AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Corrections Law for Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities
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Prisoner Assault: By Officers
Monthly Law Journal
Use of Force Against Prisoners--Part I: Legal Standard and Individual Liability,
2008 (9) AELE Mo. L.J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Staff Use of Force Against Prisoners--Part II: Governmental and Supervisory Liability, 2008 (10) AELE Mo. L.J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Staff Use of Force Against Prisoners--Part III: Use of Chemical Weapons, 2008 (11) AELE Mo. L.J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Staff Use of Force Against Prisoners --Part IV: Firearms, 2009 (1) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Staff Use of Force, Part V: Cell Extraction, 2009 (4) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Use of Force Against Immigration Detainees, 2011 (1) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: The Use of Electronic Control Weapons Against Handcuffed or Restrained Persons - Part 2, 2012 (10) AELE Mo. L. J. 101.
An inmate got involved
in a fight with officers who were taking him to administrative segregation.
The officers used pepper spray on him, threw him on the floor and put leg
restraints on him, and one of them allegedly turned his left wrist upward
in a sharp motion, dislocating it. He claimed that the use of force had
continued against him at a time when he was not resisting. The court found
that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity on the excessive
force claims, but not on the claim that one of them acted with deliberate
indifference in delaying allowing him to wash off the pepper spray. Claims
against one officer for alleged retaliatory death threats were also allowed
to go forward, Santiago v. Blair, #11-3693, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 26854
A prisoner was entitled to receive vegetarian meals on religious grounds. When an officer brought him a non-vegetarian breakfast, he alleged put his fingertips on the open food port in his cell door. He claimed that the officer them sprayed him with pepper spray with no warning. His lawsuit claimed that the use of the spray was excessive force, and that denying him a vegetarian meal violated his equal protection rights. Qualified immunity was denied on the excessive force claim because it was not clear from the officer's version of the incident that force was required or that the prisoner posed a threat. The force used seem extensive and disproportionate to the level of the disturbance created by the prisoner putting his fingertips on the port. The court rejected his equal protection claim as he was not treated any different than any other prison when an officer did not know that he was supposed to receive a vegetarian meal. Furnace v. Sullivan, #10-15961, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 1110 (9th Cir.).
A prisoner caused a commotion in his cell to object to what he thought were unreasonable restrictions on exercise and telephone use. Several officers entered the cell, and allowed the prisoner's cellmate to leave. The prisoner was told to remain facing the wall, but turned his head away from the wall to speak to an officer. A Taser was then fired in the dart mode into the prisoner's body. The prisoner claimed that the officer "tricked" him into turning his head so as to create an excuse to discharge the Taser and that the officer then continued to apply the Taser to him for an unreasonable length of time although he offered no resistance or provocation. He also claimed that, when he was escorted to the prison infirmary, he was intimidated into signing a form which refused medical treatment for the injuries he allegedly received as a result of the Taser application. The court found that the prisoner's claims were time barred by a one year statute of limitations. While the statute of limitations was tolled (extended) while the prisoner pursued an administrative grievance over the incident, more than one year elapsed after the grievance was resolved before he filed his lawsuit. A state court filing seeking judicial review of the grievance did not extend the time for filing the lawsuit as it did not assert his federal claim. Cook v. Lamont, # 11-00358, 2013 U.S. Dist. Lexis 11138 (M.D. La.).
A man had a seizure while walking near a corner. He had previously suffered a traumatic brain injury that made him susceptible to such seizures. He became aggressive when emergency medical personnel tried to take him to the hospital, and assaulted an EMT. He was taken to a county corrections center on charges of assaulting a peace officer. He was later adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity, but remained in a detention facility while awaiting placement elsewhere. He later had another seizure in his cell. Because of his prior assaultive behavior, it was decided that measures should be taken to control him upon entering his cell to take him to get medical attention. He did not respond to requests to submit to handcuffing. When one wrist was cuffed and he kept struggling, he was warned that a Taser would be used on him if he failed to submit. A Taser was used against him in the dart mode once and he put his hands up as if surrendering, saying "Okay, Okay, Okay." But he continued to resist, so the Taser was activated again and he ceased resisting and was handcuffed. Later in a hospital emergency room, he attacked a deputy with his hands raised and fists clenched and a Taser was used on him again in the dart mode. The court found the defendant officers entitled to qualified immunity on all uses of the Taser, which they did not use with conscience-shocking malice of or sadism in either the cell or the hospital incidents. While the evidence refuted the plaintiff's claim that he had been handcuffed during the second use of the Taser against him in his cell, even if he had been, his continued resistance made the use of force against him justified. In the hospital incident, he was shackled to a bed, but had the ability to move around the room and was trying to attack a deputy when the Taser was used. Because the officers did not violate the plaintiff's rights, claims against the county also failed. Shreve v. Franklin County, Ohio, #2:10-cv-644, 2013 U.S. Dist. Lexis 992 (S.D. Ohio).
A prisoner claimed that a corrections officer used excessive force against him in his cell by yanking his hands through a slot in the cell door before removing his handcuffs. Before the lawsuit was filed, there were color photos of the prisoner's injuries as well as stationary video footage of the area where the alleged assault occurred, which were used in an internal investigation. The prisoner asked the officer, during discovery, to produce the photos and video footage but this evidence could not be located by prison officials, and they must have been lost or destroyed. The prisoner was not entitled to a jury instruction concerning making an adverse inference against him because of this missing evidence. There was no indication that the officer should be held responsible for the loss of this evidence or that he had previously had possession of it so as to destroy it. The appeals court noted that to require all defendants in situations like this officer "take affirmative steps to ensure that their employing prison continues to maintain evidentiary records for every incident with a prisoner would impose an added burden on prison employees." Adkins v. Wolever, # 11–1656, 692 F.3d 499 (6th Cir. 2012).
The state of Nevada has reached a $450,000 settlement with the mother of an inmate who died in state prison. The board that approved the award was told by the state that he died from an adverse reaction to an administered anti-psychotic drug, even though his death certificate labeled his death a homicide. The plaintiff's attorney claimed that the prisoner "literally was strangled to death by the correctional officers" who were holding him down to administer the medication. Johnson v. Palmer, #2:11-cv-01604, U.S. District Court (D. Nev. Aug. 2012).
A correctional officer applied a "sleeper hold" to a pre-trial detainee, restrained in handcuffs and shackles, who continued to resist. The officer allegedly rendered the detainee unconscious using the hold and failed to tell a nurse at the jail that he was "gurgling," and then lying silent and motionless, and needed medical attention. The officer was convicted of depriving the detainee of his rights and of obstructing a federal investigation into the detainee's subsequent death by falsifying documents. The evidence was sufficient to prove that the officer used force to put the detainee into a position requiring medical attention, and then acted with deliberate indifference towards his serious medical needs. United States v. Gray, #11-3143, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 18528, 2012 Fed App. 0297P (6th Cir.).
A correctional officer applied a "sleeper hold" to a pre-trial detainee, restrained in handcuffs and shackles, who continued to resist. The officer allegedly rendered the detainee unconscious using the hold and failed to tell a nurse at the jail that he was "gurgling," and then lying silent and motionless, and needed medical attention. The officer was convicted of depriving the detainee of his rights and of obstructing a federal investigation into the detainee's subsequent death by falsifying documents. The evidence was sufficient to prove that the officer used force to put the detainee into a position requiring medical attention, and then acted with deliberate indifference towards his serious medical needs. United States v. Gray, #11-3143, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 18528, 2012 Fed App. 0297P (6th Cir.).
A prisoner not involved in a fight between two other inmates claimed he struck in the arm by a shotgun pellet fired by a guard was a nearby catwalk. He allegedly had to wait four days for medical attention, suffering significant pain in the interim. Right after the incident, a medical aide allegedly assured him that she would go and get medication and medical supplies for him, but did not return with it. He asserted a valid claim for excessive use of force, as there was sufficient evidence to support an inference that an officer acted maliciously in using deadly force against prisoners not involved in the fight. The delay in treatment supported a claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. Claims against one officer concerning medical care were properly dismissed, as he summoned medical assistance as soon as he became aware of the prisoner's injury. The prisoner also stated a valid First Amendment claim, based on his assertion that he was transferred to another facility in retaliation for threatening to bring a grievance over the incident. Gomez v. Randle, #11-2962, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 9656 (7th Cir.).
The trial court awarded $505,671.40 in attorneys' fees and $24,549.94 in costs, ordering the plaintiff to pay $5,000 of the fee award. The court ordered that all four defendants bee jointly and severally liable for the remaining $500,671.40, to ensure that the attorneys' fees were paid. This action was taken, in part, because the county indicated that it might not indemnify the defendant against whom the largest award was made because he was in prison and thought to be judgment-proof. An appeal of the judgment on liability was affirmed, Jimenez v. Franklin, #07-56149, 333 Fed. Appx. 299, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 21564 (Unpub. 9th Cir.) but that appeal did not raise the issue of joint and several liability for the attorneys' fees. An additional $41,830.10 in fees were awarded for that appeal, bringing the fee award to $547,501.50, or 150% of the total damage award, the fee limit under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(d)(2). The county did not pay $225,000 of the attorneys' fee award. A federal appeals court rejected an argument by the deputy found liable for $1 that he could not be held jointly and severally liable for the unpaid fees because of the statute's attorneys' fee cap of 150% of damages, as he had not raised the issue in the earlier appeal. Jimenez v. Franklin, #10-56199, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 10260 (9th Cir.).
A guard bent the wrist of a prisoner who failed to comply with a command to "get against the wall." He slammed the prisoner against the wall when he still failed to cooperate. The prisoner sued, claiming that his wrist was swollen, skinned, and red. The appeals court ruled that the trial judge properly dismissed the lawsuit for failure to state a claim. Any injury occurred while the guard was engaged in a good-faith effort to maintain prison order. The appeals court disagreed with the trial court, however, that the alleged minimal degree of injury alone would have been enough to merit the dismissal, since a prisoner suing for the use of force need not show a significant injury if the force was used in a sadistic or malicious manner to cause pain. Custodians, the court commented, "must be able to handle, sometimes mishandle, their charges, if a building crammed with disgruntled people who disdain authority  is to be manageable." Guitron v. Paul, #11-2718, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 7132 (7th Cir.).
A prisoner's lawsuit claiming that prison employees used excessive force in removing him from his cell, breaking his arm, was properly dismissed for failure to properly exhaust available administrative remedies. Prison rules required him to file an internal complaint over the incident within 48 hours, which he did not do. The fact that he discussed his injuries with prison personnel within 48 hours, or participated in a later internal affairs investigation of the personnel involved in the incident did not alter the result. Pavey v. Conley, #10-3878, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 23318 (7th Cir.).
Prisoners stuffed a toilet, causing flooding, as well as breaking light, because they were angry over being denied time in the jail yard. A jail administrator allegedly then pushed one of these prisoners who refused to "catch the wall" when ordered to do so. The prisoner filed a federal civil rights lawsuit for excessive use of force. A federal appeals court upheld the trial judge's ruling for the defendant, finding that it was reasonable for him to use some amount of force against the prisoner under these circumstances for his own safety. The medical records did not support the prisoner's claimed version of the events, as they were not consistent with the defendant having beaten him with a flashlight. Story v. Norwood, #10-3178, 659 F.3d 680 (8th Cir. 2011).
A prisoner claimed that guards beat him with excessive force after he pulled at his restraints and attempted to grab as food cart. He further claimed that he was denied adequate medical attention after the incident. The trial court erroneously granted summary judgment to the guards on the excessive force claim, as there was an unresolved factual dispute as to whether the prisoner ceased resisting after he was taken to the floor, and whether the beating continued after his resistance ceased. Claims concerning his medical care lacked merit, however, as the record showed that the prisoner received "extensive" treatment for his toe and neck injuries. Alspaugh v. McConnell, #08-2330, 643 F.3d 162 (6th Cir. 2011), rehearing denied, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 14675 (6th Cir.).
Prisoners who sued a county for alleged acts of excessive force against them by correctional employees were entitled to a new trial on their claims. The model jury instructions that the trial court gave the jury on municipal liability and what constitutes an unconstitutional custom or practice failed to adequately state that this could be proven "through evidence that incidents of excessive force were not investigated and their perpetrators were not disciplined." Hunter v. County of Sacramento, #09-15288, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 15309 (9th Cir.).
Two former prisoners at a county jail claimed that deputies, in separate incidents, used excessive force against them. A federal appeals court held that the plaintiff prisoners were entitled to a new trial on their claims against the county because the jury instructions did not adequately define what a practice or custom was for purposes of imposing municipal liability. The trial court should have included the plaintiffs' proposed instructions relating to jail officials' alleged failure to investigate incidents of excessive force and to take disciplinary action against guards who used such force "despite the existence of an official policy prohibiting the use of excessive force." Hunter v. County of Sacramento, #09-15288, (9th Cir.).
A prisoner was assisting law enforcement in an investigation into drug trafficking within a county prison. While in protective custody for his own safety, he was found dead in his cell. While prison authorities maintained that he committed suicide, the executors of his estate filed a lawsuit claiming that he had been killed by prison guards because of his cooperation with the investigation. A federal appeals court ruled that, regardless of whether that was true, the plaintiffs could not establish supervisory liability on the part of defendant prison officials, since they had not alleged that they had any personal knowledge of threats to the prisoner and acted with deliberate indifference to those threats. Dock v. Rush, #10-4458, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 12877 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
Video recordings of two cell extractions showed that correctional officers used only that force needed in light of the prisoner's refusal to comply with orders, and that the prisoner was not injured. His excessive force claim was therefore rejected. Adderly v. Ferrier, #10-3636, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 4904 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
An arrestee who was uncooperative and refused to change into a jail uniform failed to show that an officer used excessive force against him during the booking procedure at a county detention facility. The detainee, who was constantly yelling and cursing during the incident, complained that the uniform trouser options were either the wrong size or a "displeasing" color, The court below found the officers' version of the incident credible, that the detainee jumped off the bench towards an officer, reasonably making that officer fear that he was facing a threat to his safety, and justifying the use of an arm-bar maneuver in defense. Hicks v. Norwood, #10-3218, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 10423 (8th Cir.).
A jury returned a verdict against a prisoner on his claim that officers at a county jail had severely beat and injured him over an extended period of time. Officers present at the time gave conflicting testimony as to whether or not the plaintiff had swung at an officer, whether he had been hit at all, and whether force had been properly used to restrain him. A federal appeals court found that the trial court had applied the wrong legal standard in denying the plaintiff's motion for a new trial, incorrectly stating that it could not grant a new trial unless the evidence relied on by the jury contradicted indisputable physicals facts or laws. Instead, the court had the discretion to grant a new trial if it believed that the verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence. Further proceedings were ordered using that legal standard. Mejia v. Cook County, Illinois, #09-3540, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 8316 (7th Cir.).
Despite a prisoner's claim that he could not obtain the legal materials he needed to assert his claims about a beating by a corrections officer and inadequate medical care for resulting injury, the record showed that he was granted several extensions of time, but failed to communicate with the court until the month after he obtained the materials in question. Under these circumstances, the dismissal of his lawsuit for failure to obtain service on defendant corrections officers was upheld. McGrew v. McQueen, #09-30937, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 4852 (5th Cir.).
A Texas prisoner claimed that he was complying with an officer's orders to face the wall and put his hands behind his back when the officer repeatedly poked him in the face and left eye, causing him momentary blindness and cuts and abrasions around his eye, and eventually causing the eye to become infected, swollen, and discolored. The appeals court upheld summary judgment for the officer on the basis of qualified immunity as the plaintiff prisoner had not presented sufficient evidence that his injuries were objectively "harmful enough" to amount to a constitutional violation. Mosley v. White, #09-41091, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 25398 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A Texas prisoner presented claims of excessive force against two officers that were "plausible." He alleged that after he refused to remove his arm from a cell food slot when he was denied a meal that they threatened him with a beating and threatened to break his arm. After he withdrew his arm, they allegedly returned with a team who sprayed a chemical agent into his cell. He again thrust his arm through the slot, and one officer allegedly used excessive force, twisting and snapping his finger, causing it to break. The court found that, if the facts were as alleged, there was no showing that the use of the chemical spray was necessary, or that it was justified to allegedly intentionally break his finger. Dismissal of the lawsuit, therefore, was premature. Moss v. Brown, #10-10207, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 25570 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
An officer used force in a good-faith attempt to restore discipline, rather than sadistically and maliciously in responding to an inmate who used profanity and provoked a verbal altercation. The two men bumped chests, and the officer bent the prisoner over a table and punched him in the nose when he continued to resist as other inmates started to circle around. The officer required the assistance of a co-worker to subdue the prisoner. The officer was aware of the prisoner's nosebleed, but did not believe that it was a serious medical condition requiring immediate treatment. McClyde v. Jackson, #10-20139, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 26076 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
An African-American Muslim prisoner was told by one correctional officer that he could not enter a gym carrying the two books he was holding, a Quran and a book on the basics of Islam. As he walked back towards his housing unit to return the books, another officer allegedly knocked the books out of his hand, slammed him to the ground, and handcuffed him. The first officer filed misconduct charges against the prisoner, asserting that he disobeyed orders to stop walking away, which was why the second officer responded with force. As a punishment, the prisoner had to spend time in a restricted housing unit. A federal appeals court rejected the prisoner's claim that the second officer subjected him to racial and religious discrimination, and used excessive force against him. Rejecting these claims, the court noted that the second officer had not been in a position to see what books it was the prisoner was carrying, and that there was no indication of racial or religious animosity in his actions. The force used was minimal, and only caused abrasions. Washam v. Klopotoski, #10-3291, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 25272 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
A woman detained at a county jail following a domestic disturbance became involved in an altercation with a female deputy. After other officers aided this deputy in restraining the detainee and she remained restrained on the floor, the deputy allegedly grabbed her head and slammed it to the floor seven to eight times, causing cuts and bruises on her face and leaving a pool of blood on the floor. Upholding a denial of summary judgment for the deputy on an excessive force claim, a federal appeals court ruled that this conduct, if true, was force obviously beyond what the law would allow. Summary judgment was granted, however, on a claim of deliberate indifference to serious medical needs arising from the incident. Pourmoghani-Esfahani v. Gee, #10-10020, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 23205 (11th Cir.).
In an excessive force lawsuit brought by a disorderly conduct detainee claiming that a correctional officer at a county jail beat him until he sustained a lasting brain injury, the appeals court held that no reasonable jury could find for the plaintiff when he conceded that he had no memory of being beaten by anyone at anytime relevant to the lawsuit. Harriman v. Hancock County, #09-2284, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 24838 (1st Cir.).
