, there was no evidence that the defendants knew that the plaintiff was at risk of assault but failed to protect him. Carr v. Head, No. 1:07CV180-03, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 7809 (W.D.N.C.).
Trial court improperly dismissed inmate's lawsuit claiming that he was knowingly exposed to the risk of assault by other inmates when a guard allegedly told his cell mate that he was a child molester. These facts, if true, were sufficient to state an Eighth Amendment claim. Brown v. Narvais, No. 07-6120, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 3769 (10th Cir.).
Prisoner's claim that correctional officials ignored three requests that he be moved because of concerns about his safety, and that he was attacked by two other inmates and injured two weeks after his third request to be moved stated a claim for violation of his rights. Claims against the sheriff, however, were dismissed since the plaintiff did not claim that he had informed the sheriff himself of his safety concerns. The sheriff could not be held vicariously liable merely because he was the employer of the other defendants. Brewer v. McCoy, No. 07-1356, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 7379 (C.D. Ill.).
Prisoner attacked by another inmate failed to present evidence creating a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the defendant had information from which he should have foreseen the assault but failed to take action to prevent it. Thompson v. Sosa, No. 06-55871, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 2141 (9th Cir.).
Sheriff was entitled to qualified immunity on a claim by a civilly committed sexually violent predator (SVP) that he was not adequately protected from assault by other inmates while at the county jail. The law concerning the placement of civil detainees within a jail was not clearly established at the time of the incident at issue. Odom v. Kolender, No. 06-56180, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 29004 (9th Cir.).
Prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity on a claim that they were liable for the death of a prisoner stabbed to death by fellow inmates using shanks. They allegedly failed to carry out a departmental mandate for a weekly search of cells, and 62 shanks had been, at one point, found during a search of the same building where the prisoner was stabbed. In light of the defendants' alleged knowledge of the large amount of shanks found on the premises, and the poor condition of prison gates and doors, their alleged non-compliance with the weekly search requirement could constitute deliberate indifference to prisoner safety. Sanchez v. Pereira, No. Civil 05-1293, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 88759 (D. Puerto Rico).
Prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity when there was evidence supporting the conclusion that they were aware of a substantial risk of serious harm to the plaintiff prisoner from his roommate, based on the prisoner's prior complaints that the roommate was "deranged" and had threatened him. They allegedly did not reasonably respond to that known risk, resulting in an assault. Young v. Selk, No. 06-3883, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 27395 (8th Cir.).
When an inmate being held in administrative segregation claimed that he had, on at least two occasions, told a prison official that members of his former gang had threatened to kill him if he were released into the general population, there was a genuine issue of fact as to whether it violated his Eighth Amendment rights to fail to grant his request that he either be transferred or placed in protective custody. The prisoner was stabbed in the back and chest with a shank within hours of his placement in the general population. Rodriguez v. McDonough, No. 05-14600, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 26882 (11th Cir.).
Relatives of prisoner who died from a drug overdose failed to provide any evidence to support their argument that the drugs had been administered to him by other inmates forcing him to take them, or that his death resulted from prison officials failure to provide adequate personnel to supervise inmates to avoid such incidents. The plaintiffs could proceed, however, on their claim that certain defendants acted with deliberate indifference by eliminating in-house emergency medical facilities despite the common occurrence of drug overdoses among the inmate population. Rivera-Quinones v. Rivera-Gonzalez, Civil No. 03-2326, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 81258 (D. Puerto Rico).
Federal government was not liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2671 et seq. for failure to protect a prisoner from an assault by another inmate on the basis of the alleged failure of the prison staff to supervise and monitor a stairwell while prisoners were passing through it. The federal government was entitled to summary judgment under a "discretionary function" exception to liability under the Act, as the prisoner failed to show any evidence that there was a mandatory duty to monitor a specific inmate or the area of the stairwell. Queen v. U.S.A., No. 05-3341, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 78823 (D. Kan.).
Prison employees were not deliberately indifferent in failing to protect a prisoner from an attack by another inmate in a gym when there were no prior conflicts between the two prisoners. The prisoner himself did not request permission to leave the gym at the time prior to the assault, indicating that he himself did not believe that he was facing a substantial risk of harm. The alleged failure to provide continuous supervision of the inmates in the gym was, at most, negligence, which was insufficient to show a violation of constitutional rights. Burnley v. Evans, No. 06-2053, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 23384 (8th Cir.).
Prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity on inmate's claim that they acted with deliberate indifference in failing to protect him and two other inmates from injury in an assault by four members of a rival gang. Their appeal was dismissed due to remaining disputed issues of fact which had to first be decided by the trial court. Adame v. Flowers, No. 06-41764, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 23714 (5th Cir.).
Because Maine statutes clearly made a prison a state facility, a federal civil rights claim against a corrections superintendent in his official capacity was a claim against the state, and was barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity. Under a state statute, however, the prisoner could pursue an individual capacity claim for the superintendent's alleged deliberate indifference to his health and safety on the basis of an attack by a fellow inmate. Nilson-Borrill v. Burnheimer, Civil No. 07-98-P-H, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 65025 (D. Maine).
Prisoner who allegedly was attacked by fellow inmates while "indiscriminately placed" together with other unclassified inmates during an "initial evaluation period" did not show that the prison director was deliberately indifferent to the possibility of such an assault. The director had no contact with the plaintiff prisoner, and was the acting director of corrections for the entire state. Additionally, there was no evidence that she knew or should have known of the risk of harm to the plaintiff during the evaluation period. The defendant director had not written the policy or procedures challenged, and was new to the job. The prisoner presented no evidence of anything that would have alerted the director to any alleged deficiencies in the procedures, such as complaints of other attacks. Byerly v. McConnell, No. 06-15267, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 21312 (9th Cir.).
There was no proof that correctional personnel were aware that the prisoner who allegedly attacked a pretrial detainee had a "proclivity for violence," and a guard who became aware of the attack responded in a reasonable manner by immediately seeking backup. The plaintiff detainee also failed to show that the county sheriff was aware of the extent of delays in reclassifying detainees, which the plaintiff claimed was responsible for him being attacked. The defendants could not be held liable for the attack on the detainee. Guzman v. Sheahan, No. 06-3647, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 18660 (7th Cir.).
A former corrections officer now serving a sentence for rape, sexual battery, and burglary failed to show that the prison warden was deliberately indifferent to his safety in violation of the Eighth Amendment, resulting in him being attacked and beaten by two other prisoners causing the loss of his left eye. There was no showing that the warden failed to take measures to prevent harm to the plaintiff, including the prisoner's housing assignment, even though those measures did not suffice to prevent the attack. Further, the attack took place four and one-half years after the prisoner was incarcerated at the facility, and he had not renewed or repeated his initial request for a more segregated housing assignment. O'Brien v. Indiana Dep't of Correc., No. 06-3064, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 17804 (7th Cir.).
In a lawsuit by a federal prisoner under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2680, concerning an alleged attack on him by other prisoners, the court ruled that the only proper defendant was the United States government, rather than the Bureau of Prisons, the defendant the plaintiff prisoner named. The court therefore properly dismissed the Federal Tort Claims Act claim. The prisoner also failed to properly state a federal civil rights claim against defendants who were supervisory prison officials, since he did not show that they were either involved personally in the incident, or had carried out an improper policy that caused the injuries he suffered. The conduct claimed, at most, suggested possible negligence, which is inadequate for a showing of a violation of constitutional due process. Toledo v. Bureau of Prisons, No. 06-11265, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 13441 (5th Cir.).
Trial court properly entered a judgment in favor of prison officials on inmate's claim that they failed take proper action to protect him from assault by other prisoners when he failed to provide them with the names of those making threats against him. The trial court's decision to exclude from evidence a settlement agreement between the U.S. government and the Montana Department of Corrections that barred prison officials from requiring prisoners, as a precondition for being moved to protective custody, to identify the persons threatening him was upheld. The prisoner failed to show that a defendant prison official had known about the document and its contents at the time at issue, and the prisoner's lawyer could still have asked the defendant questions about the document. Hummel v. Hurlbert, No. 04-35386, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 13939 (9th Cir.).
Prisoner who was allegedly placed in a cell with a cousin of the man he was accused of murdering failed to state a claim against the warden, the jail, the sheriff, and the parish for failure to protect him from the assault. The appeals court rejected the prisoner's argument that he should have been allowed to amend his complaint and add, as a defendant, a correctional officer who was allegedly also a cousin to the murder victim, and who supposedly was involved in his placement in the cell where he was assaulted. The plaintiff's initial complaint was detailed, and the court found that it was apparent that he had asserted his best case, and that his consistent complaints were not about the officer's alleged actions, but about security at the jail. Clark v. Herbert, No. 05-30957, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 12548 (5th Cir.).
An Indiana prisoner did not have a substantive due process right to use violence to defend another prisoner which could be asserted in a prison disciplinary hearing. Federal appeals court rejects challenge to sanctions imposed by a prison's Conduct Adjustment Board after the plaintiff prisoner hit another inmate with a cane in an attempt to stop that inmate from stabbing a third prisoner. The plaintiff also failed to show a violation of his procedural due process rights. The plaintiff himself admitted his actions, and the Board had not disputed that he may have done so to protect another prisoner, but instead determined that punishment was still required. Additionally, his rights were not violated when the Board denied him access to a surveillance video of the incident, to live witnesses, or to prison medical records, given that the Board had accepted the prisoner's own version of the events, so that such evidence would not add anything to his defense, but instead would be merely repetitive of his own account. Scruggs v. Jordan, No. 05-4238, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 10790 (7th Cir.).
Inmate failed to show that the City of New York was negligent in failing to prevent him from being attacked with a knife by another prisoner. There was no evidence that the city either knew or should have known that the plaintiff was at risk of being subjected to such an attack and needed protection, or that his assailant had a propensity to engage in such attacks. Craig v. City of New York, #2225/93, 2007 N.Y. Misc. Lexis 1624 (Civil Court of the City of N.Y., Bronx County).
Prison officials were not liable for an attack on a prisoner by another inmate who stabbed her with a pen, absent any evidence that they should have anticipated the attack or taken specific measures to prevent the fight. Alleged verbal abuse when the plaintiff was informed that she and her assailant would be transported together to receive medical care also did not violate her constitutional rights. Brown v. Saj, No. 06-CV-6272, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 25553 (W.D.N.Y.).
Trial court acted erroneously by dismissing prisoner's lawsuit claiming that prison guards failed to adequately protect him from assault by another inmate who had posted a note saying that he was a homosexual and allegedly threatened to harm him. While guards separated the two men when they first fought, they were subsequently housed two doors away from each other, despite the knowledge of the prior fight and prior threats. Miller v. Fisher, No. 05-2024, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 5982 (7th Cir.).
Inmate in county jail on a probation violation failed to show that jail personnel violated his rights by failing to segregate and protect him, resulting in an attack by another inmate causing him to suffer a broken jaw. Loggins v. Franklin County, Ohio, No. 05-4135, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 5614 (6th Cir.).
Prison employees were entitled to summary judgment from inmate's claim that they failed to protect him from assault by other prisoners. One of them offered to place him in protective custody when first notified of an alleged threat against him, and he refused this offer, and then failed to tell her of any further threats. Three other employees were also found not to have acted with deliberate indifference to a known substantial risk of harm. Belcher v. U.S., No. 06-3009, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 3799 (10th Cir.). [N/R]
Prisoner could not pursue a claim for unconstitutional failure to protect him from injuries in a jail fight when he failed to identify the officials he claimed were responsible for that failure, and the one officer he did specifically name was so far removed from the events that occurred to be held responsible for his injuries. Finally, his claim against the county failed, in the absence of any viable claim against any individual. Petty v. County of Franklin, No. 06-3552, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 3377 (6th Cir.). [N/R]
Prison warden was entitled to qualified immunity in prisoner's lawsuit claiming that he acted with deliberate indifference to the risk that the prisoner would be attacked by another inmate. The evidence failed to show that the warden had knowledge of the risk to the inmate, and even the plaintiff prisoner himself stated that, while he spoke to the warden about the need for more security, he did not inform her that he believed his life was endangered by gang activities. Mathis v. Warden Stevenson, No.C-05-523, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 7373 (S.D. Tex.). [N/R]
Prison officials could not be held liable for failure to protect a prisoner from an assault in a prison yard when the prisoner himself stated that he had not anticipated the attack, and there was no information from which the defendants could have known that it was going to take place. The mere fact that the plaintiff prisoner and his assailants were allegedly in rival gangs did not suffice when he and his assailants were in separate pens in the prison yard when the attack took place. Turner v. Cabana, No. 05-61062, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 248 (5th Cir.). [N/R]
Six officers who did not know of or did not deliberately ignore an inmate's reports that he was in danger of being attacked by other prisoners as a "snitch" were entitled to qualified immunity, but there was a genuine issue as to whether two other officers who knew that he was an informant had known of the risk and ignored his plea for protection, resulting in him being stabbed 28 times by other prisoners. Longoria v. Texas, No. 05-41052, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 31449 (5th Cir.). [N/R]
Further proceedings ordered as to whether warden and correctional officers should have known that a prisoner faced a substantial risk of serious harm from an attack by another prisoner and that they should have reasonably known that it would violate his rights to not remove him from the general population while they proceeded to investigate an alleged threat against him. Leach v. Lowe, No. 04-16815, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 27974 (9th Cir.). [N/R]
In prisoner's lawsuit claiming that prison officials improperly failed to protect him from assault by other inmates, factual issues as to whether the defendants were aware of the significant risk of harm certain other prisoners posed to him, but still gave him a housing assignment exposing him to these risks, precluded dismissal of his claims. Smith v. Freil, No. 05-4252, 170 Fed. Appx. 580 (10th Cir. 2006). [N/R]
Despite prisoner's statement that he and another inmate he was being housed with had had "problems," prison officials were not liable for cellmate's subsequent assault on , when the plaintiff had failed to identify a specific prior incident from which it could be inferred that there was a substantial risk of harm in housing the two prisoners together. Prisoner also failed to show that correctional officers used excessive force against him while restraining him following a fight with another prisoner. McBride v. Rivers, No. 05-13328, 170 Fed. Appx. 648 (11th Cir. 2006). [N/R]
New York Commissioner of Corrections and deputy prison superintendent were not entitled to qualified immunity on prisoner's claim that they conspired to violate his civil rights in a lawsuit brought by a prisoner over the alleged failure to protect him from attacks by other prisoners. Jury awarded a total of $150,000 in compensatory damages and $7.5 million in punitive damages, but a new trial was ordered on the punitive damages issue. Britt v. Garcia, No. 05-0641, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 18795 (2d Cir.). [2006 JB Sep]
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]
Federal appeals court orders a new trial in lawsuit by prisoner claiming that housing unit manager improperly denied his request for protective custody after his cellmate allegedly raped him, resulting in multiple subsequent rapes. Trial judge improperly told the jury, in response to their question, that there was "no evidence presented" about prior complaints about the defendant denying requests for protective custody, rather than instructing them that their question was irrelevant, after which the jury quickly found for the defendant. Conley v. Very, No. 05-2650, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 15548 (8th Cir.). [2006 JB Aug]
Prisoner failed to show that a prison employee knew that his cellmate posed a serious risk of harm to him, and therefore could not impose liability on him for injuries suffered in an attack by the cellmate. Pickett v. Hartung, No. 05-15406, 168 Fed. Appx. 226 (9th Cir. 2006). [N/R]
Prison officers did not act with deliberate indifference in having a prisoner with "mental problems" become another inmate's cellmate. The officers knew that he had been taking his medication, and had been screened and cleared for housing in the general population. There was no evidence that the officers knew that the inmate's new cellmate posed a substantial risk of injury to him, so that they could not be held liable for a subsequent physical assault. Jones v. Beard, No. 04-3669, 145 Fed. Appx. 743 (3rd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Prison employees did not act with deliberate indifference by failing to remove prisoner's cellmate, who he complained was "nuts" and had tried to assault him. They promptly had the cellmate evaluated by a psychiatrist and took other steps to assess the situation, and were therefore not liable for the cellmate's subsequent attack on the prisoner approximately a week later. Borello v. Allison, No. 05-3515 446 F.3d 742 (7th Cir. 2006) [2006 JB Jul]
Prisoner failed to show either that correctional officers caused his injuries from assault by another prisoner by failing to adequately protect him or were deliberately indifferent to his injuries following the assault. Pinkston v. Madry, No. 03-2973 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 6108 (7th Cir.). [2006 JB May]
Correctional officials and employees did not act with deliberate indifference in placing white supremacist prisoner in two cells with black cellmates who were members of a prison gang that he had a dispute with. No liability for two subsequent attacks on him by cellmates when his expressed reason for requesting a transfer was his desire not to be housed with blacks, a request he had no right to have granted. Lindell v. Houser, No. 04-2020, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 8066 (7th Cir.). [2006 JB May]
Prisoner failed to show that an assault on him by another inmate was foreseeably caused by any failure of correctional employees or officials to comply with his requests for protective custody or failure to address the presence of gangs at the facility. His request for protective custody was based on an incident at another facility, and the assault in question occurred more than a year after that request was denied. Further, there was no evidence showing any link between the unknown prisoner who assaulted the plaintiff and any prison gang. Donato v. State of New York, 807 N.Y.S.2nd 456 (A.D. 3rd Dept. 2006). [N/R]
Nebraska correctional officer was not liable for failure to prevent attack on prisoner in his cell when he had no knowledge that the prisoner had been transferred to the facility to avoid retaliation against him by a motorcycle gang for having exposed their plot to kill a correctional officer in Virginia. Fender v. Bull, No. 04-3898, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 3236 (8th Cir.). [2006 JB Apr]
Prisoner could not pursue a federal civil rights claim based on a jail employee's alleged incitement of other inmates to attack him, when he did not assert that any such attack actually occurred. Henslee v. Lewis, 153 Fed. Appx. 178 (4th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Requirement, under Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997(e)(a) that available administrative remedies be exhausted before a federal civil rights lawsuit over prison conditions is filed did not apply to a lawsuit by relatives of a prisoner who died while incarcerated, as they were not prisoners, and the prisoner, at the time the lawsuit was filed, was no longer "confined." Relatives stated a possible claim for deliberate indifference to the medical and security needs of the deceased prisoner, who they alleged was forcibly intoxicated with morphine by fellow prisoners, with the drug causing his death by overdose. Rivera-Quinones v. Rivera-Gonzalez, No. CIV. 03-2326, 397 F. Supp. 2d 334 (D. Puerto Rico. 2005). [N/R]
Intermediate New York appellate court reinstates jury's verdict in favor of city in lawsuit seeking to impose liability for injuries inmate suffered from attack by fellow prisoners at Riker's Island, overturning grant of new trial. Trial judge's alleged mistakes in reading the jury instructions on how to address an issue of missing documents would not have misled the jury and did not justify setting the jury's verdict aside. Genco v. City of New York, 794 N.Y.S.2d 558 (Sup. App. Term 2005). [N/R]
New Jersey prisoner failed to show that prison officials were liable for an alleged physical attack against him in the prison carpentry shop and for later threats of physical and sexual assault by another prisoner. Plaintiff prisoner did not claim that any of the defendant officials had any awareness of his fears for his safety. Stringer v. Bureau of Prisons, No. 04-1510, 145 Fed. Appx. 751 (3rd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Prisoner who was attacked by other inmates failed to show that county jail officials knew of a risk of such an attack when they moved him to another unit in the jail. He failed to inform anyone, prior to the move, of his safety concerns based on his claimed gang affiliation with the Crips, a black gang. He failed to tell anyone that he believed that he should not be housed with Hispanic inmates as a result of this affiliation. Collins v. County of Kern, No. CVF03-6424, 390 F. Supp. 2d 964 (E.D. Cal. 2005). [N/R]
New York state inmate did not enter into a valid release and settlement agreement on his claim that a correctional officer told another prisoner that he was an informer, subjecting him to subsequent harassment and risk of physical attack. While the prisoner did receive a 18-week decrease in his confinement in a special housing unit, as proposed in the settlement agreement, the settlement agreement was not the cause of the reduction, and the prisoner never actually signed the settlement agreement. The release and settlement agreement were therefore not enforceable, and the prisoner could proceed with his lawsuit. Burgess v. Morse, No. 03-CV-63451, 387 F. Supp. 2d 246 (W.D.N.Y. 2005). [N/R]
Federal trial court abused its discretion in denying defendant prison officials' motion for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity as untimely in prisoner's lawsuit claiming that they were deliberately indifferent to threats of physical violence against prisoners. This motion, filed within three weeks of the court's motion ruling on a motion to dismiss, and one week before trial, was not clearly untimely because no local rule or court order clearly provided the officials with a specific deadline for filing the motion, and the officials therefore did not have adequate notice that their motion would be untimely if filed when it was. Further proceedings ordered on defendant officials' motion. Moore v. Cockrell, No. 04-40474, 144 Fed. Appx. 397 (5th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Federal prison employee could not be held liable for failing to prevent an attack on an inmate by his cellmate, in the absence of any evidence that he had either notice or knowledge concerning the alleged threats against the prisoner. Mohamed v. Tattum, No. 04-3165, 380 F. Supp. 2d 1214 (D. Kan. 2005). [N/R]
District attorney was entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity on prisoner's claims that he was denied equal protection because the prosecutor failed to pursue criminal charges against the other prisoner who allegedly attacked him in a holding cell. Jones v. Baysinger, No. 04-16944, 135 Fed. Appx. 132 (9th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Appeals court orders further proceedings to determine whether prisoner, in filing three inmate request forms asking for a change of cell to get away from a cellmate who allegedly threatened him, sufficiently exhausted available administrative remedies to allow him to proceed with a federal civil rights lawsuit for alleged failure to protect him after the cellmate allegedly attacked him and he was moved to a different cell. Braham v. Armstrong, 03-0153, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 21085 (2nd Cir.). [2005 JB Nov]
Prisoner failed to show that correctional employees and officials had knowledge or reason to anticipate that a fellow prisoner would use a combination lock as a weapon to assault him. The mere fact that an object is solid or hard is insufficient to prove it is inherently dangerous, giving rise to liability on the part of correctional authorities for allowing a prisoner to possess it. No liability in prisoner's negligence claim. Morris v. Union Parish Police Jury, No. 39,709-CA, 902 So. 2d 1276 (La. App. 2nd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Injuries that a prisoner suffered during an assault by another inmate were not foreseeable, so that the State of New York could not be held liable for them in a negligence lawsuit. Codrington v. State of New York, 797 N.Y.S.2d 100 (A.D. 2nd Dept. 2005). [N/R]
County jail detainee beaten and raped by fellow prisoners showed genuine factual issues as to whether county sheriff had acted with deliberate indifference to the risk of such assaults by housing him with detainees with records of prior violence. Merriweather v. Marion County Sheriff, No. 02 CV 01881, 368 F. Supp. 2d 875 (S.D. Ind. 2005). [N/R]
Inmate's lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2401(b) was properly dismissed as untimely when he failed to file it within six months of the Bureau of Prisons' rejection of his application for compensation for prison guards' alleged negligence in failing to protect him from a beating by other inmates. Myles v. US , #02-3944, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 4646 (7th Cir.). [N/R]
Correctional officer who required detainee to stand against the wall near hostile inmates after he had been stabbed did not act unreasonably or with deliberate indifference, and was not liable for the subsequent additional stabbing of the detainee. Fisher v. Lovejoy, No. 04-3776, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 13312 (7th Cir.). [2005 JB Aug]
Muslim prisoner adequately alleged that prison officials knew of a threat to him from other Muslim inmates, but failed to take action to protect him. Hearns v. Terhune, No. 02-56302, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 13034 (9th Cir.). [2005 JB Aug]
Correctional officer who allegedly reacted to a dispute with a prisoner over an overflowing toilet by body slamming him onto a concrete floor and punching him in the face was entitled to qualified immunity from an Eighth Amendment claim when the prisoner failed to show that he suffered more than "de minimus" (minimal) physical injuries as a result of the incident. Wilson v. Taylor, No. 03-51107, 100 Fed. Appx. 282 (5th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
The amount of force used by a correctional officers during a fight with a prisoner, and the level of injuries sustained by the prisoner were insufficient to show a violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Officers threw three punches and made two shoves, and the prisoner only suffered a broken facial pimple, a cut and swollen area on his cheekbone, and a small laceration on the bridge of his nose. Additionally, the prisoner was subsequently charged with assault of the two correctional officers during the incident. Thomas v. Ferguson, No. CIV.A. 02-3016, 361 F. Supp. 2d 435 (D.N.J. 2004). [N/R]
Jail officers were entitled to qualified immunity in lawsuit claiming that they failed to protect prisoner from assault by other inmates, in the absence of any allegation that they disregarded any known risk of harm. General allegations that the facility was overcrowded were insufficient to show deliberate indifference and, at most, indicated negligence, which could not be the basis for a constitutional claim. Crow v. Montgomery, No. 03-3859, 403 F.3d 598 (8th Cir. 2005). [2005 JB Jun]
County could not be held liable for the alleged actions of a correctional officer in "orchestrating" an attack on a detainee which was unauthorized and not motivated by a purpose of serving the employer. Officer was therefore not entitled to indemnification under Illinois law for $400,000 jury verdict against him. Copeland v. County of Macon, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 6074 (7th Cir.). [2005 JB Jun]
State prison officials were not liable for failure to protect a prisoner against an attack by another inmate, despite knowledge of past confrontations between the two, when the attacked prisoner failed to report assailant's alleged recent statements about him. Defendant officials had no reason to anticipate this particular assault. Hewes v. Magnusson, No. CIV.03-106, 350 F. Supp. 2d 222 (D. Me. 2004).[N/R]
