June 2017-August 2017
The Project on Addressing Prison Rape works with policymakers, correctional administrators, and the public to address sexual abuse in custodial settings. This newsletter highlights recent cases, rulings, scholarly articles, and upcoming events related to sexual violence in custody. The Project’s searched for all cases involving inmate sexual abuse, LGBTI inmates, and cases directly citing the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). The cases are separated based by cases that discuss the sexual assault, cases that address PREA issues, and cases that highlight the sexual abuse of LGBTI inmates. Of the 40 cases found, 55 percent addressed sexual assault in the case, while 40 percent mentioned PREA. Five percent of the cases provided no discussion of the sexual assault and/or dismissed the cases for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. When providing case summaries, the language in the summary comes from the language of the case. Further, while the cases may contain multiple counts against defendants, this newsletter only discusses those counts related to PREA and/ or sexual assault.
Gonzalez v. Cty. Of Merced, No. 1:16-cv-01682-LJO-SAB, 2017 WL 2345681 (E.D. Cal. May 26, 2017). Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant County for constitutional violations under theories of Monell liability and deliberate indifference for inadequate hiring and failure to train. Plaintiff also filed suit against the Defendant officer for violating her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Under Monell v. Department of Social Serv., 436 U.S. 658 (1978), a municipal government can be held liable under § 1983 if a plaintiff can demonstrate that a deprivation of a federal right occurred due to a policy of the local government or local officials. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant officer groped her vagina on multiple occasions while she was in full-body shackles exiting and sitting in a transport van. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant County was aware of Defendant officer’s history of sexual misconduct because he had sexually harassed other inmates and female coworkers. Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant County’s policies, practices, and customs were not adequate to protect female inmates. The court granted Plaintiff leave to amend the Monell claim and proceed with the suit.
Sublett v. Sheets, No. 5:15-CV-00199-TBR, 2017 WL 2385351 (W.D. Ky. May 31, 2017). Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his First Amendment rights and PREA. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant officers retaliated against the Plaintiff for filing a PREA report against Defendant 1 following alleged sexual misconduct. The PREA complaint alleged that Defendant officer 1, while he urinated, stared “directly and clearly” at his penis. Defendant officers 1 & 2 filed separate disciplinary reports against the Plaintiff, which Plaintiff claims were in retaliation for his PREA complaint. The court dismissed the complaint against Defendant 1 for sexual misconduct but allowed the retaliation claim against Defendant 2 to proceed.
Mercado v. Dep’t of Corr., No. 3:16-cv-01622-VLB, 2017 WL 2538566 (D. Conn. June 12, 2017). Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of his First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant doctor sexually harassed him when they spoke one-on-one and referenced when the doctor placed Plaintiff on behavior observation status in retaliation for reporting the incident. The court allowed the sexual harassment claim against Defendant doctor to proceed, in addition to the deliberate indifference, retaliation, and ADA claims against Defendant officers and Defendant Department of Corrections.
Jordan v. Lamb, No. 17-cv-0207-SMY, 2017 WL 2571591 (S.D. Ill. June 13, 2017). Plaintiff filed a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his First and Eighth Amendment rights and for violations of PREA. Plaintiff claims that he was physically harmed by another inmate; received multiple threats of retaliatory violence from the other inmate after reporting the incidents; and that Defendant officers and prison staff failed to protect him and provide medical attention. The Plaintiff alleged that Defendant officers and Defendant counselor/ mental health professional sexually harassed him and encouraged him to perform sexual acts on himself and engage in sexual conversations for their gratification. Plaintiff submitted several grievances but Defendants refused his request for a PREA investigation. The court severed the different claims into separate cases (see below) and allowed claims of sexual harassment to proceed. In Jordan v. Weber, No. 17-cv-624-DHR, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127151 (S.D. Ill. Aug. 10, 2017), the court allowed Plaintiff’s First and Eighth Amendment claims against Defendant officer for sexual harassment, retaliation, and intimidation to proceed. In Jordan v. Gaye, No. No. 17-cv-626-NJR, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134219 (S.D. Ill. Aug. 22, 2017), the court allowed Plaintiff’s claims against Defendant counselor/ mental health professional for sexual harassment during counseling sessions to proceed.