A Texas inmate claimed that his constitutional rights were violated when an officer ordered him to walk down stairs while handcuffed and wearing wet shower shoes. The officer allegedly used excessive force and verbal threats against him. Upholding the dismissal of the lawsuit, a federal appeals court found that the officer's alleged conduct, if true, might be negligent, but did not demonstrate a deliberate indifference to a serious risk of harm to the prisoner. He did not claim that the officer pushed him or otherwise physically forced him down the stairs, or used excessive force in handcuffing him. And "mere threatening language does not amount to a constitutional violation, giving rise to liability." Widner v. Aguilar, #10-10205, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 22286 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
An excessive force claim filed by a federal immigration detainee held in a county jail presented two legal issues, according to a federal appeals court: "What provision of the Constitution should this court use to analyze a federal immigration detainee's claim of excessive force? And does a county's failure to adopt a prophylactic policy with a standard of care higher than what the Constitution requires suffice, by itself, to suggest deliberate indifference to the Constitution's protections against excessive force?" The court concluded that due process, rather than the Fourth or Eighth Amendment, provided the proper legal standard to analyze such an excessive force claim by immigration detainees who did not challenge the lawfulness of their detention, and that, in order to create a triable issue of fact on the use of excessive force in such a case, the detainee must do more than show that the county failed to adopt the "most protective possible policy" against the application of force. The detainee was removed from his cell and placed in a restraint chair after becoming disruptive in his cell. A member of the certified emergency response team ("CERT") dealing with him then allegedly proceeded to taser him "at least three times" while he was restrained. The trial court found this use of force excessive, and awarded the detainee $100,000 in damages against the officer who used the taser against him. Summary judgment was granted, however, to the county, on the basis that all the evidence suggested that the tasering was no "more than a random act or isolated event which occurred outside of the policies and procedures implemented by" the county sheriff. The award against the individual officer was not appealed. Applying the due process standard, the appeals court rejected the claim that the officer's supervisor, who had not himself been personally involved in the use of force, should also be held individually liable. It also rejected claims that the supervisor or sheriff, in their official capacities, should be liable for failure to adequately train CERT team members. "The undisputed facts show that the county trained jailers to use tasers only if and when an inmate should become violent, combative, and pose a direct threat to the security of staff. The record also shows that" the officer knew he was acting in defiance of this policy when he tasered the detainee. Far from exhibiting deliberate indifference to the detainee's due process rights against the use of excessive force or causing his injury -- "the county actively sought to protect those rights" and it was only the officer's improper actions, taken in defiance of county policy, that caused the detainee's injuries. The appeals court rejected the argument that the county's "failure to enforce a prophylactic policy imposing a standard of care well in excess of what due process requires," banning the use of a taser on an immigration detainee, was "enough by itself to create a triable question over whether county officials were deliberately indifferent to the Constitution." Porro v. Barnes, No. 10-6002 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 2324 (10th Cir.).
A federal appeals court ruled that a prisoner asserting a claim for excessive use of force failed to show that prison guards acted "maliciously and sadistically for the very purpose of causing him harm" when using pepper spray on him after he repeatedly refused to comply with orders to cease holding his blanket up to his cell door. Horne v. Rutledge, #09-17378, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 20564 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
In a prisoner's lawsuit claiming that a correctional officer used excessive force against him, the defendant officer could not be awarded qualified immunity when his motion was based on assumptions of disputed fact contrary to those alleged by the prisoner. The prisoner claimed that the officer, during a dispute, ordered him to roll over onto his stomach while he was laying on the ground, but that before he could comply, the officer tased him in his genital area, causing him to pass out and wake up in a wheelchair, and causing incontinence, impotence, nerve damage, and a need for extensive psychological treatment. He claimed he was posing no threat to the officer at the time. The officer contended that the inmate was agitated and that his "angry behavior continued unabated" so that it was safer to use the Taser than have to wrestle with him on the hard concrete ground of the cell. Mahamed v. Anderson, #09-2030, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 15767 (Unpub. 8th Cir.).
Ten mentally ill or "otherwise vulnerable" inmates claimed that the use of chemical agents against them constituted cruel and unusual punishment. The prisoners settled their claims against the individual officers, and the court later entered judgment in favor of two of the remaining plaintiffs on claims that repeated sprayings of such inmates under a use of force policy violated the Eighth Amendment. Upholding an award for these plaintiffs, a federal appeals court ruled that the defendants had waived any challenge they might have had to the application of a "deliberate indifference" rather than stricter legal standard, that a deceased inmate could still be a prevailing plaintiff entitled to an award of attorneys' fees despite his death rendering moot any injunctive relief about him being further sprayed, and that the trial court did not clearly err in finding that a plaintiff had suffered psychological injury from being subjected to the spray. An injunction was upheld against the "non-spontaneous" use of chemical agents on the one remaining plaintiff without consultation with the correctional department's trained mental health staff. Thomas v. Bryant, #09-11658, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 17419 (11th Cir.).
The issue before the appeals court was whether the Fourth Amendment or Fourteenth Amendment applied to claims of excessive force against four corrections officers asserted by a pretrial detainee in the process of being booked, but no longer in the custody of the arresting officer who arrested him without a warrant. He claimed that he was improperly beaten and repeatedly tased while being held in the booking room prior to his photo being taken and before he had a probable cause hearing. The court ruled that the Fourth Amendment protects pre-trial detainees arrested without a warrant through the completion of their probable-cause hearings. The trial court, therefore, acted in error in applying a Fourteenth Amendment legal standard, and further proceedings were ordered as to claims against three of the officers. The error was harmless, however, as to claims against a fourth officer, as the trial court, applying the Fourteenth Amendment standard, found that he was not entitled to qualified immunity. Any violation of the Fourteenth Amendment excessive force standard, the court commented, would necessarily also violate the Fourth Amendment. Aldini v. Johnson, #09-3183, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 13207 (6th Cir.).
A correctional officer used no more force than necessary against an inmate who kicked his cell door, yelled profanity, refused orders to stop, and threw some object from his bed at the officer. The use of a short burst of pepper spray against the prisoner was not excessive under the circumstances. Easley v. Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction, #2009-05277, 2010 Ohio Misc. Lexis 110 (Ct. of Claims).
A correctional officer was entitled to summary judgment in a prisoner's excessive force lawsuit when no reasonable jury could conclude that the officer had acted with "such wantonness as is tantamount to a knowing willingness" that she should suffer injuries. The court rejected both a federal civil rights excessive force claim and a state law battery claim. Griffin v. Hardrick, #09-5757, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 9752 (6th Cir.).
While trying to remove an detainee to a padded cell because he was suffering from delirium tremens (DTs) caused by alcohol withdrawal, a deputy allegedly took him to a concrete floor headfirst. A federal appeals court ruled that there was no evidence that the deputy acted in a malicious, wanton, or sadistic manner. The detainee did not cooperate with attempts to handcuff him, and the floor was covered by mats. During the takedown, the mats apparently shifted, causing the detainee's head to hit the floor. The plaintiff could proceed, however, with a claim that the deputy then acted with deliberate indifference to the detainee's serious need for medical care for his injuries, which resulted in his death. Scarbro v. New Hanover County, #08-1644, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 6782 (Unpub. 4th Cir.).
A detainee claimed that excessive force was used in placing him in solitary confinement. A federal appeals court ordered that the prisoner should be appointed a lawyer to present argument as to whether, at the time, he had been a pretrial detainee. If he had, the court noted, he could not be subjected to segregation or other heightened restraints under 2nd Circuit precedents if no pre-deprivation hearing was held to determine whether he had violated any rule, since pre-trial detainees cannot otherwise be punished. In this case, there was no evidence in the record that the plaintiff violated any rule or that he was provided with a pre-deprivation hearing. His claim that he was placed in solitary confinement and subjected to excessive force had "merit sufficient to warrant appointment of counsel." Johnston v. Maha, #08-6048, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 10373 (2nd Cir.).
Force used at an Ohio prison against a prisoner occurred in the context of a dangerous fight between prisoners and staff members at a maximum security prison. While the plaintiff prisoner tried to "minimize" his role in the fight, he admitted to disobeying direct orders to return to his cell and arguing with officers. There was less credibility to the prisoner's version of the incident than to the version told by two officers. The force used was justified by the prisoner's aggressive actions and only force necessary under the circumstances was used. Moore v. Ohio State Penitentiary, #2007-09658, 2010 Ohio Misc. Lexis 25 (Ct. of Claims).
The trial court acted erroneously in granting a correctional officer summary judgment on a prisoner's excessive force claim when the record indicated that she engaged in a calculated attempt to use a moderate amount of force in a manner that threatened the use of significantly greater force, and that, if the facts were as the prisoner claimed, the force was used for the sole purpose of humiliating him rather than for any proper purpose. The officer allegedly used a weapon, a rubber headed hammer, pressing it against the prisoner's head in the crowded prison corridor in a manner that bent his head halfway backwards, which was not a minimal use of force. Abreu v. Nicholls, #08-3567, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 4407 (Unpub. 2nd Cir.).
A jail detainee claimed that deputies used excessive force against him, subjecting him to repeated Taser shocks and also shooting him twice with beanbag rounds from a shotgun. The defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity when they allegedly did this while he was already on his knees, holding his hands in the air before they entered his cell and remained there while they subjected him to the Taser and beanbag rounds. Council v. Sutton, #09-13968, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 2886 (Unpub. 11th Cir.).
The Director of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and a prison superintendent could not be held liable for the alleged use of excessive force against a prisoner when there was no evidence that they were involved in the incident in any way. Claims against a sergeant and other officers concerning their alleged verbal abuse of the prisoner, while involving behavior that, if true, was "distasteful," did not rise to the level of violation of the plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights. The prisoner's other claims, that the sergeant deprived him of one meal on a single occasion and that an officer improperly confiscated his identification card were also not of constitutional magnitude. Lindsey v. O'Connor, #08-4579, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 10258 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
The bulk of the evidence presented did not support a prisoner's claim that a corrections officer used excessive force against him. Affidavits from a fellow prisoner stating that he saw the officer use force against the plaintiff were "conclusory." Even if these affidavits had been admitted into evidence, they would not have established that the force used was excessive, and the officer himself admitted to having used force against the plaintiff. The refusal to grant the prisoner's request for an appointed lawyer was not improper, when the record showed that the prisoner had competently and adequately represented himself, and that the issues in the case were not complex. Huynh v. Baze, #07-11296, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 6034 (5th Cir.).
The U.S. Supreme Court held that a federal appeals court incorrectly dismissed a prisoner's complaint that a correctional officer used excessive force against him based on a determination that his allegedly resulting injuries were "de minimus" (minimal). Such claims of the use of excessive force against prisoners, under the principles set forth in Hudson v. McMillian, #90-6531, 503 U.S. 1 (1992), should be decided based on the nature of the force used rather than the extent of the injuries. In this case, the prisoner asserted that the officer, acting without provocation, responded to his request for a grievance form by snatching him off the ground, slamming him into a concrete floor, and then proceeding to punch, kick, knee, and choke him, until another officer intervened. These actions allegedly resulted in a bruised heel, lower back pain, increased blood pressure, migraine headaches, dizziness, and psychological trauma. The legal standard for whether the force employed was excessive, the Court noted, was not the extent of the injuries, but whether the force was "applied in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline, or maliciously and sadistically to cause harm." Wilkins v. Gaddy, #08-10914, 2010 U.S. Lexis 1036.
As a prisoner was getting ready to be transported to a court appearance, he and an officer argued about bringing a change of clothes. A supervising officer responded to the officer's call for backup, and allegedly punched the plaintiff prisoner in the mouth without any provocation, causing him to lose one tooth and suffer two other loose teeth. The supervising officer, however, stated that the prisoner had acted aggressively and lunged at the officer, so that he employed a takedown procedure involving pushing the prisoner against a wall and handcuffing him after spinning him around. The court found that a trial court judgment in favor of the supervising officer was supported by evidence that the prisoner, enraged, would not listen to reason, and would not remain still until the defendant acted to subdue him. Brown v. Acting Director Metro Dade Correctional, #08-15612, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 446 (Unpub.11th Cir.).
A jury properly awarded a prisoner $75,000 in compensatory damages and $125,000 in punitive damages on his claim that a correctional officer attacked him without justification for the purpose of maliciously doing him harm. The officer allegedly called the prisoner a "son of a bitch" and a "mother fucker" for no apparent reason, resulting in the prisoner telling him to "keep his mother" off the streets. While the prisoner made no threatening movements towards the officer, and was "hardly capable" of challenging the officer physically, because of prior injuries from car accidents, the officer then waited for the prisoner in his housing unit, grabbed him, threw him against a wall, slammed him onto a concrete floor, and pressed his knees onto the prisoner's back while another officer cuffed him. The car accidents had previously rendered the prisoner partially crippled, with damage to the right side of his brain and the left side of his body, affecting his ability to walk, as well as causing a herniated disk in his neck, and neck and back pain. The court found that both the compensatory and punitive damage awards were justified by the evidence. Hendrickson v. Cooper, #09-1375, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 28114 (7th Cir.).
A federal appeals court upheld a trial court's refusal to submit an inmate's excessive force claim against correctional officers to the jury on the basis of the Fourth Amendment as well as the Eighth Amendment, since the Eighth Amendment provided the appropriate legal standard for his claims. The jury's verdict for all of the individual defendants eliminated any possibility of municipal liability, since no individual was found to have violated the plaintiff's rights. The trial court properly bifurcated the proceedings, trying the individual liability claims first, and thereby eliminating the need for any proceedings on the municipal liability claims. Bonilla v. Jaronczyk, #08-1470, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 26167 (Unpub. 2nd Cir.).
A correctional officer was improperly granted judgment as a matter of law on an excessive force claim. According to the plaintiff prisoner and another inmate, the officer stated that she was kicking him in retribution for his having assaulted another officer. At the time, the prisoner had already been taken to a more secure cell and was no longer attacking anyone. He also was allegedly still handcuffed after the move, and any threat he posed to the officers or anyone had ended, eliminating any justification for the continued use of force. Davis v. Berks County, #08-3026, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 24925 (Unpub 3rd Cir.).
An African-American motorist stopped for DUI was taken to a city jail based on a claim that there was a misdemeanor warrant for his arrest. He claimed that, at the jail, officers physically attacked him, causing him a spinal cord injury, and then dragged him into a cell where he was left until a civilian jail employee complained about his condition. A federal appeals court upheld the denial of summary judgment to the defendant officers on claims of race discrimination, excessive force, and delayed medical treatment, finding that a reasonable jury could conclude that the reason for the excessive use of force and delayed medical treatment was race. Harris v. City of Circleville, #08-3252, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 21641 (6th Cir.).
A prisoner complaining about a search of his cell and confiscation of his legal papers and other property failed to show a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights, since his status of incarceration meant that he had no right to privacy or protection from unreasonable searches. His due process rights were not violated, since there were adequate post-deprivation remedies for the seizure of his property, and he failed to show a violation of his First Amendment rights, since he alleged no actual injury that resulted from the removal of his legal papers and did not claim that the seizure of religious materials prevented him from observing any religious belief or practice. He also failed to show that there was a retaliatory motive for the search and a videotape of the search refuted any claim that an officer used excessive force in restraining the plaintiff. Tindell v. Beard, #09-3063, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 24642 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
In a prisoner's lawsuit over the alleged excessive use of force by a correctional officer, several supervisory officials could not be held liable since they did not participate in the events allegedly causing the prisoner injuries. Another official was entitled to qualified immunity as the prisoner himself stated that he responded in a timely manner to the alleged incident. Thompson v. Johnson, #08-10614, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 21974 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
The plaintiff inmate did not face atypical hardships based on any of the conditions of a Behavioral Action Plan, such as denying him a mattress because of his attempts to use it to harm himself, so he had no valid due process claim. The conditions imposed also did not amount to cruel and unusual punishment, since they were not punitive, but instead intended to protect him from self-harm, and were regularly re-evaluated. The prisoner also failed to show an excessive use of force based on an incident in which guards attempted to subdue him using five-point restraints, incapacitating agents, and a Taser. Bowers v. Pollard, #09-1771, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 20855 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
A federal appeals court upheld a jury's rejection of a prisoner's claim that a guard used excessive force against him, reaching into his cell and choking him. The guard denied even touching the prisoner. A federal appeals court upheld this result, finding that the trial court did not act erroneously in refusing to allow the plaintiff to, just before trial, attempt to add state law assault and battery claims to his federal civil rights excessive force claim, or in giving jury instructions stating that, for liability, the jury had to find a violation of Eighth Amendment rights. Cruz v. Safford, #08-3083, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 19399 (7th Cir.).
An inmate claimed that prison employees used excessive force against him and injured him while restraining him after he attacked them as they entered his cell. In light of his repeated threats and physical attack on them, he failed to show that the force they used was excessive. He also failed to show that he was denied needed medical treatment for injuries allegedly resulting from the incident. Thomas v. Owens, #08-20299, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 15729 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
The amount of force used by officers in compelling a prisoner's compliance with a strip search was justified by his actions. He admitted to verbally refusing to comply with orders and beginning to pull up his boxer shorts. Even though he claimed to have only accidentally fallen on an intervening officer, the prisoner himself made statements indicating that he was aware the officers could have regarded this as an attack. His purported injuries only amounted to minor bruising and bumping. The defendant officers were entitled to summary judgment. Lyons v. Fields, #3:07cv86, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 17345 (N.D. Fla.).
In a lawsuit brought by a detainee's estate over a fatal beating by officers, a jury awarded $56.5 million in damages against the officers, of which $29 million were compensatory damages. The county that employed the officers provided them with legal defense in the case. Over a year after the jury made its award, an amendment to an Indiana state statute, Ind. Code § 34-13-4-1, changed a discretionary duty of counties to indemnify employees for compensatory damages when providing them with legal defense to a mandatory requirement. The estate sought to collect the damages from the county under the amended law. A federal appeals court found that the law in effect at the time of the award allowed the county to decline to pay the damages, and that the mended law did not apply retroactively. Estate of Moreland v. Dieter, #08-1478, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 17866 (7th Cir.).
While there was
some "physical contact" between a defendant sheriff and the plaintiff
prisoner, the force used was minimal. The prisoner's only alleged injuries
were soreness and swelling under his left eye, which was insufficient to
support an award of damages. Harris v. Salley, #09-6345, 2009 U.S. App.
Lexis 17238 (Unpub. 4th Cir.).
Upholding a jury award for an inmate in an excessive force lawsuit, a federal appeals court found that the plaintiff inmate's testimony concerning officers' alleged blows to his head and face, the way in which handcuffs were fastened on him, and the "recurring pain" he suffered as a result was sufficient to support the result. The appeals court also upheld a jury finding that defendants were aware of and disregarded claims of inmate abuse, based on a prison administrator's acknowledgment that, during a prison lockout during which the incident in question occurred, he received daily reports of inmate abuse which he and a deputy commissioner of corrections forwarded to the commissioner of corrections. A total of $42,000 in damages was awarded against the prison administrator, deputy commissioner, and commissioner. In Re: Bayside Prison Litigation, Linsey v. Fauver, #07-3739, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 16262 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
An inmate should be allowed to proceed with his excessive force claims against two correctional officers when genuine issues of fact existed both as to the level of force used and the extent of the prisoner's allegedly resulting injuries. The trial court, however, properly rejected claims against one officer based on the time the prisoner spent in a restraint chair, since there was no evidence of a resulting serious injury, and dismissed claims against another officer based on the failure to allege sufficient facts about his involvement in the incident. Williams v. Collier, #08-6759, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 16288 (Unpub. 4th Cir.).
Trial court did not act erroneously in determining that an officer did not use excessive force against a prisoner in an incident in the shower and that officers did not use excessive force against him in an incident in an infirmary cell. The evidence showed that the prisoner was belligerent in the shower and attacked an officer, justifying the use of force to subdue him, including the use of capstun. Subsequently, the prisoner's refusal to stop shouting and banging on his infirmary cell door at 2 a.m. similarly justified the use of force, including capstun. The appeals court further ruled, however, that the prisoner alleged a viable excessive force claim against three officers arising from their conduct in the shower room incident, in that they purportedly kicked him in the ribs and punched him in the head after he had stopped resisting and was prostrate on the ground with one officer sitting on him. If true, this was conduct that a reasonable officer would have known was improper. Giles v. Kearney, #07-4140, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 15597 (3rd Cir.).
A prison employee who used a stinger grenade in the course of extracting a prisoner from his cell was not entitled to summary judgment in an excessive force lawsuit when several factors suggested that he used the grenade in a malicious and sadistic manner rather than in a good faith effort to maintain or restore order. The court suggested that, under the circumstances, cell entry, rather than the use of the grenade, might have been a "viable" alternative. The prisoner also created a factual issue as to whether a subsequent strip search was carried out in a manner designed to humiliate him. Jackson v. Geri, #07-cv-656, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 47508 (W.D. Wis.).
