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U.S. District Court - Western District

Oct 23, 2023

Parents sue DSS employees following child’s removal

Where parents alleged that two Department of Social Services’ employees removed their minor child based on a predetermined reason and that the employees knew a positive drug test was not evidence of abuse, the Fourteenth Amendment claim survived the employees’ motion to dismiss. Background Jessica Nicole Stoots and John Lewis Phillips sued three employees of […]

Oct 23, 2023

Company must comply with insurance policy

Where a company was required to maintain a “loss fund” to secure payments on insurance claims, but the company was now insolvent, an insurance company was entitled to an injunction requiring specific performance because monetary damages would not be obtainable. Background Southern Coal Corporation brought several contract and tort claims against Brickstreet Mutual Insurance Company […]

Oct 23, 2023

Mistrial denied in complex trial

Where the defendant moved for a mistrial on the grounds that she was in the hospital and unable to effectively communicate with her counsel, her motion was denied. But the court continued the trial to a date later in the month. Background Pending before the court is an oral motion for mistrial brought by defendant […]

Oct 23, 2023

Former federal employee’s retaliation suit dismissed

Where a former Department of Agriculture director alleged that she was constructively discharged in retaliation for reporting suspected fraud, but she failed to administratively exhaust her claims and failed to properly serve the defendants, her suit was dismissed. Background Jesse Hines Turner brought this action alleging that she was constructively discharged from her role as […]

Oct 23, 2023

Pro se plaintiff avoids sanctions

Where the court denied the pro se woman’s motion to disqualify the defendants’ attorney, but the defendants failed to show that her motion specifically violated the applicable rules, their request for sanctions was denied. Background This matter is before the court on a motion for sanctions filed by defendants Sameer Patel, Patel & Dalrymple PLLC […]

Oct 23, 2023

Doctor’s defamation claims dismissed

Where a doctor who has espoused highly disputed views regarding COVID-19 vaccines sued the Washington Post after it reported on his speech, but he failed to show the challenged statements about a matter of public concern were actionable or were made with actual malice, his suit was dismissed. Background Dr. Robert Malone sued the Washington […]

Oct 17, 2023

Court lacks jurisdiction over estate dispute

Where a suit was filed over intra-familial mistreatment and misrepresentations in probate proceedings, but there was neither federal question nor diversity jurisdiction, the suit was dismissed. Background On Aug. 11, 2023, the court dismissed plaintiff’s pro se complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The same day, plaintiff filed a response indicating that she had […]

Oct 17, 2023

Detainee’s deliberate indifference claim survives

Where prison officials argued that they were entitled to summary judgment because a detainee’s complaint did not plead facts showing administrative exhaustion, but a plaintiff is not required to “demonstrate exhaustion” in his complaint and it was not clear from the complaint that the grievance process was actually “available,” the motion was denied. Background Jeffrey […]

Oct 17, 2023

Fear of retaliation isn’t enough for injunctive relief

Where a detainee alleging that prison officials violated the law by denying him accommodations for his disabilities moved for injunctive relief because he feared retaliation, but he failed to state sufficient facts to make a clear showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits or that he will be irreparably harmed, his motions […]

Oct 17, 2023

Officials prevail on detainee’s claim regarding handcuffs

Where a detainee alleged that the use of metal handcuffs when transporting him violated his constitutional rights, but there was no evidence the transporting official deliberately disregarded a substantial risk to the detainee’s safety, and the other defendants were not involved in the transport, the defendants were granted summary judgment. Background Charles E. Zellers Sr., […]

Oct 17, 2023

Detainee alleges officials used excessive force

Where video evidence did not clearly contradict a detainee’s claims that correctional officials used excessive force and were deliberately indifferent to his risks of serious harm, their motion for summary judgment was denied. Background Robert Lee Sacra Jr., a Virginia detainee proceeding pro se, filed this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging […]

Oct 17, 2023

Officials defeat detainee’s delayed treatment claim

Although there was a significant delay between the date when a detainee turned over his damaged eyeglasses (July 2021) until the date he finally received his new eyeglasses (April 2022), there was no evidence that prison officials were deliberately indifferent to, or tacitly authorized, the delay. Background Malcolm Muhammad, a Virginia detainee proceeding pro se, […]

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