Townsend v. Hardy, 164 A.3d 824 (Conn. App. Ct. 2017). Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming Defendant officer violated his Eighth Amendment rights. Plaintiff alleged Defendant verbally sexually harassed him on several occasions by asking if he wanted “some sugar” and saying, “I still genuinely care about you.” Plaintiff alleged Defendant officer retaliated against him when he attempted to file a grievance. The trial court determined the incidents of verbal sexual harassment did not rise to the level of a constitutional violation. The Appellate court agreed with the lower court that the claims were not sufficiently severe as to rise to constitutional dimensions. The court further determined that the Plaintiff’s retaliation claims were de minimis and similarly did not rise to the level of constitutional violations.
Smith v. Goss, No. 1:16-cv-0156-BAM(PC), 2017 WL 2572460 (E.D. Cal. June 14, 2017). Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that a strip search violated his Eighth Amendment rights. Plaintiff alleged that Defendants filed a false “Rule Violation Report” for possession of a weapon, and, as a result, the Plaintiff was searched in a sexually harassing manner. Plaintiff claims that the report and sexual harassment occurred in retaliation for the civil rights complaint Plaintiff filed in 2010. The court determined that Plaintiff did not state a cognizable claim upon which relief could be granted and that the strip search had a legitimate penological purpose.
Thompson v. Carver, No. 3:CV-16-1529, 2017 WL 2619221 (M.D. Penn. June 16, 2017). Plaintiff filed an amended complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 asserting an Eighth Amendment failure to protect claim. Plaintiff alleged Defendant officers placed him in a cell with an inmate with a known sexual assault history, who subsequently sexually assaulted the Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleged the Defendants did not provide him with the proper care or protection following the assault. The court determined that Plaintiff did not demonstrate that Defendants were aware of the risk prior to the event and failed to state a failure to protect claim. The court determined that Plaintiff also failed to state a claim against Defendants related to handling the report of sexual assault and his subsequent treatment.
Curtis v. Hardin, No. 5:17CV-P85-TBR, 2017 WL 2682282 (W.D. Ky. June 20, 2017). Plaintiff brought a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Kentucky State Penitentiary personnel in both their official and individual capacities for violating the Plaintiff’s Fourth, Eighth, and Thirteenth Amendment rights. Plaintiff also brought a claim against Defendant inmate for sexual assault. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant personnel failed to protect him and mishandled the investigation of the alleged rape. Prior to the alleged rape, the Plaintiff had written a letter to Defendant inmate with reference to performing sexual acts. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant personnel used this letter to blame him for the alleged rape and to claim the rape was a consensual sex act. The court dismissed all official-capacity claims against all Defendants, as well as the individual-capacity claims for failure to protect and investigate. The court dismissed the Fourth and Thirteenth Amendment violation claims, as well as claims against the Defendant inmate for failure to state a claim, as a non-state actor is not subject to a claims. The court allowed Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment claim of failure to protect based on the Defendant’s release of the Plaintiff to the general prison population after the alleged rape when the inmate who sexually assaulted him had not been transferred.
Harper v. Parker, No. 1:17-cv-00020, 2017 WL 2691533 (M.D. Tenn. June 22, 2017). Plaintiff filed a suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming violation of his Eighth Amendment rights to freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. Plaintiff alleged that on January 29, 2017, two Defendant officers beat and raped him, while referring to him as a “dirty Nigger.” Defendants allegedly left Plaintiff without medical attention. Additional Defendant officers then ignored Plaintiff’s request for help when they came on shift. The court ruled that the Eighth Amendment claims should proceed given the serious nature of the allegations.
Conyers v. Rodriguez, No. 3:17-cv-00127-LAB-NLS, 2017 WL 2839618 (S.D. Cal. July 3, 2017). Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for sexual misconduct and failure to protect in violation of Plaintiff’s First and Eighth Amendment rights. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant officer came into his cell when he was in full body shackles. Defendant officer allegedly groped the Plaintiff, exposed himself, and masturbated onto the sheets beside Plaintiff. When Plaintiff notified Defendant Corporal, the Corporal had a nurse administer Plaintiff a sedative. The court determined Plaintiff met the requirements for exceptional circumstances necessary to grant an order of appointment of pro bono counsel to appropriately represent the legal complexity in the case.
Rivera v. Bonner, No. 16-10675, 2017 WL 2872291 (5th Cir. July 6, 2017). Plaintiff filed suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deliberate indifference in hiring an officer with a history of sexual abuse. The Plaintiff also alleged that the Defendant had inadequately trained and supervised employees in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant’s employee sexually assaulted her, and that Defendant allegedly knew that the employee was a potential sexual abuser because he had two juvenile charges from childhood related to sexual misconduct. The court determined that Defendant was not aware changes were needed in training and supervision policies and that the Defendants’ lack of awareness of the employee’s prior offenses did not rise to the level of a constitutional violation.