A prisoner could not support his excessive force claim against one officer with the "fantastical" claim that he had attempted to kill him by placing a lethal venomous white tipped spider with white dots on its back in the cell. None of the other alleged actions by any of the officers amounted to excessive use of force, and the prisoner did not show that he suffered physical injuries, needed medical attention, or that his supposed psychic injuries were caused by the defendants' conduct. Browne v. San Francisco Sheriff's Dept., #C 03-0047, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 40515 (N.D. Cal.).
An inmate claimed that he was severely beaten by Special Operations Group personnel who were in the process of securing the prison during a lockdown that followed an inmate's killing of a guard. Evidence of the prisoner's injuries, including photographs, his own testimony, and the testimony of an ombudswoman, supported the jury's decision to award the plaintiff compensatory and punitive damages against a prison administrator who was allegedly deliberately indifferent to a serious risk of harm to him. The award totaled $45,000 in compensatory, and $200,000 in punitive damages. Further proceedings were needed, however, to reconsider the amount of the punitive damage award, which the court stated might be supportable, but which merited a "hard look," which it believed was not done by the court below following the trial. Mejias v. Roth, #07-3913, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 12767 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
Officers' statements that one of them used "distraction strikes" were in conflict with a prisoner's claim that he received a direct blow from a fist and medical records that also stated that. A videotape of the incident entered into evidence failed to resolve this factual dispute. The plaintiff prisoner also disputed the officers' assertion that he tried to bite an officer. There was a genuine factual dispute, therefore as to whether the officers acted in an objectively reasonable manner or used excessive force. Based on the prisoner's affidavit claiming that six inmates at the county detention facility were assaulted while placed in restraints, there was also a genuine factual issue as to whether the county sheriff had an unconstitutional use of force policy. Watts v. Smart, #08-40381, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 9593 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
The plaintiff prisoner failed to show that excessive force was used against him, or even establish a genuine issue of fact for trial when all of his attachments to his response to the defendants' motion for summary judgment were irrelevant, unsworn, or even supported the defendants' argument that he only suffered minor injuries. He also failed to present any evidence to show that misconduct reports filed against him following the incident were false or that any prison official had refused to investigate his version of the incident. Summary judgment was properly granted for the correctional defendants in the prisoners' excessive force lawsuit. McCullough v. Miller, #08-4339, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 10886 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
Even if there was little need for the use of force against the prisoner, and little threat to the safety of other inmates or staff members, since the prisoner was in his cell at the time, he failed to show a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. The officer only struck him once and merely inflamed an old injury, causing the prisoner's finger to become swollen. The minor amount of force used, the minor resulting injury, and a finding that the officer did not act in a sadistic or malicious manner supported the dismissal of individual capacity claims against the officer for excessive use of force. The court also rejected the argument that official capacity claims, which were barred by the Eleventh Amendment, could be pursued because of the state of Pennsylvania's waiver of sovereign immunity for claims involving state property. The court did not agree with the prisoner's argument that inmates such as himself were state property, as the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits human beings from being property. Matthews v. Villella, #4:08-CV-0964, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 8858 (M.D. Pa.).
A prisoner could proceed with his claims that a captain slammed his head and face into a concrete sidewalk, rendering him unconscious. If the prisoner's version of the incident were believed, it established the excessive use of force. On claims against the captain in his official capacity and against the correctional center, the defendants were entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity because these were essentially claims against the State of Louisiana. Cain v. White, #08-1015, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 23322 (W.D. La.).
Pretrial detainee failed to show that an officer acted in a malicious and sadistic manner in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause in allegedly kicking him. At the time, the detainee was "combative" and engaged in a struggle with other officers, and the force used amounted to a good faith attempt to restore or maintain discipline. Fennell v. Gilstrap, #08-12553, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 5047 (11th Cir.).
A prisoner stated a viable claim against an officer for excessive use of force when he alleged that the officer slammed his hands in a cell trap door in response to another prisoner's false warning, disregarded pleas to release the prisoner's hands, and pulled his arm through the cell's trap door, placing all his weight on the arm, resulting in a broken arm. The prisoner failed to establish, however, that a warden he named as a defendant in his lawsuit was personally involved in the incident in any way. Luke v. Lenz, #09-cv-91, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 15145 (W.D. Wis.).
Trial court improperly issued summary judgment to defendants in pretrial detainee's lawsuit claiming that he was subjected to excessive force at a county detention center. The wheelchair reliant detainee, who has an amputated leg, claimed that he was held down, kicked, lifted out of his wheelchair, and carried to his cell by his jaw after failing to comply with an order to leave a shower, and that he did not threaten or assault officers. If true, a reasonable jury could find that excessive force was used. Roby v. McCoy, No. 07-3647, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 3677 (Unpub. 8th Cir.).
A trial court did not act erroneously in dismissing two claims of excessive force filed by a former inmate, who subsequently died. Nothing in the materials filed on the first claim supported an inference that the plaintiff had been threatened with personal injury or assaulted by a correctional officer, while the second claim merely asserted that "excessive" force was used, but the evidence showed that the officer did not act in a malicious or sadistic manner, and any injuries suffer by the prison were minor and limited to shortness of breath for a few minutes. Wright v. Goord, No. 06-1728, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 1951 (2nd Cir.).
Prisoner failed to show that the force used against him in his cell was excessive, or that engaging in further discovery would establish that. The evidence showed that the prisoner refused to obey commands to allow guards to secure his cell door properly by releasing control of a food slot in the door, that he was warned that failure to obey would result in the use of chemical agents and the sending of a "move team" into his cell, and that he was restrained by force when he failed to comply. Poe v. Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice, No. 08-20148, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 706 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
Prisoner's lawsuit claiming that a correctional officer twice confined her in an isolated locked classroom and imposed physical and verbal abuse on her, including forcible rape, established liability for violation of constitutional rights as well as state law claims, since the officer failed to respond to the accusations. The prisoner failed, however, to establish a claim for emotional distress under New York state law, since she failed to assert that the officer acted with the intent or disregard of a substantial probability to cause severe emotional distress. Further proceedings were required on the amount of damages to be awarded. Ortiz v. Lasker, 08-CV-6001, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 101363 (W.D.N.Y.).
Prisoner failed to present evidence that correctional officials condoned, permitted, or participated in correctional officers' alleged attack on him, nor that they ratified the alleged attack or allowed a policy to exist that caused the attack. The officials, therefore, could not be held liable, while further proceedings were needed on the claims against the officers. Liner v. Goord, 98-CV-6343L, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 79522 (W.D.N.Y.).
Officers were not entitled to summary judgment of prisoner's claim that they used excessive force against him, beating him with batons for ten minutes, and kicking and punching him. While there was some evidence in the record that his visible injuries were not consistent with those expected to be present follow such a beating, there was a factual issue as to whether his version of the incident or that of the officers was more credible. Moore v Casselberry, 05-CV-6063L, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 88764 (W.D.N.Y.).
Even considering medical records submitted by a prisoner of his purported injuries from an alleged attack by a correctional officer, the plaintiff prisoner failed to show that he suffered more than "de minimus" (minimal) injuries, and several injuries he claimed were actually preexisting conditions. The prisoner presented no evidence that the alleged attack had anything to do with his worsened blood pressure, his back pain or migraine headaches or his mental health problems. Wilkins v. Gaddy, 08-CV-138-01, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 81474 (W.D.N.C.).
Correctional officers were not entitled to qualified immunity on inmate's claim that they used excessive force against him. If the inmate's version of events was true, the officers could not have reasonably believed that their actions were lawful under the Eighth Amendment. The court also ruled that a jury verdict that the officers used excessive force in subduing the prisoner would not have necessarily implied the invalidity of a disciplinary hearing finding the prisoner guilty of an assault on prison staff members, creating a disturbance, refusing to submit to a search and frisk, and refusing a direct order. Tapp v. Tougas, 9:05-CV-1479, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 76170 (N.D.N.Y.).
There was a genuine issue of fact as to whether a correctional officer retaliated against him for filing grievances by writing up false disciplinary reports and intentionally closing a cell door on him, resulting in injury. Shaw v. Cowart, No. 07-14884, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 23500 (Unpub.11th Cir.).
Prisoner failed to show that officers used excessive force against him. While he called his actions "respectful" and "peaceful," it was clear that he was, at the time force was used against him, trying to walk away from an officer restraining him in an attempt to approach a second officer during a shakedown of his cell. The court also properly concluded that any injury suffered by the prisoner was minimal when no bruises or contusions were shown. Pruitt v. Hatchet, No. 05-30834, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 19826 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
Evidence in a lawsuit claiming that jail personnel used excessive force against a prisoner and denied medical care to him, resulting in him dying in his cell supported a jury's verdict rejecting claims for violations of the decedent's rights. The detainee had been involved in two separate auto accidents just prior to his arrest, one of them serious, and an autopsy concluded that he died of natural causes, specifically a heart attack. Moore v. Tuleja, No. 07-3137, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 20997 (7th Cir.).
Federal civil rights lawsuit for death of prisoner was rejected because it only alleged negligence by prison employees in causing the death. The prisoner was struck in the head by a plastic bullet fired by a prison employee, and other prison employees subjected him to pepper spray and placed a plastic bag over his head to increase the burning effect. Supervisory employees, the court found, were not alleged to have set into motion actions that they reasonably should have known would cause other employees to violate the prisoner's constitutional rights. State law claims were barred by the statute of limitations. Provencio v. Vazquez, No. 1:07-CV-0069, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 73255 (E.D. Cal.).
Prisoner who claimed that he was beaten by correctional officers failed to show that the warden was personally involved in the violation of his rights or that there was an unlawful county policy or custom concerning the use of excessive force or that such a policy caused his injuries. Further, he failed to show that the force used against him was excessive under the circumstances. Hernandez v. York County, No. 07-4774, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 17985 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
Prisoner stated a possible claim for excessive use of force by three guards who allegedly were members of a team that sprayed him with pepper spray, slammed him into a wall, and choked and stunned him with a Taser for at least five minutes after forcing him to the floor. Rollen v. Horton, No. 3:08-0227, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 59657 (M.D. Tenn.).
When a prisoner refused to obey a jailer's orders during a disagreement, creating a disturbance, there was a need to use force and a short burst of pepper spray was not excessive. The prisoner's assertion, however, that he was confined in a small cell following the incident and was not allowed to wash off the spray was sufficient to state a claim for excessive use of force. Danley v. Allen, No. 07-12328, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 17837 (11th Cir.).
The plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit concerning the death of an inmate after he was forcibly removed from his cell by seven correctional officers sufficient alleged facts which, if true, would show that the officers violated the prisoner's clearly established Eighth Amendment rights, so that the defendants were properly denied qualified immunity on those claims. Additionally, when summary judgment was denied on certain claims based on the existence of disputed issues of material fact, there was no jurisdiction to hear an appeal of those denials. Iko v. Raley, No. 07-7569, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 16607 (4th Cir.).
Federal appeals court upholds jury verdict for defendant corrections officers in lawsuit brought by prisoner allegedly injured by them when they used force to extract him from his cell. The plaintiff prisoner admitted that he had a weapon in his pocket at the time of the incident, and the evidence showed that he had been belligerent and uncooperative, and that the prisoner had created a disturbance in his cell block, taunted an officer, and that pepper spray and a 15 OC Stinger grenade used against the prisoner, as well as tear gas, had little effect and failed to subdue him. The officers then shot a 37MM Ferret OC powder round, designed to break through a barricade, at the cell wall, but he still allegedly refused to comply. They then dispensed a 28b Stinger 37 MM 60 Cal. rubber-ball round into the cell, and again failed to subdue the prisoner. Another Ferret OC powder round fired into the cell then went through a mattress that the prisoner used to barricade his cell door, and hit him in the groin area, finally subduing him. Muhammad v. McCarrell, No. 07-2235, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 16682 (8th 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 federal trial court granted a prisoner's motion for reconsideration and vacation of summary judgment in favor of a city in his lawsuit claiming that he was beaten and kicked by officers during city prison intake procedures. The city had produced, in an untimely manner, a corrections' sergeant's log. This log, which was a "critical document" in the case, was "inexplicably" not produced by the city during the discovery process, and was only made available after summary judgment in the case had been granted in the city's favor. In granting the city summary judgment, the court relied on the city's representation that the log did not exist, and the detainee was unable to use information contained in the log to respond to the motion for summary judgment. Shimoyama v. City of Philadelphia, Civil Action No. 05-6299, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 44690 (E.D. Pa.).
A prisoner did not state a claim for excessive use of force based on a sergeant allegedly pressing a Taser against his back and pressing him against elevator doors while transporting him. There was no claim that the Taser was activated, and the alleged actions only caused minimum discomfort, and failed to constitute a "malicious and sadistic" application of force. Sawyer v. Green, No. 08-3083, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 13119 (Unpub. 10th Cir.).
Correctional officers were not entitled to qualified immunity in a lawsuit claiming that three of them beat a detainee at a juvenile detention facility with nightsticks about his head and face after he refused orders to remove his clothes. A fourth officer allegedly watched and failed to intervene. The beating was allegedly severe enough that the detainee required eleven stitches and a doctor at the hospital believed that he might have bled to death without medical attention. The court found that there was evidence from which a reasonable fact finder could find that the force employed was used in a malicious and sadistic manner, rather than in a good faith effort to maintain or restore discipline. McReynolds v. Ala. Dept. of Youth Services, No. 2:04-cv-850, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 35070 (M.D. Ala.).
Summary judgment should not have been entered against a prisoner on his excessive force claims since there were genuine factual disputes as to whether officers used force against him, including pepper spray, after he had begun to comply with their orders to him. Additionally, he allegedly was not warned before the use of the pepper spray, was not permitted to clean up after its use, and was then handcuffed to a bench and denied bathroom breaks, food, and water during that restraint. Walker v. Bowersox, No. 06-3118, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 11507 (8th Cir.).
Removal of a prisoner from his misconduct hearing by correctional officers and prison nurses did not violate his First Amendment rights. His statement at the proceeding that the hearing officer was a "foul and corrupted bitch" was not protected by the First Amendment and constituted "insolence" in violation of prison regulations, questioning the hearing officer's authority and the proceeding's integrity. The court also found that the amount of force used was minimal and reasonable under the circumstances. The prisoner also failed to show deliberate indifference to his medical needs for his minor cuts and lacerations. Lockett v. Suardini, No. 06-2392, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 10359 (6th Cir.).
A pretrial detainee failed to show that a correctional officer used excessive force against him, or that a second officer failed to intervene to prevent the excessive use of force. A videotape of the incident showed that the plaintiff punched and hit an officer in the face, causing her to fall, and that the other officer then struck the plaintiff, pushed him to the floor, and handcuffed him. The force used was only that required to regain control of the plaintiff, despite his claim that the officers had "altered" the videotape. Johnson v. Moeller, No. 07-3184, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 6227 (7th Cir.).
Plaintiff prisoner was entitled to production of pictures of six correctional officers who were allegedly present when he claimed officers assaulted him, for the purpose of identifying his assailants in a federal civil rights lawsuit. Murphy v. West, No. 04-CV-6615, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 8435 (W.D.N.Y.).
While a prisoner allegedly suffered an "unfortunate extent" of injuries as a result of a deputy's push or shove, the deputy was acting in good faith to attempt to maintain or restore discipline, and not maliciously and sadistically for the purpose of causing harm. The deputy was therefore entitled to summary judgment on an excessive force claim. Cockrell v. Sparks, No. 07-10984, (11th Cir.).
In a lawsuit in which a prisoner claimed that he was beaten on two occasions by correctional officers, the first claim against the officers was properly dismissed for failure to exhaust available administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(a), and a verdict in favor of the officers on the second beating claim was upheld. The trial court did not act erroneously in failing to give an "assault and battery" instruction separate from the "cruel and unusual punishment" instruction given, as the prisoner did not ask for his own instruction or present an argument as to why the instruction given was allegedly defective. Finally, a directed verdict in favor of a prison superintendent was properly decided as there could be no supervisory liability when there was no finding of a constitutional violation by the officers. Matthews v. Cordeiro, No. 05-1041, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 28613 (1st Cir.).
Evidence established a genuine issue of fact as to whether two correction employees used excessive force against a detainee, allegedly rendering him unconscious from a beating and the breaking of his dental bridge. While these injuries were not recorded in the detainee's medical records, there was an indication that he was kicked in the head, and the jury could decide whether a videotape taken at the time showed those injuries. The court did, however, uphold summary judgment in favor of a third defendant because the evidence showed that he was not present during the incident. Hasemeier v. Shepard, No. 07-10688, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 24719 (11th Cir.).
In a prior decision, Felder v. Howerton, No. 07-10241, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 11154 (11th Cir.), the court ruled that there was no evidence, other than the prisoner's own "self-serving" testimony, that prison officers had used any force against him, much less that they used excessive force or that prison officials failed to take action to prevent "beatings" by staff members. The record of the case showed, at most, that after the prisoner started a confrontation, he had a three millimeter abrasion on his chest, and there was also medical evidence that this abrasion was actually suffered during a basketball game he had played in five days before. The court further rejected the prisoner's argument that he had been "tortured" in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2340. In a rehearing, however, the appeals court vacated the summary judgment in part. It ruled that the prisoner's sworn statement that the officers beat him, as well as sworn testimony presented that they told him that "all prisoners" were subjected to that treatment created material issues of fact barring summary judgment on the prisoner's federal constitutional claim. The appeals court, following the rehearing, still upheld summary judgment on the "torture" claim. The prisoner, the appeals court found, failed to show that 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2340A(a), imposing criminal penalties for persons committing torture outside of the U.S., gave him any additional rights. Felder v. Howerton, 07-10241, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 22118 (11th Cir.).
Correctional officer who allegedly used a cattle prod against an inmate who was merely working at his prison job was not entitled to summary judgment. If it was true that the prisoner was not causing any disruption or violating any prison rule, a reasonable jury could find that there was no need to use any level of force. Payne v. Parnell, No. 05-20687, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 21227 (5th Cir.).
Prisoner stated a claim for excessive use of force against correctional officer who allegedly slammed the food slot door of his cell on his hand three times without justification. Claims against a supervising officer and a fellow officer who allegedly failed to prevent the alleged use of force were properly dismissed, however. Espinoza v. McDaniel, No. 3:06-CV-00542, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 58416 (D. Nev.).
Prisoner failed to provided any evidence of an official city policy permitting or encouraging the excessive or unnecessary use of force by sheriff's employees against arrestees, or a widespread custom of such use of force, so that the city was entitled to summary judgment. Ludaway v. City of Jacksonville, Florida, No. 07-10859, 2007 U.S. App. 21150 (11th Cir.).
There was no evidence from which a jury could find that officers used excessive force in entering an inmate's cell and restraining her after she was observed violently banging her head against her cell wall. Plaintiff prisoners also failed to show deliberate indifference to their serious mental health needs, when they received their prescribed medication, and they could not demonstrate that the care they received caused them any adverse symptoms. Bellotto v. County of Orange, No. 06-1185, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 19848 (2nd Cir.).
Even if a prisoner's claim was true that a correctional officer slammed him against a wall, squeezed his nipples and buttocks, and pulled on his testicles hard, causing him pain and discomfort, this was not sufficient to show an Eighth Amendment violation, when the force used was minimal. Further, the fact that there was no medical evidence of any injury resulting from the incident was supportive of a finding that the force used was not excessive. Rhoten v. Werholtz, No. 07-3064, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 14964 (10th Cir.).
A Maine state prison, as an agency of the state, could not be sued for damages under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 for alleged use of excessive force against a prisoner, because of Eleventh Amendment Immunity, and the fact that the state is not a "person" subject to such liability. To the extent that there could arguably be a state law claim against the prison, there was no showing that the state had waived its 11th Amendment immunity from a suit in federal court. Additionally, the prison could not be held vicariously liable under federal law for the actions of a prison officer on the basis that it was his employer. Warren v. Maine State Prison, No. CV-07-24, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 42982 (D. Maine).
