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Violation of Prisoner’s Federal Civil Rights in California

A prisoner in California has a right to file a lawsuit for money damages against a prison official, whose conduct caused the prisoner to suffer harm, bodily injuries or psychological distress. A lawsuit can be based on violations of either federal, state law or both) and can be filed in either federal or state court.

Some Examples of Prisoner Abuse Include:

  • Unnecessary force by officers and guards
  • False imprisonment
  • Sexual assaults and rape by officers
  • Unnecessary use of weapons and restraints
  • Inhumane, cruel, and unsanitary living conditions
  • Failure to provide sufficient medical care to prisoners
  • Torture by the guards

42 U.S.C. § 1983 Violation of Prisoner’s Federal Civil Rights—Eighth Amendment—Substantial Risk of Serious Harm

According to CACI 3040, in case the plaintiff claims that the defendant subjected him to prison conditions that violated his constitutional rights he must be able to prove all of the following elements to establish the claim:

  • While imprisoned, the plaintiff was placed in a cell block with rival gang members
  • Defendant’s conduct or failure to act created a substantial risk of serious harm to the plaintiff’s health or safety
  • Defendant knew that his conduct or failure to act created a substantial risk of serious harm to the plaintiff’s health or safety
  • Defendant disregarded the risk by failing to take reasonable measures to address it
  • There was no reasonable justification for the defendant’s actions
  • Defendant was performing his official duties when he acted, purported to act or failed to act
  • Plaintiff was harmed
  • Defendant’s conduct or failure to act was a substantial factor in causing harm to the plaintiff

42 U.S.C. § 1983 Violation of Prisoner’s Federal Civil Rights—Eighth Amendment—Medical Care

According to CACI 3041, in case the prisoner claims that the defendant provided him with inadequate medical care in violation of his constitutional rights he must be able to establish the following elements to prove the claim.

  • Plaintiff had a serious medical need
  • Defendant knew that the plaintiff faced a substantial risk of serious harm if his medical need went untreated
  • Defendant consciously disregarded that risk by not taking reasonable steps to treat the plaintiff’s medical need
  • Defendant was acting or purporting to act in the performance of his official duties
  • Plaintiff was harmed
  • Defendant’s conduct was a substantial factor in causing harm to the plaintiff.

Serious medical need exists when the failure to treat a prisoner’s condition can bring to further substantial injury or infliction of pain. The defendant can’t be found responsible for services that he couldn’t provide or cause to be provided because the necessary personnel, financial, and other resources could not be reasonably obtained or weren’t available.

Deliberate Indifference

In prison-conditions cases, the prisoner must show that the defendant was deliberately indifferent to his safety or health. Deliberate indifference includes a two-part inquiry. First, the prisoner must be able to show that the prison official was aware of a substantial risk of serious harm but failed to act to address the danger. Second, the prisoner must be able show that the prison official had no reasonable justification for his conduct, despite that risk.

 

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