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Civil Rights

Nov 20, 2023

Inmate sufficiently exhausted bystander liability claims

Where an inmate’s grievance described that he was violently attacked by an officer from behind while he was being restrained by two other officers, and in the immediate presence of others, it was more than sufficient to put the defendants (and the prison) on notice of potential bystander liability claims. Background Mark Joseph Shipp, a […]

Nov 14, 2023

Failure to exhaust dooms detainee’s suit

Where a detainee failed to exhaust her administrative remedies before suing various prison officials, and she was not otherwise excused from the exhaustion requirement, the officials were granted summary judgment. Background On Dec. 1, 2022, Jane Roe, who is currently incarcerated, filed a complaint asserting various counts against Tykeshae Fowlkes Tucker, Nkemdlilim Okoli, Rebecca Young […[...]

Nov 6, 2023

Police department dismisses civil rights suit

Where a man alleged that he was arrested during a “volatile” and “hostile situation” because of his race and without investigation or proof of crime, but he failed to plead facts showing that the Richmond Police Department had undertaken an official policy or custom that causes an unconstitutional deprivation of rights, his claims against the […]

Nov 6, 2023

Section 1983 suit dismissed due to lack of interest

Where a man twice failed to apprise the court of his new addresses, despite being warned by the court, his Rule 59(e) motion to reconsider the court’s prior dismissal of his suit was denied. Background Derek Michael Chandler, a Virginia detainee proceeding pro se, filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On March 10, […]

Nov 6, 2023

Detainee’s due process claim defeated by video

Where a detainee alleged that prison officials left him chained to a telephone for extended periods, causing him to urinate on himself and pass out from dehydration, but the video evidence did not support the detainee’s allegations and did not show he suffered any significant injury, the prison officials were granted summary judgment. Background Omari […]

Nov 6, 2023

Detainee’s complaint dismissed for failure to state a claim

Where a Virginia detainee alleged that his constitutional rights were violated by prison officials, but each of his claims failed as a matter of law, his complaint was dismissed. Background Sidney N. Harrison, a Virginia detainee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that his constitutional rights were violated while […]

Nov 6, 2023

Suit alleges discrimination against blind inmates

Where current and former inmates and a disability-rights organization plausibly alleged that the Virginia Department of Corrections, or VDOC, and prison officials violated federal and state laws pertaining to discrimination and a lack of accommodations based on plaintiffs’ blindness, their claims largely survived the motions to dismiss. Background Plaintiffs are six current Virginia Department o[...]

Nov 6, 2023

Private owner sued for failing to protect detainee

Where a detainee sued the corporate owner of a private prison after he was allegedly attacked by other prisoners while the prison guards allegedly ignored his pleas for help, and he showed that the owner had previously been fined after complaints about prison conditions, he plausibly alleged an Eighth Amendment failure to protect claim against […]

Oct 31, 2023

Guard dismissed from excessive force suit

Where the factual allegations in a detainee’s excessive force suit demonstrated that a guard’s use of force was reasonable under the circumstances, and that the detainee did not suffer any serious injury, the guard was dismissed from the suit. Background Jonathan Edward Davis brought this suit against the New River Valley Regional Jail Authority, the […]

Oct 31, 2023

Jail dodges detainee’s excessive force claim

Where a detainee alleged that a prison guard had “at least two previous instances involving violence against inmates,” these allegations were insufficient to demonstrate that the alleged excessive force by the guard against the detainee was “widespread” and “so frequent in occurrence” as to imply constructive knowledge and infer a custom by the jail. Background […]

Oct 31, 2023

Superintendent dismissed from detainee’s suit

Where a detainee sued a jail superintendent for injuries the detainee allegedly sustained as a result of an encounter with a guard, but there were no specific factual allegations that the superintendent knew or should have known about the unconstitutional conduct of the jail’s officers, he was dismissed from the suit. Background Jacob Dylan Green […]

Oct 23, 2023

Detainee alleges officials failed to protect him

Where a detainee alleged that correctional officials left his cell door open despite knowing that neighboring inmates had violent histories, that he was subsequently assaulted by another inmate and that the assault resulted in a serious injury, his failure to protect claim survived the officials’ motion to dismiss. Background Raymond Michael Cobb was an inmate […]

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