Prisoner failed to show that a warden had the knowledge required to have acted with deliberate indifference to a purported substantial risk that prison guards would use excessive force against him. He claimed that the guards beat him in a room without cameras where they took him, and subsequently denied him access to immediate medical care for his injuries. The employment records of the officers failed to show that they were an obvious risk to prisoners, and a trial judge's disagreement with the warden's choices in disciplining one of the officers for allegedly mistreating a prisoner by suspending him was not sufficient to support a finding of deliberate indifference. Lenz v. Reed, No. 06-3017, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 14460 (8th Cir.).
Prisoner's claim that correctional employees used excessive force against him was rejected after he failed to refute the evidence presented by the defendants that the back pain he experienced was the result of a medical condition--a degenerative disc disease he suffers from, rather being caused a defendant's conduct. Appeals court also upholds rejection of claims for denial of access to the courts and for purported due process violations in connection with a disciplinary hearing in which the prisoner was found not guilty of battery. Billups v. Hammon, No. 06-55274, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 12672 (9th Cir.).
Prisoner presented a viable claim for use of excessive force against correctional officer who allegedly punched him in the eye, breaking the orbital bone in his face, while he was being carried up some stairs in shackles following an incident in which the prisoner was restrained. A videotape of the incident did not suffice to indicate whether the injury was inflicted by the guard or by the prisoner on himself after he twisted his body away while being carried. Claims against all other defendants, including supervisory personnel and a prison nurse, were dismissed. Christle v. Magles, No. 6:05cv334, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 35438 (E.D. Tex.).
The use of a Taser® against a prisoner is not, by itself, a violation of constitutional rights when it is used to obtain his obedience, and the plaintiff prisoner did not prove that its use against him was objectively unreasonable under the circumstances. A correctional officer was therefore entitled to qualified immunity on the prisoner's claims against him individually. The prisoner had just suffered minor injuries during an altercation with officers while receiving his medication. He subsequently refused to obey orders to sit on his bunk while officers re-entered his cell to retrieve some dropped keys, and the Taser® was used against him to compel his compliance, after which the keys were retrieved, and a nurse entered the cell to provide medical assistance. Claims against the officer in his official capacity were barred by the Eleventh Amendment, as the state of Kansas had not waived its immunity against federal civil rights lawsuits for damages under the general language of a state statute, Kan. Stat. Ann. Sec. 19-811. Hunter v. Young, No. 06-3371, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 13886 (10th Cir.).
There was no evidence, other than the prisoner's own "self-serving" testimony, that prison officers had used any force against him, much less that they used excessive force or that prison officials failed to take action to prevent "beatings" by staff members. The record of the case showed, at most, that after the prisoner started a confrontation, he had a three millimeter abrasion on his chest, and there was also medical evidence that this abrasion was actually suffered during a basketball game he had played in five days before. The court further rejected the prisoner's argument that he had been "tortured" in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2340. Felder v. Howerton, No. 07-10241, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 11154 (11th Cir.).
Deputy sheriff was not entitled to qualified immunity on prisoner's claim that he used excessive force against him by throwing him to the floor and landing on top of him while he was shackled at the wrists, waist and ankles, causing his head to hit the concrete floor, and causing him to require stitches to close a laceration to the right side of his head and to also suffer a separated right clavicle. If the facts were as the inmate alleged, the force used violated his Eighth Amendment rights and constituted a wanton and unnecessary infliction of pain. Long v. Morris, No. 06-3089, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 32959 (D. Kan.).
Federal court declines to dismiss prisoner's claim that an officer used excessive force and assaulted him when he declined to state what his middle name was. The prisoner claimed injuries including possible nerve damages, difficulty urinating, and difficulty breathing, and these were not injuries considered to be minimal. Brewer v. Paugh, No. 5:06CV98, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 11393 (N.D.W.Va.).
Prisoner stated viable claim for excessive use of force by alleging that he was placed in hand restraints, and taken to a holding cell after his attempt to enter the prison library caused a metal detector to sound, and then that a guard repeatedly tightened the restraints on his hands for approximately 20 minutes, followed by kicking him to the ground. Viable claims were also asserted against other defendants who allegedly either threatened the prisoner for his prior involvement in litigation or else "stood by and watched" while other persons threatened or assaulted him. Clark v. Argutto, No. 06-12350, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 6445 (11th Cir.).
Warden was not entitled to summary judgment on prisoner's claim that he had been warned by a previous warden about certain guards with violent tendencies who "might kill" a prisoner, including the guard who allegedly attacked him and broke his jaw. The warden, instead of firing the guard in question or taking other corrective action, allegedly promoted him to captain. Mathews v. Crosby, No. 05-12515, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 6156 (11th Cir.).
Use of one burst of pepper spray against inmate who refused orders to move from solitary confinement to general housing was not objectively unreasonable under clearly-established law, so that defendant prison lieutenant who did so was entitled to qualified immunity. The plaintiff inmate had refused to move because he was allegedly fearful of his safety in the general population. Thomas v. Comstock, No. 04-41696, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 6159 (5th Cir.).
Deputy used reasonable force against inmate in light of prisoner's history of violence and his violent response to requests to step outside, including his scuffle with deputies. McBride v. Hilton, No. 06-30146, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 2505 (5th Cir.). [N/R]
Prisoner's own actions, including the use of "disparaging" language during argument with officer who allegedly denied request to use telephone, created a confrontation resulting in the use of force to remove him from the cell tier. Officer's actions were reasonable under the circumstances. Any injuries were minor and occurred only after the prisoner allegedly engaged in the destruction of a chair. Brown v. Terry, No. 05-343, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 3085 (D. Del.). [N/R]
Prisoner who claimed that he was beaten by unknown prison guards failed to present evidence of inadequate training or hiring policies which could support a claim for liability on the part of the county. Aguirre v. Nueces County, Texas, No. 06-40317, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 3028 (5th Cir.). [N/R]
Prisoner's injuries from correctional officers' alleged excessive force against him--including minor abrasions on a knee, a small scratch on his chin, and two minor bumps, were insufficient under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(e) to constitute physical injury under a provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act barring recovery of damages for mental or emotional injuries in the absence of physical injuries. The plaintiff was also not entitled to punitive damages since he did not show that the defendants had the required state of mind to justify such an award. Since the prisoner had not even asked for nominal damages, the defendants were entitled to summary judgment. Glosson v. Morales, No. 05-CV-707, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 1603 (S.D. Cal.). [N/R]
Former jail detainee failed to show that the use of force against him during his incarceration had amounted to unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain and suffering, entitling defendants to summary judgment on his excessive force claim. Clarke v. Blais, Civil No. 05-177, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 89941 (D. Me.). [N/R]
Alleged use of malicious and sadistic force, if true, is a violation of clearly established law, so that qualified immunity is not an available defense. Minor prisoner claimed that he was assaulted by prison guards after he attempted to make another complaint against a guard who had been previously suspended based on his first complaint, and that at least one of the guards involved in the alleged assault continued to hit him after he had already suffered injuries. The court also noted that the injuries suffered required eleven stitches to the plaintiff's head. McReynolds v. Alabama Dept. of Youth Services, No. 06-12542, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 26945 (11th Cir.). [N/R]
Prisoner's injuries from officer's alleged physical attack on prisoner were not minor, as he suffered some abrasions, and had prior conditions aggravated by the incident. Further, statements from some witnesses that the prisoner, at the time of the incident, was acting in a cooperative manner supported a possible conclusion that the officer was acting in bad faith during the dispute, so that the officer was not entitled to qualified immunity. Brown v. Lippard, No. 05-41277, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 30522 (5th Cir.). [N/R]
Despite the fact that a prisoner had been convicted of assault on a prison staff member, he was entitled to pursue his claim that an officer used excessive force against him when he placed his arms out of an opening on his cell door to have his handcuffs taken off, resulting in his wrist being cut to the bone. A finding that the officer used excessive force did not necessarily require the overturning of the disciplinary conviction, so that the officer was not entitled to summary judgment. Woods v. Lozer, No. 3:05-1080, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 83785 (M.D. Tenn.), adopted by, and summary judgment denied, Woods v. Lozer, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 83766 (M.D. Tenn.). [N/R]
Officer was properly granted judgment in prisoner's lawsuit claiming that he used excessive force against him in trying to separate him from another prisoner during an inmate fight. Even if it were assumed that the plaintiff prisoner did stop fighting just before the officer intervened, the officer could not have known which of the inmates involved in the altercation would lunge at the other one again, so that his method of intervention was a reasonable method of stopping the fight. Ensman v. Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction, No. 06AP-592, 2006 Ohio App. Lexis 6691 (10th Dist.). [N/R]
Prison shift commander was not shown to have used excessive force in removing a prisoner's necklace, when wearing it was a violation of institutional rules, and the force applied was shown to have been applied in a "good faith" attempt to maintain discipline, rather than sadistically or maliciously to cause harm. The prisoner also failed to show that he suffered any injuries from the officer's actions. Mullis v. Cobb County Board of Commissioners, No. 06-11930, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 26371 (11th Cir.). [N/R]
Alabama prisoner who sued correctional officer who allegedly injured his finger by kicking metal tray door failed to show that he suffered a serious injury or that the officer acted maliciously or sadistically, barring a federal civil rights claim. Johnson v. Moody, No. 06-12422, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 26988 (11th Cir.). [2006 JB Dec]
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 prisoner, 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]
Prisoner failed to show that correctional officers used excessive force in placing him in and later extracting him from a holding cell. Young v. Ogle, No. 05-35581, 171 Fed. Appx. 651 (9th Cir. 2006). [N/R]
In a criminal prosecution of correctional officers for alleged conspiracy and deprivation of prisoner's constitutional rights, the prosecution was not required to show that any individual prisoner suffered a certain level of, or type of, injury to show excessive use of force in violation of the Eighth Amendment and 18 U.S.C. Sec. 242. Convictions of officers upheld. U.S. v. Lavallee, No. 03-1515, 439 F.3d 670 (10th Cir. 2006) [N/R]
Director of Colorado prisons, in authorizing use of special operations team to remove a prisoner from his cell to search for a loaded gun, was not liable for the officers' alleged excessive use of force, causing injuries to his jaw and testicles. No evidence showed that he either authorized or knew of any excessive force, or had any duty to personally supervise the team. Serna v. Colorado Dep't of Corr., No. 04-1241, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 18687 (10th Cir.). [2006 JB Sep]
Prison superintendent was not entitled to dismissal of prisoner's claim that he was aware of, but deliberately ignored a correctional officer's repeated "malicious acts" against him, which resulted in the officer striking him. Locicero v. O'Connell, No. 04 Civ. 07708, 419 F. Supp. 2d 521 (S.D.N.Y. 2006). [N/R]
Two correctional officers were not entitled to summary judgment when there were factual issues about whether they used excessive force and pepper spray against female inmate at a time when she was allegedly not actively resisting them. Johnson v. Blaukat, No. 05-3866, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 16091 (8th Cir.). [2006 JB Aug]
An alleged one-month delay in x-raying a prisoner's hand after a nurse tentatively diagnosed him as having a fractured finger was not shown to be anything more than negligence, which was insufficient for a federal constitutional claim. Additionally, federal appeals court finds, no reasonably jury could find that correctional employees used excessive force against the inmate during the incident that led to his injuries, when he continued to assault the officers even after he was restrained, and was subsequently criminally convicted for his actions. Johnson v. Hamilton, No. 05-1453, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 16767 (8th Cir.). [2006 JB Aug]
Former warden was not entitled to qualified immunity in lawsuit over death of death-row prisoner allegedly beaten to death by prison guards. Evidence presented was sufficient to create a factual issue as to whether there was a widespread history of abuse by guards, whether the warden knew of the violent propensities of certain guards involved in the beating, and whether he acted with deliberate indifference to a known risk of harm. Valdes v. Crosby, No. 05-13065, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 13401 (11th Cir.). [2006 JB Jul]
Correctional officer was not entitled to summary judgment in prisoner's state law assault and battery lawsuit when there was a genuine issue of fact as to whether he continued to strike the prisoner after he was handcuffed. The prisoner initially became belligerent when he refused an order to submit to a haircut. Quinlan v. Jones, No. 2030621, 922 So. 2d 899 (Ala. Civ. App. 2004). [N/R]
Sheriff and officers were not entitled to summary judgment in prisoner's lawsuit challenging their use of pepper spray against him at county jail. Factual issues existed as to how long he was sprayed, and whether he was "adequately irrigated" afterwards or allowed to suffer unnecessarily. Court also holds that the plaintiff was not required to exhaust available administrative remedies prior to pursuing his excessive force lawsuit, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e, since he was now a former prisoner. The requirement to exhaust such remedies only applies to current prisoners. Norton v. City of Marrietta, Ok, No. 04-7133, 432 F.3d 1145 (10th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Detainee's claim that sheriff and two officers used excessive force against him in entering his cell, physically restraining him, and using pepper spray against him reinstated by federal appeals court. Trial judge improperly decided credibility of witnesses in granting summary judgment for defendants, when there were disputed factual issues about whether the detainee was combatively resisting orders at the time of the incident. Norton v. City of Marietta, No. 04-7133, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 28093 (10th Cir.). [2006 JB Feb]
A prisoner's participation in an internal affairs investigation concerning his alleged beating by correctional officers did not substitute for the requirement that the prisoner exhaust available administrative remedies before pursuing a lawsuit for damages. Panaro v. City of N. Las Vegas, No. 04-15750, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 28080 (9th Cir.). [2006 JB Feb]
Correctional officers were not entitled to qualified immunity on claim that they continued to use force against detainee after they had subdued him, resulting in his death from positional asphyxia. They were also not entitled to qualified immunity on the claim that they waited fourteen minutes after he became unconscious and stopped breathing, to summon medical assistance. Bozeman v. Orum, No. 04-11073, 422 F.3d 1265 (11th Cir. 2005). [2006 JB Feb]
Delaware prisoner's claim that correctional officers assaulted him on two occasions while he was handcuffed him, and hit him in order to "provoke a response," if true, established violations of his Eighth Amendment rights. Davis v. Carroll, No. CIV.A. 03-131, 390 F. Supp. 2d 415 (D. Del. 2005). [N/R]
Genuine issues existed as to whether warden was deliberately indifferent to alleged widespread abuse of prisoners by officers, making him liable for a prisoner's death after an alleged beating of officers. Warden was not entitled to qualified immunity against supervisory liability claim by prisoner's estate. Valdes v. Crosby, No. 301CV799, 390 F. Supp. 2d 1084 (M.D. Fla. 2005). [N/R]
Trial court properly reduced jury's award of $75,000 in "nominal" damages to $1 in pre-trial detainee's lawsuit, when jury specifically found that jailer used excessive force against the detainee but did not cause any substantial injury. Corpus v. Bennett, No. 04-2603, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 26650 (8th Cir.). [2006 JB Jan]
Federal trial judge overturns jury's award of $1 in nominal damages and $45,000 in punitive damages to prisoner who claimed that correctional officers used excessive force against him while escorting him to a location in the prison when he resisted going where he was told to go. The trial judge found that there was absolutely no evidence introduced at the trial indicating physical injury of any kind, not even a bruise or swelling, and that the prisoner did not even file a medical complaint arising from the incident. Under these circumstances, the court concluded, no reasonable jury could have concluded that the prisoner suffered any injuries in the incident that were more than "de minimus" (minimal). Willis v. Youngblood, No. CIV. RDB-02-2853, 384 F. Supp. 2d 883 (D. Md. 2005). [N/R]
Detainee suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, acute psychosis, impulse-control disorder, and "polysubstance abuse" could not assert disability discrimination claims since his impairments, because they could be corrected "or mitigated" by medication, did not constitute disabilities. Jail personnel did not use excessive force in using pepper spray to subdue him when he actively resisted his transfer to a hospital for treatment, and did not violate his right to receive adequate medical attention. Atwell v. Hart County, Kentucky, No. 03-6421, 122 Fed. Appx. 215 (6th Cir. 2005). [2005 JB Dec]
North Carolina county only waived sovereign immunity to the extent of liability insurance purchased. Inmate who was awarded $49,500 by jury on his claim that a deputy sheriff assaulted him, therefore, could recover nothing, as the county's liability insurance only provided coverage for claims in excess of $250,000. Cunningham v. Riley, 611 S.E.2d 423 (N.C. App. 2005). [2005 JB Dec]
Prisoner's conviction on charges of assaulting a correctional officer did not bar him from pursuing his claim that officers used excessive force against him in connection with the same fight, since his claims of alleged excessive force by the officers was not raised in the criminal proceeding and was not relevant to it. Jeanty v. County of Orange, No. 03 CIV. 8043, 379 F. Supp. 2d 533 (S.D.N.Y. 2005). [N/R]
Officer accused of using excessive force against prisoner who assaulted him was not entitled to dismissal of the lawsuit based on the prisoner's alleged failure to exhaust available administrative remedies. The prisoner filed a grievance concerning the officer's action, and allegedly failed to appeal further since there was never any response to his grievance. Brengettcy v. Horton, No. 03-3813, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 19362 (7th Cir.). [2005 JB Oct]
Claim that prison guards "verbally abused" prisoner by cursing at him was insufficient to support a federal civil rights claim. Perry v. Kramer, No. 03-15833, 121 Fed. Appx. 191 (9th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to provide plaintiff inmate with an appointed lawyer in his lawsuit claiming excessive use of force against him, since the prisoner was able to articulate the issues in his case on his own and the case did not require the use of expert testimony. Shabazz v. Felsnik, No. 04-2367, 129 Fed. Appx. 726 (3rd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Jury instructions by trial court properly excluded prisoner's requested instructions that "malicious" use of force, regardless of amount of force, is always "per se" a violation of the Eighth Amendment. Trial judge also properly dismissed prisoner's racial and religious discrimination claims. Baskerville v. Mulvaney, No. 03-0348, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 10190 (2nd Cir.). [2005 JB Jul]
Officer did not use excessive force in the course of attempting to restrain prisoner who refused to submit to handcuffing, forced his way out of his cell, and kept resisting even after he was tackled in the hallway. Batons were only used to strike the prisoner after he had attempted to hit an officer. Davis v. Agosto, No. 02-6141, 89 Fed. Appx. 523 (6th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Officer did not use excessive force in striking a prisoner in a "reflex action" with a heavy trap-door key after the prisoner grabbed him by his shirt through the trap door and tried to pull him down. Proctor v. Engstrom, #03-2547, 95 Fed. App. 192 (8th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Inmate's claim that "some or all" of the defendant correctional officers "may" have participated in his alleged beating was insufficient to provide the officers fair notice of the prisoner's claims against them, as required to support his excessive force lawsuit. Bright v. Gillis, No. 03-1118, 89 Fed. Appx. 802 (3rd Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Federal appeals court upholds dismissal of eight defendants from prisoners' excessive force lawsuit when the evidence showed that they did not come into physical contact with the plaintiffs during their extraction from their cells following disturbance and their subsequent transport to segregation unit. Jury's finding that excessive force was not used by remaining defendants also precluded a claim against the dismissed defendants for failure to intervene. Harper v. Albert, No. 00-2758, 400 F.3d 1052 (7th Cir. 2005). [2005 JB May]