White detainee's assertions that prison guards improperly failed to protect him against an assault by a black prisoner with a known propensity for attacking whites by allowing him unsupervised access to a dayroom occupied by him were sufficient to state federal civil rights claims. Trial court improperly dismissed detainee's lawsuit. Brown v. Budz, No. 03-1997, 2005 U.S.App. Lexis 2646 (7th Cir. 2005) [2005 JB Apr]
Conditions at Georgia county jail failed to create a substantial risk of serious harm necessary to show a violation of constitutional rights in the failure to protect a prisoner from attack by other inmates who thought he had taken money from one of them. Allowing inmates to possess money for commissary purchases, while perhaps not the "best practice," was not a violation of the constitution. Purcell v. Toombs County, No. 02-11994, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 3221 (11th Cir. 2005). [2005 JB Apr]
Massachusetts prisoner failed to show that the county sheriff, in his individual capacity, committed any acts or omissions that could be said to constitute either reckless or callous indifference to the risk that he would be attacked by another prisoner. Further, county sheriff, in his official capacity, was a state employee following the abolition of the county government, so that official capacity federal civil rights claims for damages could not be pursued against him. Broner v. Flynn, No. CIV.A. 01-40027, 311 F. Supp. 2d 227 (D. Mass. 2004). [N/R]
Deputy who allegedly failed to go investigate after prisoner pushed an "emergency" button in his cell was not entitled to qualified immunity in prisoner's lawsuit claiming that this inaction allowed his cellmate, then holding a razor to his neck, to proceed with a physical assault and anal rape. Velez v. Johnson, No. 04-1943, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 588 (7th Cir.). [2005 JB Mar]
Disputed issues of fact as to whether correctional officer intervened when a razor blade-wielding gang member inmate attacked the plaintiff prisoner in the facility's law library, or instead fled the library when the fight broke out precluded summary judgment for the officer. Trial court also finds that there were disputed factual issues as to whether correctional officers should have been aware of "tension" between the attacked prisoner and incarcerated gang members, and therefore should have taken additional steps to protect him against the attack. Smith v. County of Albany, 784 N.Y.S.2d 709 (A.D. 3d Dept. 2004). [N/R]
Placing prisoner with a known violent history in an "open-spaced" dormitory, and allowing him to remain there after a conviction for possessing a weapon while incarcerated was sufficient to uphold a jury's award of damages against responsible prison employees after the prisoner brutally attacked another prisoner, crushing his left testicle. Federal appeals court reinstates jury award of $100,000 in damages. Pierson v. Hartley, No. 02-3491, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 25775 (7th Cir. 2004). [2005 JB Feb]
Prisoner showed an adequate connection between the alleged attack on him by other inmates and a D.C. alleged policy or custom of transferring prisoners without informing the transferee correctional facility about active orders requiring their separation from other prisoners to state a federal civil rights claim against the District. Ashford v. District of Columbia, No. Civ.A. 02-1955, 306 F. Supp. 2d 8 (D.D.C. 2004). [N/R]
Jail personnel were not liable for placing a pregnant female detainee in a visiting room with a male prisoner and his attorney when they had no knowledge of a no-contact court order or the male prisoner's prior alleged conspiracy to murder her. Whiting v. Marathon County Sheriff's Department, No. 03-3515, 382 F.3d 700 (7th Cir. 2004). [2005 JB Jan]
Manager of residential unit in state prison was not entitled to dismissal or summary judgment in lawsuit asserting that he failed to protect prisoner from a sexual assault by his cellmate. There were genuine issues of fact as to whether the defendant knew that the cellmate was a "predatory" homosexual who had attacked others. The plaintiff prisoner claimed that he had informed the manager of this in making a request for a different cell assignment, and the court found that the inmate's right to be protected against such assaults by his cellmate was clearly established. Brown v. Scott, 329 F. Supp. 2d 905 (E.D. Mich. 2004). [N/R]
Plaintiff who obtained injunctive and declaratory relief in class action lawsuit claiming that correctional officials failed to adequately train and supervise its employees, thereby subjecting prisoners to a risk of assaults by other inmates, but who received no monetary relief was entitled to an award of $427,158.73 in attorneys' fees and expenses. The maximum hourly rate for the attorneys' in the case was limited, under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 1997e(d)(3) to 150% of the hourly fee for appointed lawyers paid in the federal circuit where the lawsuit was brought, rather than 150% of the rate established by the Judicial Conference. This resulted in a maximum hourly fee of $135 per hour, rather than $169.50 per hour, in this case. Court also rules that plaintiff's attorney was entitled to a fee multiplier in the case because of "excellent work" enabling case to be resolved through summary judgment and settlement, avoiding a costly trial and saving defendant officials higher attorneys' fees and costs. Skinner v. Uphoff, 324 F. Supp. 2d 1278 (D. Wyoming. 2004). [N/R]
Prison warden and other officials were not entitled to qualified immunity in lawsuit by three prisoners claiming that they exhibited deliberate indifference to attacks on them and other actions by HIV-positive prisoner who threatened to "infect them," urinated on the floor and placed fecal matter there when assigned to "clean" the restrooms. Plaintiffs also claimed that they faced unlawful retaliation by some of the defendants after filing their lawsuit. Nei v. Dooley, #03-3261, 372 F.3d 1003 (8th Cir. 2004). [2004 JB Oct]
Correctional officer was entitled to qualified immunity from liability in a lawsuit against him for failing to intervene, and instead running to get help, when a prisoner he was escorting back to his cell was stabbed to death by another prisoner. There was no clearly established constitutional right to have the officer immediately intervene rather than summoning assistance. Rios v. Scott, No. 03-41088, 100 Fed. Appx. 270 (5th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Prisoner was properly awarded $820,000 in damages against county for failure to protect him from physical assault by another inmate who he had helped imprison by cooperating in law enforcement narcotics investigation. Federal appeals court rejects argument that damages were excessive, and upholds trial court's reduction of jury's prior award of $1,610,000. Rangolan v. County of Nassau, #03-7367, 370 F.3d 239 (2nd Cir. 2004). [2004 JB Sep]
Trial court improperly dismissed prisoner's lawsuit concerning prison officials' alleged failure to protect him from another inmate on the basis of failure to exhaust available administrative remedies without considering prisoner's claim that prison officials prevented him from exhausting his administrative remedies by beating him, threatening him, denying him grievance forms and writing implements, and transferring him to another facility. Trial court could also have considered his claim that complaints to the FBI constituted an informal exhaustion of his administrative grievances sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e. Failure to exhaust administrative remedies is an "affirmative defense," and is subject to "estoppel" barring the defense if prison officials actually did prevent a prisoner from pursuing a grievance. Ziemba v. Wezner, No. 02-0340, 366 F.3d 161 (2nd Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Correctional officers were entitled to qualified immunity for failing to protect prisoner from an attack by his cellmate when there was no evidence that anyone, including the plaintiff himself, believed that he was in danger from the cellmate until the attack actually occurred. Berry v. Sherman, No. 03-2828, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 7927 (8th Cir. 2004). [2004 JB Jun]
Federal prison officials were not liable for the death of a prisoner beaten to death by two fellow inmates with a fire extinguisher. Their decisions regarding where to house the prisoner and how to protect his safety fell within the "discretionary function" exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act, as those decisions were discretionary and "grounded in policy," since there was no mandatory course of conduct for officials to follow. Montez v. U.S., No. 02-6303, 359 F.3d 392 (6th Cir. 2004). [2004 JB Jun]
Mere fact that two inmates were of different races was insufficient to put corrections officer on notice that white inmate posed a threat of physical assault to black inmate in exercise yard. Officer, who had no knowledge of white inmate's alleged membership in racist gang or that anyone had threatened the black inmate, could not be held liable for alleged failure to protect him against assault. Jones v. Bernard, #02-1349, 77 Fed. Appx. 467 (10th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Lieutenant who assigned a prisoner a new cellmate who subsequently sexually assaulted him was not liable, despite prisoner's claim that he feared an assault from a Latin Kings gang member. There was no showing that the sexual assault had anything to do with this gang, and there was no evidence from which the lieutenant could be said to be aware of a substantial risk of harm from pairing these two prisoners together. Riccardo v. Rausch, #02-1961, 359 F.3d 510 (7th Cir. 2004). [2004 JB May]
Federal appeals court reinstates claim against prison warden for alleged failure to protect transsexual inmate from an attack by a maximum-security prisoner. Plaintiff prisoner raised a sufficient factual issue as to whether the warden had knowledge of the possible risk to her safety because of her vulnerability and her attacker's status as a "predator," but failed to act to protect her. Greene v. Bowles, No. 02-3626, 361 F.3d 290 (6th Cir. 2004). [2004 JB May]
Correctional officers' alleged failure to remove prisoner from area where fellow inmates were attempting to gain access to him to assault him, if true, constituted deliberate indifference to his safety, so that officers were not entitled to qualified immunity. Odom v. South Carolina Dept. of Corrections, #02-7086, 349 F.3d 765 (4th Cir. 2003). [2004 JB Apr]
State, county, and individual officials were entitled to immunity for criminal actions of one mentally ill offender in assaulting another in a conditional release program. State statute provides absolute immunity for any liability for the criminal actions committed by persons in the Forensic Conditional Release Program, including persons on parole or judicial commitment status. Cal. Penal Code Sec. 1618. Ley v. State, 8 Cal. Rptr. 3d 642 (Cal. App. 2nd Dist. 2004). [N/R]
Detainee who was in the process of bonding out of a county jail when he was attacked by other inmates and injured was still an "inmate" for purposes of a Mississippi state statute providing governmental entities and employees immunity under state law for injury claims by prisoners. State Supreme Court also rules that an exception to governmental immunity for wanton or reckless disregard by a governmental employee does not apply to claims by prisoners. Love v. Sunflower County Sheriff's Department, No. 2002-CA-01724-SCT, 860 So. 2d 797 (Miss. 2003). [2004 JB Mar]
Correctional officers could not be held liable for prisoner's injuries from stabbing by his cellmate. Their awareness of cellmate's plans to "fake a hanging" and statement that the prisoner would help him "one way or another" did not provide them with specific knowledge of a particular threat of assault as required to show deliberate indifference to a serious risk of harm. Carter v. Galloway, No. 02-16635, 352 F.3d 1346 (11th Cir. 2003). [2004 JB Mar]
Prisoner could not succeed in suing correctional officials for allegedly failing to protect him from assault by another inmate who he was convicted of murdering. Appeals court rules that any injuries plaintiff prisoner suffered, including his conviction and subsequent placement in solitary confinement, were the result of his "affirmative act of murder," rather than any failure on the part of the defendants. Encarnacion v. Dann, #02-0312, 80 Fed. Appx. 140 (2nd Cir. 2003). [2004 JB Mar]
Homosexual prisoner did not successfully show that prison guard was deliberately indifferent to his safety in placing him with a cellmate who subsequently raped him. The plaintiff's statement to the guard that he was "nervous" about being placed in a cell with another prisoner was insufficient to show that the guard in fact knew of the risk and ignored it. Alleged three-day delay in providing medical treatment following the rape did not show inadequate medical care, in the absence of any showing that the delay caused any harm. Harvey v. California, No. 02-16539, 82 Fed. Appx. 544 (9th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Corrections employee and prison doctors were not entitled to qualified immunity brought by prisoner who suffered a fractured skull as a result of an attack by his co-defendant in a criminal trial. Prisoner claimed that no action was taken to transfer him or separate him from his attacker, despite knowledge of the hostility between them. Inadequate medical care claims also asserted, based on alleged transfer to facility not equipped to address prisoner's medical needs, and three-week delay of doctor at new facility in examining prisoner. Scicluna v. Wells, No. 02-2117, 345 F.3d 441 (6th Cir. 2003).[2004 JB Feb]
Lawsuit by New York prisoners against over fifty correctional employees concerning more than forty separate and unrelated incidents at fourteen different prisons over a period of almost ten years was properly dismissed, federal appeals court rules. Complaint failed to establish the existence of a policy or practice existing throughout the state correctional system or even within one prison which caused a violation of Eighth Amendment rights. Claims included alleged assaults by correctional officers, failure to protect inmates from assaults by other prisoners, and failure to provide medical care for injuries. Additionally, none of the plaintiffs stated that they had exhausted available administrative remedies prior to filing suit. Webb v. Goord, #02-0097(L), 340 F.3d 105 (2nd Cir. 2003). [2003 JB Nov]
New York state commissioner of correctional department, in merely sending prisoner a response letter advising him to address his safety concerns with local officials and his counselor, was not sufficiently involved in alleged failure to protect prisoner against assault by other inmates to be held liable. Plaintiff prisoner also did not exhaust available administrative remedies before filing lawsuit claiming that correctional officer identified him to other prisoners as a "snitch" and then failed to protect him against assault. Burgess v. Morse, 259 F. Supp. 2d 240 (W.D.N.Y. 2003). [N/R]
Court's order requiring prisoner to be kept in a particular facility to allow him to effectively pursue pending litigation did not entitle prison officials to absolute immunity from the inmate's claim of deliberate indifference to his confinement there which allegedly resulted in his being attacked by a cellmate for being a "snitch." Hamilton v. Leavy, #01-3062, 322 F.3d 776 (3rd Cir. 2003). [2003 JB Oct]
Guards and operator of private facility with custody over only federal prisoners could not be sued under federal civil rights statute, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, since they did not act under "color of state law," but the guards at the facility were acting under color of federal law and therefore could still be sued directly for alleged violations of prisoner's constitutional rights in leaving him unprotected against assault by another prisoner. Such a claim could not, however, be asserted against the corporation which operated the prison. Sarro v. Cornell Corrections, Inc., 248 F. Supp. 2d 52 (D.R.I. 2003). [2003 JB Oct]
Jury awards estate of inmate murdered by another prisoner $2,641 in damages on claim that a prison employee showed deliberate indifference to the risk of harm after the inmate had taken action which resulted in his assailant getting suspended from a prison print shop work assignment for improperly using the telephone. Flint v. Kentucky Department of Corrections, No. 96-CV-0591 (E.D. Ky. July 10 2003), reported in The National Law Journal, p. 14 (Aug. 11, 2003). [N/R]
Even if correctional officer was "grossly negligent" in leaving prison dorm without obtaining a replacement monitor, this was insufficient to impose civil rights liability for subsequent assault on prisoner by alleged gang member housed in the same unit, as it did not show "deliberate indifference" to a known risk of harm. Miller v. McBride, No. 02-1147, 64 Fed. Appx. 558 (7th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Jail guards on duty at the time that a inmate with a history of violent outbursts and mental instability killed a pretrial detainee were not entitled to qualified immunity from liability for failure to protect the decedent when they allegedly knew that the assailant posed a serious risk of harm to fellow prisoners. Supervisory personnel, however, had no knowledge that guards were failing to monitor assailant, as required. Cottone v. Jenne, #02-14529, 326 F.3d 1352 (11th Cir. 2003). [2003 JB Sep]
Plaintiff prisoner who sued correctional employees for alleged failure to protect him from stabbing by another prisoner could not object on appeal to the admission of evidence that he was labeled a "homosexual predator" on correctional records when his own lawyer made a "strategic decision" to allow the jury to learn that in order to lessen any "negative impact the information may have had if left unexplained." Gibbs v. Bolden, No. 02-1560, 65 Fed. Appx. 519 (6th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Prison employees were not liable for alleged failure to protect inmate from assaults by prison gang members when they each responded to his complaints about threats and assaults by making reports to supervising officers, conducting investigations, or informing appropriate officials so that the alleged problem could be investigated. Thompson v. Eason, 258 F. Supp. 2d 508 (N.D. Tex. 2003). [N/R]