Coleman v. Ill. Dept. of Corr., No. 17-cv-0518-DRH, 2017 WL 3169031 (S.D. Ill. July 19, 2017). Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of his First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights for sexual harassment, deliberate indifference, violation of due process, and retaliation. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Sergeants sexually harassed him and retaliated against him when he filed PREA complaints about their conduct. The court severed the sexual harassment and PREA claims from the remaining claims to undergo preliminary review under § 1915A screening, in which the court shall review, before docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
Bennett v. Turner, No. 3:17-cv-1061, 2017 WL 3215205 (M.D. Tenn. July 28, 2017). Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against thirteen members of Riverbend Maximum Security Institution staff and seven employees of the Tennessee Department of Corrections. Plaintiff alleged Defendant officers raped him on numerous occasions over the course of 90 days, prior to filing suit. The remaining Defendants allegedly failed to investigate claims when Plaintiff attempted to seek recourse. The court dismissed twelve Defendant officers, as Plaintiff did not allege direct involvement or willful misconduct. The court allowed the case to proceed and referred the remaining claims to a Magistrate Judge for a scheduling order for management of the case.
Hatch v. Wasatch Cty., No. 2:10-cv-01204-DS, 2017 WL 3327574 (D. Utah Aug. 3, 2017). In an amended complaint, Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating Plaintiff’s rights against cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff alleged she was sexually harassed and assaulted on numerous occasions by Defendant’s employee. Plaintiff alleged Defendant Jail Commander and Defendant County failed to properly train and supervise jail personnel. The court granted summary judgment for Defendants on all claims finding that the Plaintiff failed to present triable issues of fact.
Renee v. Peralez, No. 7:16-CV-281, 2017 WL 3335989, (S.D. Tex. Aug. 3, 2017). Plaintiff alleged that Defendants violated her First, Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 42 U.S.C. § 1985, and 42 U.S.C. § 1986. Plaintiff also brought a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Communications Officer sexually assaulted her; the assault was taped on video surveillance camera at the La Joya City Jail. Plaintiff alleged that when she told the remaining Defendants, they did not allow her access to medical care, to collect evidence, or to do anything regarding the incident until six months later. Plaintiff alleged that one Defendant officer threatened her life when she attempted to report the sexual assault. The court determined that Plaintiff did state a claim on which relief could be granted under § 1983 and demonstrated a pattern of violations sufficient to have placed the City of La Joya policymakers on notice of the need for better training and supervision related to sexual harassment and assault. The court found that Defendants showed deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs. The court also allowed Plaintiff’s claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress to proceed. However, the court found the Plaintiff failed to state a viable claim under § 1985 and § 1986.
Vargas v. Conrad, No. 3:15-CV-303-NJR-DGW, 2017 WL 3313725 (S.D. Ill. Aug. 3, 2017). Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against two Defendant officers for violation of his First and Eighth Amendment rights. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant officer 1 sexually assaulted Plaintiff and that Defendant officer 2 concealed the sexual assault, demonstrating deliberate indifference in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. Plaintiff further alleged Defendant officer 2 retaliated against Plaintiff when he attempted to report the sexual assault. The court severed the claims in Vargas v. Roeckeman, No. 15-cv-00303-NJR (S.D. Ill. April 13, 2015), and allowed claims against Officers 1 and 2 to proceed. In Conrad, the court determined there were insufficient facts to support claims against Defendant officer 2 and dismissed claims with prejudice. The claims against Defendant officer 1 are still pending.
Ali v. FCI Allenwood, No. 3:CV-17-1171, 2017 WL 3380673 (M.D. Penn. Aug. 4, 2017). Plaintiff filed a pro se complaint seeking a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction, and seeking immediate relocation within Bureau of Federal Prisons. Plaintiff failed to name any individual Defendants. Plaintiff alleged that various employees of FCI Allenwood failed to intervene after Plaintiff’s cellmate sexually assaulted him, which allowed another sexual assault to occur. The court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted but granted Plaintiff leave to amend the complaint.