When a prisoner admitted that he refused to comply with an officer's requests, the officer's pushing against the prisoner's face with his hand for the purpose of forcing him into his cell was not an excessive use of force. Cain v. Ambriz, No. 04-40632, 114 Fed. Appx. 600 (5th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Prisoner's federal civil rights lawsuit against prison guards, claiming that they used excessive force against him, was barred by his prior disciplinary conviction of assault and resisting the guards arising out of the same incident. An award of damages in the prisoner's lawsuit, which was based on the assertion that he had not physically resisted the guards, would necessarily call into question his disciplinary conviction, which had not been set aside, so his lawsuit was barred under the rule stated in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). Wooten v. Law, No. 04-1159, 118 Fed. Appx. 66 (7th Cir. 2004).[N/R]
Correctional officer did not use excessive force in using restraints to keep prisoner seated in wheelchair while escorting him to optometrist when prisoner was repeatedly moving himself between the wheelchair and another seat in the doctor's waiting room. Munera v. Metro West Detention Center, No. 02-23612-CIV, 351 F. Supp. 2d 1353 (S.D. Fla. 2004).[N/R]
Nurse and officer did not use excessive force in restraining prisoner at nursing station after he became "upset and agitated" when nurse took, and indicated that she would not return, his non-prescription and non-authorized glasses. The nurse and officer acted for the purposes of maintaining order and any resulting bruising and swelling was not serious enough to require medical attention. Mason v. Peters, No. 01-CV-62481, 346 F. Supp. 2d 396 (W.D.N.Y. 2004). [N/R]
Federal appeals court upholds jury's award of $29 million in compensatory and $27.5 million in punitive damages against two deputy sheriffs for causing pre-trial detainee's death through use of excessive force. Failure to show that the death was caused by any official policy or custom, or by deliberate indifference to a widespread pattern of violation of jail policies, required summary judgment on claims against county sheriff. Mere number of uses of pepper spray did not show that it was being misused. Estate of Moreland v. Dieter, No. 03-3734, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 743 (7th Cir.). [2005 JB Mar]
Complexities of the legal issues in a lawsuit brought by an immigration detainee claiming that he was attacked by correctional officers while in a facility operated by a private corporation required the vacating of a jury award for the defendants when the trial court failed to appoint a lawyer to represent the detainee. Agyeman v. Corrections Corporation of America, No. 03-16068, 390 F.3d 1101 (9th Cir. 2004). [2005 JB Mar]
Correctional officer accused of kicking a handcuffed prisoner's genitals was not entitled to qualified immunity on prisoner's claim that this constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Watts v. McKinney, No. 03-16665 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 337 (9th Cir. 2005). [2005 JB Feb]
Officer did not violate prisoner's right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment in spraying him with a chemical agent when the facts showed the officer acted in a good faith effort to maintain or restore discipline and not malicious or sadistically to cause him harm. Davis v. Cannon, #02-41596, 91 Fed. Appx. 327 (5th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Prisoner ruled to have adequately exhausted available administrative remedies even when he had not "technically exhausted" procedures prescribed by state law for inmate grievances because he had pursued both formal and informal avenues to present his grievances and did not receive any formal response to his grievance until five months after it was filed. Defendant correctional officers were therefore not entitled to summary judgment in the prisoner's lawsuit claiming that they had assaulted him. Jenkins v. Raub, No. 01-CV-64221, 310 F. Supp. 2d 502 (W.D.N.Y. 2004). [N/R]
Evidence in prisoner's excessive force lawsuit against a correctional officer supported the officer's contention that he only used a reasonable amount of force to restrain him after the prisoner banged his own head against the wall of a prison infirmary. Under these circumstances, no excessive use of force was shown. Jones v. Cornutt, No. 03-10302, 100 Fed. Appx. 251 (5th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Federal appeals court orders further proceedings concerning whether prisoner was justified in failing to file a grievance concerning correctional officers' alleged assault on him by their threats of retaliation if he did so. Hemphill v. State of New York, #02-0164, 380 F.3d 680 (2d Cir. 2004). [2005 JB Jan]
Illinois prisoner awarded $28,000 in compensatory damages and $22,000 in punitive damages on his claim that he was beaten by correctional officers who allegedly were angry that he was taking too much time to pack his property prior to a transfer to another facility. Mickey v. Dargis, #99C-7281, U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Illinois, reported in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, p. 25 (October 1, 2004). [N/R]
Prison employees did not use excessive force by spraying prisoner with pepper spray after he refused to exit a shower. The evidence showed that they applied the force used in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline, and not maliciously to cause injury or pain. A videotape of the incident showed that the prisoner refused to obey several direct orders to leave the shower before the use of the pepper spray. Additionally, the use of the spray only caused discomfort, rather than any physical injury. Jennings v. Mitchell, No. 03-1922, 93 Fed. Appx. 723 (6th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Prisoner's claim that several correctional officers physically assaulted him was not relevant to whether he was guilty of disobeying a direct order from an officer concerning keeping his hands in his pockets while being escorted from his cell. Prisoner therefore had no right to present such a "defense" at the disciplinary hearing. Claudio v. Selsky, 772 N.Y.S. 2d 424 (A.D. 3d Dept. 2004). [N/R]]
Officers were not entitled to qualified immunity in prisoner's lawsuit claiming that he was beaten and kicked "into submission" by them when they found him lying on his bunk, and he allegedly did not obey orders to get on the floor. The prisoner, who had allegedly caused two disturbances that day, claimed he was being quiet at the time, and that the officers bashed his head inside of or into a toilet. Simms v. Bruce, No. 03-2181, 104 Fed. Appx. 853 (4th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Detainee failed to establish that detention center guards used excessive force against him. Evidence showed that he verbally confronted them and physically pulled back from a booking counter when they tried to frisk him to determine if he possessed any concealed weapons. This determination was supported by a videotape of the incident in question. Tapia v. City of Albuquerque, No. 03-2133, 101 Fed. Appx. 795 (10th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Prisoner's civil rights lawsuit claiming that correctional officers assaulted him was barred on the basis of his failure to exhaust available administrative remedies as required by 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e. While he did write letters of complaint to prison officials, he did not report the alleged assault to the officers' immediate supervisor, and did not appeal adverse determinations concerning his complaint. Stephenson v. Dunford, 320 F. Supp. 2d 44 (W.D.N.Y. 2004). [N/R]
Prisoner was properly awarded $1,500 in compensatory damages for allegedly being left in restraint chair for long periods of time, and $500 for alleged excessive use of force against him, but trial court properly did not award punitive damages in light of fact that the prisoner admitted disobeying orders, and that the facility had not developed policies governing the use of the restraint chair. Guerra v. Drake, #03-3137, 371 F.3d 404 (8th Cir. 2004). [2004 JB Sep]
Federal appeals court upholds enhanced 46-month sentence imposed on correctional officer who pled guilty to conspiracy to violate the civil rights of jail detainees he was supervising, based on unusual vulnerability of prisoner with Tourette's syndrome to assault. The officer failed to show reversible error in the trial court's finding that he had knowledge of the prisoner's unusual vulnerability of Tourette's syndrome, and the trial court noted that, prior to the alleged beating of the prisoner, either the defendant or another officer was heard yelling, "we'll beat the Tourette's out of you." United States v. Donnelly, #03-2022, 370 F.3d 87 (1st Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Inmate in New York correctional facility could not pursue federal civil rights lawsuit against county, county prosecutor, or county sheriff claiming that they violated his constitutional rights because they failed to prosecute correctional officers for allegedly threatening him on three occasions, in the absence of any allegation that the failure to prosecute was the result of any official policy or custom. Additionally, neither prosecutor nor sheriff were in a supervisory position within the prison hierarchy, and therefore did not have a duty to protect him from these alleged threats. Lewis v. Gallivan, 315 F. Supp. 2d 313 (W.D.N.Y. 2004). [N/R]
California prisoner's lawsuit claiming that corrections officers assaulted him dismissed for failure to totally exhaust available administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(a). Entire complaint dismissed when it contained a mixture of both exhausted and unexhausted claims, although prisoner could, if he wanted, file a new complaint concerning only claims on which he had exhausted administrative remedies. Mubarak v. California Department of Corrections, 315 F. Supp. 2d 1057 (S.D. Cal. 2004). [N/R]
Prisoner was excused from having to exhaust administrative remedies before filing federal civil rights lawsuit against jail employees' alleged use of excessive force against him both in reliance of then applicable case law later rejected by U.S. Supreme Court, and also because his transfer to another facility made administrative remedies at the county jail no longer "available" to him. Rodriguez v. Westchester County Jail Corr. Dept., No. 02-0325, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 12488 (2nd Cir. 2004). [2004 JB Aug]
Prison official was entitled to qualified immunity against prisoner's claim that he used excessive force against him when handcuffing him, resulting in a lacerated wrist and injured thumb. The prisoner admitted that he violated facility cuffing procedures by withdrawing his uncuffed hand and disobeying the officer's orders, and defendant reasonably believed that the plaintiff prisoner was trying to pull the cuffs into his cell in order to possibly use them as a weapon. Avery v. Anderson, No. 03-4213, 94 Fed. Appx. 735 (10th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Correctional officers were not entitled to qualified immunity from excessive force claim by previously brain-damaged pre-trial detainee who they allegedly caused severe facial and head injuries in the course of a struggle to apply restraints to his wrists after he refused to get on the water-covered floor of his cell. Detainee's behavior of banging on cell walls and doors and tossing toilet water around his cell to "protest" not being allowed out of his cell, however, was not "protected speech," so that detainee's First Amendment retaliation claim was dismissed. Simms v. Hardesty, 303 F. Supp. 2d 656 (D.Md. 2003). [N/R]
Prisoner Assault: By Officer
Prisoner awarded $1,000 against one of two defendant correctional officers on his claim for excessive use of force against him was also entitled to $1,500 in attorneys' fees as a prevailing party under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(d) (2) limiting awards against defendants for attorneys' fees to 150% of award for damages. Farella v. Hockaday, 304 F. Supp. 2d 1076 (C.D. Ill. 2004). [N/R]
Federal appeals court upholds dismissal of claims against warden, videographer and corrections officer who did not have physical contact with prisoner but who witnessed his transfer to segregation unit in the absence of any evidence that they ordered or condoned the excessive use of force by others. Court orders further proceedings, however, as to whether prisoner was unnecessarily beaten once he arrived in cell. Fillmore v. Page, No. 02-3208, 358 F.3d 496 (7th Cir. 2004). [2004 JB May]
Genuine factual issues as to whether correctional officers suffocated detainee after he stated his desire to surrender during altercation barred summary judgment on excessive force claim brought by detainee's estate. Bozeman v. Orum, 302 F. Supp. 2d 1310 (M.D. Ala. 2004). [N/R]
Correctional officers who allegedly knew that detainee was diabetic and who failed to provide him with food or insulin despite his complaints could be liable for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Federal appeals court orders further proceedings on medical care issue and claim that officers used excessive force in response to prisoner's request for food or medicine. Lolli v. County of Orange, #02-56309, 351 F.3d 410 (9th Cir. 2003). [2004 JB Apr]
Prisoner's notice of his intent to file a claim against the state concerning injuries inflicted on him during his removal from his cell by correctional officers was inadequate when it failed to specify the nature of his medical negligence claim. Motion to dismiss claim upheld. Cendales v. State, 770 N.Y.S.2d 174 (A.D. Dept. 3 2003). [N/R]
Prison officials granted summary judgment on prisoner's claim that he was beaten by correctional officers after defendants presented evidence supporting their contention that he had failed to exhaust available administrative remedies as required by 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(a). Arnold v. Goetz, 245 F. Supp. 2d 527 (S.D.N.Y. 2003). [N/R]
Plaintiff prisoner was not entitled to an evidentiary hearing concerning claims that correctional officials stripped and beat him, when claims were properly dismissed on the basis of sovereign immunity and the statute of limitations. Cesspooch v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, No. 02-1538, 84 Fed. Appx. 30 (10th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Correctional officers could not be held liable for deliberate indifference to assault on prisoner by fellow officer, when there was no prior indication that the attack would take place and when they immediately intervened to remove the alleged attacker from the prisoner. Carico v. Benton, Ireland, and Stovall, #02-1340, 68 Fed. Appx. 632 (6th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Correctional officer did not use excessive force in handcuffing a prisoner who allegedly threatened him and then escorting him to the shift commander's office. The prisoner initially said nothing to the shift commander about the handcuffs, and when he later complained that one of the handcuffs was too tight, it was loosened. Further, the officer used the handcuffs to maintain or restore discipline, rather than "maliciously and sadistically for the very purpose of causing harm." Stanton v. Furlong, #02-11336, 73 Fed. Appx. 332 (10th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Federal appeals court finds that a prisoner can exhaust his administrative remedies by presenting his complaints to prison officials, even if they refuse to address the grievance because it was untimely under prison rules. To pursue a claim in his subsequent lawsuit, however, the grievance must have provided prison officials notice of the nature of the complaint. Plaintiff prisoner did not, in his grievance, provide notice that he was asserting a failure to protect claim against correctional officers who allegedly saw a fellow officer beat him but failed to intervene, but $70,000 in damages awarded against officer who allegedly beat him. Thomas v. Woolum, #01-3227, 337 F.3d 720 (6th Cir. 2003). [2003 JB Dec]
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]
Prisoner could not pursue a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that correctional officers assaulted him without provocation and used excessive force against him when success in his claim for damages would imply the invalidity of his disciplinary conviction for assault and battery and "insolence" arising from the same incident. The prisoner's claims were barred by the principles established in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), since his disciplinary conviction had not been set aside. Denham v. Shroad, No. 02-1821, 56 Fed. Appx. 692 (6th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
State-established jail authority which held immigration detainees in custody under a contract with the federal government acted under "color of state law" for purposes of one such detainee's excessive force claim arising out of actions of correctional officers. Federal contract did not specify how the authority was to supervise its guards and the detainee's claim alleged failure to adequately train officers and "condonation" of their use of excessive force. Jarno v. Lewis, 256 F. Supp. 2d 499 (E.D. Va. 2003). [N/R]
Federal appeals court rules that correctional officers' use of force in restraining detainee, which resulted in his death from a compression injury to his neck, was not excessive. The detainee was an "exceptionally large and strong" man and evidence showed that he became violent in his cell and after he was let out of his cell. Further, there was no evidence that the officers intentionally attempted to choke the prisoner. Walters v. County of Charleston, No. 02-1297, 63 Fed. Appx. 116 (4th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Prison officials were entitled to amend their response to inmate's lawsuit claiming that correctional employees assaulted him to assert a defense of failure to exhaust available dministrative remedies. While they were aware of the defense earlier, the law was not clear that it applied to the circumstances of this lawsuit prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516 (2002), ruling that 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(a)'s requirement of exhaustion of remedies applies to all prisoners "seeking redress for prison circumstances or occurrences." Livingston v. Piskor, 215 F.R.D. 84 (W.D.N.Y. 2003). [N/R]
Mere claim that a supervisory prison official was the "maximum authority" at a prison did not serve as a basis for liability for an alleged assault on an inmate by correctional officers, in the absence of any allegation of personal involvement or other proper basis for responsibility. Durran v. Selsky, 251 F. Supp. 2d 1208 (W.D.N.Y. 2003). [2003 JB Aug]
Because the plaintiff was a prisoner when he brought his lawsuit concerning an alleged assault by prison personnel and forced medication, his failure to exhaust available administrative remedies required dismissal of his lawsuit, despite the fact that he had subsequently been released from custody while his lawsuit was pending, federal appeals court rules. Cox v. Mayer, No. 02-5102, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 11554 (6th Cir.). [2003 JB Jul]
Prison superintendent could not be held liable for correctional officer's alleged unprovoked assault on prisoner when he had no reason to know of any particular risk to the inmate prior to the incident, and no personal participation in the incident. Prisoner also had no due process right to have his grievance about the alleged assault thoroughly investigated. Torres v. Mazzuca, 246 F. Supp. 2d 334 (S.D.N.Y. 2003). [2003 JB Jul]
Using a plastic medication box to beat back a prisoner's hand after he reached his arm through the trap in the door of his cell in violation of prison rules was not an excessive use of force. Officer's action only led to minor injuries and the force used was proportionate to the threat the prisoner's actions presented. White v. Matti, #02-2761, 58 Fed. Appx. 636 (7th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
Correctional officers assessed $15,000 in compensatory and $30,000 in punitive damages for allegedly using excessive force to restrain 60-year-old prisoner after refusing to look at his written medical restriction offered in explanation for why he was sitting rather than standing in medical clinic's waiting area. Jackson v. Austin, 241 F. Supp. 2d 1313 (D. Kan. 2003). [2003 JB Jun]
Jury's verdict in favor of defendant correctional officers in prisoner's lawsuit claiming that they used excessive force against him upheld. Based on the evidence, the jury could reasonably have believed that the officers' testimony was more credible than the inmate's, and that they used only the force necessary to respond to the prisoner's "physical provocations" during the four incidents at issue. Pickett v. Lindsay, #01-3755, 56 Fed. Appx. 718 (7th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
Prison "mailbox" rule applied to prisoner's federal civil rights complaint concerning his alleged assault in a county jail, so that it was considered filed in a timely manner when it was placed in the prison mail system on the last day of the statute of limitations, despite the fact that it was not received by the federal trial court until five days after the statute of limitations expired. Sulik v. Taney County, Missouri, No. 02-1397 316 F.3d 813 (8th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Prisoner complied adequately with the exhaustion of administrative remedies requirement when he submitted a grievance concerning his alleged physical mistreatment by correctional officers which was not responded to in any way. Abney v. County of Nassau, 237 F. Supp. 2d 278 (E.D.N.Y. 2002). [N/R]
Prisoner convicted by military general court martial was not subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights during his confinement after trial when a military guard allegedly hit or squeezed his left testicle during a frisk for weapons. While the guard's action was rough enough to cause a painful and permanent injury to his testicle, satisfying the "objective" component of the legal test for excessive use of force, there was an absence of evidence that the guard intentionally inflicted the injury. "This was a onetime, accidental injury," the appeals court concluded, for which the prisoner "received timely and appropriate medical treatment." United States v. Roth, Army 9600441, 57 Military Justice Reporter 740 (Army Ct. Crim. App. 2002). [N/R]
Correctional officer's use of mace in the course of quelling disturbance among death row inmates was not malicious or sadistic. Genuine issues remained as to whether commander of special response team failed to adequately control and instruct subordinates in suppressing confrontational prisoners or allowed the excessive use of "lethal levels" of gas and other chemical agents before ordering entry into death row unit. Death row prisoners could not pursue claims against unidentified officers concerning the use of excessive force. Combs v. Wilkinson, #00-4270, 315 F.3d 548 (6th Cir. 2002). [2003 JB Apr]
Even if officer's actions in punching a handcuffed prisoner could be considered "inappropriate," federal appeals court states, his alleged single punch to the prisoner's shoulder to avoid being spit on was a minimal use of physical force which did not violate the prisoner's Eighth Amendment rights. Reyes v. Chinnici, #01-2142, 54 Fed. Appx. 44 (3rd Cir. 2002). [2003 JB Apr]
Prison officials were not liable for prisoner's injuries from being struck in the head by a tear gas canister fired during an inmate disturbance, when there was no showing that the canister was fired maliciously or sadistically. Torres-Viera v. Laboy-Alvarado, #01-2712, 311 F.3d 105 (1st Cir. 2002). [2003 JB Mar.]