Prisoner was barred from pursuing federal civil rights claim that he was placed in danger when prison officials identified him to the general prison population as a gang member when he failed to exhaust available administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(a). Labounty v. Johnson, 253 F. Supp. 2d 496 (W.D.N.Y. 2003). [N/R]
Prison investigative agents were not liable for injuries to prisoner placed in a cell with gang members who allegedly physically assaulted him because of his Cuban nationality. Plaintiff prisoner failed to show that the defendants were subjectively aware of the alleged risk to him resulting from placing him in the cell, thus barring a finding of deliberate indifference to a known risk of harm. Verdecia v. Adams, No. 01-1130, 327 F.3d 1171 (10th Cir. 2003). [2003 JB Aug]
Prisoner assaulted by gang members, and attacked yet again when he was moved to a new housing assignment after identifying his assailants, did not show that jail officials were responsible for the second assault. Prisoner failed to provide evidence of his claim that the jail had policies of segregating prisoners by race, and putting predominantly black prisoners in "gladiator cell blocks" in which staff members failed to intervene when fighting erupted. Palmer v. Marion County, #02-2267, 327 F.3d 588 (7th Cir. 2003). [2003 JB Aug]
Prison inspector was not deliberately indifferent to alleged threats of assault by other inmates against prisoner, when he was not involved in investigating these complaints, but rather the prisoner's claim that his food was being poisoned by prison staff putting human waste in his food. Inspector had no knowledge of alleged assault threats to prisoner prior to actual attacks on him in the dining hall. (Prisoner's claims regarding purported food poisoning were concluded to be unfounded and it was recommended that he be sent for psychological intervention). Webster v. Crowley, #02-1998, 62 Fed. Appx. 598 (6th Cir. 2003).[N/R]
California Supreme Court overturns $175,006 award to man beaten by another detainee in city jail while confined there for public intoxication. Plaintiff, arrested for public intoxication, was a "prisoner" while confined, entitling city to governmental immunity, despite subsequent decision not to pursue charges. Teter v. City of Newport Beach, No. S106553, 66 P.3d 1225 (Cal. 2003). [2003 JB Jul]
No liability for federal prison officials for death of prisoner stabbed by another inmate following a fight over a chess game. Having one officer supervising 219 inmates with violent propensities during a facility-wide move did not, by itself, establish either a violation of civil rights or negligence under the Federal Tort Claims Act, in the absence of any expert testimony or other evidence that this caused the assault. Officer did not act with deliberate indifference to assaulted prisoner's serious medical needs when he summoned help as soon as he learned of the stabbing. Robinson v. U.S. Bureau of Prisons, 244 F. Supp. 2d 57 (N.D.N.Y. 2003). [2003 JB Jul]
Prison officials were not liable for a "vicious beating" a prisoner suffered from an inmate in an adjoining cell who had previously threatened him. Defendant officials were never made aware of that threat, and the assailant's prior attack on another inmate had been against someone scheduled to testify against him, which was not the case in the immediate incident. Taylor v. Little, No. 01-5651, 58 Fed. Appx. 66 (6th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Prisoner could not pursue a federal civil rights claim against correctional officials for failure to protect him against other inmates who allegedly threatened him with harm because his crime involved a child when he could not show that he suffered physical harm as a result of the alleged failure to protect. A provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(e) prohibits recovery for mental or emotional injury suffered in custody without a prior showing of physical injury. Wolff v. Hood, 242 F. Supp. 2d 811 (D. Ore. 2002). [N/R]
Prisoner's lawsuit against prison officials for failing to protect him against assault by other inmates should not have been dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies despite the fact that he never filed an administrative grievance, when prisoner was told by officials that he had to "wait" until their "investigation" was finished, and he was not informed, months later, that it had ended. Brown v. Croak, No. 01-1207, 312 F.3d 109 (3rd Cir. 2002). [2003 JB May]
Prisoner did not provide evidence that supervisors of prison guards had any awareness of a particular risk of harm to him from assault by other inmates. While some of his injuries and "predicaments" were documented in prison logbooks, there was no indication that the supervisors were obligated to review these logbooks, or that it was their actual practice to do so. One supervisor's transfer of the plaintiff prisoner to a different cell tier instead of to protective custody did not constitute "deliberate indifference" to the risk of harm, since the prisoner could not show that the supervisor's belief that a different tier would be more secure was unreasonable when plaintiff prisoner did not know the identity of the other inmates who attacked him, what their motive was, or any possible gang affiliation. Boyce v. Moore, #01-2809, 314 F.3d 884 (7th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
Past prison officials failed to protect inmates from violence by other prisoners, creating an excessive risk to prisoner safety, as demonstrated by evidence of inadequate supervision and training of subordinates in how to investigate and abate dangerous conditions, and failing to discipline "malfeasant" employees. While successor officials instituted new policies, this did not make the prisoners' claims for injunctive and declaratory relief moot. Skinner v. Uphoff, 234 F. Supp. 2d 1208 (D. Wyoming 2002). [2003 JB Apr]
Plaintiff prisoner did not show that officials were deliberately indifferent to his safety, since they did place him in administrative segregation in order to protect him from possible assault by other prisoners seeking to harm him because he had been incarcerated for sexual offenses. Additionally, the attack on him was carried out by a prisoner who was under escort and in restraints at the time, also indicating an effort to protect the plaintiff's safety. Carter v. Padilla, No. 02-2196, 54 Fed. Appx. 292 (10th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
County jail's alleged policy of failing to classify and segregate violent and nonviolent detainees was not the cause of an assault by one prisoner on another in an adjoining cell. Injured prisoner himself requested his particular cell assignment because of its view, and never requested being placed in protective custody or moved. Additionally, the attack occurred when he voluntarily followed the assailant into his cell. Burrell v. Hampshire County, #02-1504, 307 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2002). [2003 JB Feb.]
Prisoner failed to show that his injury from assault by another prisoner was caused by the facility's cell assignment policy of allowing inmates to choose their own cellmates. Prisoner had previously shared his cell with his alleged attacker without prior incident and did not inform correctional employees that he had any dispute with cellmate or feared any harm from him. Washington v. LaPorte County Sheriff's Department, #01-3812, 306 F.3d 515 (7th Cir. 2002). [2003 JB Jan]
Prisoner stabbed 16 times by fellow inmates and left paralyzed from the waist down receives $300,000 settlement of lawsuit claiming that jail personnel failed to implement policies requiring that he be separated from rival gang members and ignored his requests for protection. Mayoral v. Sheahan, No. 96C7249, U.S. Dist. Ct., Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, reported in The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, p. 3 (November 8, 2002). [N/R]
Associate warden and correctional officers were entitled to qualified immunity in lawsuit over prisoner's alleged murder by his cellmate when available information did not make it so clear that cellmate would harm him that no reasonable officer would have allowed them to be celled together. Both prisoners had previously been celled together without incident and had requested to be celled together again. Estate of Ford v. Ramirez-Palmer, #01-15769, 301 F.3d 1043 (9th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Dec]
Prisoner's claim that corrections officer returned a weapon (a laundry bag filled with rocks and cement) to his fellow-inmate assailant and thereby facilitated a second assault on him by a fellow inmate adequately stated a claim for deliberate indifference by the officer to the risk of such a second attack. Peate v. McCann, #00-2937, 294 F.3d 879 (7th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Nov]
Jury properly awarded $22,500 to ex-gang member slashed with razor by another prisoner. Evidence was sufficient for jury to conclude that prison employees acted with deliberate indifference to safety of the prisoner, who had previously complained about officers at the facility, and allegedly left the door to the assailant's cell open, facilitating the assault. Cantu v. Jones, #01-50905, 293 F.3d 839 (5th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Nov]
A prisoner's assertion that a prison official deliberately exposed him to the risk of assault by other inmates by telling another inmate that the prisoner had tried to "set him up" for disciplinary charges by planting a knife in his cell stated a claim for violation of the Eighth Amendment right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment. Johnson-Bey v. Ray, #01-3382, 38 Fed. Appx. 507 (10th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
Prisoner was entitled to proceed on his claim that correctional officers "set him up" for an assault by another inmate, deliberately removing obstacles to the violent attack. Case v. Ahitow, #01-3564, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 17277 (7th Cir.). [2002 JB Oct]
Prison employees were not deliberately indifferent to a risk of harm to a prisoner assaulted by another inmate after he was allowed to "wander about" unescorted in violation of prison policy. Employees' actions were, at most, negligent, but they had no basis to foresee that the assailant posed a particular risk to the injured prisoner. Benner v. McAdory, #01-2140, 34 Fed. Appx. 483 (7th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Aug]
Prison officials did not show deliberate indifference to prisoner's safety by placing him in the general population days before his parole date, where he was stabbed, since they were not aware of any enhanced risk, and were therefore entitled to qualified immunity. O'Connor v. Terhune, #01-15517, 32 Fed Appx. 314 (9th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Jul]
Federal prison psychologist was entitled to qualified immunity for failing to take any action to prevent violent attack after patient prisoner reported threats. Psychologist reasonably believed that prisoner, who was paranoid, and who was being treated for symptoms of psychosis and depression, was not in any real danger. Swan v. U.S., #01-15847, 32 Fed. Appx. 315 (9th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Jul]
Prisoner did not show that correctional officer was deliberately indifferent to the risk of an assault by another inmate on the prisoner by including his name as the informant in a misconduct report introduced at a hearing against his cellmate. Cellmate did not have a violent history, and there was no evidence the officer was aware of a significant risk that he would attack the prisoner. Williams v. McGinnis, 192 F. Supp. 22d 757 (E.D. Mich. 2002).[N/R]
Prisoner who claimed that correctional officials had subjected him to a substantial risk of being attacked and sodomized by other prisoners by placing him in a particular prison unit without adequate security and protection had to exhaust available administrative remedies before bringing suit in federal court. Exhaustion requirement was intended to curtail frivolous prisoner litigation, and by 1995, prisoners filed more than 25% of the cases filed in federal trial courts, which Congress concluded included more frivolous lawsuits than suits pursued by "any other class of persons." Torres v. Alvarado, 143 F. Supp. 2d 172 (D. Puerto Rico 2001). [N/R]
Sheriff was not deliberately indifferent to risk of harm to detainees, although detainees were exposed to an objectively substantial risk of harm, specifically of assault and injury by other inmates, in overcrowded jail. While facility was overcrowded, the sheriff took "immediate and reasonable measures" to attempt to alleviate problems associated with overcrowding. Further sheriff was not present at the jail on the evening of the assault, and did not direct that the two plaintiff detainees be housed in the area of the jail where the assault occurred. Hedrick v. Roberts, 183 F. Supp. 2d 814 (E.D. Va. 2001). [N/R]
Officer was not liable for failing to prevent a fatal attack on an inmate by other prisoners. Earlier "argument" between the decedent and one of his alleged later attackers over the location of an Arkansas town was carried on in a friendly manner and there was nothing from which the officer could have anticipated the later murderous assault. Tucker v. Evans, #01-1778, 276 F.3d 999 (8th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Apr]
Sheriff was not entitled to qualified immunity from lawsuit claiming that jail conditions were bad enough that they enhanced the possibility of prisoner-on-prisoner assault. Conditions alleged included overcrowding, understaffing, and failure to segregate pretrial detainees from convicted criminals, violent prisoners from nonviolent ones, juveniles from adults or prisoners with mental disorders from the general population. Marsh v. Butler County, Ala., #99-12813, 268 F.3d 1014 (11th Cir. 2001). [2002 JB Apr]
Prison Litigation Reform Act's provisions requiring the exhaustion of available administrative remedies before proceeding with a lawsuit did not apply to prisoner's New York state law negligence claim based on the alleged failure of correctional officers and prison officials to protect him from assaults by other inmates. Nunez v. Goord, 172 F. Supp. 2d 417 (S.D.N.Y. 2001). [N/R]
Correctional officers were not entitled to qualified immunity in lawsuit alleging that they watched television all evening while on duty and, as a result, failed to break up a fight between two cellmates which resulted in the death of one of them. Two cellmates allegedly belonged to rival gangs, but Commissioner of Corrections and warden lacked sufficient knowledge of the two gangs and their purported rivalry to be liable for failing to change a practice of allowing members of the two gangs to be housed in the same cell. Rodriguez v. Connecticut, 169 F. Supp. 2d 39 (D. Conn. 2001). [2002 JB Mar]
Correctional officials and employees who allegedly had knowledge of prisoners' death threats against inmate subsequently murdered at his prison printshop workplace yet took no protective actions were not entitled to qualified immunity from liability. Flint v. Kentucky Department of Corrections, No. 00-5129, 270 F.3d 340 (6th Cir. 2001). [2002 JB Mar]
Prisoner's allegations of negligence against sheriff, county, and detention guard were insufficient to support a federal civil rights lawsuit against them for failure to prevent an assault by another inmate which resulted in a broken jaw. Further, federal court would not hear state law negligence claim, since an identical claim had already been resolved in state court. Lawson v. Toney, 169 F. Supp. 2d 456 (M.D.N.C. 2001). [N/R]
Prison psychologist had no legal duty under California law to disclose prisoner's confidential communications that indicated a possible risk of harm to plaintiff prisoner from other inmates. Swan v. United States, No. C 99-5401, 159 F. Supp. 2d 1174 (N.D. Cal. 2001). [2002 JB Feb]
299:171 New York high court rules that state statute did not preclude a county from seeking a jury instruction that damages be apportioned between itself and the actual assailant in a lawsuit brought by a prisoner against the county for alleged negligence in failing to prevent another prisoner's attack on him. Rangolan v. County of Nassau, 96 N.Y.2d 42, 725 N.Y.S.2d 611, 749 N.E.2d 178 (2001).
299:170 Former correctional officer serving a sentence for murder failed to show that the state of New York was negligent in failing to protect him against an in- cell assault by two other prisoners; plaintiff himself chose to be housed in the general prison population after three years in segregated housing. Smith v. State of New York, 728 N.Y.S.2d 530 (A.D. 2001).
299:170 Prisoner could recover damages for negligent supervision by correctional officer during touch football game during which he was allegedly assaulted by another prisoner. Schindler v. State of New York, Claim No. 96692 (N.Y. Ct. of Claims, Rochester, N.Y.), reported in The National Law Journal, p. B4 (Aug. 13, 2001).
298:153 Supervisor who ordered cell isolation of inmate who previously assaulted male prisoner dressed as a woman was not liable for subsequent assault; supervisor was not deliberately indifferent to risk of future assaults and could not have reasonably foreseen that another officer would let the assailant out of his cell after the isolation was ordered. Doe v. Bowles, No. 00-3159, 254 F.3d 617 (6th Cir. 2001).
298:153 Appeals court overturns award of $725,000 to prisoner allegedly beaten by other inmates because he was arrested on rape charges; trial court abused its discretion by failing to define for jury the term "housing area," which was essential to its determination whether a sufficient amount of supervision was provided where the inmate was housed. Arnold v. County of Nassau, #00-7248, 252 F.3d 600 (2nd Cir. 2001).
297:136 Supervisory corrections officer could not be held liable for death of inmate stabbed by five fellow inmates; no direct connection was shown between the death and any alleged conduct of the officer. Reyes Vargas v. Rosello Gonzalez, 135 F. Supp. 2d 305 (D. Puerto Rico 2001).
295:104 N.Y. prisoner awarded $392,000 in failure to protect lawsuit; jury finds correctional sergeant was deliberately indifferent to the risk of a second assault by returning prisoner to his cell without taking protective measures after first attack. Hutchinson v. McCabee, #95- Civ. 5449, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5205 (S.D.N.Y.).
