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Majority finds no violation of deceased inmate's 8th Amendment rights

February 18, 2016

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for a correctional medical services provider in a lawsuit alleging the company violated an inmate’s Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment.

Nicholas Glisson died at Plainfield Correctional Facility Oct. 10, 2010, after he was transferred there from the Reception Diagnostic Center. He had laryngeal cancer and suffered many health issues due to that. His mother, Alma Glisson, sued Correctional Medical Services Inc., also known as Corizon Inc., and the district court granted summary judgment in all federal claims in favor of CMS. Glisson appealed the summary judgment saying the failure to implement a particular Indiana Department of Correction OC directive violated Nicholas Glisson’sher son’s Eighth Amendment rights.

In the majority opinion by Ccircuit Jjudge William Bauer, he says wrote Alma Glisson did not present sufficient evidence to demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact. He Bauer said Glisson she failed to show how non implantation implementation of the directive led to a widespread practice of deliberate indifference against not only Nicholas Glisson, but other inmates as well.

Bauer wrotesays Alma Glisson needed to present a series of incidents that showed a violation of Nicholas Glisson’s constitutional rights, and she did not do so. Alma Glisson did present enough evidence that lack of a policy constitutes a policy in itself, but without a series of incidents to fall back on, the court could not infer a lack of policy was the result of deliberate indifference.

Chief Judge Diane Wood dissented in the decision, saying policies are not always affirmatively stated, and a decision not to regulate can be a policy. He She says wrote Corizon CMS deliberately structured the delivery of medical care in a way that lacked critical oversight, which had fatal results.

Wood presentsed several facts which, taken together, she saidys, shows there are genuine issues of material fact and that a jury would conclude as much.
Wood saidys the Constitution doesid not require Corizon CMS to adopt the directive in question or any other document, but does require it to ensure a well-recognized risk for a defined class of prisoners be addressed and not left to happenstance. That did not happen, she said, and she recommended the case be remanded and brought to trial.

The case is Alma Glisson, as personal representative of the estate of Nicholas L. Glisson v. Indiana Department of Corrections,15-1419.

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