Prison Litigation

Deliberate Indifference to Adequate Medical Care

We serve inmates because inmates are human beings who are protected under the Eighth Amendment of our U.S. Constitution, as well as protected under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, one of the very few treaties that our country has both signed and ratified. We also litigate for pre-trial detainees under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A common claim to both inmates and detainees is denial of medication. That’s when a person finds themselves incarcerated while also being affected by a diagnosed medical condition such as diabetes or seizures, and the jail medical staff knows and confirms that said person is affected by these chronic illness(es)—yet the jail intentionally fails to provide adequate medical care to treat these illnesses. That’s, legally speaking, called deliberate indifference to a known medical need, and it’s unconstitutional. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 97 S. Ct. 285, 50 L. Ed. 2d 251 (1976).

Deliberate indifference claims under the constitution become more complex because they often require an attorney to understand underlying state law claims of negligence and medical malpractice, another complex area of the law. You could have a medical malpractice claim and not have a constitutional, deliberate indifference claim. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 321–22, 109 S. Ct. 1827, 1830, 104 L. Ed. 2d 338 (1989) (stating, “[i]nsofar as Williams claimed deficient medical care, his pleadings did not state a claim of “deliberate indifference to [his] serious medical needs,” as prisoners' Eighth Amendment claims must under Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104, 97 S.Ct. 285, 291, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976), but instead described a constitutionally noncognizable instance of medical malpractice.”)

Call our constitutional lawyers today. Our civil and human rights attorneys are waiting for you and will make sure we assess your case from multiple angles.

Inmate on Inmate Violence and Excessive Force Inside Prisons

Inmate on inmate violence and excessive force by guards are other areas our Civil and Human Rights attorneys cover. For inmates, these claims are covered by the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 826, 114 S. Ct. 1970, 1974, 128 L. Ed. 2d 811 (1994); Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 7, 112 S. Ct. 995, 999, 117 L. Ed. 2d 156 (1992). These lawsuits are complex, for example, if an inmate is being beaten in front of other guards and those guards fail to take reasonable steps to stop the unconstitutional beating, and then, on top of an excessive force claim, you may have what is commonly referred to as a failure to intervene claim. Inmate on inmate violence typically involves what is commonly referred to as deliberate indifference to a known serious risk of harm to the inmate. Permitting a known rival gang member to a rival gang member, or, for example, housing a transgender inmate in an area known to house rapists—these may be actionable claims.

One thing is for sure, you must have a seasoned attorney in this area. Call the attorneys at Derechos Humanos for a free consultation today.