Civil Case Law - Fifth Circuit

Brown v. Harris County , 409 F.App’x. 728 (5th Cir. 2010): A male pretrial detainee was assaulted by fellow inmates.  The court found the county jail officials were not deliberately indifferent to his safety, although the inmate had expressed his fear of sexual assault due to his medium build and white skin color.  The officer responsible for supervising the area had failed to notify her replacement of the possibility of a sexual assault on the inmate, but the court found this failure to notify was merely negligence, not deliberate indifference.

Doe v. City of Haltom City, 106 F.App’x. 906 (5th Cir. 2004): The court found there was no Eighth Amendment violation where female inmate claimed she was subjected to verbal sexual harassment.

Johnson v. Johnson , 385 F.3d 503 (5th Cir. 2004):  A male inmate was repeatedly sexually assaulted by other inmates.  The court found that the correctional officers were aware of this risk and disregarded it, and therefore were liable to the inmate.  The inmate had complained of the assaults, and the correctional officers did nothing, except to tell him to fight back.  The supervisory officials, however, were entitled to qualified immunity.

Allen v. Johnson, 66 Fed. Appx. 525 (5th Cir. 2003):  The court found there was no Eighth Amendment violation where a male correctional officer touched a male inmate in an improper manner during routine pat-down searches.

Copeland v. Nunan, 250 F.3d 743 (5th Cir. 2001):  The court found that a correctional officer touching a male inmate’s penis and anus on three separate occasions did not amount to an Eighth amendment violation.

Mitchell v. Miller-Roach , 2011 WL 5865232 (N.D. Tex. Nov. 8, 2011): Female corrections officer made sexual gestures toward male inmate.  The court found this was not enough to establish an Eighth Amendment violation.

Flores v. GEO Group , 2011 WL 2160926 (W.D. La. May 13, 2011): Male correctional officer engaged in oral intercourse with male inmate.  The officer claimed that the inmate willingly performed one act of non-coercive oral intercourse on him, while the inmate claimed that the officer forced him to perform oral intercourse on him on three separate occasions.  The court dismissed the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, finding that although non-coercive acts are not constitutional violations, there was a material issue of fact as to whether the act was non-coercive.

Boyd v. Dill, 2011 WL 1304725 (W.D. La. Apr. 1, 2011): Male resident of a community corrections facility was forced to have sexual intercourse with male employee.  The court awarded the inmate $150,000 under § 1983 and state law against the individual employee.

Wade v. Cain , 2011 WL 612732 (M.D. La. Jan. 13, 2011): A male inmate claimed that a female correctional officer fondled him until he ejaculated.  The court found there was no Eighth Amendment violation, because he suffered no physical injury, and that the single incident was not objectively sufficiently serious.

Redd v. Harvey , 2010 WL 3434212 (W.D. La. Aug. 9, 2010): A male inmate claimed that while in route to his unit, a female correctional officer stopped him to conduct a pat down search and after roughly placing her hand on his genitals, she commented “huge.”  Plaintiff alleged that this same officer did other similar, but unspecified acts, previously.  The court found there was no constitutional violation, as only severe and repetitive sexual abuse rises to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation.

Washington v. City of Shreveport, 2006 WL 1778756 (W.D. La. Jun. 26, 2006): A female participant in a work release program was sexually assaulted by a male supervisor over the course of four days.  The male employee fondled her breasts, touched her inner thigh, grabbed her wrist and asked her for sex. The court found there was no Eighth Amendment violation, as the only physical harm she suffered was a headache, and the incidents were neither severe enough to be objectively, sufficiently serious, nor were the incidents cumulatively egregious.

Petty v. Venus Correctional Unit, 2001 WL 360868 (N.D. Tex. Apr. 10, 2001): Female correctional officer induced a male inmate to masturbate for her on several occasions by making threats.  The court found there was no Eighth Amendment violation, as the inmate did not actually believe the officer would follow through on her threats, and the harm he suffered was minimal.

Stockman v. Lowndes Cty, MS, 2000 WL 33907696 (N.D. Miss. Aug. 21, 2000): A female inmate was raped by a male correctional officer.  The court found that the county could not be liable under the Eighth Amendment for deliberate indifference, as a pattern of non-coercive sexual encounters were not enough to show a custom or policy of sexual assault. The court held that non-coercive sexual conduct may violate municipal or state policy, but does not violate an inmate’s constitutional rights.

Ramirez v. Harris , 05-97-01683-CV, 2000 WL 968243 (Tex. App. July 14, 2000): Male inmate was sexually assaulted and sodomized by another inmate. The court found the county sheriff could be held liable in his individual capacity, was not entitled to qualified immunity. 

Buckley v. Dallas County , 2000 WL 502845 (N.D. Tex. Apr. 27, 2000): A male inmate claimed that male correctional officers grabbed and fondled his genitals during a pat-down search, and stopped only when the inmate did not become excited.  The court dismissed the inmate’s claim, because the harm suffered was not from severe and repetitive abuse, or wanton and sadistic infliction of pain that rises to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation.