Deliberate indifference claim under 42 USC § 1983 for denial of medical care requires evidence that defendant had some subjective knowledge that inaction would pose serious risk to inmate and jail officer still ignored it.
A pre-trial detainee stated claims under 42 USC section 1983 for failure to provide medical care against jail officers. The District Court granted summary judgment to the jail officers. The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment while specifically addressing the “evolving law governing deliberate indifference claims,” stating that the “deliberate indifference inquiry still requires consideration of an official’s actual knowledge of relevant circumstances.” In short, a plaintiff in a case such as this must present sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude both of the following:
(1) a reasonable officer (knowing what the particular official knew at the time of the incident) would have known the pre-trial detainee was suffering from a serious medical need that posed an excessive risk to his health (objective prong); and (2) the officer knew that non-intervention would create an unjustifiably high risk of harm to the pre-trial detainee’s health (subjective prong) and ignored that risk.
This strengthens the defense’s ability to secure qualified immunity because a plaintiff must fulfill a subjective prong that the officer viewed his failure to act as creating an unjustifiably high risk to the pre-trial detainee to avoid summary judgment.
Case Law Alerts, 3rd Quarter, July 2022 is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2022 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.