Edwards v. Epps, No. 3:14cv163-FKB-FKB, 2017 WL 3356005 (S.D. Miss. Aug. 4, 2017). Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 violations of Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment rights. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant’s employee, a corrections officer, sexually assaulted him in the restroom at the courthouse. Defendant’s employee allegedly performed forcible oral sex on the Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Warden and others had personal knowledge that Defendant officer had committed sexual assault against other inmates and failed to protect Plaintiff. The court dismissed all claims with prejudice.
Rogers v. Brouk, No. 4:16-cv-1088 SNLJ, 2017 WL 3333929 (E.D. Mo. Aug. 4, 2017). Plaintiff brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff claims that Defendant officer sexually assaulted him by commenting on the size of his buttocks prior to grabbing them. The court determined that there was no dispute of material fact, and that the sexual harassment claims were not severe enough to rise to the level of constitutional violations. The court determined there was no sexual assault and Plaintiff alleged no injury as a result of the sexual comment.
White v. Doe, No. 3:16-CV-01874 (JAM), 2017 WL 2562845 (D. Conn. June 13, 2017). Plaintiff brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his Eighth Amendment rights. Plaintiff alleged Defendant officer retaliated against him after Plaintiff threatened to file a complaint against Defendant for receiving a shoulder massage from another officer. Plaintiff claims that Defendant officer forced Plaintiff to masturbate in front of Defendant officer and forcibly performed oral sex on the Plaintiff. Plaintiff filed a PREA report. A PREA investigation followed but was closed for lack of evidence. Plaintiff claims that Defendant officer and others further retaliated against him. Plaintiff was found guilty of falsely reporting the incident, resulting in segregation and loss of commissary and phone rights. The court allowed the Eighth Amendment and First Amendment retaliation claims to proceed but dismissed PREA and due process claims.
Snelling v. Gregory, No. 1:17-CV-P41-GNS, 2017 WL 2602591 (W.D. Ky. June 14, 2017). Plaintiff brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against Defendant Logan County Detention Center (LCDC) and four officers, in both their official and individual capacities. Plaintiff alleged sexual assault in violation of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant officer “engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment, threats, and intimidation,” and that after Plaintiff filed a PREA complaint, Defendant LCDC failed to protect him from their harassment. The court concluded that there was no underlying constitutional violation upon which municipal liability could be premised and dismissed all claims against the Defendant LCDC and the official capacity claims against individuals for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Also, the court dismissed Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment claim, finding that the sexual comments did not rise to the level of constitutional violations.
Dehaney v. Chagnon, No. 3:17-CV-00308 (JAM), 2017 WL 2661624 (D. Conn. June 20, 2017). Plaintiff inmate filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging Defendant teacher violated his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights and PREA by engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior in the classroom. Plaintiff worked as a tutor in Defendant teacher’s classroom, and Plaintiff claims Defendant teacher made sexual comments to inmate students and had an alleged relationship with one of the inmates. The court dismissed official capacity, PREA, and conspiracy claims but allowed First Amendment retaliation and due process claims to proceed.
Doe v. Cty. of Kern, No. 1:16-CV-01469-JLT, 2017 WL 2691916 (E.D. Cal. June 22, 2017). Plaintiff filed an amended complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the violation of her First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights and in violation of PREA. Plaintiff claims that while she was incarcerated in a juvenile detention facility Defendant supervisor sexually abused her. Court granted the Plaintiff leave to amend the complaint because Plaintiff stated a cognizable claim for supervisor liability against Defendant supervisor in the proposed first amended complaint.
Jacoby v. Carter, No. 416CV00728MHHTMP, 2017 WL 2957822 (N.D. Ala. July 11, 2017). Plaintiff filed an amended complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging failure to protect, deliberate indifference to safety, and deliberate indifference to serious medical needs in violation of Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment rights. Plaintiff alleged Defendant Warden created a prison environment that allowed other inmates to rape, abuse, and traffic Plaintiff for an extended time. Plaintiff claims that he refused PREA assistance because Defendant PREA coordinator told him that since he had not been sexually assaulted on that particular day, they could not help him. The court dismissed all claims except for Plaintiff’s claim against Defendant PREA coordinator for failure to protect.
