Thursday, April 1, 2010
1983 opinion -- deliberate indifference to medical need
In Townsend v. Jefferson County, the Court considered the actions of deputies in responding to the medical needs of a pregnant detainee who used crack cocaine daily. The undisputed evidence showed that both deputies knew that a nurse at jail and seen and spoken with the detainee, and it was undisputed that the nurse determined that the detainee's medical need was not an emergency. The detainee later suffered a miscarriage while incarcerated. She sued the deputies, claiming that they violated her civil rights under the 14th Amendment by acting with deliberate indifference to her medical needs. The district court denied the deputies' motion for summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds, and the Eleventh Circuit reversed and rendered a judgment in favor of the deputies.