Lemire v. Cal. Dep't of Corr.

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Rights § 1983
  • Date Filed: 08-07-2013
  • Case #: 11-15475
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Clifton for the Court; Circuit Judges Reinhardt and Smith
  • Full Text Opinion

The decision to remove all guards that could respond to prevent the death of an inmate in a state prison presents a triable issue of fact of deliberate indifference that a jury must decide.

The estate and family of Robert St. Jovite brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim against the California Department of Corrections and the California State Prison at Solano supervisors, guards and medical staff claiming that the deliberate actions of the supervisors to remove guards from the building for three and a half hours caused St. Jovite’s death violating the family’s Fourteenth Amendment right to familial association, and the guards and prison medical staff’s decision not to perform CPR, because of inadequate training, violated St. Jovite’s Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. The district court granted Summary Judgment to the Defendants. The Ninth Circuit held that Summary Judgment should not have been granted to two of the six Defendant Supervisors because Plaintiffs presented a triable issue of fact that a jury should decide as to the deliberate indifference of Warden Sisto and Captain Neuhring that led to St. Jovite’s death. Furthermore, the panel held that adequate evidence was presented by the Plaintiffs that should have gone to a jury as to whether guards and medical staff were trained as a result of a mandate, that required all guards and prison medical staff to perform CPR until EMTs arrived to provide care, and whether their deliberate indifference in not providing care was a violation of St. Jovite’s Eighth Amendment rights. AFFIRMED in part; VACATED and REMANDED in part.

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