295:103 African-American prisoner stated a failure to protect claim based on his placement in a racially integrated exercise yard with Mexican-American inmates who attacked him twice; prison officials and guards allegedly knew that this created a "serious risk" of harm but were indifferent to it. Robinson v. Prunty, #00-55922, 249 F.3d 862 (9th Cir. 2001).
295:100 Correctional officers' alleged statements labeling a prisoner a "rat" and an "informant," based on his complaints that an officer was allegedly seeking to incite another prisoner to attack him in retaliation for successfully appealing a disciplinary order did not suffice to constitute unconstitutional retaliation for his exercise of his First Amendment rights. Dawes v. Walker, No. 99-252, 239 F.3d 489 (2nd Cir. 2001).
294:89 Failure of jail to segregate inmates by which gang they belonged to could not be a basis for holding supervisory officials liable for assault on former gang member attacked by rival gang members; appeals court reinstates claims, however, against two correctional officers who allegedly ignored prisoner's request to be placed in protective custody. Mayoral v. Sheahan, No. 00-1034, 245 F.3d 934 (7th Cir. 2001).
291:39 Correctional officer's alleged statement to other prisoners that a particular inmate was a "snitch" could constitute an Eighth Amendment violation even without proof that a physical assault or particular threats followed the statement. Benefield v. McDowall, No. 00-1097, 241 F.3d (10th Cir. 2001).
292:60 N.Y. prisoners could not pursue federal civil rights claim over alleged "conspiracy" of failure to protect them from assault by officers or inmates in 13 different prisons over a ten year period when the incidents were unrelated and no "conspiracy" was shown. Webb v. Goord, 197 F.R.D. 98 (S.D.N.Y. 2000).
294:88 Correctional officer was not deliberately indifferent to a prisoner's risk of injury from assault by another inmate when she took affirmative steps to prevent the assault, including stepping between the two prisoners and thereby exposing herself to danger. Delph v. Trent, 86 F.
Supp. 2d 572 (E.D. Va. 2000).
291:40 Jail officials were not liable for alleged attack on a pre-trial detainee by his cellmate as he slept; evidence did not show deliberate indifference to a serious risk of harm and cellmate, the evidence showed, was also a pre-trial detainee, not a sentenced prisoner as the plaintiff argued. Burciaga v. County of Lenawee, 123 F. Supp. 2d 1076 (E.D. Mich. 2000).
291:39 Prisoner could pursue claim against deputy for failure to protect him from assault by another prisoner when other inmates shouted threats against him as he was being taken to his cell assignment because of the highly publicized rape charges against him and deputy told him that he would have to "face the music." Weiss v. Cooley, No. 98-2880, 230 F.3d 1027 (7th Cir. 2000).
290:22 Warden was entitled to qualified immunity from liability for prisoner's murder of another inmate some 16 months after he wrote a note threatening to commit "mass murder" in the prison; warden only released prisoner from segregation into the general population after an investigation concluded that the threats were not serious Curry v. Crist, No. 99-4184, 226 F.3d 974 (8th Cir. 2000).
[N/R] Former inmates stated a claim against the sheriff and county for deliberate indifference to the risk of assault against them by other prisoners at county jail by alleging that armed inmates were allowed to roam freely. Marsh v. Butler County, Alabama, No. 99-12813, 225 F.3d 1243 (11th Cir. 2000).
284:125 County liable for $40,000 for injuries to prisoner in protective custody who was attacked by two gang member pre-trial detainees in common recreation area; court rules that policy allowing prisoners with different security levels to take recreation together was deliberate indifference in light of knowledge of specific threats to plaintiff prisoner. Miller v. Shelby County, Tenn., 93 F. Supp. 2d 892 (W.D. Tenn. 2000).
286:154 County was liable for attack by other prisoners on man arrested for traffic offenses; sheriff had a policy of confining all arrestees, including those with prior felony arrests and a history of violence, together in one large cell, which amounted to deliberate indifference to the risk of harm to prisoners such as the plaintiff; limits on attorneys' fees in the Prison Litigation Reform Act did not apply in a suit by a former prisoner. Janes v. Hernandez, Nos. 99- 50092 & 99-50141, 215 F.3d 541 (5th Cir. 2000).
287:170 Correctional officer's inadvertent housing of prisoner in a dormitory with another inmate who he had informed on was not deliberate indifference, but at most negligence; officer merely failed to notice "remarks" section of prisoner's record, stating that the two prisoners should not be housed together; further proceedings to follow on state law negligence claims in which jury initially awarded $1.55 million in damages. Rangolan v. County of Nassau, No. 99- 9343 & 99-9397, 217 F.3d 77 (2nd Cir. 2000).
287:171 Prison official with no personal involvement could not be held liable for assault on prisoner who was in general population despite prior attack on him; cell unit manager, however, to whom prisoner allegedly voiced fears of further attack, was not entitled to qualified immunity from liability. Pearson v. Vaughn, 102 F. Supp. 2d 282 (E.D. Pa. 2000).
286:155 Prisoner who was assaulted by other inmates did not show that any purported inadequate training and supervision of jail personnel caused his injuries, but he did state a possible claim for liability by the county sheriff by asserting that there was a policy of understaffing the jail and failing to monitor inmates. Lopez v. LeMaster, No. 98- 6203, 172 F.3d 756 (10th Cir. 1999).
285:137 Correctional officer who demonstrated that he was not assigned to work in the prisoner's division on the date that another inmate attacked him in the shower and in his cell could not be held personally responsible for failure to prevent the attack, since he had no personal involvement in the incident. Brooks v. Shahan, 50 F. Supp. 2d 821 (N.D. Ill. 1999).
277:6 New York correctional officers were not liable for failure to protect prisoner in his cell from having hot coffee thrown at him when the attack was not reasonably foreseeable. Schittino v. New York, 692 N.Y.S.2d 760 (A.D. 1999).
278:25 Prisoner stated a claim for violation of his constitutional rights by asserting that officer told other inmates it was "open season" on him, following which two or three prisoners attacked him; plaintiff need not show that officer was present during assault. Snider v. Dylag, #98- 2271, 188 F.3d 51 (2nd Cir. 1999).
280:53 Prisoner who was assaulted three times by other inmates after assignment to a medium security housing unit when he stated that he was a bisexual failed to show that county jail had a policy or custom of assigning homosexual, bisexual or HIV-positive prisoners to medium-security unit regardless of their violent propensities. Wayne v. Jarvis, No. 97-9152, 197 F.3d 1098 (11th Cir. 1999).
282:89 Correctional officers were not liable for failure to protect prisoner from being hit in the head by another inmate with a softball bat; there were no prior fights or threats between the two prisoners or anything else that would lead them to anticipate such an attack; no evidence showed deliberate indifference to subsequent medical needs and there was no liability for alleged decision to parole prisoner to avoid additional medical expenses. Randolph v. State of Maryland, 74 F. Supp. 2d 537 (D. Md. 1999).
284:118 Prisoner failed to show that his injuries were the result of sodomy and assault by other inmates rather than a seizure as the state contended. Zi Guang v. State of New York, 695 N.Y.S.2d 142 (A.D. 1999).
272:120 Inmate beaten in his cell by fellow prisoners could not seek to impose liability for incident on county sheriff on the basis of alleged broken cell lock when assault occurred at a time when his cell door was properly open. Moore v. Sheahan, 38 F.Supp.2d 695 (N.D. Ill. 1999).
275:170 Texas prisoner was deemed to have exhausted administrative remedies when he properly filed grievance, despite the fact that prison system did not address some of his arguments in its response to his grievance; lawsuit over alleged failure to protect him from assault by another prisoner could proceed. Powe v. Ennis, #98-40234, 177 F.3d 393 (5th Cir. 1999).
266:23 Warden was not liable for two inmates' attack on prisoner with a razor blade; complaint did not allege that he actually knew about missing razor blade or that absence of guards in area at the time was anything more than a momentary condition. Steidl v. Gramley, #96-2073, 151 F.3d 739 (7th Cir. 1998).
267:41 Prisoner who asserted that he had been assaulted twice in the past by the same prisoner stated sufficient claim for "imminent danger" to invoke exception to Prison Litigation Reform Act section prohibiting him from proceeding as pauper in federal civil rights lawsuit because he had filed three previous frivolous lawsuits. Ashley v. Dilworth, #97-4082, 147 F.3d 715 (8th Cir. 1998).
269:73 Federal appeals court reinstates lawsuit against jailer who allegedly incited two prisoners to attack a third, arrested on child molestation charges, by making statements that the third prisoner was "sick" and "should have his ass beat"; trial court had ruled defendant jailer was entitled to qualified immunity. Martinez v. Mathis, #97- 8363, 159 F.3d 1360 (11th Cir. 1998).
270:89 Prison officials were not liable for one prisoner's attack on another when they had no knowledge of an alleged prior separation of the prisoners based on one inmate's threat to kill the other; failure to protect against assault also did not rise to an Eighth Amendment violation when injuries suffered during the attack were minimal and did not require medical attention. Mabine v. Vaughn, 25 F.Supp.2d 587 (E.D. Pa. 1998).
270:90 Trial judge properly dismissed prisoner's lawsuit alleging that he was placed in a cell with a dangerous inmate who injured him, when lawsuit failed to name prison officials claimed to be responsible; plaintiff prisoner was not entitled, under Prison Litigation Reform Act, to notice or an opportunity to amend complaint before court dismissed it. Lopez v. Smith, #97-16987, 160 F.3d 567 (9th Cir. 1998).
» Editor's Note: See also In re Prison Litigation Reform Act, #97-01, 105 F.3d 1131 (6th Cir. 1997), holding that the PLRA clearly overruled the "opportunity to amend or correct" rule for pro se prisoner-litigants proceeding as paupers.
273:139 Officer was not liable for one inmate's attack, with a knife, on another; officer promptly investigated anonymous note predicting assault, and both prisoners denied "having a problem" with each other; further, attack occurred in prison cafeteria, not in sleeping area as note predicted. Jackson v. Everett, #97-2359, 140 F.3d 1149 (8th Cir. 1998).
274:151 Officers who escorted prisoner past another inmate's cell twice, to and from showers, were entitled to qualified immunity from liability from inmate throwing feces on both occasions; court rules that no rational fact finder would conclude that the officers acted with deliberate indifference on the second occasion, since they were also in the "zone of danger," and were, in fact, themselves hit by the feces that time. Ramsey v. Busch, 19 F.Supp.2d 73 (W.D.N.Y. 1998).
259:105 Correctional lieutenant not liable for failure to protect prisoner from assault by gang members seeking "cell rent" from him; evidence did not clearly show that lieutenant knew of "cell rent" requests or of prisoner's request for protective custody. Soto v. Johansen, 137 F.3d 980 (7th Cir. 1998).
261:137 Federal appeals court overturns $10,000 award to Mississippi prisoner in lawsuit alleging that Lieutenant was negligent, under state law, for failing to take action to protect him after other prisoner allegedly made threat to harm him; defendant's determination that threat was not serious and did not require him to notify his supervisor was discretionary decision, entitling him to qualified immunity. Newton v. Black, 133 F.3d 301 (5th Cir. 1998).
261:136 Lawsuit alleging that correctional officers themselves assaulted prisoner was not a lawsuit over "prison conditions" requiring the exhaustion of available administrative remedies under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, as lawsuit alleging officers failed to protect prisoner from assault by other inmates would have been. Rodriguez v. Berbary, 992 F.Supp. 592 (W.D.N.Y. 1998).
» Editor's Note: In the following cases, prisoners were required to exhaust administrative remedies before pursuing federal civil rights lawsuits: Tafoya v. Simmons, 116 F.3d 489 (Table) (10th Cir. 1997) (inmate must exhaust administrative remedies regardless of whether or not the administrative action is futile); Morgan v. Arizona Dept. of Corrections, 976 F.Supp. 892 (D. Ariz. 1997) (inmate's claim that prisoner officials threatened his safety and allowed other inmates to assault him considered a prison condition and therefore must be grieved); Midgette v. Doe, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15918, 1997 WL 634280 (S.D.N.Y.) (inmate must exhaust his administrative remedies in a failure to protect claim); Mitchell v. Gomez, 1997 WL 305273, No. C96-3939 FMS, (N.D. Cal. June 2, 1997) (inmate must exhaust administrative remedies for a claim that prison guards incited other inmates to assault him); McCoy v. Scott, 1997 WL 414185, No. C 97-0472 TEH(PR), (N.D. Cal. July 15, 1997) (inmate must exhaust administrative remedies for a claim that prison officials ignored his concerns about problems with his cellmate). [Cross-reference: Prisoner Assault: By Inmate].
262:153 Prisoner beaten by cellmate did not show that prison officials knew of a "substantial risk" of serious harm posed by cellmate; new cellmate had no prior history of disputes with him and indeed initially assured him that he would never harm or hit him. Oetken v. Ault, 137 F.3d 613 (8th Cir. 1998).
254:24 Officer's alleged statement, in front of other inmates, that prisoner was a "snitch," purportedly resulting in other inmate cutting prisoner's throat, stated Eighth Amendment claim. Watson v. McGinnis, 964 F.Supp. 127 (S.D.N.Y. 1997). Further proceeding: Evidence was insufficient to support inmate's claim. Watson v. McGinnis, 981 F.Supp. 815 (S.D.N.Y. 1997). » Editor's Note: Other courts have also found that a correctional officer's calling a prisoner a "snitch" in front of other prisoners may constitute an Eighth Amendment violation. Northington v. Jackson, 973 F.2d 1518 (10th Cir. 1992); Miller v. Leathers, 913 F.2d 1085 (4th Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 1109 (1991); Valandingham v. Bojorquez, 866 F.2d 1135 (9th Cir. 1989); Harmon v. Berry, 728 F.2d 1407 (11th Cir. 1984); Hendrickson v. Emergency Med. Services, Civ. A. 95-4392, 1996 WL 472418 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 20, 1996); Thomas v. District of Columbia, 887 F.Supp. 1 (D.D.C. 1995).
255:40 Nebraska prisoner awarded $198,145.38 for failure to prevent attack by cellmate who had previously sent note to correctional officials requesting transfer and containing threat against prisoner. Sherrod v. State, 557 N.W.2d 634 (Neb. 1997).
257:73 Correctional officer who may have inadvertently hit switch that opened cell door of prisoner, allowing prisoner to enter tv day room and stab two other inmates, liable for $1,000 for failing to protect inmates from attack. Newman v. Holmes, 122 F.2d 650 (8th Cir. 1997).