Duncan v. Grief, No. 5:17-CV-P42-GNS, 2017 WL 3014827 (W.D. Ky. July 14, 2017). Plaintiff, brought a 42 U.S.C. §1983 complaint alleging violations of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and in violation of PREA. Plaintiff alleged that he had an altercation with another inmate, and that Plaintiff notified Defendant officer of the risk in allowing them to interact. Plaintiff claimed Defendant officer failed to execute the required PREA investigation protocols to protect Plaintiff. The court dismissed the majority of claims, including PREA, as PREA does not create a private right of action. The court allowed the failure to protect claim to proceed against Defendant officer in her individual capacity.
Baptiste v. MacDonald, No. 16-CV-439-JD, 2017 WL 3034254 (D.N.H. July 17, 2017). Plaintiff brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violation of his Fourth Amendment rights, which arose from a group strip search at the prison in 2014. Plaintiff alleged that the strip search was conducted in view of a female officer. Plaintiff moved for reconsideration of court’s previous denial, stating the strip search violated PREA. The court denied plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration because there was no established law in 2014 that strip searches without privacy screens would violate inmates' Fourth Amendment rights.
Stout v. Phillips, No. 217CV00720RDPJEO, 2017 WL 3277315 (N.D. Ala. July 17, 2017), report and recommendation adopted, No. 217CV00720RDPJEO, 2017 WL 3268970 (N.D. Ala. Aug. 1, 2017). Plaintiff brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Defendant officers allegedly told Plaintiff to get naked for a strip search. Plaintiff claims that when he requested a supervisor and PREA representative be present Defendant officers pepper sprayed him and violently physically assaulted him. The court held that the claim of excessive force against Defendant officers should be further examined and allowed to proceed.
Ferguson v. Cobb, No. 5:16-CV-5168, 2017 WL 3259446 (W.D. Ark. July 31, 2017). Plaintiff brought a 42 U.S.C. §1983 complaint alleging that Defendant correctional officer sexually assaulted Plaintiff during a pat down search in violation of Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment rights. Plaintiff claims that he reported the incident to the Rape Crisis Center pursuant to PREA and was told that he did not need to take any further action. Plaintiff claims that he was later approached by the PREA coordinator investigating the report and was told not to contact PREA, as nothing happened according to the coordinator. The court held that the Plaintiff had endured only an unwanted search as evidenced by video footage and dismissed Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment claims.
McIntosh v. Div. of Corr., No. CV PWG-16-1320, 2017 WL 3412081 (D. Md. Aug. 7, 2017). Plaintiff inmate filed pro se and pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging use of excessive force by prison officials in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff claims that Defendant officers took him to a Special Management Unit after receiving medical examination and forced him to remove all of his clothing while Defendant officers verbally abused him and videotaped him while naked. Plaintiff claims that his request to file a PREA claim was denied. Court granted the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment and dismissed all claims with prejudice.
Muhammad v. Smith, No. 7:16CV00223, 2017 WL 3402971 (W.D. Va. Aug. 8, 2017). Plaintiff inmate proceeding pro se, filed an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that: (1) rectal examinations performed constituted sexual assault; (2) his placement on suicide watch was retaliatory; (3) classification decisions were made without due process, and (4) denial of the darkest available tint on his eye glasses was deliberate indifference. Plaintiff claimed these acts violated his Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Plaintiff claims that he filed a PREA grievance reporting the rectal examination, and the incident was deemed non-PREA. The court dismissed all claims against Defendant doctor for failure to exhaust all administrative remedies and dismissed First Amendment retaliation and due process claims against defendants.
Simmons v. Williams, No. 6:14-CV-111, 2017 WL 3427988 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 9, 2017). Plaintiff brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint alleging deliberate indifference to medical needs claims in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant officers committed sexual misconduct during a full body cavity search. When Plaintiff refused to comply with the search, Defendant officers allegedly used pepper spray and excessive force and subsequently refused Plaintiff medical treatment. Plaintiff contacted the PREA hotline to file a report, which resulted in retaliation, false disciplinary reports, and hearings. The court dismissed the Plaintiff’s due process and First Amendment retaliation claims but allowed the Plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment declaratory and injunctive relief claims and Eighth Amendment excessive force, deliberate indifference to medical needs, and failure to intervene claims to proceed.
Harris v. Ferguson, No. 3:16-CV-1965, 2017 WL 3611752 (M.D. Pa. Aug. 22, 2017). Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging Defendant prison warden verbally harassed him in violation of PREA and the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff claims that he reported the incident to the PREA coordinator and was issued a misconduct charge in retaliation. The court dismissed Plaintiff’s retaliation claims for failure to exhaust all administrative remedies, dismissed PREA claims, as PREA does not provide inmates a right of action, and dismissed Eight Amendment claims since verbal sexual harassment alone did not rise to the level of a constitutional violation.