Jury awards $15,555 to prisoner allegedly grabbed and thrown against a wall by a deputy who was escorting him to testify in a court proceeding. The prisoner claimed that the deputy did this to punish him for comments he made in the courtroom and that he was shackled and handcuffed at the time of the incident. Jones v. Seddon, No. 01CV3890 (E.D. Pa. July 15, 2002), reported in The National Law Journal, p. B3 (Sept. 30 2002). [N/R]
A prison warden could not be held vicariously liable for the alleged beating of a prisoner by unknown guards during a prison riot, when there was no claim that he was directly involved in the incident or encouraged the guards' alleged actions. Prisoner's claims against four guards allegedly involved were barred by a one-year statute of limitations when he failed to commence the action against them within a year. Coleman v. Dept. of Rehab. & Corrections, #01-3169, 46 Fed. Appx. 765 (6th Cir. 2002).[N/R]
Federal appeals court orders new trial on damages following jury's award of $750,000 in compensatory and $750,000 in punitive damages to prisoner who claimed prison guards beat him in his cell and later, resulting in months of wheelchair confinement. Trial judge improperly told jury that they could award damages for mental or emotional distress when the plaintiff prisoner had said he was not seeking any. Poullard v. Turner, #01-30587, 298 F.3d 421 (5th Cir. 2002). [2003 JB Jan]
Prisoner could not pursue lawsuit for damages against correctional officers he claimed attacked him without provocation when he had not previously overturned disciplinary violations for assault and battery against the officers arising from the same incident. Hinton v. Hansen, #9201447, 47 Fed. Appx. 325 (6th Cir. 2002). [2003 JB Jan]
Georgia prisoner was appropriately awarded $25,000 in compensatory damages on claim that correctional officers used excessive force against him, but punitive damage awards were limited by the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, and further proceedings were required to determine whether they were appropriately necessary to deter future misconduct. Reduction of attorneys' fees also required to reflect only hours expended on successful claims. Johnson v. Breeden, #00-14090, 280 F.3d 1308 (11th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Oct]
Inmate was a "prevailing party" after he was awarded only $1 in nominal damages in his lawsuit accusing correctional officers of using excessive force against him, but an award of attorneys' fees was not warranted in view of his limited success, since a jury found in favor of one of the two officers, he had sought $790,000 in damages, the case did not involve "significant legal issues," and there was no injunctive relief granted. Ciaprazi v. County of Nassau, 195 F. Supp. 22d 398 (E.D.N.Y. 2002). [N/R]
City correctional officer did not use excessive force against prisoner who was uncooperative and acted "erratically" during the booking process and intake search, regardless of whether the Fourteenth Amendment or the Eighth Amendment standards were applied, federal appeals court rules. Williams v. City of Las Vegas, #00-17487, 34 Fed. Appx. 297 (9th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Aug]
Prisoner who claimed that correctional officer assaulted him in retaliation for his prior lawsuits against correctional officers did not present an adequate claim that other prison officials or employees knew of the risk of this happening and were deliberately indifferent to it. Ribot-Carino v. Laboy, 196 F. Supp. 2d 131 (D. Puerto Rico 2002). [2002 JB Aug]
Prison guard's alleged actions of shoving prisoner against a wall, poking him in the chest, and yelling at him in a threatening manner, all in reaction to the prisoner writing him a threatening letter, did not violate the Eighth Amendment, since it involved "minimal force" intended to maintain or restore discipline. Rendelman v. U.S., #99-56858, 32 Fed. Appx. 804 (9th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
While there was insufficient evidence to hold county liable for alleged beating death of detainee at the hands of prison guards, individual officers were not entitled to qualified immunity from liability. A claim that "low-level" county officials falsified reports after prisoner's death did not show a "well-settled" county custom of excessive force, but there was a genuine issue of whether guards participating in beating acted maliciously and sadistically. Gailor v. Armstrong, 187 F. Supp. 2d 729 (W.D. Ken. 2001). [2002 JB Jun]
Federal appeals court upholds criminal conviction under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 242 of three corrections officers for depriving a prisoner of his civil rights in an incident in which two of the officers allegedly beat him and then the prisoner was prevented for a time from receiving medical care for his resulting injuries. Trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to grant separate trials for individual defendants. United States v. Daniels, #00-30624, 281 F.3d 168 (5th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
Jury verdict in favor of officers upheld in prisoner's lawsuit claiming that they beat him while he was being moved during a transfer made necessary by a prison riot that occurred five days before; trial court did not abuse its discretion by excluding from evidence in the case the officers' suspension following the riots. Okal v. Verfuth, #99-3277, 275 F.3d 606 (7th Cir. 2001). [2002 JB May]
Prisoner who claimed correctional officers severely beat him was required to exhaust available administrative remedies before filing suit despite the fact that they could not lead to monetary awards. Actions including the disciplining of the officers or the transfer of the prisoner to another facility where he would not be under their supervision were possible responses to an administrative complaint, and the administrative exhaustion requirement of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(a) requires a prisoner to exhaust any procedure that has authority to take "some action" in response to his complaint. Larkin v. Galloway, #00-1414, 266 F.3d 718 (7th Cir. 2001). [N/R]
In federal civil rights lawsuit claiming that correctional officers assaulted inmates and family members during a visit to the jail, any claim for psychiatric conditions requiring medical treatment was waived by an attorney's letter indicating that such claims would be withdrawn with prejudice, but the letter did not waive any claims, on behalf of the family members, for injuries to reputation, humiliation, or embarrassment arising out of the incident. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(e, h), a county jail prisoner who was in custody at the time of the alleged incident could not recover damages for emotional distress after his attorney waived any claim he had for physical injuries. Jessamy v. Ehren, 153 F. Supp. 2d 398 (S.D.N.Y. 2001). [N/R]
A deputy was not entitled to qualified immunity against liability for the alleged excessive use of force against a prisoner who was allegedly not resisting at the time, but the sheriff's purported condoning of the use of the force by failing to immediately terminate the deputy, occurred after the incident and therefore did not cause the deputy's conduct, so the sheriff could not, on that basis, be held individually liable for damages. Morris v. Crawford County, Arkansas, 173 F. Supp. 2d 870 (W.D. Ark. 2001). [N/R]
A verdict for defendant correctional officers in a prisoner's civil rights lawsuit claiming that the officers used excessive force against him was not against the great weight of the evidence or a miscarriage of justice requiring a new trial. The jury could properly reject, if it decided to do so, expert witness testimony by a forensic pathologist that the prisoner's wounds were consistent with a beating but not with a "routine takedown." A jury can reject an expert's opinion even in the absence of another expert testifying to rebut it. Giles v. Rhodes, 171 F. Supp. 2d 220 (S.D.N.Y. 2001). [N/R]
Federal trial court rules that prison officers did not necessarily violate the Eighth Amendment by beating a prisoner while he was handcuffed and that defendant officers were entitled to qualified immunity in prisoner's federal civil rights lawsuit. Piedra v. True, 169 F. Supp. 2d 1239 (D. Kan. 2001). [2002 JB Mar]
Prisoner who claimed she was assaulted by jail personnel during her incarceration could not amend her lawsuit to seek damages against individual officers when her initial complaint appeared to name them as defendants only in their official capacity, officer asserted in his answer that he was being sued in his official capacity, and discovery in the case had closed. Lopez-Buric v. Notch, 168 F. Supp. 2d 1046 (D. Minn. 2001). [N/R]
Prisoner's claim that a corrections officer intentionally slammed a cell door on a prisoner's hand and then waited an hour before allowing him to get medical attention for serious injuries to his hand, (including two cuts, swollen fingers, and loss of power and feeling in fingers and hand), stated a claim for violation of the Eighth Amendment. Ducally v. Rhode Island Department of Corrections, 160 F. Supp. 2d 220 (D.R.I. 2001). [N/R]
Prisoner's claim that officers beat him while extracting him from his cell after he was incapacitated by an electronic shock stated a claim for violation of his Eighth Amendment rights; officers were not entitled to qualified immunity, as prisoner's version of the incident, if true, would violate clearly established law. Skrtich v. Thornton, #00-15959, 267 F.3d 1251 (11th Cir. 2001). [2002 JB Feb]
Force used to restrain inmate at county jail did not violate his Eighth Amendment rights when prisoner refused to go to his cell after multiple orders and struck at one official with a pencil hitting him in the neck and shoulder area between 6-10 times. Pittman v. Kurtz, No. Civ. A. 99-3181, 165 F. Supp. 2d 1243 (D. Kan. 2001). [N/R]
Officer's alleged slamming of cell port door on prisoner's hand after prisoner placed it there holding some garbage was a minimal use of force and did not cause a significant injury. Federal appeals court rules that it was a response to a legitimate security interest and was not an excessive use of force. Outlaw v. Newkirk, #98-4252, 259 F. 3d 833 (7th Cir. 2001). [2002 JB Jan]
Prisoner waived any right to nominal damages in lawsuit against officer he claimed assaulted him by failing to ask for them; jury did not act improperly in finding that officer's use of force was excessive but that prisoner suffered no compensable damage. Oliver v. Falla, #00-10520, 258 F.3d 1277 (11th Cir. 2001). [2002 JB Jan]
Prisoner's claim that he was assaulted by officers in retaliation for his participation in a prison disturbance was subject to the exhaustion of remedies provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, and was properly dismissed when he failed to pursue administrative grievance. The purpose of this requirement was not only to block frivolous lawsuits, but also to permit prison officials to attempt to first address complaints internally. Smith v. Zachary, #99-4084, 255 F.3d 446 (7th Cir. 2001). [N/R]
299: 171 Alleged beating and use of a stun device by officers on a prisoner in full restraints who was not offering physical resistance stated a claim for excessive use of force. Shelton v. Angelone, 148 F. Supp. 2d 670 (W.D. Va. 2001).
299:172 Federal appeals court overturns dismissal of prisoner's claim that three officers physically attacked him while he was handcuffed and that two of them made threats of physical harm against him in retaliation for his having filed lawsuits. Proctor v. Harmon, No. 00-3583EA, 257 F.3d 867 (8th Cir. 2001).
298:154 Correctional officer was liable for $1,000 in compensatory damages and $500 in punitive damages for striking prisoner in the face three times following a verbal argument about proper sign-in procedures. Romaine v. Rawson, 140 F. Supp. 2d 204 (N.D.N.Y. 2001).
297:138 Trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering new trial in case where jury found that some prison guards used excessive force against prisoner but awarded only $1 in nominal damages despite evidence of actual injuries; appeals court rules, however, that issues of liability and damages were "so intertwined" that a new trial should consider all issues, not just damages, setting aside $300,000 damage award from second trial. Pryer v. Slavic, #00-3297, 251 F.3d 448 (3rd Cir. 2001).
297:137 Federal court overturns $500,000 jury award against county in prisoner's claim of excessive force by jail detention officers; failure to specifically train officers that they were prohibited from standing on an detainee's back in an effort to restrain him did not constitute a "glaring" omission showing that county was deliberately indifferent; size of verdict also found excessive. Lewis v. Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners, 140 F. Supp. 2d 1125 (D. Kan. 2001).
296:121 Deputy's alleged action of choking a pre- trial detainee without justification was sufficient to state a claim for excessive use of force even if no "significant injury" was suffered. Watford v. Bruce, 126 F. Supp. 2d 425 (E.D.Va. 2001).
296:115 Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, prisoners must exhaust available administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit, even when they are seeking only money damages and money damages may not be obtained through the administrative grievance process. Booth v. Churner, #99-1964, 121 S. Ct. 1819 (2001).
295:104 New York prisoner awarded $10,000 on claim that correctional officer struck him twice in the face without provocation; further proceedings to follow on prisoner's claim that there was a city policy of toleration of officer abuse of prisoners. Hemric v. City of New York, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1196 (S.D.N.Y.).
296:121 Prisoner adequately exhausted administrative remedies on his excessive force claim against officers when he attempted to file his grievance, but it was not processed; the merits of his claim were later examined and rejected by the highest official in the state corrections department. Camp v. Brennan, No. 99-3887, 219 F.3d 279 (3rd Cir. 2000).
294:87 Prisoner awarded a total of $83,250 in lawsuit asserting excessive use of force by correctional officer was not entitled to $30,550.90 in attorneys' fees; such fees must be recalculated, based on cap on hourly fees in Prison Litigation Reform Act after federal appeals court rejects trial court's ruling that the cap violated prisoner's right to equal protection. Wolff v. Moore, No. 00-3959, 00- 3995, 2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 28054 (6th Cir.).
292:59 UPDATE: U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether prisoner who claimed that correctional officers used excessive force against him was required to exhaust available administrative remedies before filing a federal civil rights lawsuit for damages, even if money damages could not be awarded in the administrative proceeding. Booth v. Churner, Co., #97-7487 & 97-7488, 206 F.3d 289 (3rd Cir.), reported in Jail & Prisoner Law Bulletin, No. 287, p. 168 (Nov. 2000), cert. granted, No. 00-289, 121 S. Ct. 377 (2000).
291:41 After jury returned a verdict in favor of correctional officers sued by a prisoner who claimed they beat him, trial judge grants prisoner a new trial based on repeated "prejudicial" remarks during trial referring to him as an "inmate" and pointing to his confinement in "maximum security," which implied that he was dangerous. Hillard v. Hargraves, 197 F.R.D. 358 (N.D. Ill. 2000).
291:41 Prisoners must face "actual, imminent danger of serious injury" in order to claim self-defense in resisting the use of force by a correctional officer in the state of Washington; assertion of "apparent" imminent danger is insufficient, court rules. State v. Bradley, #68320-4, 10 P.3d 358 (Wash. 2000).
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).
294:90 Federal trial court grants a new trial in prisoner's lawsuit alleging that officer kicked him several times in the mouth, breaking his teeth, as he lay in restraints on the floor; court rules that no reasonable jury could conclude that prisoner's rights were not violated. Ruffin v. Fuller, 125 F. Supp. 2d 105 (S.D.N.Y. 2000).
289:10 Federal appeals court rules that provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act requiring the exhaustion of administrative remedies before pursuing a federal civil rights lawsuit does not apply to a prisoner's claim that correctional officers physically assaulted him without any lawful justification. Nussle v. Willette, No. 99-0387, 224 F.3d 95 (2nd Cir. 2000).
284:115 Correctional officer did not impose cruel and unusual punishment when he sprayed an inmate in the face with pepper spray after the prisoner refused a direct order from his work supervisor and "questioned" an order from the officer. Jones v. Shields, #99-1869, 207 F.3d 491 (8th Cir. 2000).
285:138 Trial court improperly granted summary judgment in favor of three correctional officers on prisoner's claim that they beat him as he was ending a telephone call and continued to assault him after he was restrained; no particular level of injury was necessarily required to show the excessive use of force, and trial court's conclusion that the force used was not excessive because the prisoner's injuries were minimal is reversed on appeal. Brooks v. Kyler, No. 98-7626, 204 F.3d 102 (3rd Cir. 2000).
286:156 Police officer acted reasonably in opening cell door to quiet yelling arrestee and make sure that intoxicated arrestee was not harming himself; no liability for injuries to arrestee who was knocked unconscious by cell door opening; officer was unable to see that arrestee was standing behind cell door and would be hit by it. Wilson v. Spain, No. 99-2224, 209 F.3d 713 (8th Cir. 2000).
287:168 Prisoner who claimed that correctional officers used excessive force against him was required to exhaust available administrative remedies before filing a federal civil rights lawsuit for damages, even if money damages could not be awarded in the administrative proceeding. Booth v. Churner, Co., #97-7487 & 97-7488, 206 F.3d 289 (3rd Cir. 2000).
[N/R] Factual dispute over what took place after detainee was handcuffed and whether prison guards maliciously used force against him precluded summary judgment for officers on excessive force claim. Griffin v. Crippen, No. 98-3704, 193 F.3d 89 (2nd Cir. 1999).
285:131 Former correctional officer, now on active military duty, was entitled to a stay in prisoner's federal civil rights lawsuit against him for alleged assault; federal statute allows a stay of any civil lawsuit during a plaintiff or defendant's military service and for up to sixty days thereafter. White v. Black, #98-21058, 190 F.3d 366 (5th Cir. 1999).
285:136 Federal appeals court upholds jury award totaling $83,250 against a correctional officer who broke a prisoner's nose while beating him in his cell and against fellow officer who was "deliberately indifferent" to prisoner's safety. Wolff v. Moore, No. 96-4080, 199 F.3d 324 (6th Cir. 1999).
281:72 N.Y. prisoner could not pursue his federal
civil rights lawsuit claiming that officers assaulted him and that his medical records were altered as part of a coverup of the use of excessive force against him when a state court previously ruled, in his state law claim over the same incident that no excessive force was used and no "coverup" existed. D'Andrea v. Hulton, 81 F. Supp. 2d 440 (W.D.N.Y. 1999).
281:72 Failure to prevent attack on prisoner by another inmate who scaled two nine-foot fences to get to him and cut him with a razor blade could not be the basis for city liability when testimony showed that this had never happened before and that placing rival groups of prisoners in two exercise cages was contrary to ordinary prison practice. Echevarria v. Dept. of Correctional Services of NYC, 48 F. Supp. 2d 388 (S.D.N.Y. 1999).
EDITOR'S NOTE: See also Snell v. DeMello, 44 F. Supp. 2d 386 (D. Mass. 1999), holding that supervisory liability for prison employees' failure to prevent an assault on one inmate by another can only be based on "deliberate indifference" to a substantial risk of harm that the supervisor knew of or should have known of. Mere negligence by a supervisor in failure to prevent such an attack is not enough for federal civil rights liability.
283:107 Prisoner's lawsuit alleging that he was assaulted by a corrections officer constituted a claim concerning "prison conditions," requiring him to exhaust available administrative remedies before filing; since he did not do so, the suit was properly dismissed. Freeman v. Francis, #98-4288, 196 F.3d 641 (6th Cir. 1999).
274:152 Federal appeals court rules that prisoner could not successfully appeal jury award in favor of officer who allegedly beat him based on statements by defendant's attorney implying that he should not be awarded damages because he was a "cop killer," based on failure of prisoner's attorney to object at trial. Wilson v. Williams, #97-2637, 182 F.3d 562 (7th Cir. en banc. 1999).
274:153 Texas prisoner stated claim for Eighth Amendment excessive use of force by correctional officers; civil rights claim for excessive force must involve more than extremely minor physical injury, but need not involve "significant" or serious injury. Gomez v. Chandler, #97- 41455, 163 F.3d 921 (5th Cir. 1999). 268:56 Jury awards over $2 million to convicted child rapist/murderer who allegedly was beaten and kicked by correctional officers while handcuffed after they subdued him following violent escape attempt in which he stabbed and beat female correctional officer, leaving her bleeding and stripped of her uniform in his cell. King v. Connecticut Dept. of Corrections, U.S. Dist. Ct. Connecticut, February 4, 1999, reported in The Connecticut Law Tribune, Feb. 15, 1999 and March 1, 1999.
268:57 $500,000 settlement reached in lawsuit alleging that mentally retarded jail prisoner was beaten by correctional officer with a metal frying pan or pot. Donovan v. Nassau Co., U.S. Dist. Ct. (S.D.N.Y. March 1, 1999), reported in The New York Times, National Edition, page A19 (March 2, 1999) and page A21 (March 3, 1999).
265:9 Prisoner awarded $37,500 in lawsuit claiming that he was harassed and beaten by correctional officer; prisoner's prior shooting of officer was the reason he was serving his sentence; jury finds that prison officials were deliberately indifferent to prisoner's safety after he complained of officer's actions. DePina v. Monteiro, U.S. Dist. Ct., Boston, Mass., October 15, 1998, reported in Chicago Tribune, p. 9 (October 16, 1998).
266:23 Correctional officer's action of throwing water at prisoner in restraints after he had previously thrown a cup of urine at her was not cruel and unusual punishment. Samuels v. Hawkins, #96-3539, 157 F.3d 557 (8th Cir. 1998).
268:58 Verbal threat by correctional officer to have prisoner killed could be sufficient, under certain circumstances, to state a claim for excessive use of force. Chandler v. D.C. Dept. of Corrections, #96-5166, 145 F.3d 1355 (D.C. Cir. 1998).
269:74 Introduction of evidence that plaintiff prisoner had been convicted of murdering a police officer was not improper in federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that correctional officer attacked him; plaintiff, in fact, waived objection by himself introducing precisely the evidence he sought to exclude and by his attorney repeatedly referring to him as a "cop killer." Wilson v. Williams, #97-2637, 161 F.3d 1078 (7th Cir. 1998).