259:106 Mere fact that warden and correctional Commissioner were supervisors of correctional officer and captain could not be a basis for liability in prisoner's lawsuit claiming that officer's failure to be at his post led to assault on him by other inmates; prisoner's claims against warden and Commissioner were frivolous when no personal involvement in incident or other basis for liability was stated. Wright v. Nunez, 950 F.Supp. 610 (S.D.N.Y. 1997).
261:138 Officer did not act with deliberate indifference to risk of assault on prisoner when he violated "super-maximum security" facilities rules concerning the handling of prisoners; federal appeals court overturns $40,000 award to prisoner stabbed by inmate who had stabbed him once before. Rich v. Bruce, 129 F.3d 336 (4th Cir. 1997).
[N/R] There was a genuine issue as to whether prison officials acted with deliberate indifference to risk of harm to inmate when recommendation that he be placed in protective custody was rejected; appeals court reinstates lawsuit over his subsequent assault by another inmate. Hamilton v. Leavy, 117 F.3d 743 (3rd Cir. 1997).
[N/R] Factual issues remained as to whether officer opened door to prisoner's cell for inmates who attacked him. Fischl v. Armitage, 128 F.3d 50 (2nd Cir. 1997).
[N/R] Arrestee's allegation that jailer encouraged other prisoners to beat him stated federal civil rights claim, but jailer was entitled to qualified immunity; law was not clearly established that he violated constitution when he allegedly made the statement, in the presence of other prisoners, that a particular inmate, arrested on child molestation charges, was "sick" and "should have his ass beat." Martinez v. Mathis, 970 F.Supp. 1047 (S.D.Ga. 1997).
253:8 Federal appeals court orders new trial in suit where prisoner claimed that correctional officer ordered other inmate to murder him because of his knowledge of officer and inmate's drug transactions; trial court erred by refusal to admit into evidence plaintiff's prior inconsistent statements concerning whether a knife was displayed. Arnold v. Groose, 109 F.3d 1292 (8th Cir. 1997).
253:9 Unarmed officers were not required to immediately intervene in incident where one prisoner was stabbing another with a metal "shank"; officers may not be deliberately indifferent to risk of harm to a prisoner, but they are not required to take "heroic measures." Winfield v. Bass, 106 F.3d 525 (4th Cir. 1997).
241:8 Iowa prisoner allegedly assaulted by his cellmate could not bring a claim for protection under the state's Domestic Abuse Act; Iowa Supreme Court rules that Act was not intended to apply to prison cell mates. Livingood v. Negrete, 547 N.W.2d 196 (Iowa 1996).
242:23 Louisiana Supreme Court overturns $75,000 award to inmate who was stabbed and had his throat cut by another prisoner who allegedly obtained knife through work in prison hobby shop; absent any warning of attack or history of animosity between the prisoners, officials had no reason to anticipate the attack. Jackson, State Ex Rel., v. Phelps, 672 So.2d 665 (La. 1996).
244:54 Prison officials did not act unreasonably in failing to take further steps to protect inmate from assault by another prisoner when they received assurances from that prisoner that he would not make good on his threats; defendants entitled to qualified immunity. Prater v. Dahm, 89 F.3d 538 (8th Cir. 1996).
244:55 Co. could not be held liable for employees' alleged failure to protect pretrial detainee from violence by other prisoners in county jail, in absence of any showing that employees' actions were based on county policy or custom. Grabowski v. Jackson Co. Public Defenders Office, 79 F.3d 478 (5th Cir. 1996).
245:68 Members of Iowa county board of supervisors were entitled to absolute legislative immunity from prisoner's claim that their failure to provide more funding for jail or to inspect jail resulted in his being assaulted by another prisoner. Teague v. Mosley, 552 N.W.2d 646 (Iowa 1996).
245:72 Prison officials were not "deliberately indifferent" to safety of prison informant released from protective custody into general population, when a classification hearing did not result in any evidence of a specific serious threat to the prisoner; officials were not liable for subsequent attack on prisoner. Davis v. Scott, 94 F.3d 444 (8th Cir. 1996).
245:73 Louisiana state correctional agency had no duty to warn parish sheriff not to use parole violator prisoner for work assignment outside of the jail; parish sheriff liable for prisoner's assault on fellow prisoner Harper v. State, DPSC, 679 So.2d 1321 (La. 1996).
246:88 Federal appeals court upholds jury award of $75,000 in damages and trial judge's award of $55,000 in attorneys' fees to prisoner who complained of threats by three other inmates and was later beaten by these same inmates; award was against officer in charge of transfers who had knowledge of threats but took no action to transfer prisoner. Pope v. Shafer, 86 F.3d 90 (7th Cir. 1996).
248:120 Inmate awarded $5,000 in damages and $93,649.61 in attorneys' fees against deputy sheriff who allegedly spread rumor to other prisoners that inmate was a "snitch" after inmate cooperated in internal affairs investigation of another deputy; rumor allegedly led to other prisoners assaulting plaintiff inmate on several occasions. Northington v. Marin, 102 F.3d 1564 (10th Cir. 1996).
248:120 Prisoner who was placed in administrative detention and not transferred for ten months after he informed prison officials that members of a gang which had threatened to kill him were present in the facility could not recover damages for his "fear" of possible assault that never happened. Babcock v. White, 102 F.3d 267 (7th Cir. 1996).
249:137 Jailer was not entitled to qualified immunity for allegedly failing to protect prisoner from known threat of assault by other inmate, but jailer who was not on duty at the time, and conveyed knowledge of threat to other defendant jailer could not be held liable. Erickson v. Holloway, 77 F.3d 1078 (8th Cir. 1996).
251:168 Merely housing prisoner with history of violence in the same unit as prisoner he later assaulted was insufficient basis to impose liability on warden when facility was not overcrowded and staffing levels were adequate; private corporation engaged in running county correctional facility not liable for assault on prisoner in absence of showing that an official policy or custom was responsible for correctional officer's alleged failure to act after assailant made threats to assault plaintiff prisoner. Street v. Corrections Corporation of America, 102 F.3d 810 (6th Cir. 1996).
[N/R] Factual issues precluded summary judgment for prison officials in prisoner's suit alleging that they had knowledge of prior threats against him and were therefore liable for failure to prevent three assaults on him by other prisoners. Hayes v. New York City Dept. of Corrections, 84 F.3d 614 (2nd Cir. 1996).
239:170 Trial court rules that murder convictions and life sentences of plaintiff prisoner and his inmate witnesses should not be introduced into evidence in plaintiff's suit alleging that correctional employees overheard a third prisoner threaten him and failed to prevent the attack; court finds that prejudice to jury's fact finding would outweigh probative value of convictions on issue of inmate credibility as to whether defendants overheard threat. Tabron v. Grace, 898 F.Supp. 293 (M.D. Pa. 1995).
229:9 Deputy liable for $100 for failure to prevent assault on prisoner at jail by other prisoners; court rules that 200 year old North Carolina statute calling for triple damages for injured prisoners did not apply since deputy's actions were negligent rather than criminal. Letchworth v. Gay, 874 F.Supp. 107 (E.D.N.C. 1995).
230:23 New York State liable for $45,000 to inmate whose face was slashed with piece of glass in prison yard; assailant had been involved in at least seven prior assaults and was known to be dangerous, so his attack on yet another person was foreseeable. Littlejohn v. State, 630 N.Y.S.2d 407 (A.D. 1995).
232:58 Federal appeals court upholds jury instructions which altered wording in U.S. Supreme Court ruling concerning test for determining when prison officials acted with deliberate indifference to risk of one prisoner assaulting another; court also rules that evidence of plaintiff prisoner's prior criminal record was properly introduced as relevant since it impacted on prison officials' subjective evaluation of whether he could defend himself against possible attack. Williams v. Nebraska State Penitentiary, 57 F.3d 667 (8th Cir. 1995).
232:58 City and sheriff not liable for deputy's alleged action of arranging to have two prisoners attack a particular detainee in city jail because detainee had burglarized deputy's house. Westmoreland v. Brown, 883 F.Supp. 67 (E.D. Va. 1995).
233:71 Correctional officers were not liable for failure to prevent attack on prisoner when prisoner himself had no information to indicate that an attack was impending; further, officers were not liable for allegedly slow response to incident once fight began when each acted within the scope of their duties and speed of response did not show "deliberate indifference" to prisoner's rights or intent to see him injured. Torrence v. Musilek, 899 F.Supp. 380 (N.D. Ill. 1995).
233:72 Trial court's denial of qualified immunity to officers accused of failing to intervene when one inmate assaulted another was not immediately appealable when denial was based on factual issues rather than legal grounds. Winfield v. Bass, 67 F.3d 529 (4th Cir. 1995). [Cross-reference: Defenses: Qualified (Good-Faith) Immunity].
234:90 Jail shift supervisor's failure to inform staff of new shift that prisoner had complained of threats by another inmate did not, by itself, constitute deliberate indifference to known danger, particularly when he took steps to send prisoner to holding cell elsewhere and prisoner was not attacked until two days later, after his transfer back to same floor but different cellblock. McCoy v. Webster, 47 F.3d 404 (11th Cir. 1995). [Cross-reference: Defenses: Qualified (Good-Faith) Immunity].
235:103 Correctional officer was entitled to qualified immunity for failing to intervene when one prisoner attacked another in light of the fact that the assailant was armed and that the officer stood alone at the end of a walkway, with over a dozen other prisoners separating him from other officers. Prosser v. Ross, 70 F.3d 1005 (8th Cir. 1995). [Cross-reference: Defenses: Qualified (Good-Faith) Immunity].
236:120 Federal appeals court upholds jury instruction that prison guards could be found to have acted with deliberate indifference in failing to intervene during attack on prisoner if they knew of impending injury and injury was "readily preventable"; jury verdict for defendant guards based on these instructions affirmed. Gibbs v. Franklin, 49 F.3d 1206 (7th Cir. 1995).
236:121 Amendment to Maryland state Tort Claims Act, waiving sovereign immunity for wrongful acts of sheriffs, applied retroactively; Maryland appellate court upholds $50,000 award to pre-trial detainee who claimed sheriff, a State employee, was negligent in failing to prevent attack on him by another prisoner, allegedly known to have been "dangerous." Maryland, State of, v. Card, 656 A.2d 400 (Md. App. 1995).
239:169 Trial court should not have dismissed as frivolous prisoner's claim that correctional employees failed to protect him against assault by other prisoner when there was evidence that he repeatedly complained that this prisoner was threatening him and trying to extort money, and the other prisoner allegedly assaulted others. Horton v. Cockrell, 70 F.3d 397 (5th Cir. 1995). [Cross-reference: Frivolous Lawsuits].
[N/R] Correctional officers not liable for failure to prevent attack on prisoner by other inmates; evidence showed that one officer did not unlock door to area where attack took place and that other officers did not witness attack. Thornton v. Brown, 47 F.3d 194 (7th Cir. 1995).
218:26 D.C. appeals court overturns $750,000 jury verdict to prisoner stabbed in the back and legs by several prisoners; expert witness testimony failed to adequately spell out a standard of care against which to measure the defendant District's conduct, or give a detailed explanation of how the District's actions violated such standards. District of Columbia v. Moreno, 647 A.2d 396 (D.C. App. 1994).
225:135 Officers did not act with deliberate indifference in failing to physically intervene in fight where one prisoner was stabbing another with a "shank"; they acted reasonably in calling for backup, verbally ordering the prisoners to cease fight, and waiting for additional personnel. MacKay v. Farnsworth, 48 F.3d 491 (10th Cir. 1995).
227:168 Correctional officer was not liable for failure to prevent assault on inmate by other prisoners when inmate failed to communicate to officer specific identities of other prisoners who allegedly threatened him. Smith v. Ullman, 874 F.Supp. 979 (D. Neb. 1994).
Prison official, who took no action to further investigate after prisoner wrote him two letters mentioning threats to him and "enemies" among the other inmates, was not entitled to qualified immunity from suit by inmate, who was later attacked by two prisoners. Nelson v. Overberg, 999 F.2d 162 (6th Cir. 1993).
Co. enters into $1.7 million settlement with detainee in a vegetative state after being beaten by a dangerous prisoner with whom he was placed into hallway alone and unsupervised. Cubbison v. Co. of Los Angeles, BC 0560666, U.S. Dist. Ct. Los Angeles, Ca., Feb. 15, 1994, reported in The National Law Journal, p. A13 (April 11, 1994).
U.S. Supreme Court holds that liability in a civil rights lawsuit for "deliberate indifference" to inmate safety and health must be based on a showing that prison officials were "subjectively aware" of the risk, rejecting an objective test that would base liability on what officials "should have known." Farmer v. Brennan, 114 S.Ct. 1970 (1994).
Prison officials were not liable for failing to place prisoner into protective custody when he would not reveal the name of the other prisoner he claimed might assault him. Robinson v. Cavanaugh, 20 F.3d 892 (8th Cir. 1994).
Award of damages against former prison superintendent on claim that failure to provide adequate security resulted in prisoner assaults overturned for further proceedings because of failure of trial court to focus on whether he acted with deliberate indifference based on what he knew at the time of the assaults; injunction requiring regular patrols and disciplining of prisoners found with contraband upheld. LaMarca v. Turner, 995 F.2d 1526 (11th Cir. 1993).
Federal appeals court upholds trial court's jury instructions, which led to jury verdict for defendant guards in prisoner's civil rights suit claiming they were liable for failure to intervene when he was attacked by other inmates. Gibbs v. Franklin, 18 F.3d 521 (7th Cir. 1994).
Indiana inmate could proceed with his suit against Department of Corrections based on being beaten after he was placed, handcuffed, into a witness room with other unhandcuffed prisoners. Cole v. Ind. Dept. of Correction, 616 N.E.2d 44 (Ind. App. 1993).
Prisoner violated a prison rule prohibiting assault when he supplied a mentally distraught fellow inmate with a weapon with which to inflict harm upon himself. Cook v. Oregon State Correctional Institution, 126 Or. App. 249, 868 P.2d 16 (1994).
Assistant county attorney who told media that prisoner had earlier received a reduced sentence for providing information in a murder prosecution was not liable for prisoner being stabbed in his cell in retaliation by alleged gang members. Latimore v. Johnson, 7 F.3d 709 (8th Cir. 1993).
