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Civil Rights
West Virginia University School of Law
Cleckley, Frank D.

Civil Rights Law — Fall 2008 — Cleckley
§ 1983 Scope
Monroe v. Pape (1961 Douglas) – police home raid w/o warrant, abused Õ’s
14th A. applies to states, § 1983 applicable against officers but not municipalities
acting under color of law
abuse of authority
Monnell v. Dept. of Soc. Services (1978 Brennan) – preggos forced by NYC to take unpaid leaves of absence
requested injunctive relief and backpay in violation of Monroe v. Pape (district court)
Holding – municipal liability for municipal policy, but no respondeat superior liability for municipal EEs acting unconstitutionally
only when muni EE acting in compliance with policy that is unconst. is there muni liability
§ 1 of CRA implied definition of municipality to “person;” required local gov’ts. to obey constitution
Standard of Care under 14th Amendment
Whirl v. Kern (Goldberg 5th Cir 1968) — Õ held in jail for 9 mos after charges against him had been dismissed
·         good faith not a D for false imprisonment, neither is lack of knowledge of false imprisonment (sheriff sued)
·         ignorance for an unreasonable time
·         standard of care: constitutional tort – C/L torn hybrid à intent, negligence, strict liability
Daniels v. Williams (1986 Rehnquist) – prisoner in Richmond, VA slipped/injured b/c of pillow left on stairwell.
negligence action is under state law
no 14th A violation for negligence under § 1983 without deliberate indifference
Davidson v. Cannon (1986 same day as Daniels) – prisoner was severely beaten after notifying admin. that he would get a beat down and admin took no action to prevent
·         lack of due care does not rise to the level of a 14th A. violation
·         Dissent by Blackmun: state prevented Õ from D himself, therefore state assumes responsibility to protect him negligence of prison officials
8th Amendment Cruel and Unusual Punishment of Prisoners
Estelle v. Gamble (1976 Marshall) — Õ injured while working in prison; in pain despite treatment
mere malpractice does not rise to an 8th A. violation
must show deliberate indifference to serious medical needs to qualify for § 1983 8th A. violation
Whitley v. Albers (1986 O’Connor) – prisoner shot in leg by guards during riot in which he was a bystander failed to show 8th A. violation
question is whether force was applied in good faith effort to maintain or restore discipline or was a malicious intent to harm
no 8th A violation à no § 1983
Hudson v. McMillan (1992) extended to apply to excessive force claims in prison
Farmer v. Brennan (1994 Souter) – transsexual prisoner taking hormones and wearing women’s clothing successfully established § 1983 8th A violation by prison officials after he was raped in gen pop by his cellmate.
deliberate indifference is not an objective test
1. the prison official must be aware of the facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial r

tandard for high speed police chases applicable under substantive due processto the degree of shocking the conscience
·         high speed police chases with no intent to cause harm cannot give rise to § 1983 liability
·         “conscience shocking” is court determined matter of law – jury has control over deliberate indifference as matter of fact. Therefore, court given greater control over liability as a result of police chase
DeShaney v. Winnebago Co. DSS (1989 Rehnquist) – social workers sued for not acting despite having a belief that a father was abusing his son. Son was beaten to the point of permanent disability after several incidents of abuse were recorded and nothing was done.
nothing in the due process clause requires the state to protect the life, liberty, property against invasion by private actors
14th A. not a positive right. Only right is that preventing the state from violating – negative right.
the state only has a duty when it restrains an individual – special relationship theory and state-created danger theory.
Dissent: state action did deprive boy of 14A rights by returning him to custody of father and confining him in an abusive home.