Prisoner Chained to Bed During Childbirth May Sue, Eighth Circuit Holds

Here is the Clerk's unofficial summary of Nelson v. Norris, No. 07-2481 (8th Cir Oct. 2, 2009) (here):

[PUBLISHED] [Murphy, Author, for the Court En Banc]Prisoner case - Prisoner civil rights. For the vacated panel opinion inthe case, see Nelson v. Corr. Med. Servs., 533 F.3d 958 (8th Cir. 2008). From all of the evidence a factfinder could draw the inference that defendant Turensky, the corrections officer who shackled plaintiff to her hospital bed during the delivery of her child, recognized that shackles interfered with plaintiff's medical care, could be an obstacle in the event of a medical emergency, and caused unnecessary suffering at a time when plaintiff would likely have been unable to flee because of the pain and birth process; as a result there was sufficient evidence in the record to permit a reasonable fact finder to determine that Turensky's actions violated the Eighth Amendment; since plaintiff's right to be free of such cruel and unusual punishment was clearly established, the district court did not err in denying Turensky's motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity; with respect to plaintiff's claims that defendant Norris, the director of the department of corrections, violated her Eighth Amendment rights by failing to ensure that proper policies and customswere in place with respect to the restraint of female inmates in labor, there was no evidence that Norris personally displayed deliberate indifference to the hazards and pain resulting from shackling a prisonerduring the final stages of her labor, and the district court did not err ingranting his motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. Judge Riley, with whom Chief Judge Loken, and Judges Colloton,Gruender and Shepherd join, concurring in part and dissenting in part.

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