Indiana inmate's constitutional rights were not violated by correctional policy which did not allow him to use self-defense as a complete defense to charges that he assaulted another prisoner allegedly attempting to rape him in his cell. Rowe v. DeBruyn, 17 F.3d 1047 (7th Cir. 1994).
Minnesota statute requiring that inmate claims for injury sustained while performing assigned work duties be presented to the legislature, and barring lawsuits, upheld as constitutional and providing exclusive remedy for inmate stabbed by another prisoner while doing kitchen duties. Davis v. State Dept. of Corrections, 500 N.W.2d 134 (Minn. App. 1993).
Prison employee present during repeated assaults by four inmates on one prisoner liable for $500 in compensatory and $1,000 in punitive damages because he failed to either intervene or summon help to stop assaults. Holloway v. Wittry, 842 F.Supp. 1193 (S.D. Iowa 1994).
Estate of inmate stabbed to death by another prisoner with a knife taken from kitchen area awarded $153,400; suit claimed prison failed to implement its own rules on the handling of knives. Walton v. Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction, Ohio, Ct. Cl., No. 89-14545, Aug. 6, 1993, reported in 37 ATLA L. Rep. 56 (March 1994).
Female inmate who lost vision after another prisoner hit her in the eye did not show that prison officials were deliberately indifferent or negligent in failing to prevent the attack; assault by one prisoner on the other was unforeseeable when there was no prior trouble between the two. Cupples v. State, 861 P.2d 1360 (Kan. App. 1993).
Prison officials were not liable for violent assault on an inmate by his cellmate; prison employee had previously offered to place inmate in protective custody, an offer which was refused; denial of request for immediate transfer to another cell was not, therefore, indifference to inmate's safety. Knight v. Gill, 999 F.2d 1020 (6th Cir. 1993).
Sheriff was not liable for a detainee's fatal stabbing of another prisoner with scissors grabbed from a prisoner barbershop; no connection was shown between alleged lack of prisoner classification scheme or alleged inadequate training and prisoner's death. Baptiste v. Sheriff of Bristol Co., 35 Mass. App. Ct. 119, 617 N.E.2d 641 (1993).
Prison officials could not be held liable for Eighth Amendment violation based on the decision to transfer prisoner to another institution where he was attacked by other inmates in retaliation for previously having quit a gang; transfer was for security reasons and prison officials did not have the required mental state of intending punishment or deliberate indifference/criminal recklessness towards the likelihood of harm. King v. Fairman, 997 F.2d 259 (7th Cir. 1993).
Prison officials were not negligent in failing to protect prisoner from being set on fire by another inmate he had previously fought with; prisoner asked to be transferred to another cell tier, but it was not clear that he had ever explained why. Brewer v. State Through Dept. of Corrections, 618 So.2d 991 (La. App. 1993).
Jail overcrowding, even with existing court order to improve conditions, was insufficient, standing alone, to make county or jail officials liable for assault of pretrial detainee by another prisoner in jail day room. Best v. Essex Co., N.J. Hall of Records, 986 F.2d 54 (3rd Cir. 1993).
Prison officials were not deliberately indifferent to risk of prisoner assault by requiring inmates in administrative segregation to work on hoe squads in shoulder to shoulder "tightened down" formation. Elliott v. Byers, 975 F.2d 1375 (8th Cir. 1992).
Prisoner could pursue federal civil rights suit against prison officials over being assaulted by another inmate in prison exercise yard despite verdict against him in a previous state law negligence trial concerning the same incident. West v. Ruff, 961 F.2d 1064 (2nd Cir. 1992).
Prison officials had a duty, under Kansas state law, to protect a prisoner against known threats of assault by a fellow inmate; state could be liable for assault on prisoner in retaliation for previously having come to the aid of a prisoner being forcibly sodomized. Washington v. State, 839 P.2d 555 (Kan. App. 1992).
Prisoner awarded $1 in compensatory and $10 in punitive damages, as well as $7,500 in attorneys' fees against officer who failed to protect him from assault by another prisoner after being told of prior threats against him. Sanders v. Brewer, 972 F.2d 920 (8th Cir. 1992).
City and its officials were not liable for assault on municipal arrestee in county jail by another prisoner; city did nothing other than select county jail as a detention place for municipal arrestee, which was insufficient to show that city policy caused the injury. Stinson v. City of Elba, 601 So.2d 66 (Ala. 1992).
Prison officials and employees not liable for inmate being stabbed to death by another prisoner; lawsuit did not demonstrate defendants' "deliberate indifference" to deceased inmate's constitutional rights. Gibson v. Foltz, 963 F.2d 851 (6th Cir. 1992).
Federal appeals court overturns $250 damage award against lieutenant who placed protective custody inmate in a non- protective custody cell, where he was stabbed by his new cellmate; neither lieutenant or stabbed prisoner had any reason to believe such attack was likely, since new cellmate did not previously know the plaintiff prisoner. Falls v. Nesbitt, 966 F.2d 375 (8th Cir. 1992).
Prisoner failed to show that county's policy of housing probation violators with parole violators caused an inmate's attack on him; classification system was not cruel and unusual punishment. James v. Milwaukee Co., 956 F.2d 696 (7th Cir. 1992).
Prisoner stabbed by another inmate did not show that corrections officers were aware of a threat to his safety and deliberately ignored it. Haynes v. Michigan Dept. of Corrections, 760 F Supp. 124 (E.D. Mich. 1991).
D.C. Appeals Court overturns $1 million jury verdict in jail death case; verdict was excessive in amount even though there was evidence the detainee had been a victim of gang rape and had been repeatedly sprayed in the face with chemical compounds. Finkelstein v. District of Columbia, 593 A.2d 591 (D.C. App. 1991).
Prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity for failing to prevent assault on female inmate by her roommate; defendants had no actual knowledge of a genuine risk of serious injury to the prisoner. Marsh v. Arn, 937 F.2d 1056 (6th Cir. 1991).
Prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity from liability for death of inmate from assault by another prisoner while confined in protective custody unit after notifying prison of threats. Steffenhagen v. Armontrout, 749 F.Supp. 997 (W.D. Mo. 1990).
A single fight between plaintiff inmate and another prisoner a day before he was stabbed was insufficient to put prison officials on notice of their need to protect the inmate against future assault. Andrews v. Siegel, 929 F.2d 1326 (8th Cir. 1991).
Four correctional officers liable to inmate for compensatory and punitive damages based on "reckless disregard" of conditions making it "highly foreseeable" that some prisoners would be attacked by other inmates. Wright v. Jones, 907 F.2d 848 (8th Cir. 1990).
Warden who engaged in a "persistent campaign" to cure problems in prison housing annexes was not liable for inmate's stabbing by another inmate in the annex. Moore v. Winebrenner, 927 F.2d 1312 (4th Cir. 1991).
Warden took reasonable steps to prevent assault on prisoner by another inmate; warden could not be held liable for guard's negligence in leaving his post, thereby allowing attacking inmate access to cell unit; $87, 740 award overturned. Bailey v. Wood, 909 F.2d 1197 (8th Cir. 1990).
State was liable to inmate for $240,000 for negligent failure of correctional officers to prevent his stabbing by another inmate; inmate's own contributory negligence resulted in reduction of initial award of $400,000. White v. State, 563 N.Y.S.2d 239 (A.D. 1990).
Louisiana correctional officer could not be held liable in federal court for state law claim of negligently failing to prevent assault on prisoner by another inmate. Hughes v. Savell, 902 F.2d 376 (5th Cir. 1990).
Penology expert's testimony that in his opinion an inmate's injuries were caused by municipality's negligent control of contraband weapons in prison was insufficient to hold city liable for negligence. District of Columbia v. Carmichael, 577 A.2d 312 (D.C. 1990).
Federal appeals court upholds award of $175,000 compensatory and $4,500 punitive damages against correctional officers for failing to come to the aid of an inmate being stabbed to death by another prisoner. Walker v. Norris, 917 F.2d 1449 (6th Cir. 1990).
Award of $954,000 to inmate who was paralyzed after attack by unidentified prisoners upheld; D.C. was liable for negligence and not entitled to present evidence of injured inmate's own alleged contributory negligence. District of Columbia v. Sterling, 578 A.2d 1163 (D.C. App. 1990).
Prison authorities not liable to inmate for unprovoked attack by a fellow inmate, in the absence of evidence that the attack was foreseeable. Padgett v. State, 558 N.Y.S.2d 433 (A.D. 1990).
Federal appeals court overturns $100,000 jury award against city to widow of inmate killed by other prisoners; city could be held liable under facts of the case, but jury instructions on civil rights claims were incorrect. Berry v. City of Muskogee, 900 F.2d 1489 (10th Cir. 1990).
Former East St. Louis detainee who won $3.4 million lawsuit against city for beating by another prisoner receives the deed to city hall. Debow v. East St. Louis, Co. Court, East St. Louis, Ill., reported in The New York Times, National Edition, p. 8 (September 28, 1990).
Department of Corrections liable for inmate's killing of another prisoner; transfer of inmate with psychopathic propensity for violent outbursts was grossly negligent. Jackson v. Dept. of Corrections, 390 S.E.2d 467 (S.C. App. 1989).
Unarmed corrections officer had no constitutional duty to physically intervene in assault by one inmate on another. Arnold v. Jones, 891 F.2d 1370 (8th Cir. 1989).
D.C. Appeals Court upholds $1 million award against district to prisoner stabbed by another inmate. District of Columbia v. Bethel, 567 A.2d 1331 (D.C. App. 1990).
Co. settles claim of arrestee, who suffered broken neck in assault by a convicted inmate, for $5.6 million. Ryan v. Burlington Co., U.S. District Court, New Jersey, reported in Newark, N.J. Star Ledger, January 17, 1990.
Inmate could not sue prison officials for negligently failing to provide adequate security against assault. Policano v. Koehler, 715 F.Supp. 598 (S.D.N.Y. 1989).
Warden not responsible for assault on prisoner by inmate; alleged inadequate staffing did not constitute deliberate indifference. McGhee v. Foltz, 852 F.2d 876 (6th Cir. 1988).
Correctional officials, officers, not liable for homosexual assault on inmate; no awareness of specific risk. Heine v. Receiving Area Personnel, 711 F.Supp. 178 (D. Del. 1989).
Prisoner awarded punitive and nominal damages against prison employees for beating by inmates. Taylor v. Green, 868 F.2d 162 (5th Cir. 1989).
Prison guards and officials were not liable for incident in which one inmate threw coffee and milk on another prisoner. Lawler v. Marshall, 687 F.Supp. 1176 (S.D. Ohio 1987).
Appeals court reverses summary judgment for prison officials in case where inmate claimed they failed to prevent his rape by other prisoners. Roland v. Johnson, 856 F.2d 764 (6th Cir. 1988).
Prison officials entitled to qualified immunity from liability for inmate's murder by prisoner; conditions alleged were either beyond their control or they took all possible remedial measures. Alvarex Kerkado v. Otero de Ramos, 693 F. Sup. 1366 (D. Puerto Rico, 1988).
Prison guards did not violate inmate's rights by failing to break up fight when guards were outnumbered. Williams v. Willits, 853 F.2d 586 (8th Cir. 1988).
Inmate awarded $10,000 for failure of prison to protect him from sexual assault by other inmates. Vosburg v. Solem, 845 F.2d 763 (8th Cir. 1988).
Dept. of correction liable for $15,000 for officer's negligence in failing to prevent sexual assault of inmate. Taylor v. N.C. Dept. of Correction, 363 S.E.2d 868 (N.C. App. 1988).
Prison officials negligent in not preventing inmate assault; inmate's conduct in turning away from assailant did not alter liability. White v. State, 524 N.Y.S.2d 549 (A.D. 1988).
Pre-trial detainee awarded $3.4 million for jail's failure to prevent his assault by another prisoner; failure to comply with safety standards. DeBow v. City of East St. Louis, 510 N.E.2d 895 (Ill. App. 1987).
Prison officials not entitled to qualified immunity in suit filed by inmate rendered quadriplegic by cellmate; right to protection from dangerous convicted prisoners was "clearly established". Ryas v. Burlington Co., 674 F.Supp. 464 (D.N.J. 1987).
Inmate may sue on claim that prison official failed to protect him from three sexual assaults despite failure to name those who assaulted him in plea for protection. Richardson v. Penfold, 839 F.2d 392 (7th Cir. 1988).
Putting prisoner in cell with mentally unstable inmate with access to cleaning fluids was, at most negligent; no civil rights liability. Gardner v. Cato, 841 F.2d 105 (5th Cir. 1988).
Over $1 million awarded in death of prisoner; guards failed to aid him after sodomy attack by four inmates. Finkelstein v. District of Columbia, D.C. Superior Court, No. 486-86, Sept. 15, 1987, 31 ATLA L. Rep. 79 (March 1988).
Prison officials liable for failure to establish procedures to protect inmate from gang violence. Walsh v. Mellas, 837 F.2d 789 (7th Cir. 1988).
Appeals court reverses dismissal of lawsuit against sheriff and county for failure to prevent assault on pre-trial detainee. Anderson v. Gutschenritter, 836 F.2d 346 (7th Cir. 1988).
Prison officials not negligent in returning prisoner with prior violent tendencies to general population after his psychiatric treatment. Hann v. State, 521 N.Y.S.2d 973 (Ct. Cl. 1987).
State of Florida has not waived eleventh amendment and state common law immunity; not liable for prisoner's assault on inmate. Spooner v. Department of Corrections, 514 So.2d 1077 (Fla. 1987).
City to sell bonds to pay $3.4 million to former prisoner beaten by cellmate at jail. Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, page 4, November 16, 1987.
Prisoner awarded $75,000 damages and $85,000 attorney's fee for injuries suffered in prison fight. Morgan v. District of Columbia, 824 F.2d 1049 (D.C. Cir. 1987).
Prison did not violate rights of inmate suspected of murdering other prisoner when carcinogenic substance used to test for blood. Real v. Hogan, 828 F.2d 58 (1st Cir. 1987).
Proper to use polygraph test results to show that inmate assaulted other prisoner. Wiggett v. Oregon State Penitentiary, 85 Or. App. 635, 738 P.2d 580 (1987).
Improper for court to issue "argumentative" jury instruction concerning the difficulties of providing prison security. Haith v. District of Columbia, 526 A.2d 17 (D.C. App. 1987).