Moore v. Jordan, No. CV TDC-16-1741, 2017 WL 3671167 (D. Md. Aug. 23, 2017). Plaintiff filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action alleging that Defendant and employees failed to protect him from physical and sexual assault by another inmate in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff claims he reported the sexual assault to the Defendant officer and filed an administrative remedy procedure request. The report was investigated and an administrative law judge found that the Department of Corrections (DOC) had placed the Plaintiff at risk of harm. The DOC awarded the Plaintiff $150 for his physical pain and unwelcome sexual conduct. The court allowed claims against Defendant officer to proceed.
Williams v. Verna, No. 1:16-cv-00764-AWI-SAB(PC), 2017 WL 2379927 (E.D. Cal. July 17, 2017). Plaintiff filed suit under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) alleging violations of his First and Eighth Amendment rights. Plaintiff claims Defendant officers and Defendant Warden sexually humiliated him while acting in their official capacities. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant officers performed multiple unnecessary strip searches. The Plaintiff alleges that Defendant officers paraded him in his underwear through the unit in front of other inmates. Plaintiff had recently undergone testicular surgery and his underwear was visibly stained with blood. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Warden did not take appropriate action when notified of the abuse. The court allowed Plaintiff’s claims against Defendant officers in their individual capacity for retaliation in violation of the First Amendment, unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth and Eighth Amendment, and cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The court dismissed all official capacity claims and claims against Defendant Warden for supervisor liability.
Cochran v. Aguirre, No. 1:15-cv-01092-AWI-SAB 9PC), 2017 U.S. Dist. Lexis 116187 (E.D. Cal. July 25, 2017). Plaintiff filed an amended complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Plaintiff' claims that Defendant officer failed to protect him after Plaintiff notified Defendant officer and his supervisor on multiple occasions that other inmates were sexually harassing him because he was transgender. The court dismissed all claims and granted the Defendant's motion for summary judgment, as the Plaintiff failed to exhaust all administrative remedies available to him.
Jamison v. Garza, No. 1:16-cv-00318-BAM(PC), 2017 WL 3226472 (E.D. Cal. July 28, 2017). Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his Fourteenth and Eighth Amendment rights and PREA. Plaintiff is a male-to-female transgender individual with feminine presentation who is mobility impaired. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant officers knowingly placed her in a cell with an inmate with a history of violent sexual assault. Plaintiff claimed that the cellmate raped her several times. When Plaintiff requested help from Defendant officers, Defendant officers allegedly did not take any action. Plaintiff failed to file new claims during a seven-day abeyance period following severance of the original claims. The court determined that equitable tolling did not apply in this case. The court determined that the Plaintiff’s claims were barred.
Lee v. Grondolsky, No. 16-12061-MGM, 2017 U.S. Dist. Lexis 118461 (D. Mass. July, 28, 2017). Plaintiff filed a suit pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act for violations established under PREA, retaliation, discrimination, and deliberate indifference by Defendant Warden. Plaintiff claims that she was transferred from an active yard to a drop-out yard where she was sexually abused because she is transgender. Plaintiff was transferred to a new facility, where her alleged original assaulter is also in custody. The court dismissed the case without prejudice until the Plaintiff refiles with the applicable administrative and filing fees.
No Discussion/Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies
Jackson v. Coyn, No. 3:17-CV-P61-DJH, 2017 WL 2389400 (W.D. Ky. June 1, 2017). Plaintiff initiated a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action by filing a complaint alleging inhumane conditions of confinement. The court held that Plaintiff should amend complaint to provide additional facts.
Thompson v. Coulter, 680 F. App'x 707 (10th Cir. Feb. 28, 2017) (Petition for certiorari filed June 16, 2017). Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C § 1983 alleging violations of his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff claims that after his maximum-security classification was reduced, he was placed in a cell with an inmate who sexually assaulted him. Plaintiff did not file a timely formal grievance under the Prison Litigation Reform Act but argued that the State of Utah should have adopted PREA, which would have created standards and a mechanism in which the Plaintiff could have filed a grievance. The court found that Plaintiff did not exhaust administrative remedies and dismissed the claim.