272:121 Prisoner's claim that guard threw a bar of soap at him, even if true, did not state a claim for an Eighth Amendment violation when prisoner did not state that he suffered any harm or was even hit by the soap; guard's alleged verbal abuse was likewise insufficient to state a constitutional claim. Green v. Thoryk, 30 F.Supp.2d 862 (E.D. Pa. 1998).
[N/R] No evidence existed that correctional officer's actions in removing the plaintiff prisoner from a cell resulted in his complained of injuries which required medical treatment. Harksen v. Garratt, 29 F.Supp.2d 272 (E.D. Va. 1998).
259:107 Co. agrees to pay $750,000 in damages plus $40,000 in medical expenses to intoxicated arrestee who fell on his face after correctional officer administered forceful "hip check" and allegedly dragged prisoner over the floor by pulling on his handcuffed hands. Deising v. Board of Comm'rs, Mich., St. Clair Co. Cir. Ct., No. 97-001727-NO, July 1, 1997, reported in 41 ATLA Law Rptr. 9 (Feb. 1998).
260:120 Officers not liable for force used to subdue prisoner who had just attacked, choked, sexually assaulted, and injured female prison psychologist; jury instructions requiring a showing of malicious and sadistic application of force before imposing liability were correct. Parkus v. Delo, 135 F.3d 1232 (8th Cir. 1998).
260:121 Officers did not use excessive force in subduing prisoner who was allegedly a "ringleader" in ongoing prison disturbance during which prisoners set fires and overflowed toilets; prisoner threatened to stab officer and was continuing to urge others to set fires; minimal injuries suffered by prisoner did not give rise to liability when they were inflicted in the course of quelling disturbance rather than maliciously. Stanley v. Hejirika, 134 F.3d 629 (4th 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).
253:10 Sore and bruised ear inmate had after incident with correctional officer was too minor an injury to be the basis for an excessive force claim; prisoner's claim also failed requirement, under Prison Litigation Reform Act, that he show a "physical injury" to support any claim for emotional or mental suffering. Siglar v. Hightower, 112 F.3d 191 (5th Cir. 1997).
254:24 Inmate assaulted by officer while four other officers held him awarded $10,000 in compensatory damages and $10,000 in punitive damages; officers' failure to intervene violated clearly established law; prison superintendent liable based on knowledge of officer's violent propensities and prior failure to order investigations. Davis, Estate of, by Ostenfeld v. Delo, 115 F.3d 1388 (8th Cir. 1997).
257:74 Correctional officer's alleged actions of slapping a prisoner twice in the face and calling him a "nigger" could not form the basis of a federal civil rights lawsuit when the prisoner suffered no physical injury and the officer's actions came after the prisoner interfered with and harassed the officer. Brown v. Croce, 967 F.Supp. 101 (S.D.N.Y. 1997).
258:90 Information concerning correctional official's prior arrest for assault was discoverable in former prisoner's excessive force lawsuit against him, despite dismissal of criminal charge. Cox v. McClellan, 174 F.R.D. 32 (W.D.N.Y. 1997).
261:139 Officers used only necessary force in restraining prisoner who lit a fire in his cell and charged at them when they attempted to enter cell. Colon v. Mack, 983 F.Supp. 494 (S.D.N.Y. 1997). » Editor's Note: The trial judge in the above case entered judgment as a matter of law after the jury also returned a verdict for the defendant officers. The court believed that this was necessary because it erroneously gave instructions to the jury that might have given them the impression that the prisoner had to show, in order to recover damages, that he was a citizen of the U.S. The federal civil rights statute in question actually allows recovery by "any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof." Colon v. Mack, 983 F.Supp. 496 (S.D.N.Y. 1997).
246:88 Jury could conclude that, while officer used excessive force, this use of force did not cause prisoner's injuries; award of $1 in nominal damages against officer who used excessive force upheld. Haywood v. Koehler, 78 F.3d 101 (2nd Cir. 1996).
248:121 Injuries to officers and testimony of witnesses showed that, rather than beating prisoner for no reason, officers were themselves attacked by him and force used to restrain him was reasonable; inmate's claim that officers were retaliating against him because of his plans to file a lawsuit were not credible when he himself admitted that he had not told any of them his plans. Duamutef v. Fial, 922 F.Supp. 807 (W.D.N.Y. 1996).
249:138 Prisoner was entitled to a new trial in lawsuit alleging that officers assaulted him when case was tried to the same jury that minutes before had returned a verdict against him on unrelated lawsuit concerning officers at another facility who allegedly stood by while inmates attacked him. Johnson v. Schmidt, 83 F.3d 37 (2nd Cir. 1996).
250:154 Federal appeals court reinstates $500 punitive damage award against officer who allegedly hit restrained prisoner in the face and taunted him with racial slurs while he and other officers forced him to comply with prison's haircut rule; haircut rule did not violate religious freedom rights of Rastafarian prisoner. Harris v. Chapman, 97 F.3d 499 (11th Cir. 1996).
[N/R] Material issue of fact existed as to whether guards used excessive force when transferring pretrial detainee from one cell to another. Dorsey v. St. Joseph Co. Jail Officials, 98 F.3d 1527 (7th Cir. 1996.)
232:53 Prisoner allegedly injured by stray bird shot when correctional officer intentionally fired shotgun at another inmate can sue firing officer and two other officers who were present, despite officer's lack of specific intent to injure him; correctional officers not entitled to qualified immunity. Robins v. Meecham, 60 F.3d 1436 (9th Cir. 1995).
233:72 Jury award of a total of $115,000 against correctional officers who allegedly assaulted prisoner and placed him naked in feces smeared cell upheld by federal appeals court; jury's erroneous award of punitive damages against three officers it found not liable did not invalidate the remainder of the jury's verdict. Blissett v. Coughlin, 66 F.3d 531 (2nd Cir. 1995).
233:73 Officer was not liable for use of excessive force against prisoner when he "maliciously" attempted to kick prisoner in the head after prisoner spit on him, since his kick missed prisoner's head, resulting in no injury. Warren v. Humphrey, 875 F.Supp. 378 (E.D. Tex. 1995).
235:103 Jury awards prisoner $1,250 against two correctional officers he alleged used excessive force against him, but awards him nothing in second altercation involving five other officers; officer kicked in the testicles by prisoner in second incident awarded $1,500 in damages against him. Hynes v. LaBoy, 887 F.Supp. 618 (S.D.N.Y. 1995).
236:122 Jury awards $1.18 million to intoxicated arrestee who was allegedly kicked by correctional officers at county jail, shackled to bench, and denied use of a toilet while in custody. Sosa v. Jefferson Co., C-95-229 (W.D.Ky., March 1, 1996), reported in The National Law Journal p. A13 (April 1, 1996).
[N/R] Trial court's instructions on good faith use of force on prisoner were adequate. Douglas v. Owens, 50 F.3d 1226 (3rd Cir. 1995).
[N/R] Jury instructions given by trial court on inmate's claim of excessive use of force by officers were proper. Palmer v. Lares, 42 F.3d 975 (5th Cir. 1995).
217:9 Ohio department of corrections vicariously liable for $2,000 for officer's alleged striking of inmate in the face without provocation or justification. Elliott v. Ohio Dept. of Rehab. & Corr., 92 Ohio App. 3d 772, 637 N.E.2d 106 (1994).
217:9 Evidence that inmate spat in officer's face before officer struck him as he raised his hands above his head as though to strike the officer was properly admitted as evidence to support the claim that the officer felt threatened; three of inmate's prior six convictions were properly admitted into evidence to impeach his testimony. Wilson v. Groaning, 25 F.3d 581 (7th Cir. 1994).
220:54 Officer's striking of a prisoner solely to harm him rather than for any legitimate penological reason violated the prisoner's Eighth Amendment rights; prisoner was entitled to judgment in federal civil rights suit despite suffering only pain and not permanent injury. McLaurin v. Prater, 30 F.3d 982 (8th Cir. 1994).
220:55 Jury verdict for defendant correctional officers in suit by prisoner overturned; trial judge's revealing plaintiff prisoner's prior sexual offense convictions to prospective jurors was an abuse of discretion. Scott v. Lawrence, 36 F.3d 871 (9th Cir. 1994).
221:71 Federal appeals court rules that jury instructions in prisoner's excessive force claim against correctional officer should have required finding that the officer acted both maliciously and sadistically before awarding damages for an Eighth Amendment violation; failure to include the words "and sadistically" in jury instructions required reversal of award to plaintiff prisoner and the holding of a new trial. Howard v. Barnett, 21 F.3d 868 (8th Cir. 1994).
225:136 Unprovoked spontaneous alleged assault on prisoner by officers constituted punishment for purposes of stating an Eighth Amendment claim. Pelfrey v. Chambers, 43 F.3d 1034 (6th Cir. 1995).
227:169 Correctional officers were not entitled to qualified immunity on claim that they kept prisoner in cell deprived of clothing for twenty-two hours, before and after they allegedly used excessive force against him; deprivation of clothing was part of "continuous course of conduct," and jury issue was whether officers' acted for reasonable security reasons or "maliciously and sadistically for the very purpose of causing harm." Wilkins v. Moore, 40 F.3d 954 (8th Cir. 1994).
227:170 Jury instructions on excessive force which did not include the word "sadistically" did not constitute plain error requiring reversal of jury award against five correctional officers. Baker v. Delo, 38 F.3d 1024 (8th Cir. 1994).
[N/R] Appeals court orders award of nominal damages in case where jury found that officer used excessive force against inmate but did not award any damages. Gibeau v. Nellis, 18 F.3d 107 (2nd Cir. 1994).
If deputy swung keys on brass ring at inmate's face only in response to his smoking, and subsequently hit inmate's hand, he used excessive force; appeals court orders further proceedings to decide genuine issue of material fact as to whether inmate was causing a disturbance at the time of the incident in question. Norman v. Taylor, 9 F.3d 1078 (4th Cir. 1993).
Prisoner who claimed two guards assaulted him in an office while two other prison officials watched did not provide any evidence to refute affidavits showing that force used was necessary to restrain him while he was being unruly; trial court grants summary judgment to defendants in prisoner's civil rights lawsuit. Harrison v. Johnson, 830 F.Supp. 866 (E.D.N.C. 1993).
Jury award to inmate for alleged excessive force by two officers overturned by appeals court because jury instructions failed to require before liability that jury find that officers acted "maliciously and sadistically for the very purpose of inflicting harm." Cummings v. Malone, 995 F.2d 817 (8th Cir. 1993).
Prisoner's complaint that excessive force to subdue him after disturbance was neither irrational nor wholly incredible and therefore should not have been dismissed as frivolous. Johnson v. Bi-State Justice Center, 12 F.3d 133 (8th Cir. 1993).
Factual issues as to whether correctional officer used force in good faith effort to maintain order or sadistically to cause harm precluded summary judgment for defendant officer on basis of qualified immunity. Hill v. Shelander, 992 F.2d 714 (7th Cir. 1993).
Summary judgment should not have been granted in suit alleging assault of prisoner by officers when there were unresolved factual issues as to whether prison disturbance was still in progress at time of the alleged assault. Moore v. Holbrook, 2 F.3d 697 (6th Cir. 1993).
Inmate allegedly beaten by two state troopers after he yelled racial epithet at one of them during a drug raid on a prison receives $66,300 in settlement of excessive force suit. Starling v. Co. of Lehigh, U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D. Pa., No. CV-92-1229, Apr. 5, 1994, 37 ATLA L. Rep. 218 (Aug. 1994).
Detainee who claimed he was beaten by deputy sheriffs at jail to coerce his confession to killing off-duty deputy was barred from bringing excessive force civil rights claim; issue of whether detainee was beaten was previously decided by trial court in criminal proceeding which declined to suppress confession on grounds of coercion and could not be relitigated. Gray v. Farley, 13 F.3d 142 (4th Cir. 1993). Correctional employee was not entitled to qualified immunity in prisoner's suit against him for failing to intervene in alleged attack on prisoner by officer who transported inmate from jail to correctional institution; appeals court rules that "deliberate indifference" was the proper standard for judging liability, rather than requiring that plaintiff show that employee acted "maliciously and sadistically." Buckner v. Hollins, 983 F.2d 119 (8th Cir. 1993).
Appeals court upholds order for new trial on both liability and damages in case where prisoner claimed guard hit him in the mouth while he was being held down, requiring extraction of four of his teeth, where injury found liability, but awarded no damages. Thomas v. Stalter, 20 F.3d 298 (7th Cir. 1994).
Correctional officer who threw handcuffed prisoner down fire escape stairs while participating in evacuating prisoners from dorm following riot liable for $10,000 in compensatory and $25,000 in punitive damages for excessive use of force. Davis v. Moss, 841 F.Supp. 1193 (M.D. Ga. 1994).
Trial court abused its discretion in dismissing prisoner's lawsuit as frivolous without considering the issue of whether the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment covers purely psychological injury; appeals court reinstates for further proceedings inmate's suit over officer's alleged threat to cut him with a knife. Smith v. Aldingers, 999 F.2d 109 (5th Cir. 1993).
Sheriff could not be held liable for officer's alleged use of excessive force against a prisoner when he did not personally participate in the incident, and there was not evidence showing that he approved or encouraged the officers' actions, failed to provide adequate training, or failed to conduct an investigation of what occurred. O'Banion v. Bowman, 824 F.Supp. 743 (S.D. Ohio 1993).
Even if prisoner's claim that officers "shoved him around" and verbally taunted him after a forced shower were true, it did not constitute excessive use of force in violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Risdal v. Martin, 810 F.Supp. 1049 (S.D. Iowa 1993).
Prisoner beaten by several officers in his cell awarded $15,000 in damages; his provocation of the officers, including throwing human waste at them, mitigated against an award of punitive damages. Green v. Johnson, 977 F.2d 1383 (10th cir. 1992).
Prisoner allegedly beaten without provocation awarded damages against three officers who hit him and $20,000 in damages against officer who forced him to walk a long distance from prison infirmary to his cell despite his heart condition and severe chest pains. Giroux v. Sherman, 807 F.Supp. 1182 (E.D. Pa. 1992).
Correctional officer who choked prisoner until he was unconscious and then struck him while he was handcuffed and on his knees liable for $2,500 in damages and $27,600 in attorneys' fees; U.S. Court of Appeals for Fifth Circuit abandons "shocks the conscience" standard for pretrial detainee excessive force cases. Valencia v. Wiggins, 981 F.2d 1440 (5th Cir. 1993).
Correctional officers were properly granted in summary judgment in prisoner's suit alleging that they beat him and made racial remarks; officers' uncontested affidavits indicated that they entered his cell to compel him to comply with orders to change clothes for his upcoming transfer and medical records showed no "cognizable injuries." Williams v. Browman, 981 F.2d 901 (6th Cir. 1992). Prisoner could not recover damages from jail guard who allegedly struck him while trying to prevent him from cutting his wrist in a suicide attempt. Martin v. Harrison Co. Jail, 975 F.2d 192 (5th Cir. 1992).
Prisoner who claimed that deputy sheriffs assaulted him could not sue county prosecutors for ignoring his requests to bring criminal charges against the deputies. Rial v. Burmila, 782 F.Supp. 1291 (N.D. Ill. 1992).
Update: Federal judge vacates jury award of $758,000 for alleged beatings and solitary confinement for seven year period of Illinois prisoner; new trial ordered. Ortiz v. Fairman, No. 88-C-7509 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 29, 1993), reported in the Chicago Tribune Section 2, p. 2 (Dec. 30, 1993).
Inmate awarded $28,000 in damages and $2,406 in attorneys' fees for beating by three correctional officers intended to deter him from filing administrative complaints in the future. Flowers v. Phelps, 956 F.2d 488 (5th Cir. 1992).
Officer used necessary, non-excessive force to restrain inmate refusing to release items he seized from table in violation of officer's orders; use of force upheld even if inmate's claim that officer grabbed his scrotum were true. Garzee v. Barkley, 828 P.2d 334 (Idaho App. 1992).
Three officers liable for a total of $7,000 for use of excessive force against prisoner who stabbed one of them with a homemade knife and was subsequently convicted of attempted murder of the officer; prisoner alleged he was repeatedly stabbed, beaten and kicked after he had been disarmed and subdued. Bogan v. Stroud, 958 F.2d 180 (7th Cir. 1992).
Illinois prisoner awarded $758,800 for alleged beatings and solitary confinement for seven year period. Ortiz v. Meyer, No. 88-C-7509 (N.D. Ill. 1992), reported in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, p. 1 (April 8, 1992).
Prisoner struck in the groin area by correctional officer awarded $500 for pain and suffering and $250 for "humiliation". Neal v. Miller, 778 F.Supp. 378 (W.D. Mich. 1991).
Officers were not entitled to qualified immunity for alleged unprovoked use of force against prisoner in 1985. Felix v. McCarthy, 939 F.2d 699 (9th Cir. 1991).
Jail inmate awarded $2,500 for his beating by officers in the presence of the sheriff; inmate's "loud" talking was no justification for beating him. McNeal v. Owens, 769 F.Supp. 270 (W.D. Tenn. 1991).
U.S. Supreme Court rules that "significant injury" is not a requirement for proving use of excessive physical force against a prisoner in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1 (1992).
Federal appeals court, requiring "significant injury" for liability for alleged excessive force by officers, finds that evidence that inmate suffered "extensive bruising" and small lacerations met that requirement. Luciano v. Galindo, 944 F.2d 261 (5th Cir. 1991).
Former jail inmate awarded $42,000 by jury on his claim that deputy sheriff attacked him for no reason after his incarceration for public drunkenness; sheriff found not liable. Rhoads v. Pope, U.S. Dist. Ct., Norfolk, Va., reported in The Ledger-Star, Norfolk, Va., p. D2 (July 10, 1991).
Prison officers were not entitled to qualified immunity for dropping inmate, head first, from the back of pickup truck while his hands were shackled behind his back; evidence was sufficient to justify award of punitive damages of $3,500 and attorneys' fees of $62,643.20. Davis v. Locke, 936 F.2d 1208 (11th Cir. 1991).
Detainee who suffered a cut wrist and bruises when he resisted officers efforts to put him in a cell with another prisoner did not have a claim for excessive use of force; inmate did, however, state claim for officers' alleged deliberate indifference to his personal safety by attempting to put him in a cell with a prisoner with violent propensities. White v. Roper, 901 F.2d 1501 (9th Cir. 1990).
Daughter of detainee who died in jail after deputies used choke hold on him to receive at least $1.9 million in settlement of suit. Varela v. Co. of San Diego, reported in San Diego Union, p. B-1 (July 11, 1991).
Prisoner awarded $172,500 in damages against officer videotaped forcing him to the ground. Casse v. Cross, U.S. Dist. Ct. Santa Ana, Cal., reported in the Orange Co. Register, May 22, 1991.
Inmate awarded $1,250 in damages and $8,896 in attorneys' fees in suit against correctional officers who pushed him against shower wall with a plexiglass riot shield following his refusal to give them his coat; federal appeals court upholds award. Burgin v. Iowa Dept. of Corrections, 923 F.2d 637 (8th Cir. 1991).
Prisoner's verbal provocation alone would not have justified officer's response of striking inmate with baton; summary judgment for defendant officer was improper. Miller v. Leathers, 913 F.2d 1085 (4th Cir. 1990).
Correctional officers' use of force to remove inmate from regular cell to isolation cell was justified when inmate refused three times to uncover his head while sleeping. Stenzel v. Ellis, 916 F.2d 423 (8th Cir. 1990).
Inmates beaten by officers after they passively resisted transfer awarded $29,000 compensatory and $743,000 punitive damages. Covington v. District of Columbia, U.S. District Ct., D.C., No. 87-2658, Sept. 10, 1990, reported in 34 ATLA L. Rep. 10 (Feb. 1991).
Prison employee liable for $1,000 to inmate after sticking the barrel of his revolver in the inmate's mouth and cocking the trigger because inmate had spread rumors he was having a sexual affair with the employee's wife. Oses v. Fair, 739 F.Supp. 707 (D. Mass. 1990).
Allegation that prison guard smashed prisoner's fingers in small opening on cell door, requiring stitches in two fingers, stated claim for use of excessive force. Adams v. Hansen, 906 F.2d 192 (5th cir. 1990).
Jury awards $3.3 million to pre-trial female detainee chained to wall who suffered aggravation of asthma condition; settlement for unstated amount. Murphy v. City of Hamstramck, Mich., Wayne county Circuit Court, No. 85-503217CZ, Feb. 8, 1990, 33 ATLA L. Rep. 289 (Sept. 1990).
Prisoner's assertion that officer deliberately kicked the door to the food slot of his cell, cutting off the tip of his finger, could not be countered by hearsay witnesses and unauthenticated records. Gilbert v. Collins, 905 F.2d 61 (5th Cir. 1990).
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals adopts new standard on Eighth Amendment excessive force claims; significant injury, unreasonableness and excessiveness of force insufficient to show violation in absence of wanton infliction of pain. Huguet v. Barnett, 900 F.2d 838 (5th Cir. 1990).
Prisoner who suffered only bruises could not bring claim for unconstitutional use of excessive force by guards. Wise v. Carlson, 902 F.2d 417 (5th Cir. 1990).
Federal appeals court upholds damage award to prisoner assaulted by correctional officers; severe injury not required for violation of civil rights. McHenry v. Chadwick, 896 F.2d 184 (6th Cir. 1990).
Officer's striking of inmate three times with his baton did not violate eighth amendment. Miller v. Leathers, 885 F.2d 151 (4th Cir. 1989).
Appeals court upholds $241,000 damage award to prisoners beaten by guards after prison riot; evidence sufficient to impose liability on prison supervisors. Bolin v. Black, 875 F.2d 1343 (8th Cir. 1989).
Warden could not be held liable for alleged beating of inmate by officers, absent any claim that he was personally involved. Engles v. Hopkins, 709 F.Supp. 495 (S.D.N.Y. 1989).
City settles lawsuit over alleged rape of female inmate by officer for $7,500; plaintiff had asked $1 million. Lemon v. City of Caruthersville, Federal district court, Missouri, reported in Missouri Herald, Hayti, Missouri, June 16, 1989.
Officers did not use excessive force in pushing inmate against bars to handcuff him for purposes of transport within prison. Anderson v. Sullivan, 702 F.Supp. 424 (S.D.N.Y. 1988).
Officer entitled to qualified immunity for using deadly force in attempt to prevent escape of prisoner who was murderer. Henry v. Perry, 866 F.2d 657 (3rd Cir. 1989).
Prisoner in Maryland must exhaust administrative grievance procedures before bringing state law action for alleged assault by officer. McCullough v. Wittner, 552 A.2d 881 (Md. 1989).
Federal appeals court tells inmate: "no pain, no gain"; no recovery for "cruel and unusual punishment" absent suffering of pain, misery, anguish. Cowans v. Wyrick, 862 F.2d 697 (8th Cir. 1988).
Single act of beating by officer was insufficient to impose liability on city; officer held liable. Lowe v. City of St. Louis, 843 F.2d 1158 (8th Cir. 1988).
Inmate's failure to prove "severe injury" in assault by guards sufficient to uphold jury verdict for defendants when inmate himself proposed instruction including "severe injury" as required. Williams v. Boles, 841 F.2d 181 (7th Cir. 1988).
U.S. Supreme Court denies certiorari in case where government and official were liable; failure to intervene and investigate deputies' assault on inmate sufficient for section 1983 liability. Co. of Wayne v. Marchese, 107 S.Ct. 1369 (1987).
Excessive force complaint was frivolous in case in which no severe injuries were shown. James v. Alfred, 832 F.2d 339 (5th Cir. 1987).
Plaintiff's civil rights lawsuit will be dismissed if he continues to fail to respond to defendant's interrogatories; he will be given one more chance to comply because of pro se status. Riviera v. Simmons, 116 F.R.D. 593 (S.D. N.Y. 1987).
Co. must provide legal representation to guards accused of assaulting prisoner. Giordano v. O'Neill, 517 N.Y.S.2d 41 (A.D. 1987).
Court dismisses inmate's complaint that he was beaten by sheriff and prosecutor. Barnes v. Smith, 654 F.Supp. 1244 (E.D. Mo. 1987).
Force used to return inmate to cell was appropriate. Brown v. Smith, 813 F.2d 1187 (11th Cir. 1987).
Case ordered to proceed against guards for shooting inmate; federal and state claims must be instructed to the jury separately. Davis v. Lane, 814 F.2d 397 (7th Cir. 1987).
Court allows suit to continue for injuries to inmate bystanders when fellow inmates were sprayed with tear gas; suit alleges canisters instead of "pepper fogger" would have localized the spray. Holloway v. Lockhart, 813 F.2d 874 (8th Cir. 1987).
Making threats to inmates if they exercise constitutional rights no basis for federal suit; inmate's suit dismissed. Gaut v. Sunn, 810 F.2d 923 (9th Cir. 1987).
Exposing inmates to tear gas in subduing violent inmate not cruel and unusual punishment; no eighth amendment violation. Collins v. Ward, 652 F.Supp. 500 (S.D.N.Y. 1987).
Court properly admits photograph of fatally stabbed guard in inmates' civil rights suit; error in closing argument not grounds for reversal when substantial evidence existed. Tyler v. white, 811 F.2d 1204 (8th Cir. 1987).
Intentional assault goes beyond negligent concepts set forth in Davidson-Daniels cases; section 1983 liability found. Burris v. Kirkpatrick, 649 F.Supp. 740 (N.D. Ind. 1986).
Step-father and siblings have no constitutionally protected liberty interest in companionship of inmate allegedly beaten to death by guards; section 1983 suit dismissed. Ortiz v. Burgos, 807 F.2d 6 (1st Cir. 1986).
Corrections officer who wrapped inmate's face in bandages, causing death, indicted in federal court for civil rights violation. United States v. Dale, (W.D.N.C. 1986).
Prison guard sued for brutality during strip search. Information obtained from the Philadelphia, Pa., Inquirer, 11/19/86.
Prison guards liable for $195,000 for beating inmate who died following testicle injuries; jury verdict of $150,000 against director doesn't stand. Rascon v. Hardiman, 803 F.2d 269 (7th Cir. 1986).
Service of process by prisoners valid; guards liable by default for refusing to answer complaint. Benny v. Pipes, 799 F.2d 489 (9th Cir. 1986).
Guard liable for shooting inmate in trying to end disturbance. McCullough v. Cady, 640 F.Supp. 1012 (E.D. Mich. 1986).
Verdict upheld against guards for beating detainee thought to have mental problems; administrators not liable. Information obtained from the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, 9/29/86; Rascon v. Hardiman, No. 85-1589.
Guard liable for harassing paraplegic prisoners. Parrish v. Johnson, 800 F.2d 600 (6th Cir. 1986).
Stun guns outlawed. Schindler v. Beard, U.S. District Court, Baltimore, Md. The information was obtained from the Annapolis Capital Newspaper, Md., 7/21/86.
Threats of bodily harm constitute civil action. Gaut v. Sunn, 792 F.2d 874 (9th Cir. 1986).
Damages awarded against guards for beating inmate after he complained of homosexual advances. Wilson v. Lambert, 789 F.2d 656 (8th Cir. 1986).
Mock execution and brutality results in liability verdict. Leach v. Ross, U.S. District Court, D.D.C., No. 84-2416, 11/18/85. Also see 29 ATLA L. Rep. 225, June 1986.
Striking inmate with lead glove states federal claim, despite no permanent injuries. Velleff v. Cantwell, 630 F.Supp. 346 (N.D. Ill. 1986).
Case against prison officials for prisoner assault reversed in light of U.S. Supreme Court cases. Johnston v. Lucas, 786 F.2d 1254 (5th Cir. 1986).
Verbal threats constitute section 1983 claim. Burton v. Livingston, 791 F.2d 97 (8th Cir. 1986).
Prisoner says sergeants beat him with flashlights and nightsticks. Hawkins v. Poole, 779 F.2d 1267 (7th Cir. 1985).
Prison official's "jabbing" inmate with object not actionable. Hudson v. Johnson, 619 F.Supp. 1539 (D.C. Mich. 1985).
Settlement for chokehold death; police department upholds use of taser gun. Guevara v. City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Times, 4/3/86.
Court upholds "stretch hold" position. Owens v. city of Atlanta, 780 F.2d 1564 (11th Cir. 1986).
Guard's threat to kill warden did not influence warden's testimony against inmate. West v. Love, 776 F.2d 170 (7th Cir. 1985).
Sua Sponte dismissals before service of process not favored. Bonfiglio v. Hodden, 770 F.2d 301 (2nd Cir. 1985).
Prisoner asks that "sadistic" correctional officer be removed. Hall v. Key, 476 So.2d 787 (Fla. App. 1985).
Guard liable for watching beating without interfering. Thompson v. Jones, 619 F.Supp. 745 (D.C. Ill. 1985).
Single fist blow to inmate was justified. Peebles v. Frey, 617 F.Supp. 1072 (D.C. Mo. 1985).
Two guards ordered to pay $40,000 for beating inmate, who was a "troublemaker," according to a judge. Thomson v. Jones and Baskin, U.S. District Court, Ill., Chicago Tribune, 10/9/85. Using mace is acceptable alternative to physical force. Norris v. District of Columbia, 614 F.Supp. 294 (D.C.D.C. 1985).
Settlement reached for alleged negligent hiring and retention of violent guard, who bear 72-year-old arrestee. Zellmer v. Turley, U.S. Dist. Ct. E.D. Wis., No. 83-C-405, July 10th 1984; obtained from 28 ATLA L. Rep. 124, April, 1985.
Court believes officials version that force was necessary. Morgan v. Wilkinson, 606 F.Supp. 564 (M.D. Pa. 1985).
No error in refusing to call witness too far away. Jones v. Collier, 762 F.2d 71 (8th Cir. 1985).
Striking an inmate not a federal action. Hurd v. Nolan, 610 F.Supp. 591 (D.C. Mo. 1985).
Repeated stomping is grounds for federal jurisdiction. Harrison v. Byrd, 765 F.2d 501 (5th Cir. 1985).
Court improperly relied upon prison investigation report on inmate beating; there may be liability for excessive force, but not for being denied x-rays. El'amin v. Pearce, 750 F.2d 829 (10th Cir. 1984).
Co. and sheriff jointly liable for sheriff's failure to train and investigate deputies, who beat prisoner. Marchese v. Lucas, 758 F.2d 181 (6th Cir. 1985).
Warden and others liable for beating inmate within minutes of his arrival. Parton v. Wyrick, (W.D. Mo.) No. 81-4023-CV-C-W 5/84; 28 ATLA L. Rep. 76 3/85.
Reporter must reveal confidential witness's name to plaintiff. Miller v. Mecklenburg Co., 602 F.Supp. 675 (W.D.N.C. 1985).
O.K. to object to inconsistency of special verdicts on appeal. Bates v. Jean, 745 F.2d 1146 (7th Cir. 1984).
Suit for beating by guards to proceed. Kine v. Meekins, 593 F.Supp. 59 (D.D.C. 1984).
Shooting inmate assisting guard in riot may constitute excessive force. Albers v. Whitley, 743 F.2d 1372 (9th Cir. 1984).
Inmates' counsel, but not inmates, entitled to view guards' personnel files in assault suit. Inmates of Unit 14 v. Rebideau, 102 F.R.D. 122 (S.D.N.Y. 1984).
Inmate entitled to reopen discovery for assault suit against guards; warden accused of negligent supervision entitled to jury trial. Thomson v. Jones, 102 F.R.D. 619 (N.D. Ill. 1984).
No showing of inadequate firearms training for guard who improperly fired warning shot. Buckner v. State of Nev., 599 F.Supp. 788 (D. Nev. 1984).
Officer's failing to intervene while fellow officers beat arrestee makes him liable, not them. Webb v. Arresting Officers, 749 F.2d 500 (8th Cir. 1984); on remand from 713 F.2d 405 (1983).
Jury's decision awarding $250.00 against jailer and $5,000 against city reversed. Exparte City of Huntsville, 456 So.2d 72 (Ala. 1984).
Deputies liable for not intervening in prisoner abuse incident. Smith v. Dooley, 591 F.Supp. 1157 (W.D. La. 1984).
Permanent injuries not required to maintain Section 1983 action over mace incident. Norris v. District of Columbia, 737 F.2d 1148 (D.D.C. 1984).
Two correctional guards jointly liable for excessive force on resisting inmate. Bush v. Ware, 589 F.Supp. 1454 (E.D. Wis. 1984).
Complaint for guard abuse fails to state a cause of action; prosecutor immune from refusing to prosecute guard. Townsend v. Frame, 587 F.Supp. 369 (E.D. Pa. 1984).
Guards may mace unruly and "recalcitrant" inmates. Bailey v. Turner, 736 F.2d 963 (4th Cir. 1984).
Inmate claims guard shot him in knee while helping elderly inmates. Albers v. Oregon State Prison, (9th Cir. 1984). San Francisco Recorder, 10/2/84.
Use of water hoses, tear gas, and billy clubs constituted guard brutality resulting in $32,500 to inmate. Slakan v. Porter, 737 F.2d 368 (4th Cir. 1984).
U.S. Magistrate to hear claim that guard twice assaulted inmate for fighting. Perry v. Walker, 576 F.Supp. 1264 (E.D. Va. 1984).
Police lieutenant suspended, not terminated, for throwing water on prisoner. Brideau v. Wheeler, 476 N.Y.S.2d 189 (App. 1984).
No Section 1983 liability despite evidence showing inmate was beaten. Baker v. St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners, No. 83-2536 (8th Cir. 1984).
Officers accused of beating inmate after prison disturbance; no absolute immunity for hearing officers. Juan v. Rafferty, 577 F.Supp. 774 (D.N.J. 1984).
Guard liable for $3,500 for using excessive force on inmate who refused to obey order. Williams v. Mussomelli, 722 F.2d 1130 (3rd Cir. 1983).
Inmate's allegation that guard assaulted him not actionable in federal court since it is a tort requiring state action. Ricketts v. Derello, 574 F.Supp. 645 (E.D. Pa. 1983).
Deputy and jailer may be liable for excessive force on mentally ill inmate resulting in death; no liability to sheriff regarding supervision and training. Lazano v. Smith, 718 F.2d 756 (5th Cir. 1983).
Use of tear gas against inmates in their cells was improper; injunction issued. Soto v. Cady, 566 F.Supp. 773 (E.D. Wis. 1983).
Guard could be liable for assaulting inmate. Sampley v. Ruettgers, 704 F.2d 491 (10th Cir. 1983).
Sheriff's actions reasonable in capturing escapees. Putman v. Gerloff, 701 F.2d 63 (8th Cir. 1983); 632 F.2d 415 (8th Cir. 1981).
Court finds inmate was not beaten after escape attempt. Czajka v. Hickman, 703 F.2d 317 (8th Cir. 1983).
Guard not liable for handcuffing inmate. Pearl v. Thodes, 711 F.2d 868 (8th Cir. 1983).
Possible liability to deputy sheriff for assaulting inmate; no liability for inadequate dental treatment after injury. Miller v. Schnacht, 567 F.Supp. 510 (N.D. Ind. 1983).
No liability for Deputy U.S. Marshals who shot and killed inmate during struggle in courtroom. Hoston v. U.S., 566 F.Supp. 1125 (D.D.C. 1983).
Sheriff not liable for death of inmate caused by deputies using excessive force. Lozanc v. Smith, 718 F.2d 756 (5th Cir. 1983).
Jailers use of mace on pretrial detainee reasonable. Smith v. Iron Co., 692 F.2d 685 (10th Cir. 1982).
Prison not liable for using tear gas to quell a late night disturbance in a dormitory. Injuries consisted of skin rashes and eye irritations. Petersen v. Davis, 551 F.Supp. 137, 1982 U.S. Dist. Lexis 15912 (D.Md.).
Use of tear gas by Indiana state prison officials against pretrial detainees locked in cells scrutinized by court of appeals. Lock v. Jenkins, 641 F.2d 488 (7th Cir. 1981).
$500 awarded to Texas jail inmate in beating; good faith defense denied; $2,500 in attorney's fees awarded against jail guard. Williams v. Thomas, 511 F.Supp. 535 (N.D. Tex. 1981).
Fifth Circuit rules that isolated assault by a prison guard on an inmate is not cruel and unusual punishment. George v. Evans, 633 F.2d 413 (5th Cir. 1980).
Circuit court finds inmate's allegations that he was brutalized by correctional officers and unjustly charged and confined, to be without merit. La Plante v. Southworth, 484 F.Supp. 115 (2nd Cir. 1980).
Federal court denies trial to pretrial detainee on his claim that he was abused by jail officers. Santiago v. Yarde, 487 F.Supp. 52 (1980).
Individual prison guards entitled to defense of good faith although their intentional conduct amounted to constitutional violation. Picariello v. Fenton, 491 F.Supp. 1020 (M.D. Pa. 1980).
West Virginia court rules guard's physical abuse of prisoners, after a riot, violated constitutional protections. Harrah v. Leverette, 271 S.E.2d 322 (W. Va. 1980).
Use of mace to quell Louisiana prison disturbance did not violate inmate's rights, federal court rules. LeBlane v. Foti, 487 F.Supp. 272 (E.D. La. 1980).
New York District Court dismisses inmate suit claiming unwarranted force and mental torture in violation of his civil rights. Sims v. Zolango, 481 F.Supp. 388 (1979).
Federal court finds that the constitutional rights of two prisoners was infringed when tear gas was sprayed into their cell without justification. The two prisoners were locked "securely behind bars and could not create a serious disturbance." McCargo v. Mister, 462 F. Supp. 813/ at 819 (D.Md. 1978).
Use of tear gas when reasonably necessary to prevent prison escapes or riots held not to constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Clemmons v. Greggs, 509 F.2d 1338 (5th Cir. 1975).
Complaint alleging that plaintiff was caused to come into contact with tear gas used by jail officers in quelling disturbance in prison held insufficient to state cause of action under federal Civil Rights Act. Davis v. United States, 439 F.2d 1118 (8th Cir. 1971). » For earlier case discussions see: Sheffey v. Greer, 391 F.Supp. 1044 (E.D. Ill. 1975); Myles v. Falkenstein, 317 So.2d 292 (La. App. 1975); Bracey v. Grenoble, 494 F.2d 566 (3rd Cir. 1974); Davidson v. Dixon, 386 F.Supp. 482 (D. Del. 1974); Butler v. Bensinger, 377 F.Supp. 870 (D.C. Ill. 1974); Johnson v. Glick, 481 F.2d 1028 (2d Cir. 1973); Holt v. Hutto, 363 F.Supp. 194 (E.D. Ark. 1973); Morales v. Turman, 364 F.Supp. 166 (E.D. Tex. 1973); Taylor v. Strickland, 411 F.Supp. 1390 (D. S.C. 1976); Tate v. Kassulke, 409 F.Supp. 651 (W.D. Ky. 1976); Rodgers v. Westbrook, 362 F.Supp. 353 (E.D. Mo. 1973); Allen v. Oregon State Penitentiary, 581 P.2d 83 (Ore. App. 1978); Taylor v. Strickland, 411 F.Supp. 443 (D. S.C. 1976); Poindexter v. Woodson, 357 F.Supp. 443 (D. Kan. 1973).
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