Misbehavior reports insufficient to put defendants on notice of violent tendencies. Dizak v. State, 508 N.Y.S.2d 290 (A.D. 3 Dept. 1986).
State not negligent in permitting inmates to wear bulky clothing. Casella v. State, 503 N.Y.S.2d 588 (A.D. 2 Dept. 1986).
Court rejects claim that inmate saved government money by killing fellow inmate. U.S. v. House, 808 F.2d 508 (7th Cir. 1986).
Guards not required to stay on range after cell doors are open for dinner; no liability for inmate attack. Baker v. State Dept. of Rehabilitation, 502 N.E.2d 261 (Ohio App. 1986).
Civil death statute again found unconstitutional. McCuiston v. Wanicka, 483 So.2d 489 (Fla. App. 1986).
No liability for racial tension. McGriff v. Coughlin, 640 F.Supp. 877 (S.D. N.Y. 1986).
Florida Supreme Court asked to decide whether waiver of immunity statute applies in civil suits in both state and federal court. Spooner v. Dept. of Corrections, 488 So.2d 897 (Fla. App. 1986).
Inmate alleges sergeant ordered him to a job site, despite warnings that he'd be attacked at the site. Berg v. Kincheloe, 794 F.2d 457 (9th Cir. 1986).
Case dismissed in light of U.S. Supreme Court decision; failure to protect inmate following anonymous threats not eighth amendment violation. Lewis v. O'Leary, 631 F.Supp. 60 (N.D. Ill. 1986).
Chief of security and guard liable for inmate assault. Thomas v. Booker, 784 F.2d 299 (8th Cir. 1986).
Supreme Court says inmate may be without a remedy for attack by fellow inmates, even though prison administration was warned of danger. Even if there is no remedy under state law, the inmate may not sue for lack of due care as a civil rights action. Davidson v. Cannon, 54 U.S. Law Week 4095 (1/21/85).
Inmate needs to amend complaint seeking to hold various officials liable for attacks. Sittig v. Illinois Dept. of Corrections, 617 F.Supp. 1043 (D.C. Ill. 1985).
Co. prison board, commissioners, and warden immune. Damron v. Smith, 616 F.Supp. 424 (D.C. Pa. 1985).
Inmate claims correctional officer knew of death threats. Ayers v. Coughlin, 780 F.2d 205 (2nd Cir. 1985).
Pretrial detainee gets new trial in `failure to protect' suit. Love v. Sheffield, 777 F.2d 1453 (11th Cir. 1985).
Guards could be liable for not enforcing tool policy, resulting in injury. Goka v. Bobbitt, 625 F.Supp. 319 (N.D. Ill. 1985).
Liability could result for "state of war" at prison allegedly resulting in inmate's murder. Quinones v. Nettleship, 773 F.2d 10 (1st Cir. 1985).
Jury awards $3.5 million for pre-trial detainee's beating at jail with no monitoring devices. DeBow v. City of East St. Louis, Ill., St. Clair Co. Circuit Court, No. 84-L-405, 5/17/85.
Lack of funds for detective locks not grounds for liability; absence of functioning monitoring system not grounds for liability either. Taylor v. Buff, 218 Cal.Rptr. 249 (Cal.App. 1985). Attack continues in cell while guard witnesses it with no cell key; liability results not from a failure to protect but a failure to provide medical treatment. Lewis v. Cooper, 771 F.2d 334 (7th Cir. 1985).
Inmate claims attacks were result of sergeants giving inmates cell keys. Riley v. Jeffes, 777 F.2d 143 (3rd Cir. 1985).
Failure to complete investigation of note telling of fear for safety not grounds for liability. Davidson v. O'Lone, 752 F.2d 817 (3rd Cir. 1984).
Judge immune for sending juveniles to adult facility after being inspired by television movie. Doe v. McFaul, 599 F.Supp. 1421 (D. Ohio 1984).
City dismissed from suit, Captain and individuals are not dismissed. Gibralter v. City of New York, 612 F.Supp. 125 (D.C. N.Y. 1985).
Jury finds against jail captain for failure to protect. Gravitt v. Graves, 609 F.Supp. 925 (D.C. Ga. 1985).
It may be too late to add guard as a defendant, who prisoner claims watches stabbing and did nothing. Serrano v. Torres, 764 F.2d 47 (1st Cir. 1985).
Booking officer correctly followed procedures in denying immediate medical care; other defendants could be liable for placing violent inmate in plaintiff's tier. Gibson v. Babcox, 601 F.Supp. 1156 (N.D. Ill. 1984).
Employee could be liable for failing to take action after inmate expressed fear of assault. Porm v. White, 762 F.2d 635 (8th Cir. 1985).
Leaving doors open in keep lock during feeding could result in liability for attack; eve of transfer may create special duty to protect. Sebastiano v. State, 491 N.Y.S.2d 499 (A.D. 3 Dept. 1985).
Superintendent, Unit Manager and Disciplinary Board Members sued for beating after inmate was transferred, despite fears against it. Bannister v. Ponte, 609 F.Supp. 920 (D.C. Mass. 1985).
Jail negligent in care of medical unit allowing psychotic inmates to mix with other inmates; expert testimony not needed. Morgan v. District of Columbia, 603 F.Supp. 254 (D. D.C. 1985).
Co. settles suit but admits no negligence in prisoner rape. The Chattanooga Times, 1/17/85.
Inmate's juvenile record showing violence before shooting relevant to issue of damages. District of Columbia v. Cooper, 483 A.2d 317 (D.C. App. 1984).
Using Indiana tort claims act does not toll limitations period. Walker v. Memering, 471 N.E.2d 1202 (Ind. App. 1984).
Offense report about inmate's alleged assault on fellow inmate is public record. Carlson v. Pima Co., 687 P.2d 1242 (Ariz. 1984).
Co. not liable for sheriff's actions; but sheriff and subordinate could be liable if negligent supervision resulted in inmate attack. Kemp v. Waldron, 479 N.Y.S.2d 440 Schenectady Co. 1984).
Commissioner of state facilities ordered to establish protective custody units throughout the state for protection against assaults. Bishop v. McCoy, 323 S.E.2d 140 (W. Va. 1984).
Seeing inmates flee from assaulted inmate not grounds to find them guilty. Hill v. Super., Mass. Corr. Inst., Walpole, 466 N.E.2d 818 (Mass. 1984).
Prisoner's petition dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. McCloud v. Coughlin, 476 N.Y.S.2d 630 (App. 1984).
Guards' response to riot was proper; no liability for inmate injuries. Hopkins v. Britten, 742 F.2d 1308 (11th Cir. 1984).
More than $500,000 awarded to man sexually assaulted in drunk tank. Lickliter v. Riverside Co., Indio Superior Court, Indio Daily News, Cal., 11/10/84.
Prison official's offering of cigarettes for inmate's death results in $25,000 judgment; attorney's fees to be paid by state even though judgment was in official's individual capacity. Glover v. Alabama Dept. of Corrections, 734 F.2d 691 (11th Cir. 1984).
Inmate convicted of stabbing fellow inmate not denied due process while in administrative segregation. Shoulders v. State, 462 N.E.2d 1034 (Ind. 1984).
Security standards applied by court for determining liability for assaults in cells; guard who merely escorted prisoners to cells, but did not assign them not liable. Walsh v. Brewer, 733 F.2d 473 (7th Cir. 1984).
Desk clerk liable for not transferring mentally ill inmate subsequently beaten to death by cellmate. Estate of Davis v. Hazen, 582 F.Supp. 938 (C.D. Ill. 1984).
No liability for inmate's assault when guard left post. Bennett v. Duckworth, 578 F.Supp. 1380 (N.D. Ind. 1984).
No liability for inmate stabbing. Miller v. Solem, 723 F.2d 1020 (11th Cir. 1984).
Statute of limitation barred suit for inmate stabbing. Foster v. Armontrout, 729 F.2d 583 (8th Cir. 1984).
Underfunding for protection makes county commissioners liable for inmate's beating by fellow inmate. Saunders v. Chatham Co., 728 F.2d 1367 (11th Cir. 1984).
Overcrowded conditions and insufficient number of guards not grounds for recovery for inmate's death. Enriquez v. Nettleship, 580 F.Supp. 1270 (D.P.R. 1984).
Officials can place inmate in protective custody without his approval. Algood v. Morris, 724 F.2d 1098 (4th Cir. 1984).
Guard liable for failing to protect inmate, who was assisting authorities. Blizzard v. Quillen, 579 F.Supp. 1446 (D. Del. 1984).
Warden and guard could be liable for inmate allegedly being subjected to inmate retaliation. Harmon v. Berry, 728 F.2d 1407 (11th Cir. 1984).
Compensatory and punitive damages assessed against guard for "deliberate or reckless indifference" in placing young inmate in cell and he is subsequently sexually assaulted. Smith v. Wade, U.S. 103 S.Ct. 1625 (1983).
No liability for assault despite that guards could have been better trained and the area was poorly designed allowing hiding places. Webster v. Foltz, 582 F. supp. 28 (W.D. Mich. 1983).
No liability for alleged threats to inmate made by other inmates over his informant activities. Johnson v. Carlson, 574 F.Supp. 827 (N.D. Tex. 1983).
Sheriff not liable for distributing flammable deodorant ultimately used to burn inmate; officials had no reason to suspect harm to inmate. Moore v. Foti, 440 So.2d 530 (La. App. 1983).
No liability to sheriff for inmate's attack by another inmate. Kelley v. Crunk, 713 F.2d 426 (8th Cir. 1983).
Procedures used to protect inmate who was threatened by another inmate were sloppy, minimal, and ineffective. Holmes v. Ward, 566 F.Supp. 863 (E.D. N.Y. 1983).
No liability for inmate's assault on another inmate. Massey v. Smith, 555 F.Supp. 743 (N.D. Ind. 1983).
No liability regarding inmates assault on another inmate. Walden v. State, 430 so. 2d 1224 (La. App. 1983).
No liability to prison officials for injuries to inmate attacked by other inmates. Risner v. Duckworth, 562 F.Supp. 378 (N.D. Ind. 1983).
$380,000 liability award against sheriff for the negligence and indifference of deputy jailer. Two pretrial detainees severely assaulted and sexually abused by other inmates; punitive damages in excess of $300,000. Stokes v. Delcambre, 710 F.2d 1120 (5th Cir. 1983).
West Virginia Federal Court orders trial in inmate's suit against correction officers for failure to prevent his stabbing by another inmate. Vance v. Bordenkircher, 533 F.Supp. 429 (N.D. W. Va. 1982).
No liability to government for inmate's throwing flammable liquid on fellow inmate. Spann v. State, Dept. of Corrections, 421 So.2d 1090 (Fla. App. 1982).
Prisoner placed in administrative segregation and sentenced to 25 years punishment for stabbing fellow inmate 21 times. State v. Brown, 643 S.W.2d 68 (Mo. App. 1982).
Rhode Island Supreme Court states that prison employees can be held liable for death of inmate if they had reason to know of aggressor's dangerous propensities; finds that state can be held liable under respondeat superior. Saunders v. State, 446 A.2d 748 (R.I. 1982).
New York court upholds verdict against state in negligence action brought by deceased inmate's family. Hertas v. State, 444 N.Y.S.2d 307 (App. Div. 1981). New Mexico court rules that failure of inmate to call for help while he was being assaulted was not contributory negligence; liability of city affirmed. Doe v. City of Albuquerque, 631 P.2d 728 (N.M. App. 1981).
Inmate's action against assistant warden and shift supervisor dismissed; respondeat superior held not to apply to Section 1983 actions. Pearl v. Dobbs, 649 F.2d 608 (8th Cir. 1981).
Georgia Court of Appeals rules that officials' failure to shield accusers from disciplined prisoner is not actionable. Gray v. Linahan, 276 S.E.2d 894 (Ga. App. 1981).
Federal court rules prisoner's allegation of sexual assault does not provide basis for civil rights action. Ressler v. Scheipe, 505 F.Supp. 155 (E.D. Pa. 1981).
Inmate beaten for three successive nights by fellow inmate receives $189,900 judgment; appeal court reopens case to increase verdict amount. Methola v. Co. of Eddy, 629 P.2d 350 (N.M. App. 1981).
Sheriff could be liable for failing to protect black inmate from repeated attacks by Mexican-American inmates after his testimony in a stabbing incident. Wright v. El Paso Co. Jail, 642 F.2d 134 (5th Cir. 1981).
Federal court dismisses civil rights suit by arrestees who sustained personal injuries during his pretrial detention. Campbell v. Bergeron, 629 F.2d 407 (5th Cir. 1980).
Officials not liable for assault against one inmate by another. Knight v. People of State of Colorado, 496 F.Supp. 779 (D. Colo. 1980).
Prison classification officer may be sued for murder of "snitch" he transferred to a maximum security facility. Gullatee v. Potts, 630 F.2d 322 (5th Cir. 1980).
Prisoner who alleged negligence on the part of prison guards may be entitled to relief if he can show purposeful acts or deliberate indifference to his safety by correction officers. Holmes v. Goldin, 615 F.2d 83 (2nd Cir. 1980).
Fourth Circuit orders prison officials to devise a procedure to provide inmates with reasonable protection from aggressive sexual assaults. Withers v. Levine, 615 F.2d 158 (4th Cir. 1980).
Connecticut officials not liable for segregating inmate they feared would be harmed by others; proof of good faith overcomes possible unconstitutionality of actions. Raffone v. Robinson, 607 F.2d 1058 (2d Cir. 1979).
Single instance of guard misconduct (inmate assault) may be sufficient to impose liability for not properly training personnel. Owens v. Hass, 601 F.2d 1242 (2d Cir. 1979).
For earlier discussions see: West v. Rowe, 448 F.Supp. 58 (N.D. Ill. 1978); Hampton v. State of LA, 361 So.2d 257 (La. App. 1978); Barnard v. State, 265 N.W.2d 620 (La. 1978); Jones v. United States, 534 F.2d 53 (5th Cir. 1976); Bourgeois v. United States, 375 F.Supp. 133 (N.D. Tex. 1974); Schyska v. Shifflet, 364 F.Supp. 116 (N.D. Ill. 1973); Parker v. State, 282 So.2d 483 (La. Sup. 1973); Breedon v. Jackson, 457 F.2d 578 (4th Cir. 1972).
list of subjects Back
to Legal Publications Menu