McNair v. Kersten, No. 316CV00038RCJWGC, 2017 WL 3075132 (D. Nev. July 19, 2017). Plaintiff brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim alleging deliberate indifference and retaliation in violation of Plaintiff’s First and Eighth Amendment rights. Plaintiff claims the Defendant officer called him a “handicapped homo,” “rat” and “snitch” in front of fellow inmates in retaliation for Plaintiff filing a PREA complaint. The court dismissed Plaintiff’s claim because he failed to exhaust administrative remedies.
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Michigan Department of Corrections Revises Policy, Allows Transition-Related Care for Transgender Inmates, Southern Poverty Law Center (June 26, 2017), https://www.splcenter.org/news/2017/06/26/michigan-department-corrections-revises-policy-allows-transition-related-care-transgender.
Debbie Elliot, Alabama Prisons Ruled 'Horrendously Inadequate,' Must Improve, NPR (June 27, 2017), http://www.npr.org/2017/06/27/534601344/alabama-prisons-ruled-horrendously-inadequate-must-improve.
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Jim Harvey & Kelly Shelton, Law Says Inmate Consent to Sex is Nonexistent, ABQ Journal (July 10, 2017), https://www.abqjournal.com/1030674/law-says-inmate-consent-to-sex-is-nonexistent.html.
Andrew Cohen, Who Pays for Jail Rape?, Marshall Project (July 17, 2017), https://www.themarshallproject.org/2017/07/17/who-pays-for-jail-rape#.FX3M93hLK.
Victoria Law, ‘This Is Wrong’: The Hurdles Keeping Sexual Assault Survivors Behind Bars From Services, Rewire (July 17, 2017), https://rewire.news/article/2017/07/17/wrong-hurdles-keeping-assault-survivors-bars-services/.
Terrie Morgan-Besecker, Lackawanna County Drops Attempt to Halt Hormone Therapy to Transgender Inmate, Time-Tribune (July 17, 2017), http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/lackawanna-county-drops-attempt-to-halt-hormone-therapy-to-transgender-inmate-1.2219975.
Molly Breck, Democrats Urge DOC to Seek Funds for Youth Prison Amid Budget Impasse, WISC News (July 18, 2017), http://www.wiscnews.com/news/state-and-regional/article_fda84c6d-37b2-59ba-b79f-13a12dbd55db.html.
Crystal Bailey, Former inmate speaks out about experience at Lowell Correctional Institution, WCJB (Jul 18, 2017), http://www.wcjb.com/content/news/Former-inmate-speaks-out-about-experience-at-Lowell-Correctional-Institution-435271633.html.
Seth Hemmelgarn, SF Sheriff's Trans Issues Probed in New Report, EBAR (July 20, 2017), http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=72792.
Katherine Ducharme, MDOC Revises Policy to Let Trans Inmates Get Medical Treatment, WOODTV (July 20, 2017), http://woodtv.com/2017/07/20/mdoc-revises-policy-to-let-trans-inmates-get-medical-treatment/.
Everton Bailey, Jr., Jail Deputy Ejaculated onto Female Inmate in Changing room, Court Records Say, Oregon Live (July 27, 2017), http://www.oregonlive.com/clark-county/index.ssf/2017/07/jail_deputy_ejaculated_onto_fe.html.
Stian Alexander, Prison Sets Up Pop-Up Shop for Transgender Inmates to Order Women’s Clothes and Make-Up, Daily Star (July 31, 2017), http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/633934/Transgender-prisoners-UK-jail-shop-womens-clothes-make-up-HMP-Littlehey.
Joseph Goldstein, Federal Jail in Brooklyn Faces a String of Sexual Assault Cases, NY Times (Aug. 1, 2017), https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/01/nyregion/federal-jail-in-brooklyn-faces-a-string-of-sexual-assault-cases.html.
Alex Bollinger, Trump Administration Could Roll Back Transgender Inmate Protections, LGBTQ Nation (Aug. 13, 2017), https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/08/trump-administration-roll-back-transgender-inmate-protections/.
Jazz Shaw, California Moves to Jail People who Refuse to Use Transgender Pronouns, Hot Air (Aug. 27, 2017), http://hotair.com/archives/2017/08/27/california-moves-jail-people-refuse-use-transgender-pronouns/.
Grace Carr, Nevada State Prisons Gear Up To Offer Hormone Therapy To Trans Prisoners, Daily Caller (Aug. 31, 2017), http://dailycaller.com/2017/08/31/nevada-state-prisons-gear-up-to-offer-hormone-therapy-to-trans-prisoners/.