Labatad v. Corrections Corp. of America

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Rights § 1983
  • Date Filed: 05-01-2013
  • Case #: 12-15019
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam; Circuit Judges Berzon and Tallman; District Judge Rosenthal
  • Full Text Opinion

Summary judgment is properly granted for prison officials when a prisoner fails to show deliberate indifference to the substantial risk of attack stemming from temporarily housing him with an inmate belonging to a rival prison gang.

Keone Labatad was an inmate at Saguaro Correctional facility and a member of the La Familia gang. He was in a fight with another inmate, Howard Giddeons, a member of the USO Family gang. As a result, Labatad was placed in administrative segregation and temporarily reassigned to share a cell with Shane Mara, another member of the USO Family. While Labatad was restrained for escort, Mara attacked him. Mara admitted that the attack was due to Labatad’s La Familia affiliation. Labatad sued the Corrections Corporation of America (“CCA”), among others, alleging that placing him in a cell with a rival gang member after a fight with another member of that same gang violated his Eight Amendment rights. CCA moved for summary judgment on the grounds that (1) Labatad had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, and that (2) CCA had not acted with deliberate indifference in making the temporary cell reassignment. The district court held that summary judgment could not be granted based on exhaustion of administrative remedies, as the court had failed to send notice of summary judgment procedures required under Rand v. Rowland. However, the district court also held that the temporary assignment did not constitute a per se violation of Labatad’s Eighth Amendment rights, finding as a matter of law that CCA was not deliberately indifferent to the risk of attack. The Ninth Circuit held that the error in failing to send notice under Rand was harmless, and summary judgment could be properly decided on the merits. The panel also held that failure to separate inmates based on gang affiliation is not a per se violation of the Eighth Amendment. Moreover, CCA’s actions were not a violation of Labatad’s rights as CCA had no knowledge of a substantial risk of attack due to the cell assignment. AFFIRMED.

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